“It seems every time I find
A good man, he’s got a good little wife
I’m not jealous, but I won’t lie
I don’t want to hear about your wonderful life
And babies! Everywhere I look
Trophy wives with their little black books
At this rate, I’m going to end up alone
Probably all my fault, all my fault
Oh, another dead end, again.”
“How I Feel” – Kelly Clarkson
I want to state up front that this post is directed at no one in particular or intended to demean anyone’s happiness.
‘Cause I love you all 😀
This post has been stewing for a while. In case you haven’t noticed, this is part of my (self-directed) therapy, to take a feeling and write about it.
The feeling that I’ve been having for a while is one which I can only describe as:
Which is odd, for those of you who know me personally. Let’s examine further.
On paper, I am a very accomplished (young? can I still call myself that?) woman. I have a very awesome job were I do awesome things which I won’t talk about here, but just know they’re awesome. I have run not one, but TWO marathons, and signed up for a third. I own and remodeled my house (with my daddy, of course). And, in my spare time, I volunteer and foster homeless animals. Oh yeah, and I’m publishing a book in a few months.
Okay, so where’s the failure, you’re asking?
I feel like a failure because I’m in my late twenties and I am not married – hell, I’m not even seeing anyone right now.
“Oh girl,” I can hear you say, “but you’ve done all these great things!”
“How can you put your self worth on whether or not you have a man in your life?”
“Why are you rushing to get down the aisle?”
“Feminism! Betty Freidan! Anna Howard Shaw!”
Yeah, and I am a feminist, and I know in my head that I don’t actually need anyone in order to be great; see paragraph above. But still, everytime I end it with someone (or vice versa), I can’t help but feel like I’ve failed in some way. I’m ashamed of myself, like it’s always my fault that everything goes wrong.
To be perfectly honest, I think this all stems from that point in middle school where I was utterly and completely alone, regularly ridiculed by my peers for a myriad of reasons (acne, my general personality, etc). So when I’m actually in a relationship, I find myself subconsciously saying to those mean ghosts, “Hey buttheads, look at me now! Not so ugly, huh?! This guy thinks I’m great!” And when it goes south, I can hear them laughing at me.
In the sane half of my brain, I know that these things happen and it’s best to just get back out there and keep looking. But still, I can’t shake this terrible fear that I’m going to end up all alone, because I am too weird, because I am too strong-willed, because I am too “Me.” Again, all of those scars from middle school are rearing their ugly head. Instead of wondering why I don’t “wash my face,” I can hear them telling me “stop being so you.” To finish, with their intent:
“Wash your face and you’ll be included.”
“Stop being so you and you’ll find a mate.”
The problem with both of those statements is that, just like having acne (which I STILL DO because genetics), is that I can’t turn it off. I never have been able to, and I never will be able to. My personalities are as ingrained in me as the damn DNA code that causes my face to break out. (Yes, that is personalities plural.)
The other problem with that statement is that it implies that I have to change and be someone that I am not in order to find happiness. Which I think is a load of shit, to be perfectly honest. I mean, why does everyone else get to be themselves, but I have to change? And why do I have to put up with other people’s quirks, but they don’t have to put up with mine?
I realized as I was writing this blog that the first person who needs to accept me and my quirks is actually me. I have started to pay attention to the way I talk to myself, and let me tell you what – I am downright hateful. Even today, I ran a race and struggled. As I was walking along, coughing my face off, I could hear myself yelling at me, saying that I could do better than this, I could be better than this.
So I responded, “Then do better. You are in the middle of the race. If you want to run, run the damned thing.”
And the voice inside responded, very quietly and very sadly, “I can’t. This is the best that I can do right now.”
For the first time, I realized that I have now become my own bully. How everytime I codify something with an excuse (“Oh, I could have run that better, but I’m sick” or “Oh, I could have written that better, but I ran out of time.”), I am actually demeaning myself and my accomplishments. I have this vision in my head of the person I think I am, and I rarely live up to my own expectations. And these are not just goals – these are expectations. And when I don’t live up to them, I am just plain mean to myself.
So, starting today I have decided to be nice. If you want to know how the race went today. I did fantastic. I ran 4 miles in 47 minutes. Up the nasty hill in Rosslyn.
I did great.
I am great.
And I’m going to keep telling myself that until I firmly believe it.