I hang out with men who don't really care about me: Men who criticize what I do for a living, use me so they don't have to go home to their wives, tell me they want a future with me, then take back what they said.
I'll date them knowing they'll never fall in love with me. I'll sleep with them knowing they'll never call me back. I'll seek them out in far away cities and ride helmet-less on the back of their motorcycles.
I don't go into a typical bad boy escapade hoping I'll change his mind, as many unsuspecting girls do (though I once did). But after trying to change the guy who didn't want to be changed one too many times, I realized my efforts were fruitless. I realized that if I wanted to keep hanging out with the guy who threw me around like a used shoe, I couldn't complain about it.
You're probably wondering why I stick around with guys like this. It's because I'm just not ready for real commitment. And it just so happens that guys who don't want to commit are the ones who don't care about you.
Nights out with these guys also make great stories. And it just so happens that I like to tell great stories.
Despite my recent decision to own my decisions, I don't talk about them. I'm not encouraged to. My friends who are single, in healthy relationships or casually dating men who respect them, object to my way of life.
"When are you gonna grow up?"
"That guy doesn't deserve you!"
"Sheena, you have a way of picking shitheads."
They want what's best for me, and I understand that. Hell, that's why I love them so much. But it's hard to connect with your friends when you still want to run around and do stupid things while they're off trying to find "The One."
So, I hide my love life in fear of being eternally judged by the rest of my friends, the friends of their friends, the families of their friends and ultimately, society. It's just one part of my life I'm hiding, but it's a big part.
And I don't want to have to hide it from the people I love. My friends avoid bad boys like the plague, but what if I find beauty in the pain?
The process I go through after saying goodbye to a guy I know I had to leave is kind of beautiful: Trudging home with heavy feet while listening to some sappy John Mayer song as I solemnly people watch. I fucking love that shit.
Most people don't like to hang around guys who couldn't care less about them, but I'm not most people. I don't want to be made to feel bad about my decisions when I don't feel bad about them.
I've danced the bad boy dance a million times, but it never seems to get old. I love the dance because each of them is just a fleeting experience attached to a hefty life lesson. These flings always lead to missing someone, and knowing that draws me in.
To some people, appreciation for someone who loves them comes naturally. For me, I repeatedly need to hang around the guy who can live without me to be able to appreciate the guy who can't.
And not only that, I can also feel myself growing from being with a bad boy each and every time I date one.
I like knowing these flings will end because they don't care about me. I like knowing I can walk away from them, but carry memories and bits of bad boys with me everywhere I go.
In this moment, I feel fulfilled seeing men who treat me like an option. But I also know I won't always feel fulfilled through being treated this way, and one day, my romantic wants and needs will align with my friends'.
I'm hanging on for dear life to the very last smithereens of my reckless way of thinking, and I'm OK with that. Why can't my friends let me be if, right now, I feel happy?
People won't always approve of what you do, whether it's because they think you deserve better, because they wish they could do it themselves or simply because they've never seen anything like it.
My solution has been to surround myself with more women who live an unapologetic life — whether that means dating a guy who respects them or dating a guy who doesn't. Being around women like that, I hope, will ensure I don't get judged for how many times I willingly make the same mistake.
C'mon. I know for a fact I can't be the only girl out there who lives to chase the guy who always keeps her on her toes.