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Many summers ago I recall spending a lot of time at the YMCA. My boyfriend at the time  splurged on a membership and was obsessed with physical fitness so I made it a point to go when I could. It was the coolest place on earth because it had a pool, sauna and towel service. Yes, those things impressed me for some reason; but there was one aspect of the whole YMCA experience that I was uncomfortable with- the ladies change room.

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I’ve never been so devastated in all my life, there were breasts and booty of all different shapes and sizes, some that gravity clearly gave up on. Unshaven openness, there was no shame. See at that point I was used to modest high school change rooms where we actually hid our goods from public eye despite the fact we all had the same jiggly parts.

So it took me awhile to get used to being around women who were comfortable with being women. By the end of that summer I also learned not to care about what others thought of my body.

The same sort of transition happened to me in my dating life. I had a stringent list of requirements that I believe would weed out the undesirables. For example if he had a job that meant he would treat me right and take me out, or if he had his own place that meant he was responsible and was considered officially grown. The biggest one- if he did not have kids, this meant he could spend more time with me.

Each time I was met with any one of the challenges I mentioned above I would freeze up and perform self-sabotage surgery on the relationship. I would find a reason to fuss or argue and ultimately cause that person to want to leave my side.

What fun is that? Going through the same damn cycle of “hi, how you doin’” to “ugh lose my number”. I was only playin’ myself and confusing the person I was involved with.

I’ll admit I was not ready to get close to anyone at the time. Love is 80% compassion, 10% chance & 10% understanding. When you are at your lowest will the job or living situation of your mate matter? When you are having a bad day and just need that ear, hug or comforting words does it matter where your mate lives?

Nothing wrong with waiting until that 10 out of 10 shows up but be mindful of what is already around you. I know it took me a long time to see my current s/o for the man he was let alone our potential to be together. He is half of what my list entails but everything that makes me feel happy, loved and comfortable to be myself no matter what.

Disrespect, doubt, abandonment, & abusive- That is what we must never settle for, yet so many of us continue to do so. I read every letter I feel the pain and confusion that you write me with. Forget the job, living situation, the type of shoes he rocks, and whether or not he has kids.

Is there mutual respect? Is he considerate? Is there a willingness to go above and beyond (on both ends)?

That’s what you deserve and nothing less.


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