“Three months I’ve been living here without you now; Three months yeah, three months; Three months and I’m still breathing; Three months and I still remember it; Three months and I wake up; Three months and I’m still sober; Picked all my weeds but kept the flowers.” ~ Kelly Clarkson/ Sober
P Dawg and I were talking the other day about how the concept of being weak in love has been so romanticized in our culture, whether through literature, music, societal expectations, whatever… and how it sets so many people (especially women) up for failure. We say things like “I’m weak without him,” or “I don’t who I am without him,” or “I get so weak in the knees, I can hardly speak…can’t understand why your love, it makes me weak” and no one flinches. No one thinks, wow – that’s not how it should be.We go along with it, because I think in some way, a lot of us think that’s how it should be or at the very least, we think that’s how love is. We see movies and soap operas of women giving up everything to be with their men and we find it romantic, and without knowing it, we start to play those things out in our own lives.
I was one of those people.
Just four months ago, I was saying some of those same things to my friends. Me, the woman who can give numerous years of stories of how love (when focused wrongly) can break you down to a shell of who you really are. Me, the woman who could tell people how it takes more than love to make a relationship work. Me, the woman who just knew she was as strong as they come. There I was four months ago telling Pimp C and LeeLee how much I loved Jake and how much I couldn’t see myself without him.
Without realizing it, without ever consciously knowing it, I was perpetuating the idea of being weak in love. I had gotten to the point where I really couldn’t see my life without him, as crazy as that may sound to anyone who actually knows even a snippet of that relationship. That, on it’s own, was nothing new. I’d said similar things like that before and felt similar ways about him before, but over the course of six years, I also felt that I’d grown a lot from our relationship. I felt like I was no longer the shell of a girl who wasn’t strong enough to tell him in the beginning that she wanted to be his girlfriend and not someone he was just dating. It took another month before I realized how much more growth I still had to go.
It wasn’t until our talk, the night before my birthday, that I finally got why it could never work between us. With him – I wasn’t me. That doesn’t take away from how I felt about him or the good times we had, but it means that while I was with him, I continuously compromised myself and the things I wanted just to be with him. That’s so the opposite of being strong, and thereby the opposite of what we are supposed to be when we’re joined with someone. After what amounted to a nearly three hour long conversation of back and forth ideas of us, we hung up, saying at the end that this was the best thing for our friendship – all the while knowing, it was the end. Period. Dot.
And I’ve never cried so hard in my life, until that night. I’ve cried pretty hard about some weighty things before… but that night, when I called my best friend and couldn’t even get a word out other than my tears for at least 30 minutes, it was like a weight was being lifted off of me. Yes, I was crying because it was over and that hurt – but I think even then, in some way I was also crying because it hit me all at once how weak in love I’d been.
The sad part is that I’m not alone. All around, if you look – you’ll see friends of yours, co-workers, family members, etc, compromising themselves for a love they don’t realize is not worth it. Maybe it’s you too. Either way, the crying and the hurt is not the point of this post. The point is that I didn’t stay there. In the past three months, I’ve been growing stronger, recognizing my part in the bad relationships I’ve had in the past, and using those lessons to move me forward. I won’t lie; it is a process. There are still some days when I am not as strong as I want to be. There are times when I see a movie or a TV show and they show the woman holding on for her man that I briefly wonder……………………….. and then I remember 3 months ago, that night and I know I can never go back to that place again.
What this all has taught me is something that I think a lot of us miss. Our goal in building a love/ a relationship with someone is for the two people to be stronger as a result of that union. You should feel empowered to do anything. You should feel like you can take on the world, if needed. You should feel like there’s no mountain the two of you can’t climb… you should not feel weak in the knees, because you should feel like you’re standing on rocks. That’s what relationships were made for: to build us up, not break us down.
Three months and I’m… standing. Single (for now lol), but much stronger and attempting to grow more everyday.