LEOPARD PRINT BOOTIES
Updated: Nov 4, 2019
I sat with him at a table in the back of the restaurant near the fireplace tucked away from the crowd with our wine and he was very handsome.
It wasn't often that we talked about our deeper emotions wearing our hearts on our sleeves but in this moment the conversation shifted in hopes of honest answers surfacing and I sat excited to hear his words. I asked him what kind of relationship he's looking for and he said, "One that understands his busy life schedule."
"Understandable." I thought to myself yet I sat within the fog of his vagueness. "Does he not really know what he wants or is he too shy to say it?" I continued to manifest thoughts.
His silence was poignant and it was clear that I wasn't going to receive much more of an answer. I decided not to pry any further. So I said this,
"I understand and you don't need to further explain yourself. We don't need to force any answers tonight and I have faith that you will tell me your thoughts when they come to you. But for now, I will tell you where I stand and what I want. You don't need to say anything back. I just want you to know my expectations and needs and if they don't fit yours just think about it and we can continue our conversation later. I want to be with someone who loves me. I want to be with someone who is invested in a serious relationship. I'm not going to waste my time with something meaningless and fleeting. That doesn't have interest to me anymore. I don't need to have sex to be happy and I won't have sex again until I'm with someone who I feel wants the same things as I do in regards to a relationship. I'm older now and I'm ready for purpose and meaning."
His silence stayed poignant and he took a sip of wine. I could feel my lips curl slightly on each side of my mouth. I sat smug. I sat in confidence.
The next day I found myself casually browsing a clothing store with one of my girlfriends who's been following my new romance since the beginning - since before we even knew there was a beginning. She was heavily invested and dying to know how the date went. Picking up gold hoop earrings and holding them to our ears in the mini mirror she said,
"How did it go? Are you in love yet?"
Deciding against the earrings, I placed them back onto the little metal hangar as I turned my head to blankly stare at my friend and then laughed.
"No." I said with a smile. "But I did manage to tell him that I'm not sleeping with him until he knows that he loves me." I turned and started walking over to a cute trench coat on the mannequin nearby.
"What!? No you didn't?" She busted out.
"OK I didn't really say it that frankly.. but.. I guess I kind of said it frankly." I said still laughing.
"No way, I'm proud of you! That's amazing and I'm glad you said that to him. What did he say?" She asked proudly.
Surprised at her reaction I said, "Thank you." With a smile. "He didn't really say anything. He just took a few sips of his wine and we started talking about other things." I responded.
"Wow, interesting. I'm proud of you for honoring yourself. He needs to show you that he's interested in order for you to give him more of yourself and your time. I'm glad you told him that." My proud friend said beamingly.
"You think so? I feel like people always tell me not to say too much - that it scares men away. But I'm so tired of being the one having to protect their feelings when I'm the one who's feelings matter just as much." I said.
Our conversation was rudely interrupted immediately by a pair of really fun leopard print booties but I was left thinking:
Why are we so scared of saying what we really want? What is it that keeps us withholding important information especially from people that we're interested in starting a relationship that could potentially last for the rest of our lives? Why are people not more protective of their time?
I remembered back to the night of my date when he said to me, "I worry about saying the wrong thing and offending you." That was his way of discontinuing his train of thought so I picked up the conversation in saying, "I could never be offended by someone telling me what they want for their life. The only thing that I find offensive in these situations is someone lying to me in order to get something for themselves. That I can't stand. That I will be offended. Lying and manipulating someone for selfish reasons is one of the worst things we can do as people. But you telling me what you genuinely want for yourself.. well.. there's nothing offensive about that."
Again he took a sip of wine.
The only real conclusion I walked away with that night was that I was certain about what I want and don't want for myself when it comes to romantic relationships.
I think dating is so fun at this time in my life. But I think one of the reasons I'm loving it so much these days is because I'm not afraid of honoring myself and saying how I really feel. I'm also really happy being on my own and filling my time with work, personal time and passion projects. It makes me proud to say that within the last two years I've casually dated about six guys and 83% (so 5 out of 6) of them could not handle the honesty I spoke in regards to what I wanted for myself and the treatment that I expected from them. You're probably listening to this and saying, "Wait what do you mean?" I mean that I spoke up for myself in each of those minuscule relationships and only one of them handled it like a respectful adult. Speaking up meaning like I didn't feel comfortable having sex, speaking up saying I want a meaningful relationship, speaking up saying I'm not able to waste my time at this point in my life, speaking up saying how I deserve to be spoken to as a human. Five out of six of them could not show me the respect I deserve. And it blows my mind. Is this how people treat each other typically? This isn't ok. Is this how men think they can treat women and do women typically allow this behavior to slide? If so, that's not ok. I'm speaking up. I'm writing this now because I hope that others' out there too will speak up for themselves. This isn't specifically for women. This isn't specifically for men. Every human deserves to have their wants, needs and desires heard as well as respected and validated.
Every human matters. We have to show love and understanding to each other. That's the most minimal thing we can do as people every day.
And while I'm at it - I think about all the times in the past when I was invited over to a guys' house for dinner then tried for me to sleep with him and I said no. I remember how I used to say, "I'm sorry but I'm not going to do that." I'm so saddened for myself that I actually thought I had to apologize to them for not having sex with them.
Let us not be scared of sharing our opinions and let us stop apologizing for what we deserve. Let us be proud of what we want our lives to be. If we want to casually sleep with people - Great. If we want to wait until we find someone to be in love with first before we stay the night - Great. If we don't want a relationship at all because we're having too much fun changing the world for the better - Great. What ever it is, stand firm with who you are. That's the only way we are going to attract the right people into our lives. That is the only way we are going to become stronger and more beautiful versions of ourselves.
Don't be scared to have a voice. Don't be timid in sharing what you really think. Trust me, it's really fun once it becomes a habit.
As my week begins winding down, I think about the cozy date I had and how I'm still left with little-to-no answers on his behalf of what he truly wants but everything is right in my own space because at least I've let it be known what I want, what I'm moving towards, what I'm going to find and what I deserve. All the while I walk this path in my fun, little leopard print booties.