Dating sucks…or maybe it’s me

The first man…he prefers a woman with long hair.  Mine is on the shortish side and even when it’s long, it’s soft and baby fine.  He tells me he longs for a woman with a tight, thin body as I sit next to him thinking that no matter how hard I work out and how much weight I lose….my body will still have carried two babies and is marked with scars that mean life to me.  My breasts are small, my booty flat and my tummy round. I want to hide myself but there is nowhere to hide…so I distract him with humor or kissing or listening or whatever the situation calls for and I hope he cannot feel how much I have adored him and how sad I feel in this moment.

The second man doesn’t understand how an intelligent girl like me can believe in a pie in the sky mythical being.  How can someone who thinks for herself and is smart claim God and faith as her foundation.  He does not have a clue what I’ve been through and really has no interest in knowing. He might never grasp that all I wanted was to show him respect for his path and how deeply I hoped he could respect my own path.  He is not going to go deep into the topic.  The walls are palpable.  I can get up and leave or I can dive out of the discomfort and into his body.  I choose the latter.

Third guy…we have met in person, because we were at the same place at the same time.  We bumped into each other again on a dating site.  I had heard he thought I was flirting with him.  He was beautiful to look at yet I had been doing nothing but being my normal playful self.  He also knew he was hot…he just had that air about him.  We chatted a bit….teased about the flirting comment.  Before I know it, he is inviting me to be a friend with benefits.  If I just wanted eye candy, that may have served me well.  Friends with benefits I am not searching for, that’s been an easy come easy go disaster.  He still pops up with an out of the blue text now and then.  Just not gonna happen.

Last guy, he is a dear old friend going through a divorce.  He thinks it would be a great idea to ‘get together’ and he has been very explicit about what that might look like.  I know the depth of his loneliness and my heart aches for him.  I am not interested in being a distraction from his pain in that manner.  Gotta appreciate his asking though…I guess.

Just a teeny sampling of dating life as it is right now.  I’m feeling pretty down and out tonight.  I did something horribly stupid to someone I value greatly and I probably won’t be forgiven.  It is what it is. 

I am beginning to see that I have a habit of sabotaging something with great possibility before it has a chance to happen.  Just in case it doesn’t.  Guess what?  I am the one hurting and sitting in the shit I created.  Again.

I did this to someone dear that I dated a few months ago.  He cherished me.  Adored me.  Treated me like a gentleman treats a lady.  He is also the only person that I have been 100% myself with from the beginning.  He appreciated my intelligence.  He encouraged my feminine energies.  He laughed at my jokes and truly thought I was beautiful just the way I was.  He traced my scars (both the physical and emotional) and said they were lovely reminders of the preciousness of life.  He was kind.  I messed that up by doing something very hurtful and although I know we are not each other’s long time person, I am incredibly thankful for the experience and forever sorry for my actions.  He gave me a glimpse of what I deserve and that it is possible.

So…why, why, why do I feel more comfortable seeking out the men who I know are going to give me crumbs; see me as their back up, or just plain use me?  In saying this, please realize I am no victim of anything here.  With the exception of one toxic relationship, I have knowingly and willingly walked straight into, or even instigated, these types of relationships.

I seem to have a radar that tracks these men, specifically.  The ones who won’t last…and although I know this, I begin the process of wondering if it can work and how it will look.  EVEN THOUGH my head and heart both know better.

Lots of tears, guilt, shame and deep thoughts today.  I’m really trying to identify my own actions and behaviors that are a detriment to me.  I could blame others all day long but that’s useless…in the end, my unhealed stuff is what hurts me most.

A hot truth smacked me in the face this afternoon.  With the exception of the one dating relationship (that very healthy one where I was absolutely cherished), there is not one person with whom I have been purely me.

This only applies to dating relationships. I don’t do this in other areas. I think I so deeply want to be accepted and loved and I’m certain no one wants me for messy me.  This feels a little like desperation and the feeling makes me sick to my stomach and doesn’t at all line up with my desire to live authentically.  I’m still trying to figure out who I am as a single woman, not as wife and mom.

I have contorted myself all kinds of ways just to make sure I keep the attention or approval of some guy.  “Two-faced” would be painfully accurate here and getting this understanding feels like a punch in the gut.

Just in case there’s not ever a man who doesn’t think I am broken, I am striving to make sure I am going to be thin enough, pretty enough, sexual enough, fun enough, smart enough etc to please them. So far, save one precious soul, I have not been enough.

I mean…I’ve been enough to be a friend with benefits (again, my choice to walk into), but not enough to enter into something healthy with.  And those ugly tapes are loud.  If I were thinner, richer, louder, bigger boobed, not shy, blue eyed…whatever fits.  I type and I ask myself how in the world I could expect someone to cherish the real me when I have turned myself inside out to be someone else for them.

I feel so sad and ashamed. Desperate.  Icky.  A little unhopeful and maybe even a little scared.

Also, I feel that the way I’ve behaved at times, someone is going to not get my heart and instead view me as the crazy chick. Since I was raised by a mentally ill person, that terrifies me.

A wise person just asked me two hard questions.  “How would life look if I decided that I was not somebody who had to be settled for?” and “How would my dating life look if I decided you weren’t going to settle for anybody who didn’t want me exactly as I am?” .

I have often said I will not settle (I call bullshit on myself).  Never have I considered this perspective.  I absolutely believe if someone is dating me they must be settling for me.  That helps me rationalize that when someone better comes along, they will move on and that is to be expected.

Settle for someone who didn’t want me exactly as I am?  What else would I do?  I can be an expert chameleon as long as it means I am pleasing someone.  It is horribly yuck to admit that.

“Becoming all God sees you as begins with the courage to let go of all He doesn’t”…my list of the doesn’t(s) feels everlasting.  I’m so tired of putting myself in situations where I feel less than.  I do it.  I choose the opposite of what I desire because I know I will get that.  Ewww.

My heart hurts.  Learning to fully love myself is so super hard when I am trying to be someone else that ‘he’ might like better.

There’s got to be something better than this.

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Just here

I do not consider myself to be a person who rapidly and randomly changes moods.  I have a strong preference for people (myself included) who are stable, joyful, thoughtful, compassionate, tolerant, grace-filled, merciful, humorous, insightful, wise, cherish the moment, deeply reflective about life sorts.  Those characteristics give me a sense of trust and safety; both are significant to my heart.  That being said, I have struggled this last week with all of these.

I have not externally changed moods, (I don’t think), yet inside me it’s a constant storm of ‘shoulda’s’, ‘what if’s’, and the dreaded shame and guilt tapes.  UGH!  Yes, ugh!  Here, again.  I am stuck in the belief that nothing in life is stable.  My joy is hiding in the deep.  Compassion, thoughtfulness, grace, and mercy all are abundant for others, unfortunately I haven’t saved much for myself.  It’s tough to find humor, insight, wisdom, and gratitude in the moment when one is only reflecting on what I fondly refer to as the “familiar muck”.  We all have our muck, right?  No accident that it rhymes with my favorite curse word.  (as in ‘f$*@ the muck…but for my sweet Momma I’m going to not write the word out…this time!)  I’m trying my damnedest to keep my eyes above the waves, but if you look closely ,you will see me bobbing up and down, fighting to keep treading water.  I’m kinda pooped.

Anyone who spends 30 minutes or more with me will probably figure out that I do not enjoy the negative feels.  I will deflect with humor, talk nonstop, busy myself to the point of exhaustion, and turn the conversation around to take the focus away from me purely for the purpose of not feeling my muck.  I’m quite good at this.  It helps that even strangers feel compelled to share their life stories with me, I tend to be perceived as a safe person.  Thus, when someone wants to know about me, I am a pro at getting them to tell their story instead.  I am fascinated that this trait, which will help me be a fabulous counselor, can be so detrimental to my real life.

The other night, my 12-year-old daughter and I were hanging out.  My phone rang and she started to pick it up for me (normally I am in a stupid mad rush to answer)…because…SOMEONE NEEDS ME!!! The following conversation ensued…

Me: “I don’t want you to answer,  I don’t have it in me to be a very good friend right now.”

Stella:  “You are always a good friend.  Do you mean you don’t have the energy?”

Me:  “I do mean that.  I’m teary and sad feeling and I just can’t.”

Stella: “Mom, I want you to try something, okay?  When you feel like this, why don’t you call a friend who is having a good night and get some energy from them instead of feeling bad because you can’t help them.  Sometimes you need help too.”

This is my baby girl.  She is a boundary setter galore, so much so that it takes me aback at times.  I treasure this quality in her.  I’m thankful for it.  I’m baffled by it.  She is such a natural at something I am still trying to comprehend!

Perhaps this is why writing is incredibly healing for me.  I can write and anyone can choose to read/or not read it.  I’m not ‘bothering’ anyone.  I tell my story in this manner with ease.  Vulnerability here is simple for me, even though I know people will read and may judge.  I don’t care…in written form.  When I write, I do not have to ‘receive’ anything but feedback, I can share only what I want to share and though it’s a great lot…there is so much more brewing inside.  My new promise to my readers and myself is to practice the same vulnerability that I practice in written word, face to face.  A challenge from me and for me.

That’s that!

No better time than the present to share vulnerability….  I am certain I will write more on this after I have processed a bit…something to look forward too!  I am reading “Made to Crave”, by Lysa TerKeurst.  I’ve always loved her books and knowing that she has experienced infidelity in her marriage makes me love her even more.  Anyway….doing lots of thinking on my relationship with food and wanting that relationship to be different from whatever it has been in my entire life.

Just a few days ago, I had several (I am still ashamed) handfuls of Oreo’s for dinner.  As in over 1/2 of a box several.  The shame lies in the fact that I ate them as if I were desperately hungry, like I  hadn’t eaten in days. I didn’t even enjoy them.  (They were Oreo thins and why overeat Oreo’s if they don’t even have the good gooey artificial crack like stuff in the middle?)  Also, I had no milk.  What a waste.

I NEVER would’ve eaten cookies or anything else with that kind of animatistic drive if someone was watching.  I did it in secret.  I did it to stuff something I did not want to feel.  (Remember, I said I do not like the mucky feels).  I know that like any addict, I am comforted by my source in the moment.  I think my source is sugar.  There is a numbness that accompanies the comfort, again, in the moment.

I’ve been praying about this, and something hit me yesterday like a ton of bricks.  I have probably acknowledged ‘around this’ many times, but this time provided a deeper truth than I have ever felt surface.  Do I eat in secret only to numb?  Do I eat in desperation only for comfort? Do I stuff myself until I feel nauseous to stuff my feelings way down?  Yes, yes and yes.  Wait!  There’s more.  Here it is… (drumroll would be cool except this thought is anything but cool).

I EAT TO PUNISH MYSELF.  It’s a brilliant form of self-flagellation.  It is in the moment that I choose to overeat, ‘self-medicate’, stuff, numb, comfort; in that moment, I am feeling an overwhelming sense of shame and guilt for ‘whatever’ it is on my mind.  It could be a multitude of ‘whatever’s’, and that is what I will save for another post. I stuff myself with food (‘bad’ food, not ‘good’ food) and then I can feel even more guilt and shame for making such a miserable, hopeless choice.  All of the diets in the world are useless when the desire to diminish the feelings is stronger than the desire to heal.

This is a gigantic AHA for me.  I must figure out what to do with my new discovery.  I hate the way this knowledge makes me feel.  It makes me feel dirty and ashamed.  I’m  flooded with uncomfortable, ugly memories and truth. I have been praying for endless ‘something’s different’ and my relationship with food is among the top five, it wasn’t coincident that this my eyes have been opened to this revelation.   What to do?  I guess I’m going to sit in the discomfort for a ‘moment’ and prayerfully seek direction so that I may continue on the road to healing.  Life begins outside of our comfort zone, right?

I do not consider myself to be a person who rapidly and randomly changes moods.  Oh but my deepest desire is that my insides are always congruent with my outsides.  Stable, joyful, thoughtful, compassionate, tolerant, gracious, merciful, humorous, insightful, wise, moment cherishing and reflective….I’m going to be these for myself even amidst the muck.  These are part of my soul.  Don’t worry, I won’t desert me.