• nomtondo

Evolved: What I Will Pay For

Updated: Jun 17

Expectation. Reciprocity. Intimacy. Promise. Making and spending time. Belonging. True Belonging.

These words and actions are inevitable when it comes to one thing. The one thing we all crave but sometimes shyly suppress, too afraid to admit. It is the one thing we all want from each other yet destroy and withhold. It has been called many things over the centuries. It has evolved into more complicated meanings. It has been skinned to weigh less than its value. But I still call it a relationship. The priceless measure of a human cycle.

Connecting with someone in any capacity is a relationship - whether for countless minutes or a short period of time - seconds, weeks, months. Whether for sex, an informal hang-out or for a prolonged meeting. Whether connecting through many text messages or following someone on social media who you never talk to or never will. All these are relationships and they matter to us, very much.

I suffered from this word relationship.

It was the one thing I craved growing up but didn’t receive in full or with pleasure. The Ghanaian culture did not allow it to be easy nor did it allow it to be experienced freely and softly. It was harsh, debatable and unclear most times. I was related to this and that person, but I had no relationship with them. I often did not know where I stood with anyone in the family, but I knew I stood in uncertainty when it came to my relationships.

Bond by blood yet complete strangers who lived together for years.

Over time my lack of true comprehension of relationships matured into expectations of those around me and those I chose to call friends. I was possessive and protective of my relationships, no matter how shallow, because in my mind I was trying to figure out where I stood – if I stood anywhere within the connection we shared. In my mind, I gave them my attention, love and time and expected it in return, and when I did not receive it or when it was trampled upon, I was heartbroken and devastated. Melancholy fed on me with great pleasure. I wanted what I gave so freely to be reciprocated; not in the same manner but at least I hoped to not wonder about it.

I was prone to continuously dragging my deeply wounded emotions to the slaughterhouse in the form of inattentive friends and relationships that died a while ago, but I did not know. Why did I not know? Was I too happy to notice or too fear to open my eyes?

I did not realize that sometimes giving love, affection and care will not always be appreciated enough to be reciprocated – that is if at all appreciated. What a rude awakening I had.

My outlook on relationships started to evolve after my global travels and professional and personal breakdown. Notice I did not say “change”, I said “evolve”.

I evolved. I did not change.



I evolved from having expectations and reciprocity of those I call friends and family. I evolved to choosing to spend quality time with people who made me happy anywhere in the world. It did not matter where they were in the world, if I was able to afford it, I showed up. Distance was not an issue, the value I was receiving and bringing back with me, was

I stopped asking if they love and value me as much as I did them. I never asked directly to start with, but I stopped wondering about the question and its answer. I freed myself. I stopped waiting to feel or hear an answer of what we have or where we stood. I stopped looking for their signature on the “agreement” scroll. Heck I tossed out the scroll altogether. I stopped expecting anyone to reciprocate the quality of commitment I poured into the relationship. I realized after many tears, anger, break ups and breakdowns that I valued something more.

I dug deep, searched wide and narrow and found out through many self-talk, self-prune, self-love, trails and errors that I valued above everything… the one thing I will fly millions of miles for; stop everything I’m doing and walk thousands of hours for is quality time.

Quality time is what oils my internal machine. It is my bread and butter, my source of mental and emotional survival. It greases my intellectuality and pampers my values. It is what brings me the most happiness, love and a true belonging. It is my love language.

Let me explain further…

The most precious, most priceless thing you will EVER give someone is your time. And when you do that, you evolve.

When I figured that out, I evolved.

A new sense of self-confidence and discovery was that I spend and give you my time because I want to. It makes me so happy to spend time with someone, so I do. And while my old self will get annoyed and miserable that others did not reciprocate this gesture or relationship, my evolved mind is now as steady as a flatline and unbothered if you understand, abuse or reciprocate it. You know why? Because the same way I walked in with it, I am always just as excited to walk out – with it.

In other words, my self-value has a price tag and the price increases for the sake of my mental health and how deep I have matured over a certain period.

Selfish? No. Powerful. Hell YES!

I own my time and space. I hold that space and that’s the beginning and end of it.


There is a new sense of commitment to my mental and emotional health which morphs into joy that will forever stay and comfort me – without the presence, actions or words of the other person. When I choose to spend quality time with someone, it is my gift to you. And like gifts, the power and message behind it is lost if you expect the same or more in return. Also, like gifts, taking them back is not always nice BUT not repeating that gesture is absolutely in your right.

Now hug yourself. Give yourself kisses. Forgive yourself. Smile. Go spend time with others who are worth it.

love,

nomtondo


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