You Can Buy Yourself Flowers

“Do you plan on finding a husband, or will you be spending your life alone?”

These are recurring words from the elder women (and men) in my life, genuinely asking (from a place of care) if I consider life-partnership for myself, particularly in the now when they need to take over the responsibility from where my mother left off.

I count myself privileged to have come from a family that has for as long as I have lived granted me the autonomy to choose the path(s) I wish for myself, while always looking out for my best interests.


It has been 2 and a half years since I left my longest relationship – a time space within which I have dated other people; mostly short-term. I have genuinely enjoyed my time as a single woman, dating.

Being in New York has been delightful – having access to a bigger dating pool that allows me to get to know more people from diverse backgrounds (I hope I get to tell you all about them someday), and mostly figure out what is wrong with all of humanity (myself included).

On the other hand, the actual process of dating has been fun – going on dates to do things I (and the other person) actually enjoy, and sharing experiences together.

In this space, I have (still) been intentional about figuring out who I am without a man. Even while I date(d) other people, I have been intentional about setting clear boundaries that do not allow me to lose myself in loving a man (ever) again. While I am able to show up in love with care, and integrity; I have been intentional about being whole all by myself.

“Who Are You Without a Man?” – Nthanda Manduwi, January, 2022


I love flowers. I love receiving flowers. I love giving flowers (both literally, and figuratively).

When I was a young(er) woman, I waited for other people to get me flowers. I’d wait for other people (read men) to think of me, and send my way some flowers.

I was about 21 when I started buying myself flowers. Every time I went grocery shopping, I’d make sure to pick up a bunch of fresh roses. There were always flowers in my home. On special occassions, I would also buy myself flowers.

When I started dating my ex (2018), he became aware of my love for flowers, and honored that love as he loved me.

I remember the day we started dating – he sent a bouquet of flowers to my office – the first bouquet I’d actually not asked (indirectly) someone for. Often, I’d hint or even orchestrate the process of flowers being sent my way. I remember telling some of my best friends to hint “flowers” if the other people I had dated before my ex asked them for advice on what to get / gift me for special occassions.

This bouquet was a first of its kind – an absolute surprise. It was a surprise delivery to my office – one that I had not orchestrated, hinted at, or been expecting.

I remember feeling absolutely joyful in that moment. He was genuinely surprised by how that little gesture (to him) made me feel (joyful), and he then made it a habit of sending me flower surprises. I remember him going to the extent of suggesting he could have flowers delivered to my address bi-weekly if that pleased me. For as long as we were together, I got flowers for special occassions and random occassions. For a while there, I was happy. We were happy.

I think it was when the flowers stopped coming (2021, even though we were still together) that I realised in many ways, the love was over; or no longer what it was before.


Retracing my steps as a single woman at 26 meant sitting with 22 year-old (the last of me I could recall as a single woman) me, and (re)figuring her steps around the world. There was no longer someone to buy me flowers, and it was then that I remembered that 22 year old me always bought herself flowers.

As I now date other people, I occassionally find myself waiting for them to buy me flowers; and it is on those days I always remind myself “you can buy yourself flowers”.

For me, buying myself flowers is a reminder of my autonomy – a celebration of the self… a self that is sufficient. It is a way of reminding myself I am whole, exist in the realms of love, and I am fully capable of taking care of myself.

As women, we are socialised to believe we are supposed to be protected and provided for. The patriarchal notion of “men are providers and protectors, while women are nurturers” leaves us in a chokehold of waiting on provision and protection often from men who are hardly capable of providing for and protecting themselves, let alone someone else.

I color myself privileged, to have grown up around a father who has for as long as I have existed protected and provided for me. My father also happens to be the most nurturing human (arguably more than my mother was) I know. My parents together and individually balanced the art of providing, protecting, and nurturing. It is from them that I learnt a human can be self-sufficient and multifaceted.

I have also been privileged to have been loved by several men who in their own efforts have tried to protect and provide for me. The last man I was in a longterm relationship was a protecting, providing, and nurturing man – something I am accustomed to.

Acknowledging this privilege, I also acknowledge that existing in realities of provision and protection and even nurturing (without checks) can warp your mind to believe you are incapable of protecting, nurturing, and providing for yourself.

While other people buying us flowers is absolutely delightful and brings a kind of joy incomparable, it is imperative we never forget we can buy our own flowers.

Being able to protect and provide for myself allows me to show up in relationships as a self-sufficient woman who is not waiting for a man to “save” her. It gives me room to choose better partners for myself, and also be able to leave relationships that are no longer serving me because I am aware “I can buy myself flowers”. It is a reminder that my love is deep, delightful, and whole – a gift I get to give to other people, and most deserving – myself.


The past year has been my most financially stable year – as I have a good job, and my businesses are growing and pushing towards sustainability. I think this is the first time I am able to sufficiently buy myself most of the things I desire without depending on someone else (my parents or otherwise). This year has been bouts of me reminding myself I can get myself flowers and whatever else I want.

I buy myself the flowers, the heels, the clothes, the jewlery, the furniture, the home decor, heck even the groceries, and everything in between.

I take myself dancing – I take myself to the fancy restaurants and bars, and book myself the vacations when I desire them. And on the days I am feeling low and insufficient, I make it a habit to remind myself that I am perfectly capable of buying my own flowers – so (even when I do not feel like it) I go out and buy myself flowers.

As I navigate the rest of life, this fundamental knowledge allows me to show up fully in spaces (and relationships), while also knowing to leave when spaces no longer serve (or are deserving of) me.

Nthanda, and some (orchestrated) flowers. Manhattan, 2023.

This knowledge gives me room to date men who I actually find delightful, but also gives me the freedom to leave them when I no longer find them delightful enough for me. It allows me accept (romantic) love, without being dependent on that love for my fulfillment. It gives me space to love wholly, but also be able to leave when that love is not received or treated with the grace it deserves.

I know that if I ever do choose to engage in and commit to a life partnership, it will come from a place of desire and want – my absolutely being delighted by the sweetness of a man to wish to spend and build a life with him, and not so much a need to have a provider and a protector.

I am perfectly capable of providing for, protecting, and nurturing myself. I can buy my own flowers, and in the words of Miley Cyrus: “I can love me better than you can.”

Flowers by Miley Cyrus


All my love,


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4 thoughts on “You Can Buy Yourself Flowers

  1. I love every word!! I’ve always wanted to write something about providing for oneself without depending on others. I didn’t know if I really had to. But this masterpiece right here, is a go ahead!!

    Thank you Ntha💕

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