Photo Credit: Derek Blanks

Photo Credit: Derek Blanks


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Looking for Likes in All the Wrong Places

There comes a point in life where we must take full personal inventory in order to get to our next levels. It's easy to "check myself" based off dating and relationships. I love hard and openly and quite frankly wouldn't have it any other way. I have always viewed my relationships as a mirror reflection with wonderful lessons to see where and what I can improve or remove, while keeping what I like about myself. I've had the pleasure of being connected with some incredibly talented, smart and gifted men. I've also dated a few jerks and been one too. Today I'm chalking it all up and appreciating the balance. I woke up this morning with a deep urge to piece together a full understanding of mySelf and soul ties to men. I ended up writing and found I had written a piece remembering certain faces, places and feelings that appeared and damn near spewed the moment I declared I was gonna figure this out. No particular order, no names needed. Just raw emotions, my pen and a hell of a lot of forgiveness. I like to call this piece, "I Remember."

I remember being at my best and still being told I wasn't good enough for him.

I remember begging for his attention.

I remember when he cheated. 

I remember when he kept all his exes around and talked to them daily.

I remember when he discussed my most private moments and behaviors with another woman. 

I remember when he bought me expensive gifts thinking he could buy my forgiveness. 

I remember him telling and showing me how optional and disposable I was to him.

I remember when he raised his hands to me.

I remember asking if I was worth it. I'm not sure what hurts worse- the fact I even had to ask or realizing he still ain't answered the question.

I remember being forgotten about. 

I remember being mind fucked and noticing my behavior had become his entertainment.

For every low, there's been countless highs. Wanna know what else I remember?

I remember when he called me everyday to hear my voice and infuse me with positivity.

I remember kisses so deep and passionate I cried.

I remember when he picked my heart back up after my Sweets passed away.

I remember when we disagreed he made it a point to resolve any issues before the day ended so it wouldn't roll over into our tomorrows.

I remember the poems, the love songs, the dancing and the laughter.

I remember when he scheduled study dates and helped me with homework.

I remember when we would get money together.

I remember him saying everyday is a good day to love and honor you.

I remember feeling so incredibly loved by him I sparkled and floated. 

I remember all the times he cooked and prayed for me. 

I remember he would call me Queen and said to never allow any man make me feel like a peasant...not even him. 

What I have finally and fully noticed is how much power I have given to men. When it's great, it's great; but when it's not my entire being shatters and I stay single until I'm ready to mingle. That's a lot of power to give to anyone, especially considering I've not ever been married or engaged. Another really important and probably most valuable lesson to date is discovering when I have been at my best, filled with love and in healthy relationships I was 150% in love with myself. Through and through. I had worked so hard to get to know myself and worth. I did not need validation from anyone, let alone a man, because I was walking in my truth and my happy. I knew I was worth it...and I attracted men who brought that confidence out and encouraged me to remain in it. 

On the flip side, I can admit to not fully valuing myself or what I had to offer. It didn't click to me how deep some of the comments and behaviors I allowed from certain men to stick with me. It clicked in March of this year, when I was in Houston with a gem of a friend. She's a photographer and blessed me with a photoshoot. It was so fun and freeing! I could literally feel her joy and vision being infused into my spirit. I felt absolutely beautiful and extremely happy. I'll never forget that moment she showed me a picture, all the men and my connections to them melted away. It may sound corny but I had to admit I had been looking for likes in all the wrong places; I like me! Maya Angelou said it best, "Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time."

If you live to only have one love, let it be with yourself. 

To Wellness,
The Smitten Chef 

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