This is the fifth post of my “Real and Raw” guest post series. And I love that Chartel Findlater decided to tackle my favorite topic of all…relationships! And honestly, when you read her beautiful words, you will find that this is less about relationships and dating, and more about self-love and growth. Chartel speaks like a goddess. A goddess who has suffered some blows, walked away with some battle scars, yet picked herself up and kept going. I could cry just thinking about how WORTH IT we all are, despite how hard things can get sometimes. Especially when it comes to matters of the heart and intimacy.
Chartel Findlater was actually featured in one of my previous blog posts, “Women Answer: What Are You Trying To Manifest Right Now?” And I highly recommend you check out her words from that article as well. Because she has a rock solid amount of wisdom, and yet carries the ability to remain so vulnerable as well. A true Goddess Attainable if there ever was one!
Chartel Findlater is a local Philly gal (so yes, I’m super partial towards her!). And she is the Maker-In-Chief of Gold+Water Co. Seriously, this woman is badass! As I’m sure you are about to discover…
Today is Valentine’s Day as I write this. I would describe myself as a hopeful romantic. Definitely a hopeful romantic despite the fact that in the past, in the considerably few romantic relationships I had, I have previously chosen partners who did not choose me – or at least they did not choose me in nearly the same way that I had chosen them. Not with the same intensity. Not with the same intentionality. And not with my best interest at heart, in the way that I believed at the time that mine was inclined toward being mindful of theirs.
At times, I genuinely found some sense of nobility and fulfillment in enduring difficult situations and relationships that I now realize were inundated with red flags. Some of the situations were more intense and complicated than others. Some involved nice guys who simply had goals and values that were out of alignment with my own, causing tension and friction in even mundane situations. Then there were those situations with long episodes of arguing or repeated misunderstandings and habitual inconsiderations.
And then there was one relationship in particular which was especially harmful and riddled with verbal disrespect, and many bizarre, harmful, shockingly inappropriate and traumatizing incidents. And it was manipulative to the point that I wondered if I was losing my mind. Actually, I did start to lose my mind. And even in that, I still tried to endure it, all for loyalty’s sake. All for the sake of wanting to be seen as good. And nice, and faithful, and strong. All for the sake of wanting to preserve my reputation in the face of the very pointed, unrelenting mistreatment. All for the sake of wanting to “make it work.”
REACHING ROCK BOTTOM
I was what popular culture might describe as a “ride-or-die” type of girl (i.e. someone so loyal and committed to their partner that they are purportedly willing to withstand anything…or almost anything). Yes, I was a “ride-or-die,” willing to go down with the proverbial ship…until one day I finally reached rock bottom at the hands of a repeated abuser – physically, mentally, spiritually abusive- and decided I needed to take a look at my own choices if I were to avoid a situation like that again.
When all of these situations inevitably collapsed for whatever surface reasons, I would feed into the notion that this guy or that one had given up on something that could have potentially been great; or that he had lost out on something incredible. I would buy into whatever biased comments my friends and family would make to console me about how foolish or immature he must have been to let me go or to end things. The reasons they cited included me being nice and ambitious and that I “had a lot going” for myself. And then I would go and inadvertently choose the same type of person to date again because I did not even have a frame of reference for addressing the problems with this kind of thinking and interacting on my part.
MAKING PEACE WITH THE PAST
At the time of those relationships, I invested a great deal without reciprocation. Somehow, I innocently thought I was doing these guys a courtesy. I was a “good girl” and I had a quiet, naive “knowing” that they would never find a love and care like mine ever again. They would never find someone who held them down this way, so to speak. I never once considered that I was doing myself the greatest of disservices by holding on for whatever reasons and time period I did.
I don’t think much about any of the men I dated before, or those times anymore, but I do hope the best for anyone I have ever interacted with. And I hope that those who truly wanted love and companionship- those who grew to want to grow- get to experience it. Because it changes you. It makes you…better. And honestly, I hope they never find another “me.” I hope they find or have found the right person for them.
Just a moment of honest reflection, from a much healthier, happier, and fulfilled place.
I have now had the opportunity to experience healthy, healing love. One that doesn’t require anything from me except that I just…am. The kind that propels me toward better choices and a better outlook, just because it exists. I found it in God before knowing and believing it could exist in me. And now I have found it in another. In trusted others. It’s the kind of light that is so brilliant and so profound that it leaves everything else I have experienced and every lesson learned in the most distant, dark shadows…virtually non-existent at this point.
How much do you love this goddess?! And wow, has she been through some dark times in relationships. I feel like I need to reread this a few times to let it all sink in, there’s just so much here! If you want to learn more about Chartel, you can visit her beautiful (and I do mean beautiful) Gold+Water website. Or, you can follow her on Instagram @goldandwaterco_
Thank you, Chartel, for sharing your precious self on The Goddess Attainable Blog! xo
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Featured photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash