But, there is a middle ground. When thinking of patriarchal norms and gender dynamics in romantic relationships, I am seeking the middle as a 30 year old womanist. I love men, I want them around, I enjoy them, and I want to express that, but not to the extent that I sacrifice for it, act out, and leave little room for their freedom. At the same time, I do not wish to be alone, even though cold turkey feels so much easier than negotiating the middle ground I am seeking.
The middle ground allows that my dynamic energy is used intentionally, not manipulatively or desperately. The middle ground requires me to cultivate the magnetic energy further. The middle ground doesn’t confine me to stereotypical gender roles and performance of femininity for the sake of the male gaze. The middle ground also allows me to be sexy, because I feel like it and because I am. The middle ground necessitates prayer, God’s guidance and intuition. The middle ground is the present, and so my posture of protection – prediction, needs to be acknowledged for the benefit of it in some arenas, but asked to minimize its grasp in here. The middle ground is the present, and so my history of disappointment and hurt needs to be acknowledged as no longer my condition. The middle ground is safe, although it is unknown. In the middle ground, I release the fear of ambiguity and go with God. I tap in, in the middle ground. I trust myself, my God self, and that is enough.
In the middle ground, I am not the exclusive pursuer of men because I’m acting out of a perceived unmet need. I offer connection and communication, because I give. In the middle ground, I allow men to pursue, because I feel less of a need to control each detail and more inclined to flex and adapt into an experience. I’m observant, not judgmental or critical, in the middle ground. I observe my reactions and myself acceptingly, compassionately, and lovingly. I know I’m in progress, and my worth is not contingent upon perfection. I observe my partners and pursuers and their reactions. I know the same thing I know about myself of them. In the middle ground, I can release a man, without punishing him. I can release him, because I love him. I become responsive, rather than reactive, in the middle ground.
I release the importance of timing and live the moment fully, in the middle ground. In the middle ground, I can resist trying to anticipate needs and ask. I can also share my needs, and not feel shorted that I had to share. In the middle ground, I can care, attend, offer, extend, invite, and please. In the middle ground, I am mature enough to receive care, attention, offering, extension, invitation, and pleasure. I know reciprocity, in the middle ground. I understand all of my needs are met through God, although a partner or pursuer may be a vessel. I also act as a vessel in the middle ground.
Sex is welcomed, enjoyable, mutually beneficial, erotic, and delicious in the middle ground. I am responsive and attuned to my body. I am patient with myself. I am passionate. The context is positive and pleasurable. I enjoy pleasing as much as I enjoy being pleased, in the middle ground. If I am performing, it is because I choose to be a show, an exhibition of talent. I’m not pornographic, in the middle ground; I am erotic. There is feeling attached to my sexuality. I am not compartmentalized. I am integrated. And I engage with intention and responsibility and respect.
In the middle ground, I am open, vulnerable, defenseless, because I know God. I am creative, loving, and receptive. I am joyous and peaceful. I am, in the middle ground.
- Candice Nicole
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