When I was a young girl, I witnessed my father doing so many romantic things to express his love to my mother. I witnessed him packing up picnic baskets, showering her with gifts, and taking her out on dates. I thought those things were so sweet, but I didn’t completely understand why every girl in the house didn’t get gifts. My Daddy would always respond with “When you get your husband, he will do these things for you”, whenever I asked why my sister and I didn’t get the same treatment. Because of his response, I couldn’t wait to grow up and get a husband so that I could experience many expressions of love, just like my Mama.
In church, I learned that I wasn’t supposed to leave my parents’ house, until I was married. The message was loud and clear; as a woman, I was to only leave my father’s house, when I was entering my husband’s home. If the only “right” way to have a life of my own was to be married, I was in for a miserable existence. I had my own goals and dreams in mind, and I didn’t want to have to get married to be free to chase after them. But because I felt obligated to please my family and church, I attempted to at least make it look as if I was operating within their set of beliefs.
I tried to hold onto every guy I dated, hoping he would be the one I would marry. I had plans to become a wife, pull away from my church, blaming my leaving on my husband, because I was taught that the wife follows her husband wherever he leads. Then, I would convince my husband to allow me to work toward my goals, rather than be a homemaker and mother. My ultimate plan was to be married by the age of 19, but the moment I knew that my boyfriend was preparing to propose, I bolted out of the relationship. My honest, inner self wouldn’t allow me to make that kind of mistake. I am so grateful to her for that, because I would have missed out on the life that I am currently living.
It wasn’t until I was in college that I noticed independent women who weren’t relying on marriage to have a fulfilled life. They had their own homes, cars, and jobs, and they had big goals and dreams that they had planned to accomplish on their own. I learned that I didn’t need a man, but that I was welcome to have one in my life, if I chose to have one. That thought conflicted with everything I had ever known, but I liked it. I liked the idea that I would be able to make my own decisions, without answering to a man. I loved everything about the idea of being an independent woman. It was then that I began to live my life for me and on purpose. It was then that I decided to take my life into my own hands and to start working toward my goals on my own, despite what others may have thought. And I am better for having done so.
Don’t allow people and their beliefs to change your course. Only you can live your life, and allowing others to dictate what that entails will most definitely cause you to experience a long list of regrets.
Has anything ever held you back from living your best life?
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