Not what has happened so far in my life, but how I have chosen to react to it. Most days I think the "what has happened" version of my life is like a modern-day version of The Grapes of Wrath- I can clearly see the footprint of the zeitgeist right square on my ass. But the 'so what' of it all? That's all me.
I'm not the only person life is tossing around, so the variable is me.
The cards you're dealt make a big friggin' difference, but not nearly as much as how you play the hand you get.
I'm old enough now to sit myself down and face the facts. A lot of the things I secretly hoped would happen in my life, probably won't. Some of them because it's just the luck of the draw, but an important handful- actually the ones I hoped most would happen- probably aren't going to happen at all. Because instead of taking some risks, I sat around waiting for them to happen to me. And I finally see things don't work that way. If I had been more honest, a long time ago about how much I really wanted those handful of things to happen, they might have. But now, the chances are slim to none.
But first, the things that aren't going to happen that surprisingly enough I don't give as much of a damn about as much as I thought I would when I was younger.
I am not going to end up in the corner office with a gold key to the executive washroom. Not gonna happen. I just do not have a passion for the rat race or a drive to conquer the world. I've tried to fake it for awhile at different times in my life and it just doesn't catch hold. I love to do a good job at whatever it is I'm doing. But not for the sake of getting ahead. Usually I get my ass in gear if it helps someone else or if my livelihood is in jeopardy. Those two things will kick me into overdrive. But other than that, I'm not all fired up about getting the employee-of-the-month parking space. If I could figure out a way to support myself doing something that helped other people without any possible peril to my sustenance, I would do that. So that's one thing.
Because of that last thing. I probably will not end up in a deluxe apartment in the sky. I'm not even good about playing Powerball. I'd be really happy if I end up with a nice place to live where I can enjoy my days. But I am not going to end up stinking rich. I don't have the drive for it. Wait, that's almost the same thing as the first thing. Somewhat. My lack of professional drive means I have to accept I will probably not have the accoutrement of material comfort. I'm just not probably going to earn enough to access them. So I'm satisfied. I get what I get.
So what are the other things? I'm probably going to remain single and end up with a couple of cats instead of a couple of kids. I really like cats, so that part is not so bad. But the single, no kids part? That's a little bittersweet. I really did want those things. Like really. I never longed for siblings. But I thought when I grew up I would be so happy if I had a family of my own- that's my definition of stability and safety and success. I like taking care of other people. It's one of the few things I know I'm good at and gives me any sense of fulfillment and desire to follow through.
But I spent most of my young womanhood so scared that no one would ever want to be my partner, that I chose to get involved with people who either I was never going to commit to or recently who were never going to commit to me. Almost every day of my adolescent years someone was telling me I was ugly or ignoring me or being annoyed about me being around. I am a very sensitive soul. There are many people who think they know me and actually don't, who probably think I could give a flying fcuk about anything anybody says or does to me, but that's not true.
Every time someone says or does something hurtful to me, I spend a little time absolutely sure I am going to fly apart right on the spot.
But since it's happened so often, I just pull it together-on the outside- and get on with it. Over time though, it's just convinced me that I would never be accepted and loved and it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I have made it true because at the end of they day I have believed it would be so. And now because I took that and made it my truth, I have lived it and made it so. And I have to live with the consequences of that. No one else.
It's good to be honest about that. Because the consequences for me have absolutely nothing to do with the men with whom I've been involved, God bless them all. It's been because I have not truly believed that want I wanted would be what I would get. And being dishonest with myself about that is why I've made the choices that have gotten me here.
For the first part of my young womanhood, I got involved with guys I was not going to commit to. Not purposefully so, I had this insight in my grown-womanness.
At the time, I was aware that I was very emotionally guarded. I even knew why. But I didn't understand at the time, that as a result I was choosing to get involved with men based on my ability to keep myself emotionally protected and out of risk. I could bounce at any time. I thought that was a good thing. And to some measure it is. No healthy relationship should involve a 'need' or 'lack' but for the other person. But there should be an openness, interest and willingness to share and connect with another person. I did not have this in my emotional repertoire.
Luckily, I am not a sociopath. After hurting a couple of people, I realized that what I was doing was very unfair to the other party. I was letting someone else take a trip down a path I had no intention of travelling- risk. It actually rattled me to the core. I thought I was a risk taker. But I wasn't. And I am also not a heartless person. It never occurred to me that by focusing exclusively on not getting hurt myself, I was hurting other people. And I was very disappointed with myself. I know what hurt feels like and had no intention to visit it on another. I was just trying not to get hurt.
So I swung to the opposite extreme. I would be so open, so willing to take a risk it would make up for the guardedness I had operated with before. And so I have chosen to get involved with men who for whatever reason have no capacity to commit to me thinking: hey, once I was like that and I got over it. If they see me doing it, they'll see it's OK and do it too. Not that these men knew that they weren't ever going to commit to me-they all claimed they wanted to and maybe they meant it- but they couldn't and it wasn't going to change because I was being such a good example. But it is what it is. That's what I've been doing. It didn't work on me, and it doesn't work on them. People do what they want to do when they are ready to do it.
But I have been indulging myself by investing a measure of time hoping things will change in relationships when I really don't believe they won't. Once I realize a guy isn't going to commit, I actually know that's not going to change. I'm not that goofy. But I've been wasting too much time on the 'hoping' part.
I actually know I'm hoping. But I guess going back to the fear no one will ever want to actually be with me, I've now convinced myself that my own cynicism is the problem and that if I just hope a little harder and a little longer that things will work, they actually will. But they won't. Because I have chosen to lie to myself about the truth instead of cutting my losses. I mean maybe they could, but I don't believe that kind of shit will ever happen to me. So it ends being a lot of comedy and aggravation for everyone involved.
Right now, I'm at the tail end of doing this for the second time in a row. That irks me. The first time wasn't a surprise. The hoping part was really pro forma. It was way past time for that dude to be gone. But I think a part of me felt a little guilty about not regretting the end of it all. And I was genuinely pissed about how it went down. It offended my sensibilities, really. So I spent a couple of weeks on the hope-and-change of that. Then I was cool. On to the next.
But this time it hit me right between the eyes, I can't lie. But I saw it coming a long time ago. In fact, I've been hoping and therefore lying to myself this second time a lot longer than I expected I would. I've known I was doing it. I just haven't known how to stop. I think because I have been petrified to do so. Part of the time because my life had become so intertwined with the other person that I needed to hope it would change awhile so I could get my bearings. It gave me something to do so I wouldn't have to acknowledge I was having that fly apart at the seams thing. And I truly was in love. For the first time, after some hesitation, I really had opened up to that wanting to connect and share with another person because I thought I had found that unicorn- someone who wanted to do the same and with me. I should have known that wasn't going to happen, right? I have never believed that was possible.
So at the end of the day, even more than being willing to test my ability to alter situations with the sheer force of my hope and powers of persuasion, I am a pragmatist. If a man doesn't want to commit to you, he's not going to change his mind about it. It's a lost cause. And if he packs up and moves, it's a wrap. It ain't gonna happen. Not because of him or because of you. It just isn't, so you let it go.
The little hurt girl in me wanted somebody to choose me. Because nobody ever did. But it was my job to take care of her. I shouldn't have let her take control of my emotional choices. Because children are irrational, they don't know any better. But adults aren't. They can't afford to be. I can't afford to be.
I am single now because of me. And I may remain that way, because now I think 1) there really isn't a person out there for me to find, 2) even if that person manifests, I'm not sure I'm emotionally capable of walking the line between protecting myself and opening up and I wouldn't even try and 3) the lifestyle I lead- mostly solitary- just works against me. I just have to get right with the whole cat thing. Which leads to the second heartbreak.
The other reason this has been a struggle is because it means facing the fact that I won't have the kids either. I wanted both the partner and the kids. There's nothing wrong with being a single parent. But for me, it would be a form of emotional selfishness. It would meet my needs, but I'm not sure it's fair for someone like me to be a parent without giving the child a spare...a spare port in the storm, a spare point of view on life, a spare voice of reason... So I don't think it would work for me. There's a lot more fertility behind me than in front of me. I had the chance to really think about that a few weeks ago. But I'm a pragmatist. I did the right thing for all involved with no hesitation whatsoever. My vision doesn't involve anyone being unhappy about being there.
The end of the year is coming up and soon after, my birthday. And also somewhere around there, my secret deadline to stop acting like unicorns and hope and rainbows make the world go around. It is what it is. I've had this secret deadline for awhile, a long time actually. And I am a woman of my word. I'm going to honor it with some dignity. There's no crying in baseball or break-ups. Don't get me wrong. I am crushed. Right up until that day comes, I am going to hope as hard as I can with my fingers crossed, pinky swear, the whole nine. But when the day comes, I'm going to wake up and let it go.
So where from here? I have absolutely no idea. The things I have spent my time focusing on so far, have not actually been the things I really wanted. And I knew it. I was just too scared to admit I was not being true to myself. I get it now. But I can't go back and undo it.
So what comes between now and the sunset of it all seems like a big sigh. I mean, who the hell cares? I kind of don't. Like I said blog before last, I don't have a sense of self-importance that makes me think my life makes the world go around. I like myself and all. Thank goodness because my own company is something I got plenty of...But I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to spend another half life. Geez. And if it stretches on...I'm not sure how I feel about that.