No, not her. Not the home wrecking kind. I’m talking about being this kind of woman. The one always on the fringe of happy coupledom. The one on paper who checks all the boxes, the one that is coveted from afar yet the up close and personal is a little too scary, a little too real, too raw to fully commit to. The woman that makes your pulse race and you think that if she would just give you her heart, you could love her forever.
But the reality is, this woman has given her heart over and over again only to be met by unanswered dreams, by lonely realities, by empty words whispered in eager ears. You see the reality of being the other woman is that our fierce need to love and be loved leaves us exposed to vicious elements. We attract the broken, the needy, the narcissists, the emotionally unavailable.
I used to feel shame putting my tender heart on the market, so easily scooped up by hungry souls. But the shame doesn’t lie in my willingness or openness to love, the shame lies in those who would abuse the privilege of being loved by me. The truth is, my eyes seek what I want people to see in me…that although at times I have failed, although I have riddled my life with mistakes and missteps that I am a soul filled with good intentions and a forgiving nature. That my cumulative actions are worthy of that elusive, beautiful acceptance.
But the reality remains that I am and may always remain the other woman. I am known for my wild ways, my passion, my reckless abandon. I am known as the whiskey drinking, hoop dancing, half naked, dance obsessed muse who feels too deeply, thinks too much and says yes too often. I have been told that I am the kind of woman you love from afar, who you allow to love you back and stop just shy of making it real…because real would mean accepting that you now have to deal with everyone else’s infatuation and that is just too much. Because to risk loving me back wholly would mean wanting me to change, it would mean wanting me to yourself and that would mean having to be enough for me…
and why risk having to show up when you can share me with the rest of the world, continue taking from me all that I am willing to give, which is everything that I am, because this woman doesn’t know how to half-ass it and hold back bits of herself.
And there are positives about being the other woman too…it means I don’t have to fully show up either. I can feed my ego being adored from afar. I am still in complete control of who I let in and when and if I choose, I can shut the world out, curl up into a ball and withdraw. No one is ever truly put off by this because there is no claim on my time, because I belong to no one and no one belongs to me.
And please spare me, I am not talking about people as literal possessions. I am talking about what we all hope for…that unyielding, unwavering love that demands its place in your life, that shows up when everyone else has gone, that folds you into the curve of their body as though you were truly carved from the same stone. The kind of love that builds cities and inspires art. The kind of pairing that sets the earth’s axis on its end. Love that endures late night meltdowns and bathrooms filled with candles and Jack Daniels, love that withstands the woman trying to heal the girl, love that understands that every time she tries to find herself in the love of a man that she is piecing herself back together as best she can and she’s learning to love herself in a way that only she can.