I had the lovely pleasure of chatting with my favorite New Zealand friend yesterday morning. Granted it was about 6am my time, so I’m not sure how scintillating my conversation was. Nevertheless, it was a lovely chat, with Micaela being her blunt and endearing self while I listened to her rather perceptive comments on my love life (or lack thereof).
She posed an idea that I hadn’t quite considered, though in retrospect it seemed a bit obvious. But we’re often blind to the glaring realities of our own lives, I think. Which only serves to illustrate the value in friendship, relationships, and fellowship. With no attempt at sugarcoating (woman after my own heart), she suggested that I intentionally place myself in the friend zone with men, because I don’t believe I’m worth more than friendship.
Really, I should stop befriending people who know me better than I know myself.
The thing of it was, I couldn’t really deny the truth that lingered around her words, typed out in black and white for me to see. I couldn’t say she was wrong. I couldn’t come to my own defense and laugh off her insinuation. I couldn’t do any of those things, because the longer I stared at the words, the more I wondered how true they may be.
Do I really think that little of myself to intentionally sabotage any potential relationships by placing myself in a platonic male/female friendship with no chance for romance to slide in and catch me off guard?
Do I actually believe I’m so undeserving of a great romance that I end the possibility before there even is a possibility?
Do I truly consider myself unworthy of any relationship with a man that is a bit more than friendship and deeper than infatuation?
Have I become that girl?
Her words made me pause as they sunk into the cracks around my heart, a heart I’ve guarded viciously from the men that have come in and out of my life. I don’t trust them and I don’t trust myself. I fall too quickly and I’ve been hurt before. More times than I care to remember. It’s embarrassing how quickly men seem to lose interest; I’m not worth the chance in their eyes. It chips away at my heart a little more with each vanishing possibility. How many times am I supposed to give a man the power to hurt me? How long before there is no more of my heart left to give?
My method of coping is cowardly. I wouldn’t have known if it hadn’t been painted so vividly for me. Because instead of gathering courage against the hurt, I gave in. Or perhaps I gave up. I stopped trying to be seen as the romantic woman. I stopped trying to win a man’s heart. I settled instead for winning his laughter, his respect, his confidence. I chose to be friends with men, closing off any chance for something more, something deeper – a romantic love. I use friendship as a barrier. I have for years. Because one day I told myself that was easier, safer. If I didn’t let them close, they couldn’t hurt me.
I didn’t want to give a man the chance to tell me no, so I said no for him.
I cut myself down. I belittled my worth. I convinced myself I’m not the sort of woman a man falls in love with. And maybe even today, as I write this, a part of me still believes that. It’s hard to let go of the lies we’ve told ourselves. After enough time passes, the lies become so familiar they must be true. I believed my lies. I believed I wasn’t worthy or deserving. I believed I would have to always settle for less. I believed that was safer. I believed it was all I was good for.
Besides, why take the risk when I’ve already played out the conclusion, time and time again?
By taking a risk you are acknowledging you are worth it, even if the feelings aren’t returned.
Because it means you’re stating how you see yourself instead of settling for how others see you.
Because otherwise you will never know how they really feel.
Because life without risk isn’t really life.
Because romance can be better than friendship.
Because if you get rejected, you will be okay and it isn’t the end of the world.
Smart girl, this Micaela.
My inability to take a chance has nothing to do with the men in my life and everything to do with how I see myself. Honestly, if someone told me, at this moment, that I was a lovely young woman who would find an amazing man some day, I’m not sure I would believe them. I can’t imagine it, because for far too long, I’ve told myself I don’t deserve it; I’m not worthy of it; I’ll never find it.
I let my insecurities dictate the path my life will take. I let them hold me back. I let them cloud my vision and bewilder my heart, until I can’t recognize anything but the insecurities I’ve failed to overcome. I’ve only lived half a life. I’ve forgotten that I am strong enough to overcome my fears.
My value as a woman isn’t dependent on a man being attracted to me. My worth as a woman isn’t defined by a man’s interest in me. I don’t have to be pursued to be good enough or woman enough. My value, my worth as a woman is intrinsic. It isn’t something someone gives to me, and it’s not something a man justifies.
It’s already there. I need only to recognize and accept it.
Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.