by: Lanisha Porter
It took me a long time to give myself permission to share my space with men. My mind, my heart, my spirit, and my time had all been things that I had previously been extremely protective of and for good reason. Growing up I had witnessed many women be treated underwhelmingly less than a woman deserved. Downloading those memories to my memory bank, I always promised to myself since I was a small girl, that I’d never create circumstances for myself that fostered familiar pains like the kinds I had seen the women around me deal with. Therefore, I decided I’d just wait long enough; wait until I was mature enough, and keep my standards, regarding men, very rigid to bypass ever being hurt or disappointed.
Well. My decision was productive. It has served me well and still continues to serve me well. However, there was one disillusion I carried from my girlhood into my womanhood that has let me down tremendously. I thought picking a guy was in large part finding someone who was perfect and without flaw. Unbeknownst to me, I hadn’t learned perfect men didn’t exist until I let my hopes get super high about finding one. I’d come across guys who were ambitious yet awfully condescending, or were patient and caring but yet was deceitful and undisciplined at times, or faithful and loyal but yet made decisions in the past that would severely undercut my future opportunities. Quickly I learned, no matter how “perfect” a man may seem, the devil lies in the details. In life we learn and unlearn a lot. I had to unlearn my childhood idea that I would grow up to marry a man who was without flaw or frailties, even if I searched long and hard enough for him. When you are in constant search of perfect, you will—time and time again—find yourself in a state of disappointment not understanding the makeup of men, or anyone else for that matter.
Finally, I came to a bitter realization. Men are not perfect and love doesn’t always transpire like the universal fairytale stories would have them. However, I was cautious to accept this and hesitated to align my whole set of standards on the basis that men “aren’t perfect.” Simply because, doing so would have made me feel as though I betrayed that little girl I once was who I promised to always protect—even when I matured into my womanhood. And Secondly, accepting this idea becomes fertile ground for one to accept being mistreated and undervalued. I absolutely did not want to believe love was a wager on choosing the lesser of evils from a pool of imperfect people.
With all of that being said, the scariest part of not knowing if he is The One, is not knowing whether to wait or walk away when you see he’s still developing. Becoming loyal to potential always runs the risk of wasted time. But when you are in love with someone you will continuously rewrite the narrative in your head in such a way that it will always work out…even when you really see it as being hard to do so. Sometimes the more you rehearse all the different possible narratives in your mind, the more you may lose hope. But yet and still, there’s a small reserve in your heart that gets deeper and deeper. It becomes a time capsule hosting all your hopes and dreams that he could in fact be The One. You convince yourself that the tree of true love is watered with patience, and sparkles of grace. So you figure that if you can continue to love him, despite the transgressions committed, that one day he will bloom into the man you had long hoped for him to be. You imagine you will be able to grow with him and watch his character be tested by the temptations and distractions of the world, but yet come out as pure as gold just as Job did. You persuade yourself that your hopes for him make you courageous, and not stupid as the world would call you. You suit up and time and time again, you go pearl-diving in his deep sea and collect all the things about him that made you fall in love, and try not to drown yourself in misery reviewing all his mistakes and errors. If you are like me you sit and ask yourself daily, “What Would Jesus Do?” As a Christian woman, I know that to be Christ-like is to focus in on the power of positivity. To exploit or ridicule people in times of their development, flaws, and weaknesses is to be unlike Him.
So as a woman, you are faced with a hard decision when you see he’s obviously still developing. Is his underdevelopment an invitation to walk away from him for good? Or is it a chance to latch onto his hand and walk closer with him? It’s a question that I always thought I knew the answer to. But in my spiritual maturity, I revisited this question and my thought experiment was different.
All because of this…
How low would it make you feel to look back one day and see that your self-motivated thoughts, and impatience robbed you of a really good man? In hindsight to look back and see it made you miss your diamond in the rough? To give him the space to say ‘she never believed in me. She walked away when I failed to get it right?’ Comparatively, how much joy would you swell up with as his wife when you see that the very power of your love, patience, and grace gave him the fierce courage to become a better man? To see that your courage to stick with the narrative where you dreamed it would work, brought you two there? To have him one day realize and say ‘because of her pure love and strength, I’ve experienced redemption of the truest kind?’
Love is scary…love is not for the fragile or faint of heart. Love is not microwavable. It takes time. It takes lessons learned. It takes you to be selfless to understand the highest experience of it. But what if the temptation to walk away is just a test to see if you can handle the demands of something so sacred and powerful? What if true love is a force that portrays itself to be dichotomous but really isn’t? What if the pain and joy are actually one in the same meant to challenge you? What if even with the most perfect one, you are still uncertain deep down inside about whether he is The One?
Well I have this answer.
All things work together for good for those who believe in God. And the thing scarier than not knowing if your love is The One, is worrying yourself restless about the future when God already has it figured out.
7/30/2016 11:17:38 am
Beautifully written Lanisha, your words and insights are always so refreshing. Not only that but they're real, much needed in a society where we're fed fairy tales, happy ever afters, and the "perfect" narrative. Thanks for the reminder from Romans 8:28, you've made that my favorite scripture reference while surviving my 20's :)
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Welcome to my views from this horizon!