The mere thought of dating again after the breakup of my three-year relationship is crushing—to put it mildly.
Will anyone like me? Will I scare men away? Will they find me too overwhelming to bear—too intense, too loud, too opinionated, too emotional?
Dating is inherently insecurity-provoking. It’s a little fun, and a lot terrifying. But it doesn’t have to be so terrifying. I’ve decided to do it differently this time around.
I’ve decided to date like a goddess.
In the past, I’ve measured my sexiness and desirability by how cool I could play it around men. How much I wouldn’t say. How distant I could be. How mysterious I could appear. How little of my heart I could reveal. Maybe, I thought, if they rejected me, at least they weren’t rejecting the “real” me. But is that really any better? In the end, it just feels like a cowardly cop out.
To be honest, I wanted so badly to be that mythical creature we always hear about: the cool girlfriend. The effortlessly elegant girl who doesn’t have any big needs or wants, who never gets pissed off and always goes with the flow. The girl who doesn’t have any baggage or broken bits and who also happens to have a cellulite-free a** and abs flatter than a tabletop.
But the problem is, that’s impossible. It’s not real. The super cool, perfect girlfriend is as real as calorie-free chocolate layer cake and dogs that don’t bark.
She doesn’t exist.
I am not her. Neither are you. And that’s a beautiful thing.
And yet, we try so hard to be her. We dilute our emotions and memorize dating tips from magazines that somehow drill themselves into our brains like infectious pop songs. And these rules, as harmless as they might seem, are poison:
Don’t say too much. Don’t scare him away.
Don’t call him first.
Don’t act like you like him too much.
Play it cool.
Don’t be too emotional.
Don’t chase him.
Has any of that ever worked for any of us?
Not really. Because it’s complete and utter bullsh*t. Because rules like these encourage us to shrink, to be ghosts, to hold back, to play games.
How small will we make ourselves? How far will we stretch ourselves? How voiceless will we become?
How long will we second-guess our every word and map out complicated mind game strategies to “keep him hooked?”
By doing this, we strip ourselves of the raw beauty that makes us alive. We strip ourselves of the brilliant sparkle that lights up our eyes. We strip ourselves of our humanity.
Besides, how could we possibly attract the right partner if we’re not being true to ourselves?
We can’t. It’s not possible. There are so many wonderful humans out there who would love to get to know the real us. And you know what? They don’t want to play games. So let’s say a swift goodnight to all those exhausting rules and games; they don’t serve anyone.
Because finding love doesn’t happen when we’re mentally choreographing our words, buying internet e-books about how to keep a man or not calling him because the rules say not to. Love happens when we are being real. It happens when we are brave enough to be ourselves.
So be as big and loud and beautiful as your soul tells you to be. Be present. Let your heart be your dating rule book guide. Approach finding love in the same way you’d approach dancing naked in a thunderstorm—with ripe enthusiasm, with openness, with raw, dripping curiosity. Approach it with the precious wonder of picking wildflowers in the summertime.
And if someone doesn’t like the masterpiece of your heart, if they’re scared away, that’s cool—they’re not the person for you. And hey, we just saved ourselves the trouble of a three-month bullsh*t relationship that would ultimately be revealed to be a lie.
We need to take more pride in who we are. We will never be voiceless cardboard cut-outs or flawless Barbie dolls.
We are human f***ing women with dripping hearts and big needs and wants and real emotions—and no, this does not make us crazy. Or “too much.” It makes us beautiful.
We have big appetites. We’re hungry for life, for food, for sex, for chocolate, for love, for gusty breezes and warm sunshine—and we’re thirsty as hell for passion and adventure and raw experience.
We have—gasp!—mood swings. Deal with it. We are not emotionless drones; we feel pain knock on our hearts like a hammer, we feel sadness sing our name and seep into us like a cold waterfall, we feel joy light up our skin like fireflies and we feel the growling pull of jealousy, too.
Yes—we feel. We feel a lot.
We feel because we are not two-dimensional glossy centerfolds. We are three-dimensional women. We are loving. Kind. Courageous. Intelligent. We have scabs on our hearts and love in our veins and hell, we’ve made some mistakes.
Being a goddess means having the guts to show our real selves to the world, every day—rain or shine.
But you know that already.
So, gorgeous, inspiring, smart, kind, loving, strong, f*cking awesome women of the world—can we be done selling ourselves short?
If we are to date, then let us approach it with our hearts, with our warrior souls, with the gritty genuineness of the mossy earth written in our eyes. Let’s date like the goddesses we are.
Write this treaty on your heart and abide by it with all the fierceness of your lioness roar:
From this moment forward, I refuse to gag my gorgeous voice so that another will like me.
I refuse to dull myself down in any way.
I refuse to put on an act, sprinkle glitter on my scars, hide my heart and pretend I have no opinions about anything.
I refuse to abide by the three-day rule or wait for them to chase me—if I like someone, I have the freedom to let them know.
I refuse to silence the whispers of wisdom in my gut.
I will never again call myself “crazy” for experiencing a colorful, swirling array of emotions.
I will not make it my job to fix anyone. And, I will not make it their job to fix me.
I will speak the complete truth about what I need.
I will find love by leading with the luscious wisdom of my heart—not by silencing myself or being afraid of scaring someone away.
Be more than a cool girlfriend or an easygoing chick. Be you. All of you. The complicated, beautiful, strong, struggling human being that you are. Be the you who is liberated, learning, curious, outspoken, strong and confident in her skin.
Being our raw, vulnerable selves is the sexiest thing we could ever do.
Because when you’re you—all of you—you will fall in love. It’s a guarantee.
First, you’ll fall madly for yourself. For your rough edges. Your scars. The stretch marks on your thighs. Your wild sense of humor. The messiness of your hair. The incandescent glow of your smile.
Then, you’ll fall head over heels for life itself. And finally, you’ll fall in love with an amazing human who is completely worthy of you.
Putting ourselves out there in a real way is its own reward. It’s freedom. It’s beauty. It’s divine wonder.
When we put ourselves out there authentically, we can’t lose.
A kick-butt song to inspire us! B*tch by Meredith Brooks:
Author: Sarah Harvey
Editor: Toby Israel