I’m making a promise to myself through this article that I won’t chase love in 2018. There is so much more that I have to offer the universe than a role as the "lady in waiting." Don’t get me wrong — I, like anybody, can’t wait for the days that I can snuggle up with hubby and the kiddies on lazy Sunday mornings. There’s nothing more picturesque than breakfast in bed as hubby gets the children ready for soccer practice or their weekend play dates. As alluring as this imagery may be, this year I will not force myself to succumb to a false reality regarding the woman I "should" be in order to attract a man or get a man to love me.

Let’s be honest, I’m not a "burn-your-bra" feminist. I agree that women deserve equal pay and the ability to fill positions of power within major patriarchal institutions, but I don’t feel that I have to give up my femininity to do so. In fact, I love being feminine; I love romanticism, but I’m also multi-faceted. For generations, the idea of embodying femininity in the hopes of snagging a "good man" has constantly been pushed in the faces of women worldwide. Yes, I like to have my nails done, and if the weather was perfect, I’d sport a flaring, pink dress over jeans any day! You can bet your bottom dollar that you can find me smearing on fuchsia lip gloss just about any morning before work and touching it up throughout the day, but that’s something I like to do. I like to do it because I like to look nice, not for the attention of men. I’m also a brilliant writer, activist and spiritual healer who's tired of feeling that one’s importance is based on their desirability. If you don’t like me or find me attractive, I couldn't care less.

I’ve never been on a real date, and I’ve never had a real boyfriend. Every time I get close to someone, it doesn’t seem to work out for whatever reason. It’s fine, as I tend to bounce back relatively easily — you win some and you lose some. It would be great if people understood that I didn’t come into their lives to audition for a role; I came to experience the rawness and realness of a connection. A lot of the men that I come across seem to have that age-old underlying "could this potentially be my wife" syndrome and I’m cool with that, as we all date for potential. I understand the nature of men and women. At the same time, I’m not going to Google "things to say to keep a man interested," or "how to make sure a guy asks you out," a million times. I’m determined to make this my year of not fretting over how long it takes for a man to respond to my text or the amount of effort he puts into pursuing me, only to pass over me for someone else. If he doesn’t see my worth, I won’t force it.

More importantly, I’m not going to allow myself to be a jester, better yet, a marionette that is just played like a toy only to be thrown back on the shelf of a man's boredom when he finds someone he believes is more interesting. No. I won’t be anyone’s placeholder. Instead, I’m demanding boundaries. I respect a man who lets a woman know what he wants from her. Yet, sometime in the age of smartphones and social media, people just really started lacking in the communication department. This is my year of intentional connections. If we aren’t vibing on a highly spiritual plane, then keep your DMs to yourself. If we aren’t being intentional in the pursuit phase, then please keep it moving when you see me. Although courting is sometimes shunned as being outdated and traditional, I think it’s something that this generation needs to go back to. TAKE PEOPLE ON REAL DATES. I don’t want to make this article too gender-exclusive, but can the real men stand up? I’m so tired of being messaged after 10 p.m. to come to someone’s house to "chill." Can we leave the romanticized booty calls in 2017? That’s really what it is. When someone is too shallow to really get to know you outside of hitting your line when most people are sleeping, it’s a booty call.

In the past five years, I’ve been stood-up, played, used as a placeholder (as previously described) and treated as a booty call (as previously described). Still, I have never been on a real date (movies, park, home after dark — cue Luther Vandross). 12 guys. That’s how many I can count WITH names that have been what many millennials call "f*ckboys," or men who are not worth our time. These 12 men either had girlfriends while they were talking to me, were dishonest about their lifestyles, wasted my time or only wanted booty calls after months of getting to know each other (talk about persistent). Yet none of them were persistent in pursuing me for a relationship. These "situations" never progressed from the "talking stage." If you’ve ever been this let down before, then join me. Let’s make it our resolution to not worry about if we’re good enough, and instead find out if these people that we put energy into are even worthy of our time. Sis, you can turn into J. Edgar Hoover when you suspect foul play, and that's the exact same level of investigation and discernment you should put into figuring out if someone is worth your energy prior to giving it to them.

I don’t hold any hard feelings towards those that I thought would be capable of loving me but couldn’t. Instead, this is going to be the year of loving myself enough to know that my worth isn’t determined by whether or not I'm someone’s draft pick. If the connection and effort aren't both there, then I don’t want it. I’m more than just an object of lust or a character based on what people think a relationship is supposed to be. If you can’t offer me real dates and real effort, then I’m fine with being dateless. Yes, I aspire to have true love in my life one day but in 2018, I’m not going to chase it.

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