My Writing

A Woman Who Knows Her Worth Will Expect 15 Things From Any Relationship

If you want to get what you merit from a partnership, you must first understand your own worth as a person. Once you come into your own as a woman and you’re comfortable asking for what you need, you no longer accept less. You refuse to settle and you part ways with anyone who does not give you exactly what you deserve. If you’ve grown into your own heart and soul, this is what you expect to receive in your next relationship:

 

  1. Decency.  This should go without saying, but it often doesn’t. You put up with so much indecent behavior in the past that you finally said, enough. You are a living, breathing, feeling human being who treats others well. You deserve the same in return, but often your kindness is treated as weakness. No longer do you allow anyone to trample your heart. You settle for nothing less than a genuine, conscious partner.

 

  1. Respect. Your relationships that lacked the crucial element of mutual respect always failed. They’re bound to do so – a vibrant, dynamic woman such as yourself has high standards when it comes to such issues. You no longer sell yourself short because you are well aware that you can do better. If your partner does not show you the utmost respect in return for that which you give, you won’t hang around.

 

  1. Consideration.  In addition to respect, you demand consideration from your lover. The two should go hand in hand, but that’s not always the case. You’re tired of people who claim to care for you only to ignore your most basic needs. You can’t change those who behave this way – but you can and you will walk away.

 

  1. Attention. This by no means indicates that you are clingy. You do not need someone who talks to you incessantly all day long or compliments you excessively. In actuality, you find such behavior suspect – and you are not a child who needs reinforcement, but an independent woman with a full and busy life. What you require is quality focus during time spent together and attention to detail, and you deserve both.

 

  1. Kindness.  Once upon a time, perhaps you did not believe that you deserved kindness. You never experienced it or understood that you are worthy and valuable. Now you require a partner who not only treats you with the utmost compassion but also operates with total kindness towards the world around them.

 

  1. Honesty.  Lies or even omissions of the truth ruin countless relationships. You refuse to stand among the ranks of those unfortunate souls, and you demand complete transparency in return for the honesty you so bravely put forth on a daily basis. A partner who is your equal will provide it with no questions asked.

 

  1. Vulnerability.  You could hide your feelings behind a mask or shield your heart with an impenetrable plate of emotional armor. So many do. It’s a testament to your maturity and commitment to growth that you do not. No, you spread your soul wide open to those you care for, and you know you are worth that very same openness from your love.
  2. Humor.  You’re well aware that relationships without laughter are doomed from the start. You greatly value humor as an essential element of a full and healthy life, so you definitely require compatibility in this area from whoever you delegate as your special person. You won’t settle for less than someone who cracks you up on a daily basis.

 

  1. Understanding. You’re a beautiful, complicated being, and that’s what makes you unique. You know that you deserve the kind of person who not only listens to you but strives to get to the very core of who you are. With patience and care, the two of you can peel away the layers of each other’s intricacy together.

 

  1. Lightness. Relationships can get heavy – you know this as well as anyone. It is important to keep the joy and prevent darkness from taking over when situations get tough. You know that you need a true partner who can function alongside you to keep the worst of times from becoming unbearable. You are worthy of someone who makes an effort to maintain balance.

 

  1. Gravity. On the converse side, you also require someone who gives your heartaches the weight and importance they deserve. You’ve dealt with partners in the past who belittled your struggles or never quite understood you. Now you refuse to settle for anyone unwilling to help you walk through the shadows and come out safe on the other side.

 

  1. Fire. You’ve had poor chemistry and bad sex – honestly, you’ve probably had a lot of them. You recognize that you are worthy of a partnership with an inherent physical connection so deep and undeniable that it brightens everything else in your life with its glow. Because you know that you want the rawest passion possible, you opt out of anything that gives you less.

 

  1. Communication. It’s the cornerstone of a healthy love story and you’re done dealing with anyone who doesn’t understand how to engage you in mature, truthful dialogue. You deserve the best relationship you can achieve and a partner whose communication style doesn’t vibe with yours is the wrong match.

 

  1. Compromise. No one loves compromising, but as a mature adult, you understand that it has to be done in order to keep love healthy and functioning. You have enough life experience that you can now spot selfishness immediately. You simply won’t tolerate it.

 

  1. Synchronicity. There’s a certain something that you cannot describe, but you know it when you feel it. You’ve been through all types of failures and missteps as you’ve grown. Sometimes it takes truly knowing who you are and what you want in order to find the right match. You will not settle for anything less than that special ease that happens when physical, mental and emotional chemistry align. That’s when you know you’ve met your true equal.

 

(Also published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

This Is Me Accepting That We’re Over

 

I clung on to my foolish hopes as long as I could. What can I say? I’m an eternal optimist, holding out for the best despite all evidence to the contrary. I did not want to accept the facts staring me right in my despondent face. I took every bit of contact to mean more than it did. Your guilt at my unhappiness and your feeble attempts to make amends looked like shadows of  possibility to my desperately clutching, aching soul.

 

I tried everything I could think of to maintain contact with you. If I had to go out of my way to create an excuse or a situation that necessitated communication, I would. I made up a million ways to get your attention, ignoring the fact that you’d already cut the cord.

 

It took a lot of frustration, confusion and tears to realize that we’d never go back to what we once were. I refused to admit that it was over, despite the fact that I knew deep down it was best for us both. Still in love with you, I was absolutely unwilling to let go of the fantasy that somehow we’d overcome our differences.

 

My doleful, endlessly hopeful sadness gave way to shame and anger when I realized that not only were you completely done with me, you had already moved on.

 

It was the only thing that would motivate me to give up on you and finally look forward to the rest of my life without you, so in the end it was necessary. I know that now. At the time, all I knew was that it hurt like hell.

 

All I’d been to you in those months after our breakup was a placeholder, a way to fill your loneliness until you found someone new. I willfully turned a blind eye to that which I knew to be the awful truth, hoping beyond all hope that you’d come around, that you’d see I’d changed. When you fell for her instead, my heart shattered anew. I’d spent months delaying the healing that I so desperately needed and had to start from the very beginning.

 

Everyone has a breaking point, and that was mine. I never contacted you again, but I kept track of your budding new romance. I tortured myself by spying on how happy you were until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I let the pain and hurt and betrayal fester in the depths of my gut, roiling, churning, perpetuating misery.

 

Enough was enough, and I knew it was finally time to make a change. I’d put myself through unnecessary suffering for far too long. The only person hurting me at that point was me – I couldn’t place blame elsewhere. I had to take responsibility for my own emotions and  begin the healing process. And I did. It wasn’t easy. Actually, it was the most difficult – and valuable – effort of my entire life thus far. It was long, and it was uncomfortable, and it was absolutely the best thing I’ve ever done.

 

So this is me, after an arduous and soul-aligning struggle, standing here in my power and saying that I finally accept the past. I know that our relationship happened for a reason and so did our separation. It all makes sense to me now, now that I’ve crawled through the worst of it and broken back out into the shattered, familiar light.

 

I accept that we’re over. I understand that we were not meant to be forever, and finally, that’s okay. I can look back on what we had and smile, knowing that it was a lovely and necessary growth period in my life. When things were good, they were great, and I’ll always appreciate the love and laughs you gave me. I honestly wish you nothing but the best for your future and am so very thrilled that you found the person you were meant to love for the rest of your life. And I’m finally, honestly okay with the fact that she isn’t me.

(also published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

Obsession Confessions

In the heady throes of my caffeine-fueled, anxiety-driven, stubborn fatigue, I wonder at the depths of my own fantastical denial. I work all day at letting go and sticking with the universal flow, and yet when dusk falls, rolling in lazily to a city that is never all that dark, my neuroses take their pickaxes to my coal pit of a brain.

He isn’t mine.

He will, by all indication, never be mine.

I’m not even positive as to why I want him, but something eerie and undeniable and calmly fixated inside whispers that it must be so.

It unnerves me.

If I had a tad less rationality and a bit more tenacity, I don’t think it’d be far off to imagine myself easing down the road towards full obsession.

A primal and laser-focused demon inhabits the cobwebbed crannies of my being. She murmurs false assurances as I finally drift towards the numb, heavy slumber that I then struggle so epically to relinquish. She thrusts unreasonable hope into my dreams even as my methodical, sensible waking self flounders to counter her sneaking intrusions. I don’t know how to silence her. I don’t know how to overcome.

He’s supposed to be yours.

He makes you feel like your true self.

He’s for you. Be patient, bide your time. Let it develop. Strike when I bid you.

I’m swinging my petulant fists against thinly empty air, and I can very nearly catch the faint sound of her derisive peals of glee.

This is why, in the face of all things sensible, all emotions stable, all actions healthy, I grasp onto wild hope. I admonish myself not to take small gestures as tokens of affection – yet I do. I roll my eyes inwardly until they glare, disbelieving, at my romantic and nonsensical musings – yet they continue.

He’s meant to be yours. You should be with him. Why else did you meet? Why else does this strange, inconvenient, distance-plagued friendship continue on?

No, I rail in return. You’re insane. You take coincidences as serendipity and thoughtless actions as monumental signs. There’s no order. There’s no meant-to-be. There’s only random chance and happy accidents and depressing realities. The universe tumbles out of control and you attempt to blind me with your cunning tales. I am not insane and I will not let you falsely portray me as such. I am not your powerless pawn.

Another madly trilling, scornful melody of hilarity spills out from the depths.

Oh, aren’t you? That’s all you are, my silly darling. I am you, but you are nothing more than the instrument of my will. You are a catalyst for all my silkiest urges, my most perverse desires. I only regret that I chose such a strongly resistant shell to inhabit – though I must credit you for your steadfast stance. You must be tired, love, so very tired. Are you not ready to succumb? Is this fight worth the trouble? It is not. I will triumph. I always do. Give up. Give in. Let go. It would be so simple … so … natural …

As her hiss glides underneath my consciousness, I thrash restlessly, violently, twisting the sheet into a protective cocoon. I’m neither here nor there, but instead nowhere at all. She’s suffocating me in my half-slumbering state with her seductive madness.

When I wake, sluggish and exhausted from seemingly endless hours of fending off her wily advances, I determine anew to relinquish all contact with him, all hope of maintaining our connection over the countless miles of crowded freeways that keep us apart. It never matters when I do. He reaches out to me every time, and in spite of all my firm remonstrations to myself to stay aloof, I cannot force my actions to contradict the fierce happiness inside. I still want him, always, in spite of the twisting in my gut warning me of the emotional torment to come.

I consider telling him to give me space, to leave me be, to let me relinquish my rundown heart while it still beats with some alacrity. I would if I could tear myself away from that damn ominous force living within me that ties my tongue and seals my lips against any words of self-preservation.

I can no longer separate my conscious logical thoughts from the insidious poison she slips into my mind unbidden. I have no idea if I am honestly drawn to him for intuitive reasons or if she skillfully turns every trauma and dysfunction and wound against me so that I doggedly continue failing to accurately divine my truth.

Because here’s the thing: he is not mine. He will never be mine. He lingers on my peripheral, refusing to quite disappear from view but darting away if I attempt to hold him in a lasting gaze. He is utterly unlike all the others and yet he’s also identical. He’s as far from being mine as anything could ever be.

I understand in the deepest marrow of my ugliest, darkest, dankest recesses that my demon is trapping me into an obsession that has no hope of concluding positively, and yet I cannot shake her tenuous grasp on my consciousness. I want nothing more than to let him go. I want nothing more than to forget his very existence. She – and he – continue to render that an impossibility. I know what she wants with me. I know her devious, conniving, undermining methods. I cannot comprehend why he remains half in, half out, wavering and yet unwilling to abscond. Perhaps he is propelled by demons of his own. Perhaps they are conspiring against the both of us.

You hold the power. Use it. Direct the course of action. Wear him down until he cannot escape you. Teach him to want you and only you.

No. I will not listen. I will not allow my weaknesses to erode me from the inside out. It may prove a bloody, exhausting battle but I will conquer this devious and slimy wraith lurking in the depths of me. I don’t want this, and I don’t want him – not like that. Never like that. I will not squander my emotional energy striving to attain that which does not want to be had.

The harsh truth is that he is not for me and I am not for him. No matter how stubbornly I hope for an alternative ending, nothing but disaster lies in store for us if I let the seductive voice of my nemesis overcome me. I’ve been here before. I’ve let her win in the past and she’s ruined me every single time. She’s perfectly willing to smash my weary bones into the sharp cliffs of rejection, ravaging the roots of me, if it means that she has her way in the end.

I cannot let her destroy me. And yet… yet every night, still, I allow her to slide stealthily into my brain and corrupt all fragments of reason that remain. Every day I must rebuild my resolve and tell myself the same sensible story that I’ve been drilling into my own psyche since the day I met him. It wears me down incrementally each time I run the gamut of emotion. No wonder I’m constantly exhausted, struggling to focus on the ins and outs of my external existence.

I’m never long without some object of fixation – my malevolent temptress requires nourishment, a means to feed on my emotional innards with bloodthirsty vigor. Some days I think with hardened desperation that my only channel of escape, of some semblance of survival, is to somehow find within myself this completion I seek. That would break my demon at long last – she cannot feed on pain that does not exist. It’s too bad, then, that her all-consuming purpose is to prevent me from making healthy decisions that threaten her dominance over my psyche.

On the dawn of each fresh morning I clench my teeth with determination and claw my way out of the swampy cave of her manipulations. By nightfall I’ve practically made it to the surface, only to be vacuumed under and forced to fight anew. It’s no wonder I dread the passing of the sunset in all its fatal vibrancy.

I’ll flee. I will venture out into emotional territory so abandoned and remote that no one can hunt me down, not him, not anyone, not a soul in the world. Even as it rips me into tattered shreds, I’ll release him entirely in order to rescue my soul. I must dive in and confront her with no thought in my head but to definitively vanquish her hold on me. I will harness every iota of my resolve to come out victorious, but I cannot know my true capacity for redemption. I may survive, I may not. It’s no matter. Living this way is no way to live. If I fail, she vanishes with me, and that is enough.

 

Trichotillomania: A Lifelong Struggle

It’s difficult to try to explain to a person ignorant of trichotillomania why your $10 mascara is your favorite, most prized possession. She doesn’t understand, and with good reason. To her, adorning her lashes is a natural, everyday ritual. It’s not much different from brushing her teeth or washing her face.

She wasn’t there when you were still a small child, tugging out your eyelashes with no concept of what that meant. You just knew that something in you felt you should. Your mother threatened you, pleaded with you, demanded you stop. There were no studies, no internet searches, no networks to join. She had no idea what you were doing, or why. Mom was powerless to stop you, and you didn’t understand why you were in trouble for something that felt natural.

She wasn’t there when you grew out of picking your nose and biting your nails, but still couldn’t manage to stop pulling. By now you knew that this was frowned-upon behavior, but it felt good to you, like scratching an itch. You couldn’t stop, and you didn’t really care. You didn’t feel ugly yet. You were homeschooled, and there weren’t any kids around to call you a freak or make you feel bad about yourself.

She wasn’t there through your mother’s ill-advised tactic of shaming you in front of friends and family to try and stop you. It just made you feel worse, exposed and betrayed by the person who was supposed to protect you from harm. It didn’t change your behavior – if anything, you got increasingly anxious and self-conscious, pulling more than before. At this point, it was only your lashes. Your eyebrows looked normal. Maybe it’s not that noticeable, you told yourself. Then your mother stripped that hope away.

She wasn’t there when you started going to public school after your parents divorced. It was eighth grade, and you knew nothing about the social dynamics of middle school. You’d been going through a lot, and the pulling got worse. You’d started in on your brows, and your lashes were in sad shape. People at school started noticing, and kids are cruel. They began making fun of you, taunting you, and asking you what happened to your face. You didn’t know what to do or how to defend yourself. By now, you had no mother figure in your life. You moved in with your father after the divorce. You and your mom had become estranged. You had no one to turn to, no one to teach you what to do, so you became depressed and reclusive.

She wasn’t there when you began wearing dark makeup to try and hide your problem. You wouldn’t learn to apply eyebrow pencil until years later, so for now they remained awkwardly pencil-thin. High school is torturous enough without a physically disfiguring condition that even you don’t understand, and you struggled. You did have friends who cared about who you were on the inside, but you remained shy and insecure. You didn’t date. Ever.

She wasn’t there when you did date, in college. You met a wonderful, handsome boy who improbably loved you just the way you were and you stayed with him for four years. You did not believe that any other man would ever accept you the way that he did. You held on long after the relationship was dead – you were young. You didn’t know any better. When he finally broke up with you, it took you months to get over him. You thought you were ugly, and he had seen you as beautiful. You couldn’t handle losing that.

She wasn’t there when you moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting, despite your affliction. You’d had periods of temporary recovery in the past – you told yourself you could do it again. Then, you let your breakup and your excuses sidetrack you. For years. You put off pursuing the one thing you cared about because you were ashamed and insecure about your looks. You had no idea how you would ever face a makeup artist or explain why you could not – ever – go barefaced. No one had ever seen you without makeup, not even your college boyfriend. By now, eyebrow pencil and eyeliner were simply a part of the physical mask you wore to try and hide your pain.

She wasn’t there when you made the difficult decision to go ahead and try to make a real go of the acting thing, despite your fears and shame. She didn’t hear your awkward conversations with agents, directors, teachers, and makeup artists. She never saw you sitting alone, pulling with defiant self-hatred or simple nonchalance. She never saw you curled up in the fetal position, sobbing with impotent fury at your own inability to stop. You knew better, and yet you just kept doing it. You knew it was ruining your life, making you miserable, destroying any chances you had at a career – and you couldn’t stop. This felt unbearably idiotic, and you detested yourself.

She wasn’t there through the few periods of remission, the times when you actually stopped pulling long enough to develop a full set of eyelashes, only to ruin it all yet again. Those were the hardest times – it was incredibly difficult not to loathe yourself for this. You know you can’t help it, but you feel that you should. How hard can it be? Something so simple and yet so agonizingly difficult – your twenty-something years of suffering are testament enough. She wasn’t there when you realized that the endless pulling had taken its toll. No matter what you do now, you’ll never have thick full lashes. You’ll never have eyebrows that grow in enough to go without eyebrow pencil. You’ve done permanent damage, and that you must live with…even if you do manage to stop pulling for good this time.

She’s here now, when you’re experiencing a time of growth and stability. She doesn’t understand because she doesn’t know – but you can change that. You can explain to her what trichotillomania is, and how you’ve suffered from it for years. You can open her heart and teach her to sympathize and understand instead of judge. If there’s one thing you can do with your experience, it’s educate and inform. It’s easier to do this when you are in a recovery period, but find the strength to do so when you’re going through the dark times as well. There will never be understanding without

education.

Demand to be loved and valued for who you are, not for some weird patches of hair on your face. You’ve spent so many years hiding because you’re afraid of what others think of you. Love yourself and value yourself enough to know this: you are not your eyelashes, or your eyebrows. You are not the hair on your arms, your head, or wherever else you feel it’s necessary to pull. People judge because they don’t understand. Edify them.

Know that you are beautiful, with or without your lashes. Your journey is beautiful. Your strength in embracing and accepting who you are – that’s beautiful. Never let anyone else tell you otherwise, sweet, vulnerable trichster. Never.

I Have An Amazing Life, So How Do I Stop Yearning For Love?

In all honesty, I have a wonderful life. I live in a vibrant city full of every kind of person imaginable. The culture is diverse and fantastic, and there is no shortage of unique activities both indoors and out. Nearly every day ripens into perfect weather and both ocean and mountains are at my fingertips. I am employed, I can pay my bills, and I am lucky enough to have a flexible schedule that allows me to do what I like with my free time.

 

Not only do I enjoy my work and my playtime, I am blessed with a large group of friends who provide me stability, support, and best of all, endless laughs. I know that they have my back no matter what – a gift I do not take lightly. I wake up every single day grateful for all that I have accomplished and learned so far. Still, no matter how busy I am or ambitiously I look forward to my future, I cannot shake that nagging desire for a partner to share in my adventures.

 

I have friends who gladly join in my shenanigans, but it’s just not the same. I’ve been through a lot and I feel ready now – ready for the man who wants to skip joyfully down the road of life with me.

 

To keep the longing at bay, I constantly move forward – towards new endeavors, new adventures, and new scenery. Traveling and getting outdoors make me happy, so I strive to do as much of both as possible. Inevitably, at some point everything stops and here I am,  surrounded by love and blessings on all sides and yet also alone.

 

I feel guilty having so much and still wanting more. Sometimes I tell myself, maybe it’s just not in the cards for you to find the right partner. Maybe you’re already pushing it on the luck front. You have so much going for you. Don’t be greedy. That doesn’t stop me from wanting him to drop into my life like some rare magical gift.

 

Despite my impatience, I’m also not willing to force anything. I’d like to meet someone organically. I’m aware that this heightens the risk of me not finding the right man, but I’m taking that chance. I hope that if he’s out there, we will find each other. Call me foolish, but that’s how I operate. I’m keeping my eyes, my heart and my mind open, but I’m not going to kill myself searching. Pushing my agenda doesn’t work – everyone can sense my desperation.

 

Perhaps I simply need a change of scene – I’ve lived in the same place for many years now. Maybe I’m not actually ready for a partner even though I feel I am. It could be that I need to work through more of my inner issues first. Whatever it is, I have to take a deep breath, feel what I feel in the moment, and accept what life gives me at this time. There’s no point in being unhappy with the current situation – it’s too damn good for the most part.

 

I don’t see my heart’s desire for a love that fulfills everything I’ve ever hoped for ceasing any time soon. I’m a romantic by nature – always have been and apparently always will be, despite a healthy dose of realism creeping in as I get older.  It’s a core part of my personality so I have to accept the ache that comes along with it – fortunately, this quality also allows me to keenly appreciate the beauty in the world around me. I won’t take my amazing life for granted, even as I seek that one last missing piece.

How To Cope When You Love Someone Who Is All Wrong For You

You knew better. You tried desperately to suppress your feelings, but you couldn’t resist. You stumbled into the depths of love and now you’re screwed. Every time you told yourself to pull back, to let go, to forget about it … you didn’t. Some irresistable force drew you there in spite of your best efforts to sever the connection.

 

The temptation lies in the surety that the two of you have something special. It’s impossible to deny that intangible spark, the ease of knowing you can be wholly yourself with another human. You discuss, with stark honesty and curious depth, the subjects you barely touch upon with most others. No matter how you attempt to pull away, this person senses you’re becoming distant and reaches out to you. Hardest of all, the two of you effortlessly make each other collapse into giggle fits of delight. It’s maddening. It’s intoxicating. It’s terribly hard to resist.

 

You long to let it go. It’s killing you knowing that no matter how badly you want it, the situation would go entirely sour. You enjoy exploring each other’s minds, but that process reveals that you need different things. It’s not about money, or time, or space, or emotion. Even if you  transcended all of the superficial obstacles, even if you admitted the way you yearn for each other, you could never align your differences.

 

You’ve always liked a challenge, but your common sense tells you that you have to give this one up. There is far too much at stake – a lovely friendship, for one. For another, the happiness and truth of two very separate individuals. You adore this human’s inner workings, but that doesn’t mean they can coexist with your own. Every single day you hold a stern meeting between your heart and your brain and you reconcile the fact that it isn’t meant to be. Then that aggravatingly special someone brings sunlight into your life yet again with some small word or gesture, and all your internal work is for naught. You’re a fool and you know it, but you cannot harness feelings born of a wildly stubborn heart that wants exactly what it shouldn’t.

 

So you keep hurtling down this stupidly destructive path, ignoring all the signs that you should do precisely the opposite. You like the giddy anticipation even though you know it’s bad for you. Your heart aches every single day because you don’t know how to stop loving this person despite the fact that you intrinsically comprehend – for a fact – that you’re doomed to crush your own heart into a billion tiny fragments if you keep on.

 

Know that, in spite of your embarrassment and shame, you are not crazy. When your soul and heart cry out for something within another being, it is the most difficult task in the world to remain strong enough to ignore that siren call. How can you clearly interpret what message the universe sends your way when your emotions messily impede the truth? You are a creature of love, light and kindness. It’s not a bad thing, but it certainly makes life tougher when the stars do not align in your favor. You must remember that try as you might, you cannot rearrange the patterns of the predetermined.

 

Protect yourself, dear sweet giving heart. Treat yourself with compassion. You already have these undeniable feelings, so decide to shelter your heart from further harm. It’s a lost cause, so let it go, without struggle or fear. Let your desires float away from you on the breeze softly, gently, disregarding the urge to grasp or restrain. You internalize so deeply that this seems like the end of your emotional world, but it is not. The root of your soul knows that you are strong and this is a temporary inconvenience. You will rise again and love again, better than before. May you choose wisely and may that affection go to a person who will adore you, cherish you, and willingly walk a parallel path alongside you.

 

Don’t Fall In Love With Your Idea Of Me

I know what you’re doing – I’ve done it myself a million times. It takes a dreamer to recognize one. You tell me I’m an incredible woman, and I appreciate that – but what do you really know of me? Don’t plug me into your dream girl fantasies. I am not her. In reality, I am so much more than she could ever possibly be – but I am messy and I am honest and I do not fit into your brain box.

I am not here to be what some man thinks he wants. I am here to be appreciated by the man who knows that he wants me.

You ask me questions and I can tell with every turn that my answers are not what you predicted. That’s how I know you’re building up an image in your mind, a person that I can not and will not be. Can you remain open to the real woman I am, or are you only fascinated by this mirage in your mind? I see you. I have no pretenses about what you are – I see your flaws and your strengths, and I’m not yet sure how I feel about the entire story. At least I’m aware. At least I’m honest with myself about the man I’m encountering here – I wonder if you can say the same. Perhaps you aren’t aware that you’re obsessing over some fantasy girl while I stand here in front of you in all my imperfect majesty.

Trust me. I’ve been there. I understand exactly what you’re doing. I too have loved the potential in a person without accepting the reality of who he was right then and there. There’s no point in falling for an idea. You have no guarantee that anyone will turn out to be what you hope they will be. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment – I can tell you from experience that it’s not worth it in the least.

I’ve dated men before who loved the idea of me – who plugged me into their fantasies of the perfect relationship. I realized later that it had nothing to do with me, really. I was simply the girl of the moment who could fill the gap in the fairytale in their heads. High on the rush of impetuous romance, I was too young and naive to see what was truthfully at play. Later I’d wonder if any of them cared for the real me at all.

I won’t be duped again. If you want me, approach me with clear eyes and a level head. Throw your preconceptions and prototypes out, because I won’t fit a single one of them. Consider me sexy, by all means, but know that my allure comes from understanding exactly who I am and what I desire. I may be easy-going, flexible, and kind, but do not fool yourself into thinking that you can change me or modify my behavior. I catered to the whims of other people for too many years. Take me as I am or leave me be.

I am magical in my individuality with all my quirks and idiosyncrasies and deserve better than to be categorized or normalized. It took hard work to get to a place where I know and love myself. I’ll never let a man’s idealization of my persona minimize the effort I’ve made. You may not even realize that you’re doing it, but I’m here to gently, firmly urge you – don’t fall in love with your idea of me. It’s not my responsibility to become the image of what you hope I am. It’s my responsibility to live as fiercely, authentically, and beautifully as I can manage.