Game Of Thorns

-by Tamara McKenzie

I’ve read a lot of “how-to” guides on dating. None of them have really prepared me for the shit storm of luck I’ve had over the past couple years. How is it that I can walk into any room and crush a presentation or interview, but when it comes to matters of romance or intimacy, I’m simply left on read?

Some of my most cringe worthy experiences with men include the guy who immediately began showering me with affection and then revealed that he had just gotten married a few months prior. Then, there was Mr. Gaslighter who told me I was too sensitive and convinced me I was an “insecure woman.”  

I started doubting the process of dating and wondering if anyone takes courtship seriously anymore. It seemed like everyone was just waiting on their next high via DM or swipe. I wanted to build something real, something long-lasting, but I continued to come up short.

After a whole bunch of self-reflection, prayer, and feel-good choices, I slowly transitioned to a healthier place. I like to say I stepped into my “sweet rose fragrance.” I believed I would begin to attract healthy relationships, but boy, was I wrong. It was almost as if the more comfortable I became with myself, the more trash men I attracted.

“Sweet Rose Fragrance?” Yeah I know, I’ll explain. 

Pour a little wine for this part.

Let’s venture into a theory I would like to call Game of Thorns. In nature, thorns protect plants from predators. Scientists have claimed that roses have thorns to protect them from being eaten by animals that are attracted to them due to their sweet fragrance. 

I began to think about who I was in each encounter with Earth’s predator – man. I also observed how each encounter may have affected my behavior in the next encounter. I came to this realization…

I lost my thorns.  I lost my thorns with men who didn’t value me. They left with a piece of me, but their journey was never meant to be a part of mine. Once I realized the cycle, it was time to break the chain of defeat.

I had to boss up and say to myself, “Know your worth, Queen. No, listen… really know it. The dating pool seems so small and shallow, but conforming or lowering your standards will only set you further back. Girl, you are not a lifeguard. Let that man doggie paddle over into someone else’s face to save him because you do not have time. If you’ve waited this long, God is not going to send you a broken man or someone who has a baby mama still knocking on their door at midnight. I said what I said.” 

I know that last part hit a little differently, so feel free to top off your wine glass if you need to. No judgment shall ensue.

There’s no perfect equation, how-to, or Ciara prayer that can manifest the perfect relationship.  There will always be struggles or negative experiences with dating, but our mindset is what will release us from the self-defeating cycles we become trapped in after a bad dating experience. 

We have to remember our “thorns” or standards. The less we are willing to accept or entertain, the more comfortable and confident we will be on the journey toward meeting the man our heart desires.

Cheers to my future king. 

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