I have come to realize in my old age, I’m 31 and I’m allowed to say that now, that I don’t “play the field” as well as I used to. Not that I overly played it in my younger days, but now that I’m older and have three small children, I realize that I don’t have the energy to play Chutes and Ladders most days, never mind the dating field. Not only do I work a full-time job, I am also struggling to balance that with a full-time class load at DeVry University online. Who has time to find a sitter, shower, make myself look human, (AKA fake) and pretend to be a lady on a date when the good Lord knows I’m just waiting for my date to say goodnight so I can take off my bra and put on my granny pajamas and curl up in bed with my book? It’s utterly exhausting. I think my problem is that I try too hard on dates to be what the other person is looking for, instead of being myself.
I have always been a people pleaser and taken on project type men and tried to fix them into what I needed them to be instead of finding someone who was exactly what I needed them to be from the start. In my twenties, I saw this as a challenge and an adventure, even though that always ended up getting tiring when my superb efforts to be everything to someone only landed me my latest broken heart. It’s only after a decade of mistakes and failed attempts at the “dream” relationship that I finally realized that love shouldn’t be so hard, and if it is, it probably isn’t real love to begin with. Bad relationships are my worst addiction. In my opinion, being involved with bad men is a worse drug than anything you can get on the street. Unfortunately, there isn’t a rehab center for women who fall hopelessly in love with loser after loser hoping to turn them into the prince charming they so desperately want them to be. So I struggled, I spent thousands of dollars, I took physical and emotional abuse, I put my children in undesirable situations and sacrificed my own wants and needs to meet the ones of my undeserving partner, If you can even call them a partner. It was more like raising another child, time and time again.
What finally broke the cycle for me? I don’t know if I even have. I have no idea what the hell I am doing most days. I don’t have a five year plan. I don’t have a savings account. I don’t know if I’m going to make it to work on time every day, never mind graduate college. In my life, I have to take things one day at a time. I’ve had to learn to take a deep breath every once in a while and just focus on what’s happening now instead of obsessing over what should or could be tomorrow. I’ve had to learn to say no to them and yes to me. And for the first time in about 15 years, I feel good about myself. I’m in a better place emotionally than I have been in a long time. It’s empowering to know that I finally have control over my life. What happens today is my decision and no one else’s. If I mess up, it’s on me. If I succeed, that’s also on me. I’m no longer living life in a constant reactive state. I’m no longer cleaning up messes I didn’t make, aside from the ones my children make every day. It is MY life.
I am living for myself and my children for the first time in a long time and it feels so good. If someone should happen to come along who can accept me and my children for who we are, ratty holey pajamas and all, then good for them. I refuse to put on a face full of makeup for someone else ever again. I am not a clown. It is not my job to make them laugh, although I probably will. I’ll get dressed up to make myself feel good. I’ll put on my makeup because is pretty and fun to wear, but as Marilyn Monroe said, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best”. Challenge accepted.