"What's wrong with being elitist if you are trying to encourage people to join the elite rather than being exclusive?" Richard Dawkins

I'm an elitist. There I said it. Being in a place where I have an even wider variety of people with differing experiences, life paths, belief systems, etc. has made me realize just how much my access to education and corresponding "pedigree" has impacted me. The way I talk, what I talk about, how I carry myself, why I dress the way I do, and everything in between communicates I am a product of an immense amount of privilege. There's nothing implicitly wrong with that per say but it can easily become a problem in snobbishness, snootiness, and unappealing arrogance. I don't think I'm better than other people but pretending I'm like other people is a falsity for us all. I have had a rare life experience with a lot of opportunity. I think for me it shows up most when people are intimidated by me, have difficulty coming to terms with my existence, or remark about how put together/decisive about my life I seem. It can be challenging to explain why I am the way I am, and then I dive into theory and I realize they know nothing about what I'm talking about. Someone not knowing isn't a problem if they're willing to learn as much as they are also willing to teach me new things as well; it's when they would rather remain ignorant and unaware that sets of red flags of do not pass go in my head. Unlearning elitism or mitigating it will be a lifelong process for me, and the older I get the more I become engrossed in certain spaces where it is pervasive. 

I can count on my hands the number of people I've connected with romantically who had all the facets of a knowledge of pop culture (specifically meme culture) for my allegorical references, the intellectual capacity to have dynamic conversations on anything and everything, and the awareness of social justice, equity, and inclusion to validate my humanity and recognize their own as well. Is it too much to ask for someone who gets me or wants to get me? The more education you get, the smaller the dating pool becomes, and that is not to set it is a prerequisite but if we're unable to have substantive conversation, how can we be anything more? What I'm learning is pedigree only matters as much as we let it but ignoring it can sometimes set us up for failure. People can lead drastically different lives and can live a few miles apart. The food we eat, what we buy, the media we consume, the conversations we have, the places we go, and the list goes on on and on - they're all impacted by our socioeconomic status and social class, to some degree. I just want someone with ambitions on par with my own or the capacity to support them. I want someone who gets to dream big, thinks about the world with a sense of responsibility, hope, and optimism or at least pragmatism. I know all those all stem from privilege - it's when you are in a place to think about lofty goals, motivations, social issues, etc. instead of just trying to survive that those things happen. But that's where I am, and that's okay - as long as I don't impose that expectation on others. It's having my standards but also being willing to deviate from them to give people a chance. We like what we like, but it is also worthwhile for us to interrogate where got those likes from. 

Know your worth. Always, always, always  - know your worth. In all honesty, I believe people are inherently invaluable, priceless, and incomparable. The ways we treat others though speaks volumes about us, and sometimes we treat people as disposable. I think we have to give grace especially in getting to know people. It can be so easy to write people off and throw them away. Find one thing you dislike about them, they say the wrong thing, they wore a really loud pattern, etc. and they are sorted into the discard pile. Swipe left, unmatch, block - never to be heard from or thought about again. The reality is that there is someone on the other side of those interactions - a whole person, whether we recognize it or not. We have to be kind in how we treat others, especially when they have a romantic interest in us. It's the very least we can do, and honestly that's all we are obligated to do. We do not owe people explanations or justifications as to why we feel or don't feel what we do. We don't have to give a soliloquy as to why we're not feeling it. We don't have to defend our opinions about a romance. All it takes is a no, nope, not into it, and it's over, finished, cancelled, dead on arrival, return to sender, bloopity, bloop, bloop. 

We should not have to convince someone to give us a chance or to like us back; it's demeaning, degrading, and beneath us. We deserve better AND we have to be better. We have to stop chasing people who don't want us. We have to stop wasting our time with those who do not value us. We have to accept only the love we deserve, and that is only the best. We have to cut our losses, let it go, and move on. We also have to be okay with not always getting definitive closure; we could always give it to ourselves, and call it quits instead of waiting for a conclusive conversation that may never come. We get to keep trudging on instead of wallowing over others who did not give us the respect we deserve. The tough truth is people are allowed to not like us. We are not obliged to like, let alone love anyone. Nobody owns us or our hearts, minds, or bodies. We don't we anyone anything. Love is non-negotiable, plain and simple. It's either a yes or no thing. Either we're about it, or we're not. Let's own what we feel, make it known, and get explicit with it.

Know your worth and never settle for less. Giving grace is part of the process but at the end of the day we need the spark, we deserve that kindling that sets our hearts ablaze. We get to have love that burns in and endless raging flame. Sometimes - hell, most of the time people are incompatible (whatever that means). Relationships are work but even more they are a choice (that's a whole separate blog post). Are you willing to choose this person over and over again? If the answer is no, then well you have your answer. How much work is too much? And there is such a thing as too much. If relationships cause you more hardship, anguish, or challenge than they build you up, make you better, strengthen you then the work outweighs the value of the relationship. I never want to be unsure of my choice of someone, and I never want them to feel that way about me either. Yes we can learn and grow from the relationships and situationships we partake in but there are times when we know it's not going to work or be what we really need. We have to know we're a top catch, and to only let ourselves get caught up with someone recognizes, validates, and appreciates that. 

Self-awareness and narcissism are often conflated. There is a key difference between the two, the latter is a sort of self-congratulations in the sense of solipsism whereas the former is a positionality of situational context. That is to say that self-awareness is almost never a bad thing. I think it is truly disingenuous and woefully naive to expect people to pretend to be unaware of who they are, what they have to offer, or how they're showing up. Humility has its place but when there are instances where we have to essentially sell ourselves such as interviews and auditions. Isn't that what dating is - auditioning to see if you get cast in the part of love interest? Of course I'm not advocating for people to be braggadocios about themselves but playing coy is also nonsensical. I want to see your best self on display, then slowly but surely dive deeper as we go. First impressions matter because oftentimes they can be the only impressions people get of us. I'm not going to downplay what I'm working with or the systems and people that helped me get here. There's nuance between gratitude and self-deprecation. I believe this is one of those times where you get to highlight the best of you and be proud of it. It's all about how you tell your story - having command of it means it doesn't have command of you. You are your story - not the other way around. X


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