I'm Thankful for All The Guys Who Didn't Want Me for Me

If you were to ask any relatively normal person “What are you thankful for?” this past Thanksgiving, they would probably respond by saying that they were grateful for “Their family”, “Their friends”, “Their education” or even “Their job.” However, if you were to ask me this year, I would probably say, with all honesty, that “I’m thankful for all the guys who didn’t want me for me.” Don’t get me wrong- I love my friends, family, and, yes, even my education, but this year was the year- the year I realized I could have it all and at no cost to myself.

Photo by Gerardo Rojas

I’ve previously been put into more situations than I’d want to admit where I pushed myself to become something I wasn’t...all in order to make the other person happy and take me more seriously. However, that cost me my own happiness. With one particular person, it meant keeping my head down and pretending to brush it off when he put me and everything else I stood for down. At that point of my life, I had become the worst version of myself that I had ever seen- questioning my sanity, doubting myself and my recollection of events, and making excuses for what he had said and done to me. I eventually walked away, however, I didn’t walk away empty-handed.

Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia​

Before, I saw myself in a pretty negative light. Every time things didn’t work out with a guy, I found myself asking “What’s wrong with me?” I wondered if I was in the way of my own happiness- maybe I wasn’t patient enough, funny enough, or even smart enough? Was I trying too hard? Was I not trying hard enough? There was just no end to it. But with a change of perspective, I’ve found myself in a more enlightened state.

Instead of focusing on my faults, I’m applauding the little (and not so little) attributes that make me shine. I may not always be the most patient, but I have waited in blistering weather on a moment’s notice just so I wouldn’t miss the next bus to another campus- just to see someone I cared about for an hour or two. I may not always be the most understanding, but I learned how to appreciate the art of football and feign interest in a few other sports for the sake of seeing someone happily ramble on and on about them. I have so much love to give and I recognize now that I don’t need to tear myself apart to find love.

These guys, who at the end, didn’t want me for me, have all, individually, given me both beautiful memories and painful memories. Because of them, I can look back fondly on memories of being dared to eat a raw chili pepper and comically resisting the urge to cry, exploring a nearby town I’d otherwise never would have had the opportunity to explore, and learning about the history of the local Daniel’s Pizza during a walk on an (un)fortunately brittle and rainy night in New Brunswick.

However, I’m especially thankful for the painful memories. I’m thankful for all the guys who didn’t want me for me because my experiences with them, especially the heart-breaking ones, led me to grow as a person. They made me realize what I wanted for myself in a partner but also what I valued in myself. Without them, I wouldn’t have been pushed to challenge my values, morals, and beliefs. Because of you all, I’m so much stronger.

So, thank you.