Disclaimer: I am a Christian. However, even though many of the examples and analogies I am using will be done through the Christian perspective and using Christian references, I believe there is a take away message that any woman of any faith (or lack of) can apply.
Last year, a friend and I created a round table forum entitled “Christ-like and Dating”. It was a one day event for young adults (ages 21 to 35) to discuss issues in dating and relationships from a Christian perspective. In researching for the forum, I stumbled across a video of a sermon in which the pastor asked the question: “Are you the person the person you are looking for is looking for?”
The pastor tells the story of a young girl who lived a loose life by dating and having sex with many different men. I imagine her as any of my college friends who spend a lot of time trying to “find themselves” through binge drinking, drug use, tattoos and piercings. (Implications of these things upon the concept of femininity to be discussed in future articles). The story went on to say that this girl went to church one day with her mother and upon seeing one of the focused and driven Christian men gushed to her mother that she was in love and had found the person she wanted to marry to which the mother coldly responded, “do you think he would be interested in a girl like you?!” Upon hearing this the girl fell on the floor and wept. This was the point where the pastor asked the question “Are you the person that the person you are looking for is looking for?”
I actually have personal experience with this topic. When I went to college at the age of 17, I was an innocent virgin who had only kissed one boy one time and didn’t like it. (To be fair, it was an awful first kiss. He had no idea what he was doing). Anyway, when I was exposed to the freedom of a co-ed dorm and many horny and willing men, I got excited. Even though I never really lost my virginity to full intercourse until well after I graduated (I was 28 when it happened), I was on the prowl to experiment with the feelings that I had kept pent up for so long.
I had my eye on one particular guy. He was a white man; Bosnian and of the Muslim faith. The idea of what my African, Christian parents would think of the situation didn’t matter, I wanted to marry this guy. The fantasizing began long before he gave me a playful peck on the lips in a friendly prank, but imagine what something like that would do to a barely legal teenager with a crush. I had fallen and fallen hard. Unfortunately, he and I were never to be. After years of flirting and dancing around the issue, I got the feeling that I was being a pest. I later learned that real men don’t play games and that if a man is truly interested in you, you will know and you will know quickly. Through this painful experience of unrequited love, I learned a lesson that never truly sunk in until I read the book He’s Just Not That Into You in 2003 or so, and that lesson is that if a guy is making excuses or you are making excuses for a guy for why he isn’t getting serious with you, then you’re wasting your time.
It was only recently (this year in fact) after playing a dangerous game of long distance, late night phone flirting that ended with a chance meeting at an airport terminal and the cessation of the receipt of further calls from the same aforementioned crush, that I finally wizened up and had to talk myself out of that sad unreciprocated fantasy.
In the weeks and months that followed, the picture started to become clear in my mind of why we didn’t work. Other than the obvious, surface-level, cultural differences (the implications of which I intend to discuss in future articles), he and I just would never had worked, because as blind as my love for him was, I don’t think his love’s vision had quite the same impairment. He saw me for who I was and for some reason that person did not fit into his world and if I had stopped to take off my rose-colored glasses, I might have observed the same signs of incompatibility. Honestly, I think I was just excited by the nuance of an unexpected caliber of gentleman recognizing my femininity and showing me attention of a flattering kind.
At the end of the day, for that relationship to work, I would have had to change in ways I was not motivated to at the time due to my core understanding of who I was at the time. The fact of the matter is, I was not the person that the person I was looking for was looking for, and I had no intention of becoming that person. The problems (including depression and low self esteem) came when I continued trying to force myself “as is” into the life of someone who was not interested in what I had to offer.
Now, more than 10 years later, I am finally realizing my worth, including a feminine value not worth compromising for anyone. I am learning that my joy comes not from the validation of that worth from men who never saw it before (but eventually see it through clever manipulation and coaxing), but from the maturation of the original value through nurturing, cultivating and protecting it’s intrinsic nature and freedom of expression.
So, today, the question remains, am I the person that the person I am looking for is looking for? Well, I think so. However, I believe that in order for me to recognize the person that I am looking for when he comes looking for me, I too must recognize whether and if the person that I am trying to be is the person I am ready and willing to be for the rest of my life…
Author: African Femininity
African Femininity is a first generation American-born Nigerian. That basically means, her parents were immigrants and raised her with a mix of selective cultural values from both traditions. Needless to say, this left her with a very dissonant understanding of what being a “lady” meant. Now, as an un-married 30 year old woman, she is on a mission to delve to the root of being a woman in a world where conflicting cultural values and traditions are leaving many confused and disillusioned. She use the power of the pen to defend a woman’s right to choose her own lifestyle: be it housewife, social climber or being conventionally employed. Check out her Amazon author page for books written by her at http://amazon.com/author/shadowjackson