A few months ago I was made aware, and by more than one person, of my lack of a love life. Not only have certain individuals felt the need to point out something that, yes- I am fully aware of, but they also felt the need to tell me what they thought I was doing wrong in terms of attracting men.

The “constructive” criticisms of course included my physical appearance. I could fix my makeup, dress nicer, lose some weight, etc. But surprisingly, most of the critiques were on my strong and independent personality. I was “too intimidating” and “too independent.” If I wanted to attract men I had to at least pretend I was mildly insecure and in need of a strong boy to take care of me so he could feel better about himself.

1.) I apparently NEED a man. The fact that I am halfway through college and don’t have one already, and haven’t found one yet, apparently implies that there is something wrong with me and it needs to be fixed immediately.

2.) I am supposed to change myself in order to find a man “who loves you [me] for who you are!”

A bit of a contradiction, don’t you think?

society is ugly

I am ashamed to admit that I was a willing participant who also agreed that my singleness was a problem, and the solution was that I needed to change and/or fix myself. The insecurity was in high gear, all feminist values thrown out the window. I even took to heart some of the “advice” I had received and attempted to transform myself into someone who would be “worthy” of male attention.

I know, I know- ridiculous and sad, but true. But I have a feeling I am not the only young woman in the world who has given into the same pressures and insecurities.

But you know what? Changing myself, or at least attempting to, only made ME unhappy and LESS confident. I was losing myself to bottle of weight loss pills (which are NOT good for you and did not work) and an assortment of unnecessary beauty products. I put on the mask of a ditzy damsel in distress in an attempt to leave behind my once firm values of female empowerment, confidence and independence. And quite frankly I hated looking myself in the mirror. I was a hypocrite! And I was desperate, and more insecure than ever.

So how did I find my way back? A medical emergency involving my heart due to the horrible diet pills I was taking. That was my wake up call.

What was I doing?! I could have killed myself! And for what? To potentially impress some insecure man who wouldn’t even end up liking me for who I really was?

No. That is not what I wanted.

After that moment, I made a promise to myself that I would not change who I was, physically or otherwise, to fit another person’s expectations. I would love myself for who I was, and stay true to my morals and values.

I engrossed myself in healthy living (mentally and physically), and surrounded myself with positive healthy people who supported and accepted me for me.

That’s not to say that staying true to who you are and what you believe is easy. There are still days where I may waiver and the insecurities come creeping back, but I don’t let them win.

I am proud to be the woman that I am. I am a feminist. I am strong and confident. I am independent and intelligent. I am beautiful inside and out.

If you are the type of man or woman who thinks that that is too “scary” or intimidating”, and that I should mold my mind and my body to anyone else’s standards but my own- I pity you. If those are the rules you play by you must be just as unhappy as I was.

Don’t be that person.

Love and respect yourself enough to just be you.