A Many Splendored Thing

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“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
John 13:34-35, KJV

“Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star.”
E.E. cummings​

In honor of Black History Month AND the upcoming Valentine holiday, allow me to reintroduce myself: my name is Shaunna Cooper and I’m a pure D, bona fide, genuine sucka for love; however, I must explain how love, lust, loyalty and lies led me to the single life I live today.

Next to Christmas and my birthday, Valentine’s day is my favorite holiday. I just love the idea of people sharing their expressions of love for one another. I know a lot of men despise February 14 because of pop culture and commercialism, but it really is sweet to see guys go all out to show affection to, as well as appreciation for their significant other. I know that women, being the more emotional sex, tend to get wrapped up in the festivity of it all, but at the end of the day, we’re just happy for all the extra fuss and attention.

As much as I love the concept, idea and emotion of love, you would think I’d be happily married with kids at this point in my life. Sadly, love has alluded me thus far, though I’m not sure why, maybe because I want it so badly. Nevertheless, my very first and my very last relationships had such an impact on my life that I couldn’t move forward until now. Like to hear about it? Here we go…

My quest to find true love began at the age of 16. My parents did not allow me to start dating until then. In spite of my youthful stupidity, I chose a really great guy as my first boyfriend. He was 17, he played football, he did well in school, he drove his own vehicle, he had a job, he went to church, my parents LOVED him and his absolute best quality of all-he respected me. Out of the four most significant relationships I have had in my life, this one was the most adult, the most mature. Can you believe that? We were kids, but our love was so sincere. I thought we were destined to be married, but we broke up after having been together for only a year. I was totally, completely devastated. I know that 1 year doesn’t seem very long to determine if you’re gonna spend the rest of your life with someone, but as I stated earlier, our love was a very “grown” love. He told me years later that even though he still loved me when we broke up, he wanted to be commitment free when he went off to college, that’s why he ended it with me. I cried for months after that conversation.

I wouldn’t allow myself to fall so deep in love with another man like that for a long time. I had a few guys come in and out of my life over the years, but nothing became serious. I learned a lot during that time period, but the two most important lessons I discovered were how to love me and how to be a more choosey lover.

Seven years later, Cupid’s arrow struck me again, but I felt wiser this time, more in tune with my feelings. My new love interest had a few personality traits that my perfect first love did not. As a matter of fact, I could not stand him at first. He was very smart, very cocky and younger than me. His older siblings were close friends of mine, so we ran into each other a lot. One thing led to another and we were eventually viewed as an item, though there was never an official discussion regarding our status as a couple. I did my best to play it cool with him in the beginning. I wanted him to see how different I was from the other females vying for his attention. I gave him the same amount of attention that he gave to me, and then one day, he changed. I could literally FEEL his love for me when he touched me. It shocked me initially, because I didn’t know if he would ever feel that way about me. I wanted him to feel something for me besides lust. I prayed for a sign from God to show me if I should stick around, since he was what I wanted, or should I move around and wait for someone better to come. Thinking with my heart, I figured I had all the confirmation I needed to let myself be swept away by love, once again. Silly rabbit… He never told me he loved me. We were never monogamous. We never held hands. We never went on a date. We never kissed. Ever. A major event happened in his life and we lost contact for years. When we finally saw each other again, it just wasn’t the same.

Instead of wallowing in my own self-pity, I am fervently working to be the very best version of myself. When the Lord sees fit to bring me to my husband, my soul mate, my king, I wanna be ready! As for the men of my past, I can only be grateful for the time we shared together, because they helped me train to be a phenomenal wife, soul mate and queen for the next man. It is very disheartening when you realize love just isn’t enough to keep you with someone, but once it’s established, love never fails. No wonder people tell you to be friends before lovers, how likely are you to abuse someone whom you consider a friend? Until next time…

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