Big or small?


I was just reading this really inspiring piece on Forbes about Nely Galán (gotta check out her book!) and while inspired, it hit me:

Why is it that, on the one hand, I keep being told to “Lean In” and “Go Big” in my career, but told in my love life to play it small?

As I considered this, I googled “How to Get a Man” and a brief perusal confirmed the message I’ve been getting for all of my life: as a heterosexual single woman, I am supposed to play a game of sorts to “get” a guy. Playing games, manipulation, to me is “small” and frustrating in comparison to leaning in/going “big.”

Funny enough, in my perusal of Google results I came across this gem from Cosmopolitan: to get a guy to like me, I should “be busy sometimes.” Thanks Cosmo! Because if I wasn’t a straight single female interested in dating I’d have no reason to pursue a life, right? Right.

That piece of (ridiculous!) advice reminded me of so many convos I’ve had with my similarly careered up girlfriends about dating, relationships and our careers. Being high-powered, or even perceived that way, can be an impediment to the development of some relationships. I have friends who have downplayed their careers and successes to “support” their relationship with a guy. I have never felt any pressure to downplay my career, but I’ve encountered men who, when hearing I’m an attorney, get put off.

Now I’ve also dated plenty of men who had no issues with my career and its successes; being an attorney can be very attractive to the right kind of men for me! But does it mean that it’d work for dude if I treated my relationship with the same gusto that I’ve taken to my career?

I’ve also encountered, and struggle with from time to me, the message that hetero women should let the man run the progress of the relationship. I’m single/dating, so for me does that mean I should be letting the guy I date chase me? Set up all the dates? Should he be in charge of the relationship? This is a topic I’ve long been confused about. Experience and observation has not shown me that the man as the “lead” in the relationship guarantees a healthy loving relationship. And it’s even more confusing because I’ve been told to take charge of every other part of my life. Take charge but let him take care of the relationship? Hmmm….

I don’t have the answers for anyone but me. I know that going small when it comes to love does not comport with going big everywhere else. And by “small” and “big” I’m talking energy here. Play it small, then you’re playing dimly, shady, tuning down your light. Playing big, then you’re bright and showy and glowy. You can play small and be domineering (especially if you’re looking to be “in control” of the relationship), you can play big and go with the flow. I prefer the latter in love and everything else.

I call this thing Patricia Glows. I believe that the experience I have with anything is determined by the extent I share my light. Why the fuck would I do anything but glow in whatever I do, or with whoever I do?

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