I was dating a man who broke things off, claiming I had “too much spirit.”
Weeks later, he showed up on my doorstep wanting to explain.
“I’m ashamed for being a coward. I am afraid. A man likes to be the leader in a relationship, a man likes to know the bulk of the knowledge so he feels more powerful in his masculinity. With you, I’m not the most intelligent, or the strongest emotionally. You would force me to change by simply being. And I wasn’t brave enough to step outside of all that I knew, and have grown comfortable in knowing.”
I’ve never explicitly written about my experience in love, but this hit home and he articulated what I so often have felt—that I was “too much.”
I’ve been in relationships where I politely sat and nodded and let the man be the man. But as I’ve grown, and as I’ve witnessed and experienced my share of heartbreak, my perception of what it means to be a man, and a woman, has greatly shifted.
What I used to find attractive in the opposite sex I am no longer drawn to. Is this what growth is all about?
The words he said sat with me for weeks.
I have always remembered feeling as if I had to quiet the immensity within for fear of threatening the manhood of significant others. You know, that walking on glass, hushing your soul type of feeling. I was just never articulate enough to point my finger on what that feeling was.
I’ve seen women, with fire that radiates from each pore of their skin, get into relationships and slowly but surely that fire dies. I’ve seen the fire within myself die as well, countless times.
Is it because we don’t want to be “too much?” Is that how we are conditioned? To shut down our outlandish ideas and dreams because they are just too far out?
I can’t even remember all the times I’ve been told by a man, “Emily be realistic.”
Those words, “be realistic,” have stopped millions of souls from reaching the highest versions of themselves.
Those words, “be realistic,” coming from the people we value most, can so quickly shoot down every ounce of confidence within ourselves. Our ideas represent who we are, and when those ideas are consistently hushed, then so are our identities.
Are our passions and desires being hushed because they are foolish?
They are being hushed because they threaten the person who is hushing them.
If we find fulfillment in something outside of our significant other, then where does that leave them?
I want men and women to know they are never “too much” and if they ever are in a relationship where they feel that way, that relationship is not the one they are supposed to be in.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of sitting back and quieting the restlessness in our souls. But God has placed that restlessness there for a reason, and that reason is not to be buried underneath what society deems as “realistic.”
If I get an urge to become an organic farmer at 24 years old with no previous experience in farming, I want the man beside me who says, “Okay baby let’s go see what we can find about organic farming at the bookstore.”
When I feel myself biting my tongue for fear of saying too much, I must re evaluate the space I’m allowing others to take up in my life. And in turn, I must always remember to never hush the fire inside another soul. Because by doing so, I’m breaking their spirit because it threatens my own.
Author: Emily Gordon
Image: Chase Fade/Unsplash
Editor: Nicole Cameron