Been thinking a lot about choices. How we actively pursue things and how sometimes we aren’t as active but choices are still made.
It’s not escaped my attention that I have been so very inactively pursuing any romantic…anything. Yes, nothing has really been leaping out at me but that would require me actually leaving the confines of my apartment.
My self-imposed winter hibernation bubble is coming to an end. Spring is here and the senses are awakening. To what? I don’t know but once again, I ready myself for possibility.
As the years go by, I find myself growing more realistic. Sometimes realistic equals cynicism. It does a little but honestly, it just implies weariness.
Romance is not something I excel at and during my exile, I’ve thought about why way less than I have previously. In fact, I’ve been wondering more about why THAT is rather than why I continue to be perpetually single.
I won’t lie and say I don’t have major fears. I wonder if there is some baseline of what a single dating person is supposed to act like and realize that if there is, I might potentially come up very, very short. It’s an insecurity but one that is decidedly un-rare. Everyone wonders if they’re doing ok and everyone thinks they’re doing worse than they are. I’m actively choosing to not compare myself unfavorably to the rest of the single population and it’s going surprisingly swell.
Still, the world seems to conspire against the singles of the world. As if being alone aka without someone to kiss goodnight implies a life that is less full, a life that is less appealing. A life that is simply less. Sadly, I bought into this notion for a long time. And when some possible romantic interest found his way into my life, I would have some sort of mental block (wait, you like me?), get past it after losing some giddy sleep (OMG do I like him?) then cliff dive into the abyss (wheeeee!). Inevitably things would crash and burn. And burn. And burn. But this pattern wasn’t so much about the men as how I decided to react.
Finding someone to get along with and want to be with was so anomalous to me. When I did find someone that remotely tickled my fancy, I pinned more hopes than I care to admit on that person. I wasn’t always conscious. It was just fueled by desire to have a partner, to feel “completed,” to extend that feeling of relief that I could say “yes” when asked about my love life.
In all of this though, I was not as true to myself as I could have been. I was still figuring out who I was. During those times, though, I wasn’t always so good to myself. It’s not that I didn’t believe I deserved to be cared for and respected. It’s just that while I felt responsible and cognizant of the other person’s heart, they weren’t very mindful of mine. The cynical lesson here – don’t give too much of yourself away before the person proves his worthiness. The less cynical version – learn to take your time. If it’s right, it’ll still be there.
I spent so much time analyzing all the things I might have done wrong. Thinking about what I could have “perfected” in my attempt to “land a man” and it all just seems ridiculous. I was never as antiquated as that but I have received well-meaning but inane advice in that same sort of manner. Been told I’m this or that.
Lately, I really could give less than a damn about what anyone thinks. Until I do. This is the thing – I run my life. Advice is nice but it doesn’t run my ship. I do. And the one thing I find – when I heed well-meaning advice out of my insecurities and fears – that’s the only time I feel true regret. The advice best given is the type that allows YOU to figure out the lesson in the end. People who care about you want the best for you. But how we each go about it is what makes us different. When I give advice nowadays, I try to be more compassionate than dictatorial. I’m not seeking to burn bridges. I offer up my experience and I give my friends the room, encouragement and support to actually get to the place I hope they get to. For themselves.
And that’s what I’m figuring out for me.
I think back to a few years ago. Maybe even a year ago and actual ache to have someone in my life felt so tragic. Angst and longing. The thing of crappy romance novels. Novels sometimes I read cuz sometimes, I want life to be that simple. To believe something can be so easy. To know I’m not alone in believing in being that silly hopeless romantic. At times, it gives me courage to keep having faith. It’s not so much I believe the stories are true. It’s that other people (the ones who wrote it, the ones who read it) believe it too – why do you think they’re so popular. The struggle is real and it is not a singular journey.
As corny as it seems, finding myself as part of a group or a team makes me feel so less alone in this entire endeavor. For awhile, I was busy trying to convince myself of all the things that were right in my life but really, I could only see what was missing. I would actually say that the ONE thing missing was a partner. And now, when I look at my life – that’s more of a 10% concern. Yes, it makes me sad to think that I may never fall in love and vice versa. I know I deserve and am willing to go on that adventure. And yes, all these things go on in my head instead of me going out and enacting events and “letting things happen.” But more and more, I wonder, what is THE RUSH?
I’ve been so hyper, so adamant, so determined to crush this “single gal” life that I haven’t just enjoyed the simplicity of being who I was. Of appreciating the things I’ve learned and knowing that even alone, I might actually be happier than some people are who have a “someone.” Does having a person in your life really make everything that much better? I honestly don’t know. I think it simply adds a new lovely element but happiness in life – that’s a choice, not a circumstance. And right now, I’m actively choosing to be happy and it’s working for me.
A brief digression that reads like a parable…
Up until earlier this year, I never really enjoyed beer. I always found it too “beer” tasting. I preferred my hard (brown) liquor and that was that. But a few months ago, I found some stray orphan beers left in my fridge (friends bought them) and had a random hankering to try it. And I liked it. Well, I liked one but not the other. All of a sudden, a new world unexpectedly opened up for me to explore. Without a clue as to where to start this adventure, I enlisted some friends as my very willing and helpful guides. Still, I find myself staring at a beer menu and opting for a wine instead. Slowly, though, I’m figuring out the genres I enjoy and taking a dip into those waters. Not buying a six pack yet (too much commitment) but the fact I can actually name beers I LIKE is a minor miracle. Short version – a girl can know what she likes but she should always leave room for unexpected possibilities.
And now back to regularly scheduled bullshit…
We all have our ghosts and our doubts. As increasingly self-assured as I am becoming about my choices and about my life, I still hear voices telling me I’m not doing enough. Truth – it’s one voice that I hear on occasion and it’s an ex. Talk about an unreliable idiot – especially from one that could have benefitted from understand the necessity of restraint. I digress. In truth, it’s the voice I hear because he got close enough to see how I operated and to be called out by him (right or not) contained more weight than I cared for it to. It’s not something that crushes me daily. Nothing so extreme but it’s weirdly something I haven’t forgotten. Funny thing was at the time, I was so pissed because, even then, I knew he had no right to get at me that way. Also funny – you hear what you want to hear and sometimes memory is way too long when you’d rather cut it off at the knees.
So choices. Being as honest as possible, I’m doing a crap job of trying to find a significant other. Meh. I want it. I do. Sorta. I wish he could just come knocking at my door and all would be well. But that’s not how it works. Internally, I’m working up the nerve to go at it again – I’m resting before I pounce. The joke – what and where am I pouncing? I’m not exactly a human seductress. That’s not my mode. Not initially anyways. I’m like a single little tea light then suddenly, everything is on fire and it’s like where the hell did that fucking come from? Wondering if I wouldn’t be smarter to be like that log on TV – steady flame.
Truth is I like the initial hot spark – it’s why things start and why they continue (maybe longer than they should). There must be some happy medium in which a stable foundation and lovely butterflies/fireworks are not mutually exclusive.
When I went to visit with a friend, I was telling her the recent round of advice I had gotten. Basically, to create a list of what I want and don’t want. Sigh. Be single long enough and this is a piece of advice that gets recycled a lot. I refuse to do this. Not so much that I find it lame. I get that it works for some people. It’s that I don’t want to limit the things I want on paper. It’s the fact that I know I can write a shit ton of lists but when it comes right down to it, the list doesn’t matter. And I don’t need a list to tell me that.
That said, as I was recounting my woes and blahs, I realized I knew more of what I wanted than I didn’t. And it was a lot more specific and well-informed than I had been in the past. At one point, I actually stopped and said – oh fuck, I DO know what I want. And this brings me back to another great pal who, over dinner, gave me props for knowing what I wanted. I remember looking at her like she was insane cuz I didn’t know anything. Know when you have a good friend? When she gives you room to figure out what she already knew and had faith in about you. That’s a great goddamn friend. Also, it took me about 2 years to finally understand that about myself since that initial conversation. We all move at our own pace, friends!
I talk in a lot of circles. It happens when everything is happening in my head. These are mostly theories and statements about my life and how I like to run it. Coming across another ship, I have no idea how to react or deal. But we rarely do. Hopefully when that does happen, I will understand the things I need to be true to myself and know that if I compromise, I won’t lose who I am. Something I was so willing to do so many other times.
I do have faith though. And even with my colorful and spotty experience, I have seen my bizarro development. I still see my tendency for easy, intense infatuation but each fella has taken me closer to who I am. And while sometimes, they have come close to breaking parts of my confidence, they have also made me stronger in my conviction of who I am. To that I am grateful and could never entirely hate on these guys (even if I deserved better treatment sometimes). People are human and people make mistakes. Hopefully we learn so repeats don’t happen.
I read somewhere about falling in love. And how when you do, you take on the responsibility of that person’s heart. I find that an incredibly beautiful notion. I still won’t be making any lists but if I had to, this would be damn near the top. Because I believe in that. I like that. And as unwilling as I am to “go out there,” I also know I’m entirely capable to fulfill my end of that bargain. I’m not some screwup with mommy and daddy issues – just a suburban raised kid living in the big city now. I’m a good lady with a good heart and a good head on my shoulders. I can be stubborn and bitchy and unkind at times but I can be equally if not more so in the opposite direction when inspired to.
I’m human and I’m figuring my way through this life. Sometimes I do need a kick in that ass but end of the day, I’m the only one who can give it to me and you know what they say, it happens when you least expect it. Cue eye roll on the outside and crossed fingers on the inside. And now this long rant a few months in the making is done. Hurrah!