I grew up in a family of women. Not solely, but girls definitely ran/run the Allison family world. In all my 31 years I have seen the women closest to me engage in relationships, but never anything that made me aspire to emulate what they had. My mom, aunts, grandmother, even my closest female cousins….all single women and/or mothers. Not to say that it’s not admirable, I mean we’ve all managed to succeed, overcome and be great on our own terms, but its a factor I had to honestly consider as I maneuvered in these love streets. An ex once told me, in an effort to hurt my feelings I guess, “you gon end up single just like the rest of the women in your family,” smh lol as if being with him didn’t make single womanhood look like God’s greatest blessing. #illtaketwoplease

Moving along, having so many independent woman close to me, set the tone for the type of woman I’d eventually become, with self-sufficiency being one of the greatest traits I’ve inherited from them. So when it came to love, having someone who could give me things didn’t move me. I’ve worked since I was 16, and once I graduated college and moved out on my own, I operated with the mindset that if I didn’t get it, I wouldn’t have it. I refused to be that female, in a relationship with someone, being mistreated, but unable to leave because he held the key to all the vital parts of my life.That same ex tried that once with a car he gave me smh; the situation ended in my favor but as soon as I could, I sold it and headed to the dealership. Not in the market, budget, or credit rating for a car, but I’d soon struggle to make it work on my own, than allow someone’s pettiness to put me in a place of helplessness. #fuckthatANDyou

Anyway, I say all that to say I soon realized that the things I needed from a relationship WEREN’T THINGS (Disclaimer: no dick pandering is taking place in the creation of this masterpiece btw). Past loves, came with gifts, and outings and all that cute shit we like to post on social media. But even with that, I didn’t need them. Not in the sense of “I don’t need no man”, but if they left/died/got kidnapped or whatever, Tiffany’s life would be in the same exact place, maybe a little sad but the loss wouldn’t be major. Not only were they not providing significant financial support, but they didn’t provide much life to my soul either; they weren’t watering me. Whether they were purposely draining, or just operating on a warped concept of love I can’t say, but I do know that the man who has my heart today provides a peace and happiness like no other ever has despite his circumstances. He bares his soul to me, and is so purposely transparent that it’s scary sometimes. He’s deliberately honest, which at first was weird to me because …. “why are you telling me this?” and his response would always be “I don’t want you to have to guess about anything, you may not always like the truth, but you’ll respect me more than if I tell you a lie, and you found out the truth elsewhere”.

Here is a man, savagely flawed, who can put absolutely NOTHING in my hand right now, or spoil me with trips and things like “they” say he should be able to. Yet he still chooses daily and deliberately to do whatever in his slight power to make me smile, or reassure me that he’s not wasting my time. Going into this, he was very adamant about telling me how it would be, how he’d seen what this kind of situation has the potential to do to families; relationships period, and how he didn’t want that outcome for us so he preferred that if I had any doubts to let him know. To this day, every once in a while he’ll ask me if I’m sure, “You really wanna be with me forever?” And not for nothing, he’s had his heart-broken in the very same way he’s warned me about, so I get it. We all want the person who’s loving us to handle our hearts with a significant degree of certainty. And that, I am.

In the end, love for me revolves around the intangible things. Experiences, memories, moments. On my deathbed I don’t see myself recalling how many pairs of shoes he bought, or the number of dinner dates we went on, right? I’ll remember (or want to remember) the laughs, the family gatherings, or the number of times I looked up and caught him staring at me like the true creep he was born to be lol. Would I prefer he be home? Of course. But he’s not, and he may not be for some time, so our reality is screen visits, its timed phone calls, and contact visits where privacy doesn’t exist. It’s saying everything you can remember to say RIGHT NOW because anything can happen in the next moment where we may not be able to speak again for a day, a week, or more. I don’t share that for pity, I’m a big girl with a pretty decent brain so I knew going into this relationship that there would be unique struggles and very little support. Most days I muscle through, with the strength of all the Allison women combined, aaaaand some days I’m useless and annoyed by everything and everybody because I miss him like crazy.