You Don’t Owe Me Anything, But I Owe Myself Self-Respect

If we’re going to date, don’t worry. I know that you don’t owe me anything.

You’re someone who has their own life to worry about and I have mine.

You will be the guy who takes me out to dinner and drinks once or twice a week, and I will be the girl who gives you something cute to look at. I’ll play bubbly, adorable, and coy and you’ll play mysterious and sexy. I’ll make you laugh until you cry, and you’ll find yourself forgetting every little care in the world when you’re with me, because you know me. I’m just soo chill and drama-free.

Everything will be easy. Everything will be light.

You will do all those chivalrous things we were told you were supposed to do like opening every door, and I’ll blush every time. You’ll walk me to my subway stop and kiss me goodnight, and I’ll kiss you back.

Then I’ll hop on my train and all those things that didn’t surface on our date will resurrect back to life. I’ll wipe my makeup off and tie my hair into a bun. Then without control, my mind will run away to a very dark place I pretend I don’t go to when I’m with you. The place where all my darkest fears, vulnerabilities, uncertainties, and weaknesses galore run wild and free.

Believe it or not, everything isn’t always easy in my world. And everything isn’t always so light.

But God forbid that front of mine slips from under the cracks and I don’t give you something cute to look at. God forbid, my bubbliness gets taken over by the demons in my head. God forbid, I unlock the door to this other side of me—the side of me that may not exactly be your ideal date.

No, you don’t have to step into my door that unveils a world containing more than rainbows, butterflies, and miniskirts. So don’t worry if you don’t want to go there, because I haven’t forgotten that you don’t and will never owe me that much.

But with every dinner date and every drink we’ll have together, I can’t deny that I’m not always going to be Miss Happy-Go-Lucky. And even though revealing that side to someone like you scares me, I can’t help it. I’d love for you to be a part of it and a part of me, because you genuinely want to be a part of that, a part of me, and so much more.

I’d love for you to hold my hand for more than a rum and Coke and a dance at one of your top five favorite bars.

But hey, if that’s not something you want to be a part of, if that’s not a side of me you want to be involved with—then I just want to make one thing clear.

If you only want me to show you the ideal dinner date side of me and nothing more, then I have news for you. Having that part of me and nothing else means you never really had me at all. Because you can’t truly have me without having the messy and complicated sides too.

I’m just not going to be dainty and sweet all the time, and it’s OK if you can’t handle that or if that’s not what you were looking for here. You don’t owe it to me. But I do owe myself something.

And that’s being true to myself—and every part of me—not just the easily digestible portions. I deserve to have someone who wants more than the pretty picture, but the big picture. I deserve someone who wants me for my beauty and my madness. I deserve to have someone who wouldn’t want me to compromise who I truly am.

And no, you don’t have to be that person. But just know that I won’t remain a pretty piece of fluff so things are more comfortable for you, because I don’t owe you that much either, and I never will.

Ella

Ella

Ella lives in New York City and eats a Chipotle sofrita bowl once a week. When she was four, she wanted to be Posh Spice when she grew up. (And for the record, she hasn't ruled out that option just yet)
Ella
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