“Are you high maintenance?,” she asked over lunch through a relatively rowdy group. It’s a question that’s sat with me for the last three weeks. I answered as honestly as I could to this practical stranger – no. I am anything but.
In fact, the opposite.
She asked it because I’m single. The assumption being that single at 48 must be some kind of defect in the woman. This wasn’t an intentional harm, and I’m not even sure she understood the misogyny of her own question, but it’s also not my concern today. I like this woman, and so trust that she asked it with a genuine curiosity only.
I’m not high maintenance, but I have very very high standards.
My first love will still tell you – I spoil. I dote. I indulge it all.
I will still call a man out on his bullshit, and I will never leave room for trash behaviour, but I will absolutely spoil him in every other way. Because the former are about my boundaries, and the latter is about his happiness.
More than simply being a natural giver, I receive pleasure from the pleasure I give the man whom I have chosen.
The best way to describe things is through The Cloud Cave – you walk into my home, and it’s curated. Even when I’m alone, specific music is on, candles are lit, The Cloud Cave smells like essential oils. Tonight, I’m playing Muddy Waters, because he’s a late night contemplation kind of fella.
I have a beloved coming over? I will have their favourite candy bar on their favourite chair. Their favourite record will be on. Lights are always dimmed.
I do this for myself as much as I do it for others. Because I love beauty, and sanctuary. I like a home that moves like molasses, and I will do everything necessary to keep it this way.
Anyone who I’ve invited in has been spoiled. Ultimately, this home is a distilled reflection of what I bring into a man’s life: Intention.
It’s also the reason every (serious) man in my world has faded. But I’ll get to that in a second.
I don’t take anything around me for granted. I am mindful of and responsible for every single decision I make. I am as careful in choosing the music for my morning coffee as I am the words I will place at a man’s temple. As equally, the words I know will shut him out of my heart forever and land him into the middle of the sea before I drop a nuclear bomb on the sea itself.
It is a laser-focussed intention. Which means that I will never say I didn’t know what I was doing. I may play stupid every once in a while but trust that this itself is done to make others more comfortable. (Playing dumb emotionally is as close to lying as I’ll ever get. Because I am a shit liar – panic and anxiety and all that jazz happen the moment I start to lie. I’m grateful for this, but man does it sometimes SUCK.) (1)
I think that it’s also courage, in many ways. There is a fear which results in us drowning in the lie that comfort of the sad known, is safer and better than the potential of the possibly better unknown.
Clearly, I have an extremely high tolerance for (emotional) risk.
Back to the point that this is where men have lost me. A million different shapes to the same bottom line – in watching them disown responsibility for their lives, I left.
Responsibility = accountability regarding decisions making. Simple.
Outside of a soul patch, nothing is a faster libido killer than a man who doesn’t own his decisions and his actions. Who sees himself as a frog inside of water which is suddenly boiling.
Put in another way: Taking responsibility is Big Dick Energy.
You are where you are today not because shit just happened. It’s because you made certain decisions and choices. Own them. Learn from them. Move beyond them.
Others contributed. Of course they did. My question then becomes How did you respond?
Don’t like where you are? Make the decision to instead pivot towards where you wish to be. I promise that though difficult, the Universe will shift with you.
Ultimately, I am drawn to courageous (emotional) behaviour. And with my level of strength, I can only be with a man who is either equally strong or stronger. Which is not to be confused with aggression (as most toxic narratives seem to believe).
Perfect example – my intensity and focus can naturally lend themselves to blind spots. Any man who is worth his weight in salt will know that he needs a strong, stable, and gentle hand to temper me, shift me, pull me back. This is how he can protect me in these moments. If he is foolish enough to be aggressive about his pursuit of these things, I will fight him, too.
Which is how we come full circle to why I’ve bounced in the past. Men didn’t possess the courage to be responsible for their lives, and their decisions. None of them lived with the kind of intention I exercise and 100% deserve.
And I want a tower of a man, my loves. I want an absolute tower of a man who will live daily with intention, right next to me, for himself first, and for us second. (2)
If things just happen to him, how will I know that he saw me. Clocked me. Wanted me. Moved everything in our path, to then have me (with consent)? (3)
Which is what I would do for the right man. I have learned that I will raze the world for him, and I need to know he offers the same.
So then. What does intention look like for me, aside from les grands lignes above? I don’t believe that it’s hard, which is why I am always so shocked to see people lacking in it.
It is the daily kindnesses – it’s that he will choose the right album for our morning coffee.
And the right one for a humid summer’s afternoon in bed.
It’s that he’ll place a kiss on my shoulder whenever I walk past.
It’s that he’ll make me laugh because he knows that’s a sure fire way to get sexy.
It’s that he’ll teach me something new because he’s excited about it and he wants to share it with me.
It’s that even if I will never understand this thing about which he’s excited, I will intentionally learn all of the things about it because it is his love.
It’s that I will force him to turn off his work camera so I might distract him while no one knows but us.
It’s that I will snuggle in every time he walks past me because his love language is touch. And play with his hair to help him fall asleep even if I’m absolutely wrecked.
It’s that I’ll run him a bath after he’s had a shit day because men need comfort as equally as women.
It’s to pay attention to the details, because (reminder!) God is in the details. And then it is to indulge in every one of the details, with the greatest of intention.
People have called me naive for this. For being committed to the above. For refusing to settle. Every one of them is miserable in their relationships.
Me? I fall asleep alone and happy every night with a heart full of hope. And if I die in this same state, I will be responsible and grateful for the decisions I made, and which have filled me with the generosity of this very hope. alhamduliLaah.
(1) Sidebar: On death beds, what do you think the greatest regrets are? It’s all of the things that people didn’t do. Not one regret is about living intentionally; about making a move, even if it resulted in a different outcome. They are all about not doing the thing. Which is another way of saying Not being intentional.
(2) To date, I’ve held back. I’ve not yet become involved with a man to whom I want to give everything; no one has made me feel safe enough. (Safety for me is consistency, and stability. I pick up on shifts in energy and the moment I feel an unexplained shift, my blood starts to run cold. Talk to me, and we’ll be fine. If you’re not yet ready to talk about it, simply signal that there is a thing, and that we will talk about the thing tomorrow.)
(2) We all want a hero, my love. When I show up with a partner; when I finally write about a man for you here, you’ll know he’s my hero. It won’t be in the big things, but rather his heroism will be in the small things – the steady, consistent, strong presence behind which I can hide when I need a break from this world. He’ll close our door and he will be my safety net, quietly. And he’ll bring cheese with him.