Stretch

I had an interesting thought after a day of mixed messages. First a man in my life asserting dominance, outright demanding control. He spoke of wins and loses, his and mine respectively, as we engaged in what can only be described as a tournament of arrogance. I recognized and said to a friend, if this were someone else I likely would concede my position because I typically value peace over proving I’m right–unless it’s something I really care about. So why did I stand in all my womanhood and beat my chest at him ? This, I decided, would be the sort of thing I’d have to let go of. Could the one manifesting love really do so watering her garden with selfishness and competition? I didn’t think so. I walked away from that argument and decided never to pick up that position again.

Next hands interlaced, a gentle kiss was delivered to the top of my forehead. It wasn’t love but it made me remember it anyway. I searched my mind and emotional storage closet for last season’s Love. Wondering how long it’s been since I felt truly cared for and where all the butterflies lived in the meantime? I’d been proclaiming loudly, or maybe it just felt loud within the confines of my own mind, that I was ready for love. Yet this kiss was the first time my heart made the call. I need more of this. What did it last feel like to be in love? I searched my old posts to try to remember it. Recall it in my mind like the taste of Thanksgiving dinner. Only I couldn’t. Maybe it’s been too long. So I put on John Legend and listened to him sing love song after love song to Chrissy. And I laid in their love since I couldn’t get warm in my own.

This weekend walking with a friend who expressed a desire to lose weight (and she named a number) she cited health reasons. I told her I had no number in mind and didn’t care if I was ever thin. I just didn’t want my body to hold me back from the things I wanted to do, and mentioned that I didn’t have any weight-related health issues. To which she said, “not yet!” I nearly stopped in my tracks at what felt like a threat. I immediately noticed my defense and wrinkled my face thinking, “doesn’t she know what I research? What I write about?” I let it go for the moment but later wondered if it bothered me because it was shaming or if it bothered me because on some level I believed her? For the record, more the former less the latter. It’s the type of thing I’d freely give back.

I read an article yesterday about how men consistently choose the wrong women. And how in order for women to be the “right” woman we need to be unconquerable. The idea was that men love a challenge. And to have a woman he never truly Has keeps him working to keep you. The great challenge of “taming that which cannot be tamed.” Besides the obvious objectification of women as malleable and things, albeit coveted things, the article made me realize something wonderful. The best thing I could ever be for my future husband is a feminist. A woman who believes I am MINE before I am anyone else’s. A woman who knew she was beautiful, talented, and charming before he told me so. I am not interested in a man, or anyone, giving me a prescription for partnership. Things I have to wear, do, be, say in order to be found attractive by a man. If I don’t find him by faith, honesty and pheromones, it must not be in my cards.

While reflecting as I write I recognized how differently 29 year old me would have responded to each situation. I’ve grown. And it’s not just around the number thirty, but the ways in which I’ve made a true home within myself amaze me. Last year I grew. I stretched into my skin feeling all the layers Id yet to fill out, but noticing them nonetheless. Last month I grew. Recognizing that even though in some ways I was in the place that was first new, years ago…but that I stood there differently. Taller maybe, as the air was definitely different. Maybe more upright, and maybe just stretched toward the heavens. Either way, changed.

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