I binge watched season 2 of a show called She’s Gotta Have It recently. I gave the first season a lot of shit for how it portrayed polyamory back when it was released. I had been previously so excited about it’s debut – a strong black female lead who was pansexual AND polyamorous! Sign me up.

It’s too bad I didn’t have this blog back then because I could’ve linked back to my thoughts and opinions about the show back then because I’m 100% sure I would’ve written about it. Instead you’ll have to settle for this snapchat screenshot. Ultimately I hated how they portrayed polyamory under a shroud of secrecy. The knowing someone is seeing others but have their head stuck in the sand – I like to call it Ostrich Syndrome. It’s never how I’ve liked to practice polyamory and I have a hard time supporting others who live their life through that sort of veil.

I know it has cost me potentially beautiful relationships with people who appreciated my honesty about my relationship structure but couldn’t commit to the lifestyle after feelings became involved. Monogamy usually wins in those instances and it’s not something I’ve been willing to compromise in the last few years. But, I think it’s important to be honest and true to yourself and perhaps those people just weren’t right for you at that particular time and might come back someday or they saved themselves the heartache and moved on to find happiness elsewhere.

So anyway, back to the present day. There was this quote in the final episode of this season that really got me. The actor said it and I hit the pause button on my laptop and let it sink in. I felt like they were talking about me and even some other women I know who are going through this very same thing.

The quote that made my pause Netflix (I know, shocking!):

She’s in the thick of it – individuating. Whether you’re talking about friends or family or people you admire or despise….You have to individuate your wants form theirs in order to honor your true self. It can be a thrilling and painful process. But who wants to see or be a black orchid that never fully opens?

– She’s Got To Have It

Let the weight of that really set in for a moment.

When I let it set in, all sorts of things start bubbling to the surface. At first, I thought, that’s so totally me. That’s what I’ve been doing. It’s ultimately why I’ve been pushing a number of people away from me, pulling others closer and essentially starting over in multiple areas of my life.

I’ve realized that I haven’t spent enough time honoring my true self because I haven’t really known who she is. I’ve spent a great deal of my adult life as a people pleaser. More specifically as a partner pleaser.

It’s a hard truth to take a step back, peel yourself away from that love and safe place to discover that you have no identity of your own. That all the things you liked and did were a manifestation of the relationship you were in, adapting to your situation and your surroundings.

I never really ever carved a space out for myself in any of my relationships because I’ve genuinely loved catering to my partners. I love making sure their needs are met and they are living their happiest lives.

That’s all fine and dandy but I was often times losing myself in the process. Not at all the fault of my partners by the way. Most have been loving, supportive and even pushed me to pursue my own passions and live my best life. It was ME who was stopping the self-discovery, not them.

It was all my fault.

So when I heard this quote, it brought back all those feelings I’ve had about how I haven’t really given myself the time I’ve needed to individuate. I was in two long term relationships from 16 – 29. I moved out to LA a couple months after my 29th birthday and did a little bit of dating before jumping right back into another year long relationship.

Because….Nicole, if you’re not in a relationship you’re obviously just going to wither away and die. I mean honestly, it was all I’d really known in my adult life, being in a relationship. It’s what felt normal and comfortable and what was acceptable to everyone around me. A girl, single at my age?! Must be something wrong with her.

It’s kinda sad how there is so much importance placed on us as women to be in a relationship and on the track for marriage and children. I felt that pressure heading into 30 and for what? To jump into more relationships that eventually turned out not to be a right fit because my “clock is ticking” and it’s “what is expected” of me as a vagina owner. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck that!

Then at 30 I started exploring polyamory and that brought 3 rather amazing people into my life. But, forget about having time for life, much less self-development. But, it did force me to sit with a lot of different feelings I wasn’t used to dealing with before. I also learned how to communicate better then I had even communicated in my past monogamous relationships, although I still have a lot of work to do in that department as well.

I believe my exploration of polyamory has lead to me opening up more as a person, exploring sides of myself with each partner I didn’t even know were there! Heck, I’ve done and experienced things I never thought were even possible. I’ve felt deeper love then I imagined and experiences a kind of honesty and truth that I can never live without now.

I wouldn’t change it for the world! But now it’s time for me. It’s hard to even say that with out feeling pummeled by guilt but it needs to be put out in the universe.

I’ve hid behind the loves in my life, my past, my traumas and given myself a million excuses time and time again not to progress. Those loves have gone, others are still in my life in some way, shape or form and I’m grateful for them. I’ve learned so much from each relationship I’ve been in as well. I’m attracting new love and energy into my life as well and I want to ensure that I set myself up for success in future relationships, business and life in general.

But most of all, I want to be a person who understands themselves and their wants independent of those around me.

It’s time to turn inward and carve out a space for myself to not only bud but bloom like a beautiful flower. It’s time to work on myself regardless of the other circumstances in my life. That is not to say that I am about to neglect anyone or anything like that, but I’m at a turning point in my life, I believe, that requires a majority of my attention and energy.

I am, after all, in the thick of it….individuating.