Confession time, every new year I make a “vision board”. Normally this board is cluttered with images of brides, couples embracing, and men proposing with really big rocks (a typo there would’ve totally made that sentence hilarious). Yes, I’m a hopeless romantic with “hopeless” being the operative word, a sap for a Cinderella story. I can’t help it, maybe it’s an undiagnosed Charlotte York syndrome, or maybe it’s just crap from my childhood. Whatever it is, there is something in me that perpetually makes me wish for a Knight in shining armor who will climb up my fire-escape with a rose in his mouth, profess his undying love for me, and whisk me away from all my heartache and sorrow as All-4-one’s I can love you like that plays in the background. In these dreams I normally envision myself as Roselyn Sanchez with long flowing hair, a perfect rack, and the waist of a 12 year old Chinese gymnast.
2014 Vision Board
Ever since I was young I have dreamed that one day I’d find that man who would love me no matter what; a man that would stand by me through thick and thin. With this idea in mind, I would constantly be expecting men to turn into a Disney movie prince and rescue me from all my troubles. And, for a while, I thought he had come. During one of the darkest periods of my life I met a great guy. He was everything I wished for. He was loving, supportive, level-headed, organized and had his stuff together. He was everything I was lacking at the time, and he loved me despite all my baggage. We went on to have a 3-year romance and a dog named Tyson together.
However, through him I realized that despite how much I loved him, I could never be truly happy with him because I wasn’t happy with myself. Don’t get me wrong I was happy at times, but I wasn’t truly happy; true happiness is that kind of happiness that comes from deep within derived from having an inner peace with oneself and exudes itself onto the surface as oppose to the superficial temporary happiness that only appears on the surface. Through him I realized that it was not love that I was after; it was security, a handyman to repair the damage from my past. Essentially it wasn’t Mister Right I was searching for, I was looking for Mister Fix-it; and although he was a problem solver and tried to help me get my affairs in order I came to realize through him, that I could not expect him to solve my problems, because the problems that I had weren’t a bill that needed to be paid or the oil in my car that needed to be changed. They went deeper than that. The problems I had were not problems on the surface they were deep within. Those problems are often difficult to reach and often not easily remedied.
That relationship was a huge learning experience for me. I was very dependent on him. It took me a few years to understand the difference between being dependent and being interdependent. When you are dependent on a man you depend on him to bring everything to the table, example being dependent he provides the paper and pen, when you’re interdependent you provide the paper and he provides the pen because you are dependent on one another. Although, the pen and paper can function on their own they work so much better in partnership and together they can begin writing the beginnings of a beautiful love story.
Now I know I don’t need a man. I still want one, but this time for the right reasons. Each day I look in the mirror and—even though I don’t recite the whole “mirror, mirror on the wall” line—I love the woman I am becoming. I am now at a place where I’m able to give and receive love. Who knows it may have already arrived.
At the core I am still a hopeless romantic. But my childhood dream has changed and matured with me. I no longer dream of a prince who sweeps me off my feet. I dream of a man that appreciates, respects and loves the woman I am; a woman that proudly has her feet on the ground. The soundtrack has also changed, now Joanna by Kool and the Gang will be playing, we walk into the sunset to start our happily-ever-after. As the screen fades to black I look like Joanna Cifredo flaws and all, but with long flowing hair, a perfect rack, and the waist of a 12 year old Chinese gymnast…