The Defining Moment
As women, we are conditioned to crave happily ever after. We long for the type of love that’s made for TV. We long for our own long lasting fairy tale- we wait for our dream come true.
So when did it first happen for you? Because for me it was during that moment in Coming to America when Akeem and Lisa found a fairy tale love followed by a fairy tale wedding.
That’s when I first started hoping for my own Prince Charming- longing for happily ever after… or at least that’s when I thought it was.
Wishing and Waiting
I was no older than 8 or 9, and already I wanted someone to sweep me off my feet just like in the movies. It was at that exact moment that I started envisioning my wedding. And boy was I was serious about it, sketching my own pink wedding dress in anticipation for that glorious moment.
Then came my viewing of Pretty Woman, and I just knew that if Julia Roberts could find the love of her life under those circumstances that surely my day was bound to come.
So I waited and waited. I wished my childhood away, wanting so bad to be 16 so I could publicly date.
I mean, I had it all figured out. I’d fall in love in high school, we’d finish out college more in love than ever, and by 21 I’d be well on my way to being a Mrs.
But instead, there I was in my 2nd year of law school completed engulfed by the first season of Being Mary Jane, and quite frankly, startled by the intense relation I felt to her struggle.
Mary Jane was my worst fear- the overly ambitious woman who was lonely and settling. She seemingly had it all together. She was beautiful and successful but couldn’t catch a break in the romance department to save her life. I’d literally watch the show and cry, “OMG! Lord, please don’t let this be my life!”
I was struggling through the behind the scenes heartache that no one showcased in the Disney movies. And to say it was making me miserable is an understatement.
I prayed ALL.THE.TIME. for my husband. I prayed that he would come sooner than later: tall, dark, handsome, and successful. Yet never once had it crossed my mind to prepare myself for marriage by being a better woman.
That moment of awakening didn’t happen until I’d already been through some of the worst break ups with some of the worst men I could’ve possibly picked for myself.
It came after law school when I was all cried out from heartache, disappointment, and grief. That’s when I really began to assess the things I needed to work through before I was ready for my next relationship, let alone, becoming somebody’s wife.
The Struggle Was Real
I feel like my struggle with love was soooooooo public. People saw the Instagram pictures go up and come down. They noticed the happy post versus the Rob Hill quotes insinuating trouble in “paradise.” They. Saw. It. All. Do you hear me?!
Honey, when I say Vivian Green’s Emotional Roller Coaster ain’t got nothing on mine, I mean it. And I have no doubt that the publicity associated with that crazy ride is precisely why so many women reached out after my March wedding to tell me how much hope I give them for their own happy ending. And although I am glad to be a pillar of faith and hope for true love, I’d feel guilty if I didn’t keep it real about what it takes to get there.
Getting Ready for Love
You see, a major part of finding love is being ready for it.
Listen, I get it. We all think we are India Aries who’ve BEEN ready. But the truth of the matter is that we can’t possibly be ready for a healthy love until we first have a healthy heart and a healthy mind.
This, my girls, is where I’d been dropping the ball throughout my roller coaster experience.
I wanted love sooooooooo BADDDDDDDDDDD but even if it had come at the exact moment I asked for it, I probably would’ve sabotaged it in someway because I lacked the healthy heart and mind to make it work.
Here’s what I mean.
For starters, I am totally and completely a Daddy’s girl to the core. In fact, to this day, I long for my Dad’s approval in everything that I do. Yet even despite my immense love for him, divorced played a major role in the structure of our relationship.
While I was out hunting down a husband, I’d neglected to take an adult look at the things that bothered both me and my dad. And truthfully, I’d dropped the ball when it came down to deeply considering the steps I should take to strengthen our bond and work past our shortcomings.
The things that bothered him and the things that bothered me where pushed out of sight, and supposedly, out of mind. For the longest, I never took the time to assess what my Dad meant to me or why certain things triggered random emotional reactions.
How could I possibly be ready for love without first getting in touch with my feelings about my first love?
Ghost of Relationships Past
Then there was the chain of shameful relationships that I wish I could erase from history. I literally, think back on them with no other thought then, ” Really, my girl? That’s what you were willing to settle for, huh?” And truthfully, that would be a whole bunch of yeps. I spent years settling for being half loved and unappreciated simply because I felt that some love was better than no love at all.
But sister girl, I am woman enough to admit when I’m wrong. And that string of bad decision making was dead w-r-o-n-g on so many levels.
And let me tell you something else, the problem with being a chronic monogamous such as myself, is that you never give yourself a chance to heal from the wounds of the prior relationship.
So there you are, just piling up scratches, cuts, nicks and bruises on top of each other until you finally find yourself completely broken to pieces.
As it relates to this sad saga, I needed to understand why I picked men who weren’t a good fit for me and why I stayed even after I had clear cut signs that the relationship wouldn’t work. I needed to reflect on where I erred and develop a game plan for avoiding the same pitfalls.
On top of all of that, it was time for me to develop some self love and do some self care to heal my heart before jumping into something new.
I’d say the third thing that was important was coping with grief. The loss of my grandfather shook up my world. Because he helped raise me, it broke my heart in a different way when I lost him.
I had to find peace and stability to move forward with life.
For a while, I tried so hard to be strong that it negatively affected my ability to start the journey toward healing. Part of that journey was digging deep to find a positive take away from this loss. For me, that take away was manifesting his spirit of love and forgiveness in all of my actions.
I coped by thinking of ways to make him proud. Most of which included working hard, constantly forgiving people (even when they don’t deserve it), and loving with all of my might.
For a substantial period of time, he and my Gran were my only realistic example of marriage that worked. They were married for nearly 60 years at the time of his passing.
That being said, a part of my healing had a lot to do with looking at their love story as hope for my future. It helped me denounce the idea that half love was enough, and pushed me to require more.
What’s Love Got to Do With It?
As women, our interactions with men affect us in various ways. If not handled with proper care, these interactions can leave us in an unhealthy space which contributes to negative outcomes. This unhealthy space detours us from being ready to be good spouses.
We owe it to ourselves to be unwavering in our desire to maintain healthy hearts and minds. If we don’t mind our health, how can we ever be ready for a healthy marriage? How can we be prepared to be our best without increasing our awareness through a process of reflecting and releasing?
So simply put, the key to your fairy tale ending is rooted in your ability to prepare yourself for love.
- You prepare yourself for love by bettering yourself.
- A major component of bettering yourself is actively dealing with the impact of your relationships and how they have shaped you.
- You deal with these impacts through honest self reflection and the willingness to release components of those relationships that negatively affect your heart.
Getting ready means being honest with yourself about the things that have shaped your viewpoint of what love looks like. It requires being vulnerable enough to admit hurt, grief, and shortcomings. This process requires the discipline to ask yourself tough questions which get down to the root of why you do what you do.
Even if you’re in an ideal relationship or happily married, I stand by the idea that inner-looking assessment is key to making the relationship last. After all, you can’t give your best if you are not at your best.
That being said, I understand how overwhelming it can be to attempt an assessment with so many layers. Essentially, I’m encouraging you to analyze the male relationships that have impacted you the most in hopes of making sure you’re not consciously or subconsciously carrying baggage that needs to be worked through. But luckily, I’m not asking you to unpack all of your stuff alone.
I recently wrote a free e-book called Men Like You. In it, I offer a honest look at the impact of men in my life while walking you through reflective exercises that help you do the necessary unpacking.
This book is an open letter of sorts which guides readers through the different levels of healing I had to experience before I was truly ready to be a good wife. I get real about my struggle to find love and the steps I took to experience healing.
- Are you tired of falling victim to dead-end relationships?
- Do you often question whether you will ever find Mr. Right?
- Would you like to improve your current relationship?
- Are you looking to become a better spouse?
- Have you lost a loved one who made an impact in your life?
- Do you consider yourself a chronic monogamous?
If so, Men Like You is absolutely for you.
Check out the book, shoot me a quick message letting me know your thoughts either by email or on any of my social media networks. Can’t wait for your feedback! Good luck on your reflective journey.