“What do you want to be when you grow up?” “Is that your boyfriend?” “What are we?” “I like you but....” “No one will buy the cow if they get the milk for free, sweetie.”
Throughout our lives, we are assigned many roles. When we are born, we are assigned the role of a daughter or a son. As we grow up, we add roles like student, athlete, artist, sibling...the list goes on and on.
And then one magical day, we grow old enough to add another role: romantic relationship. Sure, many of us had our first boyfriend or girlfriend in kindergarten that we met on the reading carpet and broke up by snack time (irreconcilable differences). But when we reach around middle school age, we are told the cooties surrounding those we like are seemingly purged away, a baptism for cooties and a great sexual awakening begins.
At first, those titles seem SO important. I remember my first real boyfriend. He asked me out over AIM (don’t age me okay) and I demanded that we pick a song that would be our song. Naturally, I chose When You Look Me In The Eyes by the Jonas Brothers because clearly this is the person I was going to marry!!!! And when we broke up I quite literally thought my entire 14-year old world was coming to an end, and that I’d never find love again. Alas, I was wrong.
There were a few just like him, boyfriends and heartbreaks I mean. In each relationship, I grew, and I learned hard lessons. I played different roles as a girlfriend, and I learned the roles I wanted to play for myself.
And then one day it stopped. I stopped being the girlfriend. If I am being honest, I have not had a real relationship since my high school boyfriend, and that ended well... less than pretty at the time. Since him, I have had a series of flings, or relationships that never quite make it to where I want them to.
With some, it is a miracle I never made it to the girlfriend finish line. With others, it was heart breaking.
The tears came like rivers, and I spent hours wondering why things could not just end up like I wanted them to. I wondered why I was not good enough to be the girlfriend. Was it something I said? Was it a flaw in my character? Was I not pretty or smart enough? Was I not worthy of that title? How could I be “everything they wanted” except not be good enough to be the girlfriend?
But girlfriend is just a title, a role that I was honestly lucky not to play in those past flings. It is a title that I take seriously, it is a role that I do not take lightly. With those other disasters, I would have lost myself in my role and I would not be who I truly am, and that is something that I cannot, and should not, risk for anyone.
If someone does not want to commit to you, it is not a reflection of your character. It has nothing to do with you. It is about them, and they are doing you a favor in the long run by asking you to take on a role they have no desire to help you cultivate. I am better off waiting for someone who wants me for who I am, rather than putting everything I have into someone who is only partially available.
So, to all of you out there, watching all your friends get engaged and wondering whether you should delete Facebook and Instagram, your time will come. And when it does, the wait will be well worth it, and I have faith that you will thrive in that role because for you, it will be so much more than that.