Earlier this week, my friend Regina (at least in my head) of BYREGINA, shared a story on her Periscope broadcast that really resonated with me. She talked about seeing an advertisement for a list of top leaders in her industry that didn’t include any women or people of color. She went on to discuss how often we long and yearn to be included in spaces that often willfully exclude us and how misguided it can be to try to work hard to be included, instead of simply creating our own spaces. Specifically she said, “we must be conscious of the times we strive to make the list and conscious of the times we need to make the list irrelevant.” The mantra that rose from that Periscope was “Eff the list.” If someone doesn’t see fit to include you in their space or on their list for whatever reason, eff their list and make your own list! Even though her story had nothing to do with relationships and dating, she challenged her viewers to think about our own lists and all the times we’ve tried to bend and mold to fit into a space that wasn’t meant for us in the first place.
As she continued to speak, my thoughts turned to my breakup several years ago and all the ways I doubted myself and questioned myself because I didn’t fit the qualities on my ex’s list. I wasn’t domestic enough. I wasn’t flexible enough. I didn’t eat healthy enough. I wasn’t outgoing enough. For months after the breakup, I carried the weight of that list on my shoulders, questioning how I could have done things differently and wondering if there was anything I could do to make him see that I could be his list. Only time and working with my own therapist/coach helped me to realize that just because he claimed those things of me did not mean they were true of me. After many months of misery, I was finally able to realize that I did not have to answer to that which was not my name. I finally realized that he was entitled to his list and I was entitled to tell him what he could do with that list!
Of course it is only with the wisdom of hindsight that I can share this, but I am sure that some of you can relate. Perhaps you are stuck in the cycle of feeling miserable because your ex laid out a list that you desperately wanted to match and no amount of contortion would allow you to achieve it. Or perhaps you are fearful about dating the next guy because the list of things that are “wrong” with you, as defined by your ex, are haunting you. If this is the case, I want to give you permission to let go of this list because it isn’t yours to carry anyway. Eff their list!!! Make a new list! Make a list of all the ways you shine and all the awesome things you have to offer a partner. Make a list of all the cities you want to visit or all the new books you’d like to read. Make a list of all the ways you hope to strengthen your friendships and the new hobbies you’d like to try. Regardless of what’s on the list, the point is to make a list that is yours!
Are you holding on to a list from your ex that’s keeping you stuck? Here’s your chance to get rid of it! Think of the comment section below as your dumping ground. What are you going to leave here? Today? Right now?