“Be more demure. Don’t swear. Men like girls who are feminine. Don’t show your crazy until you have a ring on your finger. Make sure you look pretty. Make sure he feels needed. Don’t cry in front of him. Wear makeup, not too much though. Be smart, but not too smart.”

These messages have been ingrained in my head since I was a little girl, From my mother, my friends, society, culture, magazines, movies, tv shows, and self-help books. Grooming myself, perfecting myself, making sure that I was all the things I was supposed to be in order to attract a guy and keep a guy was of utmost priority. I just wanted to be someone’s wife, dammit!

On this mission, I would hide the parts of myself that were not perfect. God forbid I exposed the side that got angry. Or the side that felt sad. Or the shame of feeling fucking destroyed when a guy liked me just a bit but never enough. And so I would morph into what I thought men wanted: submissive, nurturing, feminine, helpless but, simultaneously independent without needs or demands. Oh and of course, a hot Asian fantasy all at the same time.

And when a man treated me badly or rejected me I would blame myself, analyzing what was wrong with me. Get better. You’re not good enough the way you are. You’re too emotional. You’re too intense. You showed too much interest!

I’m happy to report, that all my emotional contortionism has led to… a whole lot of nothing. Lots of mini romances, intense beginnings, and abrupt endings. So what the fuck. I tried listening to all the things I was told to do, and it didn’t work. So now I’m left, with just me. Raw, vulnerable, intense, passionate, emotional, analytical, opinionated, feminine, masculine, me. Not just parts of me, cherry picked like a custom order salad — but ALL OF ME.

I’m done adjusting, accommodating, and placating so I could attract and keep someone who cannot handle my awesome. From the guy who didn’t like that I initiated sex, because “that’s a man’s job.” To the guy who told me that my vocabulary was “too analytical’ for his liking. To the guy who complained I cared about my career too much. To the guy who tried to convince me that if he were to “accidentally have casual sex with someone”, that it shouldn’t end the relationship because at least he was emotionally monogamous. I’m no victim here, I acknowledge I was an active participant in all these scenarios. I take accountability for what a sucker I was all those years, to take the discomfort of these men as signals for me to change, to tone down, to be more of what they wanted.

So, for the record, to any guy who wants to date me, there will be no bait and switch. Here I am, girl untamed. If you want to be my partner, know that you better be able to match my awesome. Know what you’re getting into, because my days of suppressing parts of my personality are over.

I love and feel deeply, intensely and unapologetically. I’d have it no other way. I’m powerful, dominant and wild. I am both highly analytical and boldly emotional. I’m not ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ of anything. Don’t think that you can be drawn to my life force and then punish me for the very emotional range that gives me the capacity to touch your heart.

I don’t need your money, your status or to be your plus one. Because I’ve created all of that on my own. I’m not looking for you to complete or validate me. So no, I won’t need you, but I may choose you.

I’m not looking to tip toe around your issues around intimacy. If you’re going to dance with me, get ready to unearth those sides of you, that too, have been long suppressed. Because, I want all of you.I will not tolerate your bad behavior or chase you if you run from conflict. But if you’re game, I will work through those tough parts when your inner child is freaking the fuck out. I can’t promise it will be easy, but I do know it will be worth it.

Go through the fire with me. I’ll hold your hand. We’ll dance through the pain and rise through the flame. This is the type of love that makes life worth living.