Love is…leadership.

“Thrown into a maze of darkness, and

told to find my way home with nothing but a dying candle and a prayer.

Other senses heightened, understandably frightened

but somehow, tranquility consumes me.

To my surprise, the candle never faded

And even after I found my way, I’m longing to be lost again.”

I didn’t quite realize at penning time, but ‘19-year-old me’ was onto something with this.

Let me backup…I have spent the better part of my life considering LOVE— what does it look like? How has it been presented to me? How do I show and receive it? Am I even worthy of it?

Through flawed on-screen fairy tales, surviving both sides of heartbreak, and a dash of family dysfunction, I’ve seen many distorted versions of ‘the 4-letter-word’, and it was time to collect those broken pieces and decipher things for myself.

There are many ways through which love manifests itself, but it all trickles down to one phrase, for me. Love is…allowing someone to guide me (and being at ease with it).

Listen, I want a MAN, not a minion. Anyone can be “loyal” and dote on me, but do I trust them to LEAD? If, for whatever reason, I could not think for myself, would I trust them with decision making on my behalf? Yes, intimacy is important, and effective communication is necessary, but do I feel safe?

Up until now, [sadly] the answer has been “no” to those questions more times than I’d like. Whether emotionally, mentally, morally etc., most of the men in my past could not lead me; I never felt comfortable enough to surrender myself freely to their love. Perhaps my ‘independent woman’ way of seeing things gave me pause…

It sucks beyond belief when self-preservation forces you to constantly be in control.

Through my primarily female upbringing and 7 years of attending an all-girl school, I was well aware of my womanly strength and ability to lead. Let’s not mince words: I was taught to not depend on men for a MOTHERF&%^ING thing, and they SURE as hell would never stifle me. Do not confuse this with an inability to submit; I’m comfortable with submitting to a man, finding one I deemed worthy of submission, however, was where things got dicey.

When you’re a chronic over-thinker, like myself, it’s difficult to find someone you trust enough to suspend your thoughts for awhile. But when I DID, whew…talk about an unparalleled bliss. I was used to having my guard up/thinking 2 steps ahead (for my own protection); I had no idea what it felt like to have my best interest truly considered by someone other than me.

There is a difference between someone being in love with you, and someone loving you as an extension of themselves. Romantically speaking, I had been far more exposed to the latter— i.e., I was only ‘protected’ when my happiness aligned with their interests. I realized that if a person really loves you, then your safety and sanity are not conditional.

The peace that comes with being loved properly is addictive, but in a healthy way (if that’s even possible lol). Look, I know that finding love can be scary as hell, and it’s a dice roll in the dark when we choose to share ourselves with someone. The best we can do, despite the uncertainty, is to choose someone who won’t let our “candle” fade.

Find someone who you trust to lead the way, whether or not you’ve [temporarily] lost your own.

Written by: B.Sierra

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