I know I’ve been gone for quite a while; sometimes, it’s hard to write the things I feel because they’re just overwhelming. Being a highly emotive person with a few cute lil’ mental illnesses, sometimes I just can’t bring myself to do the smallest things- like write, or clean, or speak. (which, I know, you’re thinking must be a miracle)
You guys know I don’t write bullshit articles about “How To Get Your Crush to Pay Attention to You for Two Weeks and Then Ghost You,” or “You Can’t Take the ‘Fuck’ Out of ‘Fuckboy.'” I really pride myself on being *somewhat* original in my content, but today may be a little, as they say, basic.
I’ve always been told that love is sacrificial. That if you love someone, you sacrifice all the pieces of yourself that may be unfavorable to your significant other, or you at least try to do so. I’ve always been told that if a man loves you enough, he’ll sacrifice Sunday football, Saturday with the boys, etc, just to spend time with you when you’re feeling under the weather. On the inverse side, in the area that I live in, it’s pretty common for women to sacrifice their hopes and dreams to stay home to cook, clean, and “serve” their significant other. WHICH IS COOL, but not everyone should be held to such standard.
There are certain fundamental wants/needs in a romantic relationship that I consider non-negotiable. This list includes a love of animals, a healthy relationship with my best friend, a desire to get married AT SOME POINT, and lastly, the want to have a family. Now, I have been told that I am unable to have children naturally, (which, miracles happen, so crossing my fingers!) so the familial structure that I will more than likely have to yield will either be a surrogate or adoption. That being said, these are things that I am called to have. I am called to be a lover of animals, to be a solid and long lasting part of my best friends life, to grow and change with my significant other, and to care for children.
How do I know that I was called to do these things? I think the easiest way to equate the answer to that is this- remember the first time you saw something absolutely breathtaking? How you felt like you’d never seen the world before that very moment? It literally feels like your heart is going to explode- you’re awestruck in the absolutely terrifying, amazing beauty that God created. When it feels like this view, this moment was created specifically for you? That is how I feel about all of my non-negotiable needs; like I was born to love and care for people, that I was placed here to ensure that people feel as important as they are. That, my sweet friends, is how I know. Not everyone has the same feelings about my needs, which is completely okay. We were all placed here to feel passion and longing for something- whether that be painting a masterpiece or writing a song, there is something placed inside of you that is food for your soul.
Being the age that I am (24) in the place that I live, (Bible Belt South) I feel a pressure to be married. It isn’t uncommon for couples in this area to be married at 18 with children by 20- which is awesome, go you for finding your person. However, as I’ve gotten older, the pressure has taken a toll on my dating life (or lack, thereof.) I’ve realized that I began to settle and compromise my non-negotiables, just because I feel like a spinster in this area. I have friends who have beautiful families, marriages, houses, careers, cars.. and I consistently feel like I’m lagging behind- like there’s something I’m doing wrong. With that pressure comes the constant feeling of loneliness and self-doubt.
For a long time, I just believed that love was sacrificial.
We’re told that love is never selfish. I have to disagree.
There is a love before you find your forever person that is a vital love- the love for yourself. I hate the cliche bullshit that tells you that you have to love yourself before you love someone else- personally, I hate myself 89% of the time, but I have a ferocious love for others, so strong that I can’t even describe it. BUT– there is a time in your life when selfishness and loving yourself need to come first, and that time is before you meet your forever person. I have been compromising for 5 years. I’ve dated boys (obviously not men, but those are different stories) that never wanted to get married, never wanted kids, didn’t love animals, weren’t compassionate, hated Alyx.. I’ve dated all the wrong people, let’s just go with that.
I forgot my own rules- who does that?
It starts off easy and fun, like hanging out with your best friend. Then, you start spending all your time together, you talk about deep issues, you decide to date. They make a comment about not wanting to get married – red flag. I can compromise, you say. I don’t want kids, they say – red flag. I can compromise, you say. Time goes on, you start to feel unfulfilled. You talk about it. They never change. So, here you am, finding yourself in a situation when you feel obligated to sacrifice something that you’ve wanted my whole life for someone that doesn’t meet up with your non-negotiables.
When we ignore these red flags, we are being detrimental to ourselves and to the other person. We’re wasting our time on someone who doesn’t want the same things that we do- and they’re wasting their time on someone who will never be truly fulfilled with them.
I believe that none of us truly, deep down want to cause another person pain. I don’t believe that we have an innate need to break each other’s hearts. Sometimes we do it by accident, sometimes on purpose- we’re fueled by hurt.
Hurt people hurt people.
It takes a long time to realize and accept that your sacrificial nature can hurt others, but sometimes being sacrificial is also lying to yourself and others. I don’t want to hurt or be hurt anymore, so I choose to be selfish.
I’m done compromising my whole life for someone who will probably date me for a year and then never speak to me again. I’m tired of being heartbroken of the reality, tired of unintentionally hurting people.
This is a time to be selfish.
This is when love is not sacrificial- love is selfish.
There are so many definitions of love, but this particular love is selfish.
This is long-term love.
This is self love.
This is self care.
This is complete self.
And that is perfectly, selfishly lovely.