Because I Desire a Life Partner, Doesn’t Mean I Haven’t “Worked on Me” AKA: Stop Coming for Me When I Haven’t Sent For You

I have dozens of times a day where I stare at my phone, computer, and most importantly, other people with a blank stare, because I did not send for them, and yet, they came for me (or someone I love).

The one thing people keep coming for me is around being single and having the audacity to desire a romantic relationship; and GET THIS, actually actively work towards having one. Oh, and then when I get dumped, ghosted, catfished, or another date goes horribly wrong, most times, I actually feel some type of way about it – sad, angry, upset, disappointed, despair, and a little hopeless about my love life. You know, normal shit when your heart breaks or cracks a little, normal HUMAN emotions, that all humans feel, or so I thought. Because apparently, you’re not allowed to feel these things, or should let the dust fall off your shoulder, because if not, that is indicative of the fact that you haven’t spending enough time working on myself, focusing on my career, and loving myself.

Wait, what?

Maybe you’re confused about what I mean here, because I did just kind of ramble off a bunch of thoughts. I’m talking about whenever you communicate your desire to have a partner, frustrations with the process, and wanting to be loved by a romantic person in your life, people hit you with well-meaning cliches that insinuate your lack of self-awareness and growth. Things like:

“You really should take this time to focus on yourself and grow, so you can be ready for him.”

“This time in your life should be focused on your career/education/financial/health/physical growth, not a man.”

“You can’t expect anyone to love you until you love yourself.”

“Maybe the universe/God/Buddha/Allah/the Saints are telling you that you are not ready, you need to do more work on yourself.”

“Fix yourself first.”

Fine. Whatever. Good advice in its own right. You SHOULD always be focusing on yourself and growing, EVEN when you’re in a relationship. And sure, there are some people who are not ready for a relationship for all kinds of reasons. However, what you’re not going to do (or shouldn’t do) is ASSUME this is true for everyone, including myself. Hardly any of my gorgeous, handsome, talented, intelligent friends are sitting at home solely focused on a mate, not pursuing or haven’t pursued further education, not thinking about and improving at least one of the three types of health – spiritual, physical or mental, skipping work, and not going out, or only doing those things to catch a partner. NOT ONE.

And I know myself the best, so I’ll share about myself. I workout, I have been in therapy to better understand the supposed brokeness that folks have said I needed to fix before a relationship (still not fixed, btw, but improving and will be lifelong), I have a masters degree and a great job, and am always looking to grow my career and have moved 3 times in the past 5 years to pursue my dreams with no thought of not taking a job because the dating pool is hella small in upstate NY or Wisconsin. I strive for excellence in my job and am always looking for ways to grow (I guess I’m kinda working on the professional thing). I travel. I go out with friends. I go see friends and enjoy laughing with them. I do things alone – anything I want to do! I spend time reading and writing. I think about my spiritual self and where I want to go with that and how (still figuring that out, but lots of work being done there). I cook, craft, bake, and write, aka I have hobbies. I leave my house often. I meal prep, take my meds, read about ways to improve my health and take actionable steps. In other words, I am working on my damn self and have done a helluva lot of work on me. Me 5 years ago, is dramatically differently than me today, and this is wholly positive. I have learned lessons from prior relationships and heartaches, and I know what I want, need, and deserve from love. I am not looking for anyone to complete me, but rather complement me, which is a big lesson we all could learn. I still have my challenges and areas of growth. But guess what? I could work on myself for 30 more years and I promise, will STILL have those. Working on yourself, loving yourself, that is not mutually exclusive with wanting a partner and dating and loving them. They are two processes that inform each other at times, yes, and perhaps you need some baseline of self-efficacy to not be co-dependent, but they are not mutually exclusive.

One thing that I will share is that those phrases I listed above hurt, and at the very least, annoy people. For a long time, I carried a belief I was so inherently flawed, that no one could love me. Some of this was due to a history of trauma. And I worked and still work really hard to not allow that trauma rule my life, and especially my love life. The work I continue to put into myself around this is one of my greatest personal accomplishments. I am so very proud of myself (another post, another time). And when people say to me, “perhaps you should work on yourself first, instead of seeking a partner,” all I hear is that the work I have done is not good enough, that my flaws will always be too big for romantic love. Maybe you think that is dramatic or indicative of my own issues, but I’d ask you all to consider that before you say that to someone. You have no idea how much work people have put and are putting into themselves to make themselves better. To tell someone when they talk about the very real and very human frustrations of modern day dating and the human desire to have love, that they should “use this time to work on themselves instead” is to say to someone, “you are not good enough as you are. You must be perfect to be loved,” which ultimately denies them their humanity.

So, please miss me with the fix yourself first BS.

An Open Apology to my Future Partner…

Dear future partner,

I feel I have to apologize already and odds are I haven’t even met you. I apologize for the walls you are going to have to get through, as I feel myself building them even as I write this. It’s a protective measure. My soul, at this point, cannot handle the idea of someone not being you. And so the fortress is being built around my heart quicker than I can even try to tear it down. 
People always said this would happen. That I was one more bad heartbreak from giving up altogether. I don’t know if I’ve reached the absolute end of my rope yet. I still have a slight case of hope the bubbles up occasionally. But I feel it dwindling fast. And while I still have a slight grip on the rope, I can feel the frayed ends close by. I’m trying to hold on…but it’s hard. 
Here is a list of things I’m not sure of as it pertains to you: 

1. If you actually exist. 

2. If you will be willing to break through the barrier. 

3. What parts you’ll even come with now. 

4. If I’ll recognize you when you show up. 

5. If I deserve it anyways. 
So I don’t know where this is going. Maybe it’s less of an apology and more of a warning. I know it will be hard. I know it will be difficult. I know it might not seem worth it. I know you’ll consider walking away. 
I don’t know if this will go away. I don’t know how high the walls will grow. 
I know I feel as if you are getting a broken version of what you deserve. Of what was once there. Before I only felt cracked. These days I feel destroyed. It comes and goes. I know I should work on glueing myself together so that I can be whole whenever you do show up. I know I’ve started, but it’s a lot easier said than done. I know I shouldn’t be so concerned about your lack of presence and that I should “wait on Jesus.” 
I’m sorry for being broken. I’m sorry for being a mess. I’m sorry for trying to make all of these other people you, when they weren’t you, and so now I’m holding it against you. I’m sorry for apologizing so much. I’m sorry for the walls. I’m sorry. 
I can’t promise much. I promise it’ll be tough. I promise it’ll suck. I promise I will try to help you tear the walls down. I promise though, that if you succeed, I will love your fiercely and completely and with all my tiny broken pieces. 
I’m sorry for the rambling…

Music Spotlight: “Wash & Set” by Leikeli47

wash-and-set-album-stream-leikeli-47-1504885723-640x640Ok if you haven’t figured this out already, I am kind of a music head…kind of and I just like sharing music with others.  Most of the time my tastes don’t line up with whoever I’m sharing stuff with because I try to push the envelope to get people to open up their mind to different styles.

One of my favorite new releases of the year!

Leikeli hails from New York and dons a ski mask pretty much 24/7 making her that more interesting to me. She’s so creative, and I can guarantee you that you’ve never heard anyone like her in todays rap game.  “Wash & Set” is an awesome piece of work.  You can tell Leikeli is all about loving the skin she’s in, being a woman and being f**king unapologetic about it.

Tracks to make sure you check out:
“2nd fiddle”
“Attitude”
“Bags”
“Elian’s Revenge”
“Braids tuh’da flo(w)”
“Wash & Set”

Enjoy!

Spotify
Apple Music

Hope

The soft silk of hope
Drapes my heart
Like fresh sheets on bare legs
wrapped in the scent of cautious optimism,
Like the subtle scent of your favorite detergent.
As the sunrises, reminders of new days and
New beginnings, fill your soul.
And just like how you forget and then remember how
the faintness of soft, clean fabric
feels like a breath of fresh air;
Gentle and coy,
Such is the first touch of fragile hope.

-LeAnna

Photo credit: David Mao

Thank Me Later: Things NOT To Do On and/or After A First Date

I would call myself a pretty well-seasoned first dater. I have been on a lot of first dates. Which may say something about myself or the people I’ve gone on dates with, but nevertheless, I think I am an amateur expert on them. And I’ve gathered a lot of stories about what not to do, and the ain’t shitness of people on first dates. And thus, I’ve compiled this list for you to help you be a better first dater and ultimately, a better human being. Because these are things you should not do in order to just not be a complete asshole. Ok, let’s begin.

Please DO NOT…

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1) Show up late without letting the other person know, and anything over 15-20 minutes unless it is an extreme emergency, like your family is dying or something (in case of extreme emergency, please just cancel) is charting into rude territory. Especially if you picked the time. I once had a guy show up 1.5 hours late (I am way too kind, my ass should have left after 30) and looking like last night. Which brings me to point number 2…

2) Put a little effort into how you look for the date. Like, you don’t need to be movie star-ish, but you shouldn’t look like you just rolled out of bed and that you just dgaf about life. Like this is someone’s time! It’s respect to look decent. Again, I’m not saying anything about brand names, make up, dresses, slacks, etc… but looking like you took time to shower and dress (unless you agreed on meeting after the gym or at the gym or at a mud race), is kinda important.

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3) Order for the other person. Just don’t do it. Just don’t. It was sweet maybe 60 years ago when women had no rights and we had to eat what you wanted us to eat. Now if either person does it for the other person, it just seems you are insulting their ability to read a menu or know what they want. If they ask for a suggestion or for you to order them something, that’s different. But if they don’t. Just don’t. Like never. Like do I seriously have to tell you this? Apparently, cause it has happened to me.

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4) Not talk at all or very minimally. There is no rule saying you have to like the person you are with. But if they are a decent human and you decide to finish the date, be nice and polite. If you can’t stand the thought of spending another moment with the idiot across from the table, excuse yourself from the date politely.

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5) And if someone excuses themselves because it isn’t working for them, accept that. Let them go. Either they are delusional and completely wrong, and why would you want to date them? Or you’re an asshole. In which case, why would they want to date you? Get over it. We are adults.

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6) Mention your money hardships on the date that you invited the person to and you picked the place. It’s uncomfortable for everyone. If you’d like to go dutch, mention it before the date, in a nice and polite way. Or suggest a free date, like a walk, a movie in the park, or a local festival. Research fun, inexpensive or free things to do in your town. It’s a Google search. You use it for cat videos and memes, use it for this. Put some effort into it.

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7) Make any comments about a person’s appearance that is not positive. You do not have to be attracted to a person. And in the world of online dating, it `happens – people don’t look like their pictures sometimes. If it’s a true catfish – use your back up plan (a friend who knows where you are, your exit strategy) to get out immediately. But if it is the more common, you kinda look like your pictures, but you took them in shadows, and I was drunk swiping anyway, or my friend does not understand my taste in people and this blind date sucks big time, don’t tell the person they are fatter, uglier, thinner, *insert any physical adjective* than what you thought. You are a completely awful human being. We all are humans. We have insecurities. You are not expected or required to find this other person attractive and date them. You are expected to be a decent human. Finish the date. Make it short. But be fucking kind please. Dates are nerve wrecking for most of us, especially those aren’t super models like obviously those who are throwing stones.

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8) Pretend like you’ve been dating the person forever and claim they are yours. This is weird. You also don’t know if they like you. Also, don’t tell bartenders wait staff, other people around that we have been dating forever. This is annoying on a first date and not cute. Why are you embarrassed to be on a first date? Also, I will call you out.

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9) Feel obligated to take this date anywhere beyond where it is at the date. You are not obligated to sleep with this person (but you can if you want to, forget what society says), have another date, talk to them after the date, kiss them, like them, or anything else. It’s totally ok and quite normal to feel absolutely nothing, even if they are generally nice and you had a nice time.

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10)Pressure someone else to take the date anywhere beyond where it is. If you think they are feeling you and you want to know if they would like to go for a slice of pizza, coffee, drink, cuddles, or sex. Ask how they feel about it in a non threatening way that allows the other person to say no. If they say no, don’t blow up or get sad. Communicate you understand. Also, read #8, they may not be feeling you. It’s ok. Your ego will be hurt. That’s ok. You will be ok. I promise. Go eat ice cream, drink wine, or be those weird people and work out to deal with it. And then go swiping again. Or go meet people however other people meet people, but I don’t know how to do that, so just do you.

11) This is related to #9. After the date, the person may not like you like that. They may think, well, he/she/they would be a great friend or not like you at all or want to marry you. It’s ok to attempt to gain clarity around that. RESPECT their decision. Again, get ice cream/wine/exercise/vent to a friend if you need to. But don’t lash out against them, especially if they were kind enough to let you know. If they avoid you, you can try one more time maybe, but then move on. It becomes stalking. Some people don’t want to tell you in person. And I used to feel strongly that they should. But now I don’t anymore, and I’ll tell you why. After attempting to be a mature, kind human, and tell people how I feel, I have gotten a lot of aggressive responses when I say no. It’s scary and a headache and you feel like shit for just being human and not being attracted to them. I still try to practice this, but I get how that can be really damaging for folks and even, scary. Hence why I say, respect what folks say or do. Similarly, if they are ignoring you or giving you short answers, boo boo, they just ain’t that into you.

These are some of the top offenders from my and other people I know experiences. Bottom line: be a good human please. Are there any I’ve missed? Drop them below in the comments.