My ex-boyfriend Anthony used to call me difficult. He always said I could never do things the easy way. I was the proverbial “let’s take the scenic route with more traffic” kind of gal. I balked at him whenever he would say it. In my mind I was just ‘doing me.’

But three years removed from our relationship, I think–dare I say it–he was right!

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I realized that I have a tendency to disagree with people just to disagree with people. Not because I feel like they’re wrong, but because I need them to know I’m right. As a bonafide feminist, I’m real quick to assert my strength, intellect and my “boy, you betta go and saddown” attitude without provocation just so folks know if they thought they could try me, now they know they can’t.

But as I get older I’m realizing that being strong doesn’t have to equate to always being heard! This is an especially important lesson for me to have learned when it comes to men.

Now, before I continue, you must know I have been curved to the farthest of lefts. This dates back to not having a date for my senior prom even after I asked two different guys and finding out via Facebook the guy I thought (key word: thought) was exclusively dating was boo’d up with another Jane and when I asked him I got hit with, “Look, go read a book or something.” So yeah, this insecurity runs deep.

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But now going into my fourth year of singledom, I’m realizing everything doesn’t need to be said.

An old college flame recently contacted me via Facebook to tell me how much he missed me, he wanted to be with me and why I’m the best thing to him since free night and weekends. I listened and allowed myself to romanticize a potential love affair with my old boo. But after a few “I’m sorry, I got tied up at work” or “Next week, lets go out next weekend,” I decided he obviously wasn’t as serious about me as he alleged.

The old Shenequa would’ve written a script, filled with hyperboles, alliteration and a few sprinkled in f*ck you’s s to let my old flame know wasting my time wasn’t acceptable. But I realized all force really came from a place of hurt. I allowed myself to get hopeful and when things didn’t turn out the way I wanted, I attacked.

Now, I’ve learned silence is golden. A no-text back is just as powerful, if not more powerful than a “die in a fire, d*ckhead.” I used to take it as my personal responsibility to tell guys why they messed up, why I was mad, or why they received my backlash. Now, it’s like for what? If a man really wants to know, he’ll ask, or better yet, he won’t mess up.

I’m fiery and feisty and have no problem speaking up for myself, but as a lioness, I’ve realized I’m just as powerful when I’m not letting out my thunderous roar.

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