I’ve always heard that when you date you have to be yourself. That if someone loves you, they’ll truly love all of you. But what happens if you are too much, and all of you goes against what everyone’s ideal of love looks like? When I was growing up, I always heard that Black girls were least desired. When I got older I learned that I liked girls too, and my identity became a fetish in more than one way. As I explored my Blackness and my Sexuality, I felt as though I had so much love to give. In fact, there was so much love inside of me that I just didn’t think that love had to be contained for one person. I’ve tried to explore polyamory in my other relationships, I wasn’t jealous but they were, and then it ended. Let’s not even get on the topic of explaining to cis-men why I identify as trans. I was always expected to accept whatever religion they were, Christian, Muslim, Jewish. But my spirituality, my identity as someone who practices witchcraft was perceived as demonic.
“How am I supposed to love myself when all the world tells me that I am not desired, or worse, that I shouldn’t exist.”
I’ve spent my entire life being less of myself. Hiding in closets, yes I’m out to myself, but every time I’d date someone it felt like I’d have to come out again (no wonder I hate first dates). All my life I’ve felt as though my existence meant accepting others, but never truly feeling accepted myself. This is beyond love, this is my life. Neither of my parents know I identify as trans, and my sexuality is tolerated and at best accepted with side eyes. It’s no wonder I could never find love; people have never really had the chance to find me. I started to feel like I was cursed, every relationship would end the same. I never felt like I could be me, and even when I tried to be what I thought they wanted I still wasn’t enough. My last relationship and rebound taught me a lot about love, in fact, I think they’ve changed my life in ways they’ll never really realize. To protect their identities I’ll be using fake names for both of them.
I met John in Social Work school, we had a class together. I had such a crush on him, but I was always so scared to talk to him (or any crush for that matter). A year later I rounded up the courage to add him on Facebook, shortly after he followed me on Instagram. He messaged me first, we talked, flirted, he asked me out. I think originally I was starting to be me, but then I was under the impression that I was supposed to change to make him feel comfortable. Eventually, change became too much, there was no appeasing him, no compromise. After that relationship, I was left with a shell of myself, and that’s how I met Henry. He was awesome, the exact idea of what a stereotypical man is. I wasn’t really ready to date, after John I was recovering from feeling so abused. But, I figured why not? Everyone else thought he was great. I believe there were red flags with Henry, he in ways showed early signs of being possessive. I ignored it though. He never really had time to dedicate to me, but I ignored it because I was just happy to have someone there. Then he ghosted me.
At this point I was convinced I was cursed, every single guy I dated just left me. I consulted my friends, and even a psychic because I just felt so fixated on Henry leaving. I wanted to know what went wrong, what I could have done. I was so obsessed with believing I was the problem that I was completely blinded to the fact that anyone that just disappears isn’t someone we should aspire to be with anyway. Over time I started getting closer to a solution for my anguish. I started to accept that neither guy was as perfect as I wanted to believe they were. I started to accept that it wasn’t my job t make someone love me or to make them stay. I started to accept that it’s not my job to do all the emotional labor. Now I am accepting the fact that none of the individuals I was with were ever able to truly love me.
In order for us to be loved we must love ourselves; but how? I cast a spell on my mirror, lining it with positive affirmations, and intended it to show me how beautiful I am. I went vegan to lose weight, and I dropped 16lbs. I also decided after Henry that my body wasn’t ready to let someone in again, and committed to celibacy until my next serious relationship. All things I figured would scare the heck out of any guy I dated, but it didn’t. In fact, it just weeded out all the people who weren’t looking for the same thing as me. I started to connect with people who respected me more, I started seeing people for who they really were. I stopped looking for love in every connection, and I’ve become content with saying “no” to people who aren’t really a match for me.
When we try so hard to be something we aren’t, we hold onto everything we don’t actually need. I was always scared that if I existed in my truth that I would be impossible to love, which is why I stayed with John for so long. He was the human manifestation of all my self-doubt. So when he told me I was “stupid” or “good look finding someone that’ll deal with you” I considered it truth, not abuse. But the moment I accepted me, in all my weirdness, I’ve been able to truly see how magnificent I am. The point of this is, we are all deserving and worthy of love. We become entitled to respect the minute we are born. We should be able to exist in our truth, from day one. But, I think for some of us we are constantly told that we belong in the closet. So much so that even when we are in places where it’s safe to just be, we become the voice that tells us that we are worth hiding.
I haven’t found external love yet, but what I have found is something I’ll never allow someone to take from me again. Radical self-acceptance is a game changer, and once we are able to achieve it’ll shift the very paradigm that we are used to existing in. We all want someone to love us, so let’s do ourselves a favor and let that right person love all of us.