When I initially heard of the concept of falling in love with yourself, I thought it was a fallacy…something that only existed in movies and books where the main characters have happy endings. For entertainment purposes, that was all fine and well, but it hardly suited real life. It was easier for me to fall in love with someone else than it was to consider how I felt about myself. Even though I was half of any personal relationship that I found myself in, I always considered the needs of the person that I was with. How I felt in the realms of the relationship was secondary which made it easier for me to be at the mercy of the man that I was with.
The first two relationships that I was a part of made those it easy for those men to manipulate me into being a man that I didn’t want to be. The first relationship showed me that I had no desire to be involved in extra curricular as a norm. I realized that my partner at the time wanted a reason to cheat when the opportunity presented itself. How I felt about it didn’t matter. I didn’t think about this until later…much later.
My second partner’s ideals and principles seemed more simplistic at the time. He wanted me to make him the center of my life. And for a short period of time, we were happy. He was happy being with me and I was more than okay with that…until he decided that he wanted something more; or rather he wanted someone new. I had allowed him to systematically eliminate all my support systems; starting with my family and ending with the few friends that I had. Once he had me where he wanted me, he took himself out of the equation. He found man after man and with each one of them, excuse after excuse to keep me hanging on while he acted as if he were free.
I was young…built and swollen in all the right places. He knew what I was as well as what I was not. And with what I was not came other boys that had everything that I didn’t. He knew this and played the game well; but it wasn’t until I left him that I realized the toxicity of what he brought into my life.
It is critical to anyone reading this editorial that if you believe that you are in either one of these scenarios, you may want to re-consider why you decided to stay with someone that didn’dt value you. Even more importantly, why didn’t you consider yourself worthy of deserving more when someone treated you badly initially.
I thought about this for an exceptionally long time after I came out of those toxic relationships. I would never go through anything like that again.
And I haven’t.
This editorial however isn’t about me. Its about you. Do you drink too much, too frequently? Do you wake up beside someone that you didn’t know after a night of drinking? Are you moody throughout the day but the life of the party on either Friday or Saturday nights?
And here is one more profoundly serious question you must ask yourself. Why do you drink/drug and sex too much? Think back to a part of yourself that you tried to forget. Are there any memories that you have that are hazy or the chain of events that you struggle to forget but for some reason can’t?
I pieced the data together slowly and deliberately. I took a step back away from the bars and took the time to meet someone that I wanted to spend time with…not for an hour but a significant amount of time.
I realized that it wasn’t until I fell in love with me and recognized my worth that I stopped taking the scraps of men that wanted to sleep with me; no matter how attractive they were.
Falling in love with yourself is not that difficult. You must recognize when you’re being mistreated and take the necessary steps to remove yourself from the situation.
Understand this…the man that is mistreating you isn’t going to change. He will not get this sudden epiphany that he has someone special. Why? Honestly, I can’t answer that. You must know that you are special. You must carry that with you every day for the rest of your life. You deserve to be loved the way that you need to be loved. You are worth more than a lame excuse often served up when your significant other comes walking in at three in the morning.
I am not saying this because it sounds good or that I have a degree in psychology. I am telling you this because I lived each one of these scenarios. I can attest to what a selfish man can do to you if you let him, regardless if the man is gay or straight.
I’ve heard in circles that I travel in that loving yourself doesn’t require a tremendous amount of effort. Sometimes, you have to tell yourself that no matter who the person that you fell in love with happens to be; it doesn’t matter how many apologies they give you after they beat you; your relationship should be the one place that provides you with peace and harmony. It should be your shelter from the storms of life.
Or at least it should be in theory.
There isn’t a gay man alive that doesn’t know what the term daddy/mommy issues. I played those schoolyard games at all every one of the elementary schools that I attended. I accepted the role of son to other school aged kids were the norm. It wasn’t until I got a little older and began to love who I was. This may be difficult if you are beneath the age of consent. I get it. I was young once. I stumbled through my teen-age years all the while missing my father so desperately that I would have done anything to fill the void that he left behind. And yet, this isn’t about me. This is about you.
You know who you are.
~ J.L. Whitehead
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network