You don’t cherish yourself, so you put up with men who don’t either.
“Because let me tell you the god’s honest truth: A lot of women out there are afraid of being something. The template for us is pretty clear: We are meant to have clean skin, a pleasant demeanor, and a nice rack. I’m not speaking up against nice racks, Lord knows. But there are lots of ladies around me, everywhere I go, who hesitate to say what they’re thinking and feeling. They go with the flow, they never make waves. And eventually, they don’t even seem to know what makes them who they are. They live to serve. They read the books that other people are reading. They say the pleasant things that other people are saying. They never put their needs first, unless it indirectly serves someone else — a manicure, some highlights. They make sure everyone around them is 100 percent satisfied. Like grocery-store managers. Like customer service reps. Like masseuses who also give free happy endings.
You don’t cherish yourself. You do whatever what’s-his-face wants to do, for the sake of the fun little team, for the sake of demonstrating your good communication skills. Just admit it. You never draw lines in the sand. He says, “We need to talk, it’s serious.” And you don’t say, “WHAT do you MEAN motherfucking WHAT?!! TELL ME RIGHT NOW.” You say, “Okay,” and then make an emergency trip to your therapist and discuss all of the possibilities, and then you show up the next day, well-rested and prepared to discuss either ending it or nailing it down. That sounds perfectly sane and wonderful, but THAT’S NOT FAIR TO YOU. You are cherishing him, and cherishing your therapist, and cherishing sanity, and cherishing evolved-lady living, BUT YOU AREN’T CHERISHING YOU.”
dang. this response. super long and not entirely necessary to read, but unexpectedly relevant. at a certain point in my life, i remember feeling comfortable with who i was - that i was weird and quirky, and i was fine with it. that i would say awkward things, or laugh when nobody else laughed, or confront people when i felt like there were issues to be worked out. i remember cong telling me at one point that boys liked me because i was demure, and i was shocked and disappointed. “is that really how other people see me? because i don’t see myself like that at all.” i remember talking to justin a year later, who compared me to another girl who told him the truth even when it hurt. i was upset by his accusation that i agreed with him simply to be nice and passive. “i actually do agree with you! i would say so if i didn’t.” i don’t remember his response, but i went back to my room, injured and puzzled.
i clicked this link randomly because it showed up on my newsfeed and i was intrigued by the title, not because i actually thought it was relevant to me. that wasn’t my takeaway from my breakups; i never felt unloved, and i certainly never took the breakups calmly. i had just finished reading americanah and i felt sympathy for the beautiful, peacemaking kosi, unloved because obinze never gave her a chance. i didn’t think about her very much, though; she was an uninteresting character with no personality, barely relevant to the plot of the book. but in this description, in the connection to the simpering women in the book who are completely crushed by love, i realize that i gave up my freedom to say what i was thinking and do what i wanted. i subsumed my own desires into his, exaggerating what we had in common and trimming off my offending quirks. in this time of singleness, i’m realizing, with a start, that i’m only now recovering who i was.