“Grab a Piece of Paper. Write down all the things you want in your women. From the car she drives to the personality she has. EVERY. SINGLE. THING. You want her to be confident, funny, all those things. And then you have to ask yourself the following question: ‘Is That Woman On This Paper Going To Date Me?’ “
I remember these words from Boris Kodjoe when he was interviewed on a radio show roughly two years ago. They have stuck with me. He followed up;
“In Order to Attract the Person You Want to Be With, You Have to Do The Work As An Individual First. You can’t go over there all Broken and Jacked and expect to find Ms. America.”
He’s right. He’s 100% right. And yet, I see a failed opportunity for him to address the other side of this equation.
When I first heard these words from Boris Kodjoe, I had recently broken up from who I thought was the love of my life. This was a woman that I believed loved me for who I was and made me want to be the best possible version of myself for. I began dating her while I was in limbo educationally, working a job in a restaurant, and living at home with my father. Needless to say, despite all the potential I had, I had hit a ceiling regarding my own life. She loved me for who I was, and I loved her for who she was, because she was in the same place in life as me, somewhat stuck, but desiring to do more, at least that’s what she said.
She made me want to be everything I felt I could be. So I did. I got a new job. I applied to get back into school, got back into school. Moved into my own place. I had some help, but I took all the steps to be the best me for me… because I wanted to be the best me for her.
She was supportive of me the entire way. Loving me more than she loved herself became the downfall of us. While I continued to work on me, she put her work into making the relationship all she thought it should be, but never put the work in being all that she could be. I noticed that I was alone in self-improvement, I stopped caring as much, I’m stopped working on the relationship as much, I stopped being faithful. The Me I had become felt torn over continuing to want to be with the person she had always been. Her potential wasn’t enough.
The Me I had become felt torn between being with the person she had always been and dating the type of person I wanted. As I glowed up so did my dating potential – and the league I was moving into, she no longer was. No excuse for the wrongs I did in our relationship. I should have ended once I started to love her for who I believed she could be, and not who she was.
I was reminded about this as I read a woman – Dr. Candice Benbow – pour out her heart in an eloquently written piece called 4:43, inspired by Jay-Z’s song from the same titled album where he apologizes to his Wife Beyonce for not being the man he should have been during their relationship. I don’t want to harp too much on Dr. Benbow’s Piece, but this piece was inspired by this:
Because I saw the best in you. I nurtured it, pruned it, watched it grow. And now someone else gets to sit in the field of my flowers. I can’t even fault her though. I’m sure our stories are similar. I’m sure, before you, there was one who robbed her of hope too. I’m sure he allowed her to invest in him with no intention of ever offering a return. So, I can’t even be mad. They say when one of us wins, all of us do. I mean…I guess. I just hope she knows where to offer gratitude. Because the man you are now doesn’t exist without me- that’s the legacy. And it’s a damn shame. I long for the day when a woman’s strength isn’t measured by how much shit she takes from a man as deeply as I yearn for a time when the growth of men doesn’t require broken hearts, shattered dreams and pounds of flesh.
Loving a man because you see who he can become and who he has the potential to be is disingenuous at best. I simply ask – both rhetorically and literally – When the person you’re dating realizes their potential, sees who they can become, steps towards their destiny, and becomes everything you want them to be, will that person still want you as you are?
You can answer the question if you’d like, but it’s most important to know it for yourself.
To Thy Own Self Be Trill.
~ Style Barker