1. Your skin is too dark
  2. Your arms are too flabby
  3. Your stomach isn’t flat enough
  4. If only you were taller
  5. Why can’t you be more feminine?
  6. Why did you pick that school? It’s not even a good school.
  7. You are too stubborn
  8. I don’t like your friends
  9. I don’t want you talking to that person again
  10. There’s something not right in your head
  11. You only got that promotion because your boss is a man
  12. You can’t travel to that place
  13. Your dream job is stupid, it doesn’t even pay well
  14. You are too outgoing
  15. You need to change your eating habits
  16. You are stupid
  17. You have this f*cked up idea about how you want to live your life, and no guy is ever going to be okay with it

That was a list of things said to me by the men I’ve dated throughout my life. There’s probably more on that list but I’ve stopped remembering after a while. It’s funny because the things on that list used to make cry. But now I am laughing as I write them.

I am laughing because I don’t remember why it had upset me so much before. I don’t remember that girl who cried over it. The girl who clung onto every word that was said to her, and tried to change herself in every possible way to please some guy.

I am also laughing because, come on, that list is just silly! “You are too outgoing”? What does that even mean?

Most of all, I am laughing because all of those things were said to me in the name of ‘love’.

But that list definitely wasn’t love.Β It was someone’s need for control, stemming from insecurity, intimidation, or whatever that guy’s childhood trauma was.

So what is this fancy thing called ‘love’, anyway?

Well, I don’t know. But if I had to define ‘love’ in my own terms, then for me,Β love is freedom. Freedom to be myself. Freedom to make my own choices. Freedom to just… be.

And so that girl stopped crying and pulled herself together.Β She walked away from these men and their opinions. She started to love herself more, rather than trying to please someone else. Ever since then, she made a promise to never give up her freedom in the name of ‘love’.

On a lighter note, I was also asked (in the name of love) to stop eating fries. I’m glad I didn’t stop, otherwise this blog might not have been created πŸ™‚