From the book:
While I have always been an independent woman and I take pride in cultivating my solitude, there has always been a part of me that wanted to be like everyone else. I was most aware of this during the time periods I’ll write about here, between 2008 until 2010 when I was dating in earnest.
Everyone – meaning all of the women I knew – was getting married or engaged or at least living with their significant others. It just so happened that I was in love with my best friend from college who I was dating long distance. I thought it was a sign from the universe.
If only I could put together a good enough PowerPoint presentation or list (I was enrolled in library school at the time) I thought that we could easily make this 9-year friendship translate into straight up love-and-marriage and-maybe-a-baby-carriage territory. Oh, but I was horrifically wrong. My gut said it right before he moved and we argued about the terms of him living rent/utilities/cable-free while he avoided getting a job for five months. My friends suggested that I was doing the wrong thing, maybe being a little hasty, but I just wouldn’t listen.
Frankly, I didn’t listen to some of the advice because it was crazy.
My distant cousin who I never ever talk to called me fresh from his jail release to also inform me that I was going straight to hell for living with a man out-of-wedlock. Said cousin went on to include that God gave him a Mercedes because he was obedient to the Lord. “What kind of car do you drive?” he asked me. It was like being in Tyler Perry movie.
I managed to thank him for considering my soul before I hung up.
I wish someone had told me that you cannot love someone more than you love yourself. It would have been nice to hear someone say, gently, that I had never treated myself the way I wanted to be treated in a relationship, so of course my attempts at love were going to fall completely apart.
In theory, I knew that until I learned to practice loving myself and become content by myself, I would never be able to accept or even give anything back to the future love of my life. When that relationship was over and I took a very jarring trip to Disney World that made me praise the Lord I did not have children, I recommitted myself to practicing that theory while dating.