CELIBATE: the bottom line
I wrote, once, about saving yourself up for your future, as you would for a car rather than frivolously spending yourself on meantime relationships. I guess my journey in celibacy is my “practice what you preach” because if I believed it enough to write about it, why not believe it enough to live it?
I think that people generally arrive at their need to be celibate, to abstain for a while or as I’ve come to refer to it, their “Eat. Pray. Love.” journeys when they realize that while endlessly looking for love in every Tom, Dick, Harry, Tiana, Diane and Harriet, they were making their energy rain in the wrong places and have inevitably entered their drought.
There is no short cut for arriving at this turning point. Yes, it is indeed a turning point if you’re looking at it from the right angle. If you aren’t, you’ll need to reposition yourself until it comes into focus.
We all reach our moments of “I can’t do this anymore” at some point in our lives. We just arrive and depart differently. Some get there in the form of repetitive heartbreak and leave shunning love while others arrive at the intersection through “those relationships weren’t right for me but my time will come”, bang a right at the light and find themselves on a journey to finding themselves and eventually their love. However you arrive, it is important to remember that love isn’t what hurt you; it is giving yourself to unworthy individuals, to people who don’t know themselves, to people who haven’t matured yet and people who don’t have the same end goal as you that has been causing you to suffer.
MAKING THE DECISION
The decision has to be based on you. That means that although your ultimate end game might be to find a good and suitable significant other for yourself, that should not be your driving force. If finding love (outside of yourself) is your driving force, the moment you meet someone a little different than what you’re accustomed to that catches your eye and makes you feel pretty inside, you’ll find yourself thinking that you’ve accomplished your mission and forget about the personal growth that you also needed – until that potentially falls apart too.
Be sure that your reasons for pursuing this journey is rooted in yourself (& God), in doing so, when temptation comes (and be advised, it surely will come) you’ll have more to stand against it than just your initial desires for alone time.
FINDING YOUR REASONS
Your you-based reasons for this journey will stem from a lot of feelings. It’s important to be completely honest with yourself when sorting these feelings. Some of the feelings that lead me to desiring alone time was the difference in my single me and my relationship me. I always felt a little better when I was alone. I had to compartmentalize the truths behind that realization and that lead me to sort out what part of that was me and my insecurities and what part derived from the behavior of my exes. Almost everything you feel will have a you component and a them component. This is why celibacy isn’t just a break from love, relationships and sex; it’s also a journey to personal growth.
The more you dig, the more you’ll feel and you should take those feelings into consideration as well. Example, some of the feelings I uncovered while digging made me annoyed with myself. I had to acknowledge that I had a propensity for all the things I didn’t like in others such as manipulation, jealousy and projecting insecurities. I was capable of all of this and it was uncomfortable to admit to myself because I would have liked to think that I was better than that. Outside of relationships, I was but something always got turned upside down in me when I was with someone and I hardly ever felt like myself. I concluded that I needed to grow in order to feel secure in a relationship and also, I needed to be with someone who was not only mature enough to never try to make me feel insecure but who would go out of his way to make me comfortable like I have always done for others.
This is something that pops up every time I found myself in conversation with someone who was interested in me. I’d allow myself to observe them (their negatives mostly) because it was what I used to remind myself that they needed to grow first and that would remind me further that I needed to grow more as well. I had to get out of the habit of making excuses for men and giving them the benefit of the doubt too soon.
In addition to sifting through those negative feelings, I had to highlight the good feelings I associated with relationships.
Figuring out what those good feelings were was essential to the process. I had to know all of what I got from those relationships so I could find those feelings in other things that were less compromising. Granted, there are some things in love that you can only get from love, but knowing that this journey will lead to the greatest loves (self, God, and in time, a relationship) makes the absence of those things now, less of a deal breaker. Since being celibate, I have put much more of my energy into my art. I’ve performed more, I’ve written more, I’ve been published and featured, I’ve tried more things and have received more opportunities. I don’t think I wouldn’t have been able to do those things while in a relationship but the energy I wasn’t putting into fighting with my ex became available for more productive things when I decided to let it go. I also decided that I didn’t want to split my energy again until I got to a place where I was satisfied with my creative consistency.
My art, my God kids, my sisters, my friends; spending time with them, sowing my love into myself and them has provided me with about 95% of the feelings that relationships provided me with before. The things that relationships made me feel that I needed included feeling loved, feeling special, feeling beautiful, feeling chosen, feeling essential to someone’s happiness, feeling like I’m contributing to someone’s life in ways that only I can; all those things I get from being a God mom/ Aunt, from being a sister, from being a friend, a confidant, an adviser, a creative, a leader, and a positive force in this world.
THE LONG HAUL
Physically, in my own journey, it was a bit difficult to start. I mentioned that I was in a relationship when I began. What made it easier for me was that the sex was subpar and that the relationship was long distance. Once that relationship ended, it continued to be easy as there was no one expressing interest that I was mutually interested in and I refused to back track and become involved with anyone from my past. It did become a task staying focused on my end goal when someone I had been interested in for a while expressed similar interest. To be honest, it’s still a bit difficult maintaining
that friendship when I know that there’s potential there for more. That’s when it becomes imperative to remind myself of my reasons. It’s easy to chalk up failed relationships to bad guys/ girls and heartbreak but that’s not always the case. Reminding myself that it wasn’t only the relationships with savage men that left me feeling empty and crawling back to my basics will continue to be important throughout this journey. Also, reminding myself that the problem was never 100% them (exes) but that I played a role in those failed relationships as well, is equally necessary. Otherwise, I’d be more tempted to take those great qualities I see in him and run with them forgetting that I have my own shit that needs fixing.
The bottom line for me was that I got to a place where I wanted me more than I wanted to be wanted by anyone else. Compromising before you get where you need to be takes away parts of you that you can’t afford to sacrifice. I wanted to feel what my best self felt like. I wanted to feel beautiful without comparison, to feel desired without expiration, to feel accomplished without boundaries, to feel high without influences. That’s how I feel now, being alone. As far as personal growth, I aim to be that more consistently. I don’t need anyone to make me feel that high but I also don’t want anyone who will take any of that away from me. I know he’s out there, and I know he’ll be worth the wait.