“I ain’t afraid to love a man. I ain’t afraid to shoot him either.”
― Annie Oakley

A year ago I was blindsided by a blow that destroyed me… for a time. I was confused, distraught, and shattered. I have been lost. I have been needy. I have been weak. But I’ve never been helpless.

Every time I have been knocked down I have managed to stand up again. I have fought so many battles this year, and while I’ve had people fight beside me, none of my battles were fought for me. I have had to fight them myself. There are still days that I feel weak, but I know through this journey I have become very strong.

Ever since my son was born a series of guys have started moving in my direction. Nothing overt or inappropriate, all of their communication had been under the guise of innocent conversation or checking to see if I am ok. But I can read between the lines in their messages and comments.  I know they are testing my response. Like sharks they slowly circle me waiting for an opportunity. An opportunity that will never come for them.

I am not the easy target that they think I am. Am I lonely? I’ll not lie to you, yes I am. There are so many things that I miss about being with someone. But that does not make me desperate or stupid. I’ll not be manipulated by guys who think they can use my situation to their advantage. I will not let loneliness make choices for me. I did that once in the early months of my grief and I will always regret it. I will not do that again.

Not all of the gentlemen in my sphere have ungentlemanly motives in their interactions with me. There is another group of guys that have kind hearts, but my situation has triggered within them what I have decided to call “The Damsel in Distress Instinct”. It’s a noble instinct to be sure, but one I am finding increasingly annoying. This instinct has actually hurt me more than the ulterior motives of the sharks. It rose up in a friend of mine causing strife in his relationship and made me have to abandon my only regular social outlet. But that is not the only reason why I’ve begun to hate this instinct.

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Like the sharks, these wannabe knights see me as someone vulnerable and needing to be rescued. I hate being perceived that way. They want to swoop in and save me, but the thing is… I don’t want to be saved. As much as I might joke with friends about finding a rich guy that will solve all my problems, that’s not actually what I want. I don’t want a guy to see me, feel pity and decide he wants to bring me home and take care of me. I’m not a stray puppy in a shelter waiting to be rescued. I will not be someone’s pet.

The man I want sees me. He sees the beauty in my brokenness and the strength in my sorrow. He sees me, not as a damsel to rescue and protect, but a shield maiden to stand beside him. I want to be a parter not a possession. I want him to see me as a asset to his life, someone he can trust and depend on.

I’m not Sleeping Beauty waiting for her prince to come for me. I’m not a damsel to be rescued. I’m Joan of Arc wanting a warrior to fight beside me.

Proverbs 31:25-30

She is clothed with strength and dignity,
    and she laughs without fear of the future.
When she speaks, her words are wise,
    and she gives instructions with kindness.
She carefully watches everything in her household
    and suffers nothing from laziness.
Her children stand and bless her.
    Her husband praises her:
“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
    but you surpass them all!”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

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