This post is dated 7/19/16 and was taken from my old blog.
As I sit underneath a tree behind my house, soaking in the warm summer sun, I’ve been able to be completely present, a seemingly simple act that is often a great feat.
I watch a beautiful leaf on a branch above me and take in its purity, its innocence, its unbreakable authenticity. This leaf did not choose to be itself. It grew, and it was.
It made me reflect on my own life.
I came into the world just like the leaf. I was born myself, unique from all others. But different from this leaf, I’ve often wandered away from myself. At times, I’ve chosen to portray myself as someone I am not. I have learned to put myself into a pretty box, so that the eager box-opener sees whatever he or she wants to see. As I reflect deeper, I see myself doing this more with the men in my life than with other women, and I wonder why.
And still gazing at the leaf, I find my answer.
It’s quite simple. I am not a pretty box.
I don’t want to go on a rant about how men treat women these days, because I don’t blame men for making women this way. We as women give men power over us. We sit there like doting puppies (trying not to present ourselves this way to the men in our lives, of course) waiting for them to give us attention, give us love, give us their seal of approval that we are good enough.
So we sit, and we wait. But still we are unfulfilled. Because we are consuming all of our time and energy trying to make someone love us who maybe never will. We believe as long as we are investing in that relationship, as long as we are still climbing the mountain on our quest for love, we have not given up on ourselves.
But in that journey, we have forgotten why we left, who we are, what we want in life. We have escaped the present and are living a future that we cannot even see. We have turned ourselves from humans into pretty boxes.
This is a slight digression, but relevant to the point I am trying to make. I think people are brought into our lives to teach us lessons. Specifically, my first boyfriend taught me the most in terms of what I want in a relationship and what love means. I would say he’s the least attractive of my former boyfriends (I hope he’s not reading this), but he made my world and mind expand infinitely in a way that no other boy I have dated or been in a relationship with has been able to do since. I’ve realized that I need that mind-pudding effect in a relationship in order to be happy and authentic. We could talk openly about anything and everything, from the latest episode of Breaking Bad to income inequality in America. He taught me how to have a voice, how to have an opinion, how to argue. He taught me how to be a woman, how to take up space and not be ashamed of that. But he also taught me how to listen, because I did not always agree with his beliefs and contentions (he probably doesn’t like to think about the time when something he said seemed so immoral to me that I refused to talk to him whilst riding in the car through the Grand Canyon together). But even in my enraged immaturity, I still loved him for staying true to his beliefs. When I was with him, I did not give in to please him. I was not a pretty box.
This is not a narrative of a need for love, but a need for the right kind of love. An authentic love that only makes stronger the love that already exists for our true selves.
And in this moment, I’ve vowed to never lose myself, even if I wander. I am not a pretty box, I am a light that was put on this earth to shine, to guide, to love.
I am not very religious, but I am an extremely spiritual person. I believe God is light, God is love, God is nature, God is us, and God is everything we are capable of perceiving or comprehending. I breathe in and breathe out God, and in that act alone, I become light, love, and connected to everyone and everything. And that single thought alone can bring me to tears.
I am not a pretty box. I am the moon and the sun and the stars.