“You’re not fat, but don’t gain any more weight. Boys don’t want girls who are too fat.” I cringe at the memory of this horrible advice given to me by an older family member when I was 15 years old. This was not the first or last time that I was fed such an unhealthy notion of relationships (and body image) in my youth. I am among the many women of my generation who were burdened with the idea that a man was something to earn. You had to be a certain type of woman, look a certain way, do certain things…to deserve the attention of a man. Madness, right? Absolute madness. I could delve into where this frame of though originated, for Black women, but I don’t want to get too far off track. Just know, that there are so many of us who have had to grow and heal to release ourselves from the belief that we must be ‘deserving’ of companionship and healthy relationships.
Here is how that growth journey has looked for me. I spent my 20s and most of my 30s feeling like I had failed in some way, because I was still single. I was so hard on myself. Women of older generations would make matters worse with these infamous questions “why aren’t you dating? You don’t have a boyfriend, yet? As recently as this summer, a relative asked me "Antoinette, you're not married yet. What's wrong with you?" The audacity! It has taken years of therapy, becoming more self-aware, more understanding of my worth, for me to be able to free myself from asinine thought patterns. I now know that, at any point in my growth journey, I am loveable and deserving of love. Men (romantic partners) are not prizes that are bestowed upon us for being good girls. Maintaining a healthy relationship requires commitment and dedication from both parties, and it is not the woman’s duty to ‘keep a man’.
Today’s dating scene is challenging for many of us (an understatement, I know). Over the years, dating has become more fun and less disappointing because I have curated a life that I love. Here are seven truths that I stand by and that make dating a much more enjoyable experience.
I am so grateful for growth and the gift of being an independent thinker. Now, in my forties, I know who I am and what I deserve. I am, by no means, perfect and I don’t have to be. Whether partnered or single, I have what I need to live a happy, fulfilled life.
The creator of Truly Charmed, Antoinette Cain, delights in all things fashion, all things fostering empowerment, and all things that inspire ambition. Antoinette started this fashion and lifestyle blog to celebrate those who are living their Charmed Lives and to empower those who haven't yet realized that life may be imperfect, but in every day there is a Charmed moment.