To My Fellow Women, Please Don’t Settle

Not in a job you hate, not in a town where you don’t feel at home, not with friendships that aren’t real, and especially, especially not with love.

You deserve someone who will smile at your silly jokes, who will kiss your forehead when you’ve had a long day, and who will absentmindedly reach for your hand across the center console when he’s driving, just because he wants to feel your fingers twisted with his.

You deserve a guy who doesn’t just spend the night, but spends the morning. Who cooks your favorite chocolate chip waffles with peanut butter and brings them on a tray to your bed when you’re sick. Who hums your favorite song, off-key and awkward, just to make you laugh. Who takes you on a walk to his favorite hill in town, and kisses you as the sun sets.

You deserve a guy who doesn’t just spend the night, but spends the morning.

You are strong and gentle, determined and loving, complicated and kind, and you deserve someone who looks past your flaws and the way you curl your hair, and sees your beautiful heart.

So please, my sister, don’t settle. Don’t settle for the man who texts you at three in the morning, or only when you’re at a party without him, or only when you’re happy with someone else.

Don’t settle for the boy who plays mind games, who calls you hurtful names, who spins you around in his lies until you’re so dizzy and tired you just give in.

Don’t settle for the guy who sees only a face, only a body, because sweet girl, you will always be more than a body.

I know you might feel lost right now. You might be scared. You might be terrified of being lonely. And you might be thinking this is it, this is all there is. But I promise you, there’s so much more.

There will be a man whose fingers will trace the freckles on your cheeks and send goosebumps down your back. Whose arms will hold you during the fireworks on the fourth of July. Whose lips will taste like your Mike’s Hard Lemonade because he won’t stop kissing you. Whose smile will make your head spin like you’re drunk, but even better.

There will be a man who will answer your calls, who will take you on dates, who will, despite the distance and despite the childish boys of your past, truly love you, choose you. Every. Single. Day.

So please promise me this: That you will hold out for him. That you won’t settle for the cheapened version of love. That you won’t kiss away the unsatisfied taste on your tongue. That you won’t go to bed next to someone else, wishing for more.

There will be more. So much more.

Don’t settle for anything less than excitement and jumping beans in the pit of your stomach. Nothing less than forever. Nothing less than knowing, beyond on a doubt that this is love.

Because I promise, you’ll find it. And it will be more beautiful than you ever imagined.