It has taken me quite some time to get around to writing this post for a couple of reasons. I felt it necessary to 1.) Give plenty of background (via previous posts) so that you guys could get a gist for the heart behind what I write and, 2.) As much as possible I wanted to make sure I wasn’t presenting certain things in a boastful manner.
How It All Started
In order to share how I arrived here, it makes sense to blast you back to a time when I did play the games, ALL of them. You guys know by now, I was the textbook example of a sexual trauma survivor, which impacted the way I existed in dating/romantic relationships. Generally I had an inability to trust men. Another aspect of it that got way out of hand was my desire to make men pay for what my perpetrator did to me. This vow is what earned me a pretty stiff reputation for maintaining the upper hand with men.
Because of my determination to never allow a man to have control over or hurt me again, I completely shut down parts of me that were or could be vulnerable. I did what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted. In order to keep myself from falling for any particular guy, I always had a rotation of 3-4 men. I was even brazen enough to let them know their positions. I really had no concern whatsoever for how they felt about any of it.
To be fair, there was one guy during the course of this time who was nearer to my heart than anyone else but he too was never truly able to penetrate the hard shell I’d formed around my heart.
Everything was on my terms, and if their desires just so happened to align with mine, great! If not, it wasn’t my problem. I was keenly aware of the games men play because I was exposed to countless conversations between my brother and his friends. Plus, I regularly received revelations from my male friends as well. I must say, fellas, you guys predictably play THE same games EVERY time. But I’d already be a step ahead. I was ravenous and yet subtle in this way.
Not sure if it was sheer confusion or the challenge but, the fact that I was able to sidestep their games and ensnare them in mine seemed to consistently grant me a favorable advantage. To this day, when I run into certain people, this is what they want to talk about. A nickname or two were definitely birthed during this season.
Know this, my entire aim was to outsmart men and keep my heart intact. My goal wasn’t love or a committed relationship. So, while I could certainly say that I succeeded in maintaining the upper hand in this regard. I failed miserably at allowing myself to explore what was truly in my heart. Also not something I’m proud of is the men I hurt in my own pursuit not to be hurt.
Unfortunately, I didn’t stop operating this way because I felt bad. It was my realization that parts of me were literally dying that caused me to make a drastic turn. I’ll never forget looking in my closet one day and realizing I may have only owned two things that were pink. It hit me in that moment that I’d even gone as far as to reject my femininity. Makes sense though, right? How else would I have been able to maintain such a stance. I was truthfully functioning characteristically as one of my nicknames, “the ninja” (of course that’s another “n” word). While previously, this was hilarious to me and my friends, all of a sudden it was no longer cute. In fact, it was despicable.
You guys have read about many components of my healing journey. What I’ve left out until now was me having to fight to reclaim my true femininity, and I mean this was a fight. After all, my femininity was one of the things I blamed for being raped. “If only I wasn’t weak, it would have never happened.” Of course, this line of thinking wasn’t accurate, but it had become a core belief.
Since this epiphany also coincided with me coming to Christ, I became extremely interested in the functional purposes for God’s creation of male and female. Women were literally created to receive, physiologically and otherwise. We were created with different characteristics than men. Shoot, we even have different brains than men. And guess what? These all are good things. No, these are beautiful things.
I had to learn how to BE a woman. More importantly, one who embraced her true femininity.
This may sound crazy, but the Lord taught me how to be a woman. I talked before about what a special season this was between me and the Lord. He led me to the historical accounts about women in the Bible who had critical roles. I studied their characteristics and imagined those that weren’t printed on the pages I read. I asked Him to uproot all of the lies I believed about what it meant to be a woman. I asked Him to show me how to be the woman He created me to be. I asked Him to help me to see myself as He sees me. I could feel my hardened exterior melting away. It was scary, but it felt good.
My Decision To Stop Playing Games
The real test of me embracing my femininity was learning to yield and receive in dating/romantic relationships. This meant being open to being vulnerable. This was no longer such a dirty word to me, but I still had no clue what it looked like. What I did know was, at the very least, I would commit to no longer playing the games. I would instead be honest about who I am, what my desires are, and what my intentions are.
Here’s the catch, if I am devoted to being straight-up, I refuse to accept anything less from men. Enter stage left…the challenge in dating. As I mentioned above, a lot of men predictably play the same games…but I get it! You guys play them because they typically work. But for me, it’s just annoying. Sometimes it’s as if I’m having an outer body experience and I’m hovering over the dinner table saying, “Noooooo, don’t do it! Just chill!”
I have even tried to level with guys. This one lad just knew he was doing something. He was doing the whole full court press then fallback bit. I said, “Hey, I realize what you’re trying to do here. I’m not mad, I imagine this works most of the time. I’ve actually played this game before and was probably better at it than you. If we could just skip over this part, that would be great!” LAWD this mouth of mine (lol). Of course he didn’t stop so, that was the end of that.
Now, right from the start, if I see that games are being played, I won’t even proceed. The thing is, the games people play in dating are not honoring to each other or the budding relationship. I don’t desire to engage in interactions that are void of a mutual desire to honor one another.
Plenty of people say they don’t play games, but in fact, they do. Honestly, most times saying that is part of a game. This isn’t something you have to announce. You just don’t do it! Choosing not to play games has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It has enhanced the quality of my interactions with men beyond that of which you could ever imagine.
I want to challenge you to explore what it would look like for you to choose to stop playing games in your dating/romantic relationships. What would it look like instead to seek to honor the person you’re getting to know with love and honesty?