By: Lanisha Porter
This, at first, was one of those personal anecdotes I had planned to lock in my personal vault of experiences never to be shared. I decided not to share because it was a threat to everything I was supposed be and a counter to the way I expected to be treated. In order to keep my dignity, my pride, and my sense of empowerment I figured I'd keep it to myself. That is until I realized so many women share the same story, yet healing is harder to come by because no one wants to share that they have experienced it. Though the protective muteness can be understood; it has no dutiful service to womanhood and helping other women overcome. Therefore I share this story in raw detail...
The esteem I had for myself refused to admit to such a defeat. Understanding how much I had to offer and being how secure I was, I never took the time to be insecure about him replacing me with another woman.
Like any woman scorned I had a list of questions. My world went from being decorated in color to suddenly being washed black and white. When I found out about her, I evaded the one rule I knew I should always adhere to as a woman—I compared. I combed through every picture, every social media site, and every google result that gave me access to her. My agenda wasn't to learn about her in hopes to pattern myself after her, my agenda was to genuinely gain an understanding as to why I wasn't chosen and she was. The esteem I had for myself refused to admit to such a defeat. Understanding how much I had to offer and being how secure I was, I never took the time to be insecure about him replacing me with another woman. So needless to say, when I was painfully alerted to the new woman, no matter what way I tried to look at it, it did not make sense to me. Especially after doing my research and realizing how tremendously underwhelming she was. (No that wasn't politically correct to confess, but it was my honest truth). There was nothing particularly alluring about her which could bring clarity as to why I would become an afterthought in regards to her in his mind. After months and months of dwelling on the situation, I found it more of an insult than anything that I was even grouped in the same category as her for candidacy. Overall, the experience tore me up but that segment of my personal history taught me this lesson: someone's inability to see you does NOT take away from who you are whatsoever.
All I could wonder is why? I wanted to know what I did wrong? Why couldn't he see me? Why was I unworthy? For the first time in my life the internal conversation with myself wasn't "why wouldn't a guy want me?" It had just become, "well, why would a guy want me, again?"
I once read somewhere that we deal with the world from the level of our own soul. If a man fails to prize you highly or fails to embrace the qualities about you that are best, this does not mean you are lacking or even unworthy. Quite simply, there's a good chance that it only means that that guy has not yet evolved as a man. Now, at this point I'm sure my lapse of humility has maybe struck you to be less than admirable, but you have to understand who I am. I am a woman who has only ever envisioned myself to be a wife expecting to be valued as such. Not a canal to fulfill fleeting pleasures; not even company to bypass time with until the next opportunity for entertainment came along; not a concubine, but a wife. The incalculable hours I've spent with God asking Him to prepare me for my husband, has only ever informed my expectation to eventually be pursued with an end goal of being a wife, obviously. Since I could remember, it's been my aim to fashion myself in a very particular moral fabric in reserve for my husband in hopes that he may have something rare to be proud of. And with him that's what I thought we were on track to becoming. I never so much as even lied to this man, let alone ever treated him with less than the same courtesy and respect I demanded in the relationship. There were many opportunities to stray but I never did; never even wanted to dishonor him. So when he didn't choose me, my neuropeptides couldn't fire fast enough to make sense of the occurrence. All I could wonder is why? I wanted to know what I did wrong? Why couldn't he see me? Why was I unworthy? For the first time in my life the internal conversation with myself wasn't "why wouldn't a guy want me?" It had just become, "well, why would a guy want me, again?" Granted I wouldn’t give him my virginity and did spend most of our relationship hopping flights in pursuit of my education, but I always did what I needed to do to compensate for the missed days apart. I always made room for him in my life while still catering to the priorities that came before him. I believed that as long as we held firmly onto one another, and asked God to hold us in the hollow of His hands then our biggest problems would simply make for a good story to share with our kids one day. But despite our roots, he didn’t grow toward me as I hoped he would—in fact, he branched out to another woman. And for the first time in my adulthood, I had to check where my confidence was rooted because it suddenly became undone when I learned everything that was once mine was about to be inherited by her.
Everyone around me asserted that I had no right to lounge in such pity because of the blessings I had been afforded such as being able to be a teenage author, direct an empowerment program, study in New York, travel, keynote prestigious events, and yadayadayada...but that was the problem. People were dealing with the exterior I sported, and the public mask I used to conduct life through. Not me the person who had just been hurt. To remedy the pain I self-medicated by burying myself in work, sleeping more often than usual, and by becoming a recluse.
If someone doesn’t affirm you it shouldn’t send you back to the drawing board of self wondering what you’re worth. Someone’s inability to see you does not become your deficit.
During this time of reclusion, it was maybe one of the best things that happened to me and at the most perfect time. It gave me a purpose to reemerge in a higher self, concerned with more virtuous things. It gave me new things to invest my confidence in that nobody could ever take from me. It made me more real. It strengthened the rapport in the most important relationship I will ever have in life—and that is the one I will have with me, myself, and I. I heated up my prayer life; I started treating my body better and exercising more. I did more reading and studying. I meditated. I wrote. I spent time serving the less fortunate. I took the time to be inspired. I explored the self within, and guess what I learned about her? She was--and still is-- very worthy of becoming a wife.
I didn't find my healing or power in measuring how much more I was than her. I honestly also didn't find comfort in trying to convince myself that he was a bad guy who was just young and dumb. I found refuge in re-anchoring my confidence in me. Your confidence should never rely on someone else's evaluation of you. If someone doesn’t affirm you it shouldn’t send you back to the drawing board of self wondering what you’re worth. Someone’s inability to see you does not become your deficit. This lesson learned is one that I will not only take into future relationships, but even in future employment, friendships, and social groups. While getting a ring may affirm what you believe to be true about yourself, it does not make it any more real if you never firstly believed in it for yourself. Need an example? Beyonce at the 2017 Grammy Award Show. Beyonce not receiving a Grammy for Album of The Year in no way subtracted from the profundity and richness of the artwork. I'm sure she walked in and out of The Staples Center being sure of the labor and magnitude of her craft, whether it was rewarded or not.
So as I close, I will leave this with you: it is totally okay if a man does not see your worth; just don’t let your eyes become stained being unable to see it yourself.
Welcome to my views from this horizon!