Just a little break from work and school stuff to share something I’ve been pondering the last week or so.
This pretty much applies to my single friends, but of course, anyone’s thoughts are welcome.
So…I’ve been dating for a couple of years now. If you know me, you know that the whole dating scene was pretty new to me after the divorce, right?
Let’s just say I’ve learned and continue to learn so much about myself and about my own patterns (good and bad) through this process. It’s easy to go where I am comfortable, even if comfort is not in my best interest.
If there is interest on both sides, I am learning the value in sticking with one person at least to explore each other for a time and not going on other dates during that time frame.
A dear friend and I had this conversation and I found so much significance in it. Online dating gives us the constant option to keep looking ‘for the next best thing’ and in doing so…we aren’t being present and exploring what’s right in front of us.
Why? For me, I think when I started dating, everyone just told me this is what we do…date lots of people…so I did with the exception of those two relationships. Honestly…not so fabulous.
All of that said…I have an observation. Out of the ‘sample population’ that I have dated…there have been a couple of relationships, many first dates, and a few several time dates. I think that sums it up.
Out of all of these, I can name only 3 people who have been totally honest with me. I mean honest in saying what their intentions are, whether they be a long term relationship, marriage, fun, or just sex. Three men. Not cool. (except one that was a little creepy honest and I could’ve done without that).
I get it if you aren’t sure what your intentions are…say it. I get it If you desire nothing but a sexual relationship, say it. To engage someone on this level and indicate that you want a relationship when that is not at all the truth…just a jerky thing to do. Give them an informed option.
I’m quickly losing my naivety but don’t want to become jaded in the process.
If you want to explore your relationship with someone and would like that to be something you are on the same page about, say it.
And for goodness gosh sake, if you are no longer interested, please, please, please be honest and kind and tender. Don’t just disappear. It is mean and it is cowardly.
We can all be grown up’s, right?
It just feels like dating increases the likelihood of disposability, like people are seen as objects rather than humans with a heart, emotions and a brain.
So…what’s your view? I am kinda not in the mood for jokes, I am truly seeking thoughtful feedback.
Did you know that a doughnut experience or bar is a really trendy thing to do at weddings right now? I love it! I especially love it since it goes right along with my current train of thought.
I’ve been thinking so much about doughnuts (and not just because I have had no more than two bites of a doughnut since last April!). My ex husband and I had a delightful conversation about donuts a couple of weeks ago and this analogy has been spinning around in my brain since then.
So…let’s take a little trip to the corner bakery shop. (Remember that childhood song; “Well, I walked around the corner and I walked around the block, and I walked right in to a bakery shop…and I picked up a doughnut and I wiped off the grease…and I handed the lady a 5 cent piece. Well…she looked at the nickel and she looked at me, and she said, “kind sir, can’t you plainly see?” There’s a hole in the nickel, there’s a whole right through. Said I, there’s a hole in the doughnut too!) This is apparently the world’s best song, so says my brain as it hears it for the billionth time!
There is every kind of doughnut imaginable. Iced, sprinkled, coconut flakes, powdered sugar, cookie bit toppings, even one with bacon bits. I’m a pretty simple lady. I just want something comforting, traditional and of course, absolutely delicious.
Countless doughnuts are before me, their tempting aromas floating through the air. I choose what I imagine will be the most wonderful doughnut of all. It was just set out on the cooling rack. Warm and sticky to the touch, but not hot. I pick it up, inhaling it’s sweet scent as I bring it closer to my lips. My tummy rumbles and my mouth waters, I have not tasted a confection treat like this for a full year.
This particular doughnut (because it’s my chosen doughnut), is softly round, gently iced with freshly made chocolate icing, perfectly heated and so melty that it will dissolve in my mouth. Oh! It is wonderful to look at, arouses my senses when I think about how exquisite it is going to be to eat every last bite of it.
I lick my lips and bring the object of desire close, I open my mouth and take the first bite. Savoring every nibble; I am pleased that this doughnut is every bit as magnificent as I’d hoped. I’ve eaten about 1/2 of it when I begin to feel it’s sticky sugars coat my teeth and the roof of my mouth. I need a napkin because even though I have licked the icing off my fingers, they are still sticky. I am quite thirsty.
Unfortunately, the water at the doughnut shop has been shut off and they are out of milk and juice. I ask for coffee. There is no coffee. So, I sit down at the lone booth, all of a sudden aware that there is no one in the bakery shop other than the man serving donuts. My thirst grows and my mouth feels pasty. Where is the doughnut guy anyway? It seems I am my only company.
I look at the doughnut remains in my hand, looking drastically less appetizing than before. I am a little bit bored and unfocused…so I finish it off; not enjoying the last 1/2 nearly as much as the first. Still, no one is here. I am a little lonely. Actually, my stomach kind of aches. I don’t know if it was the sugar or something else. I kind of wish I would’ve stopped after just a taste. I feel bitterness rise in my throat. I haven’t experienced acid reflux since I stopped eating sugar and now look…one little doughnut. Why did I choose this when I knew what it would do to me?
I am alone in the bakery. I see that the counters are a 60’s kind of bright yellow and the room all of a sudden feels too bright. My stomach is bloated at the top and I need something to quench my thirst. Where are the people? My feelings of loneliness increase and I’m overcome with the feeling that I can’t leave fast enough.
I place a dollar bill on the table, in case the guy comes back and I walk out. I feel the breeze on my skin, a little colder than when I came in. The sun is out but it’s not warm enough. I am reminded of the way life used to be when I consistently chose the doughnut. I am uncomfortable in my own skin and wish I could have a re-do.
This is me talking about my dating life right now. Let me break this down.
Physicality in a relationship…that’s the doughnut. It’s sooooo yummy! It’s soooooo fantastically good to a woman who loves feeling desired, giving, being close, being told she’s beautiful, ALL of the good stuff. It’s enjoyable, phenomenal, pleasurable and fun!
The point is, the doughnut is super sweet in the beginning. It is scintillating, intoxicating, forbidden yumminess! Let’s be honest…kisses are fabulous, snuggles are warm, our insides are gooey goodness. It’s all incredibly hard to resist. In spite of all this, it might be best to not indulge in the doughnut; or at least give some thought and intention before that first bite. Once you have a nibble, the cravings set in.
But, if that is all there is…the doughnut…I’m left with nothing but reminders of what I don’t have that I once (kind of) had. I tell myself, no more doughnuts. No more donuts! NO MORE DOUGHNUTS!
I eat the doughnut anyway. I get angry with myself because it was just a doughnut. My hunger is not satisfied, I am thirsty still and I am alone.
Doughnuts aren’t bad. Doughnuts are very, very good. They should just be ingested with a generous dose of awareness and wisdom. There’s good stuff in that doughnut song. There is a reason there is a hole in the doughnut. The doughnut alone isn’t enough. At least in my life, for me, for now.
Picture that same warm out of the oven, sticky, perfectly iced, soft doughnut. Instead of an empty coffee shop, I am in line with many others. I don’t really see them though, because my attention is focused on the one special person who I walked hand in hand here with.
We order a doughnut to share, because neither of us eat much sugar. (Okay…that’s too much of a fantasy, we each get our own doughnut!) He quietly pays for our purchase and for the family behind us. I admire and respect his heart and consider that he is worth everything I have been through to get to him. I know he looks at me the same.
Also, we have coffee with real cream. We sit down with our doughnuts. The conversation is easy and the laughter is abundant. This guy. He is yummy, he is kind, he thinks I am the most beautiful woman in the world. We both think the doughnut is so much better when it comes with coffee and connection. We discuss a little bit of the silliness of the doughnuts we enjoyed when we didn’t believed doughnuts were all there were. There is deep gratitude for the now.
We agree, this is how it’s been for us…
Only the doughnut…. It’s sugary and temporarily satisfying. But then what? (Again, if one is in a place of only wanting the doughnut, enjoy the doughnut!)
Then, there is the whole bakery experience. Enjoying the doughnut with someone who savors it with you; someone who takes you to the bakery shop and sits with you; sips coffee; kisses and conversation are never ending. Maybe even read the paper (or a little Anais Nin and Henry Miller to each other).
Doughnuts vs. The Bakery Shop…my preferences are a changing.
I wasn’t going to write tonight. Each time I had started to do so, I came up with nothing but feisty, unkind, passive aggressive wording, yet, here I am. Thanks to the love, prayers, positive energy and encouragement that surround me, I have decided to try to be brave and share my heart. Let’s hope I don’t regret it in the morning.
This is not a pretty post. Not at all. It’s kind of ugly and I just pray that I keep it about my experience and not someone else’s story. Whatever.
I am in the middle of learning some tough lessons. About myself, relationships, the difference between love and lust…so much. So fucking much. Lessons that I expect I ‘should’ have down by down at the ripe age of 46. I guess after being with one man for 23 years, I’m not joking when I say I am like a teenager at times and these growing pains are simply yuck.
My heart aches. Deeply. Every time I face rejection from a man, in any aspect, it’s like I bring into it a lifetime of rejection. It rapidly becomes all about everything I am not rather than about what the situation really is. Tonight, someone I am particularly fond and who has been precious (in my eyes) ‘defriended’ me on social media. Really. So familiar to what I hear my teenagers struggle with at times. I don’t even know why. It doesn’t matter. It stung and started a flood of tears that I can’t seem to stop.
An onslaught of failures, lies and struggles suck me in. Failed marriage. Poor choices. Less than. Never enough. Won’t happen. Negligent. Disorganized. Scattered. Settled for. Two faced. Fat. Broken. Messed up. Crazy. Damaged. Wounded. Stubborn. Less than, again. Optional. Disposable. Debris. Stupid. Boring. Too much. Not enough, again. Temporary. Unworthy. Plain. Short hair. Gross. Hurting. The list goes on.
Through it all, my mind keeps hearing the words of a dear friends prayer for me, along with a sermon that I have listened to numerous times lately. It’s all about the story we tell ourselves. We might tell ourselves something that is not necessarily a lie, but instead a twisted up version of the truth. It really pinged my heart because I know that I tend to live in the truth of my story instead of the truth of who God really made me to be….especially in regard to my relationships with men.
I am happily confident in my job, work hard in school, and adore my internship. I am a magnificent friend, the best Momma for my kids and try hard to fill my other roles with all the love, giving, compassion and care that I can give. Bottom line, I feel ‘good enough’ in these roles for the most part and when I don’t, I make changes accordingly. That’s one Sarah. She knows who she is and what she wants. She believes it is just as important to play hard as it is to work hard; she is not hesitant to go for what she wants.
Then…there is the Sarah who sees herself as disposable. She is seeking a real and deep love, a true connection with a gentleman that holds truth and freedom in it. She is looking for the hands that will hold her heart with love, gentleness and protection. She knows she has much to give BUT….this woman sees herself as a young girl who is overweight, awkward, painfully shy and unwanted. No matter how she ‘looks’ to others, and despite the way she works on positive changes…she mostly sees herself as someone broken, deeply lacking or undesirable. This feeling sucks. I know it’s not truth, but it ‘feels’ truthful in the moment and operating from that truth leads to a plethora of poor choices. Choices that disregard who I am at my core and what I hope for in this life. Choices that are made out of a fear of being without companionship. Choices that give a temporary band-aid to lonely feelings but absolutely do not result in long term fulfillment. Choices that are made because there is gratitude that someone desires me vs. knowing it is a privilege to have time with me.
I’m not speaking to intentional choices I make as a grown woman to participate in relationships that are fun, fulfilling in their own way and not long term. I am referring specifically to participating in relationships knowing full well that it won’t be what I want it to be, but choosing to believe I can change it to what I desire. I can BS myself like no other, but don’t worry, I speak the truth to others. So often that it gets me in trouble…not everyone wants that.
The story that I tell myself is that I will never find the love of my life, so I may as well enjoy whatever the moment offers. I will not ever be ‘the one’ to someone special, so I shall act accordingly. I’ve already had that, kind of, so God wants me to live the rest of my life alone and serving others. (I put those words to God, nothing I feel from him). I may as well go for the men who are not going to be long lasting, because in the end, they will leave. So why choose the ones I will really give my heart to? They too, will leave. Both will hurt but the latter will hurt far less. Choose the lesser of two evils, right? In the process, I am getting hurt and I am hurting others…unintentional as it may be. All of my protective forces are accomplishing nothing worth mentioning.
Who knows what of this is true and what is not? I know I am supposed to honor who I believe I am…a brave, worthy, happy, truly loved by God, whimsical, whole and surrendered woman. That is who I believe I was made to be, yet when I am engaging with men I am willing to trade that in for whatever they need me to be. That’s got to be better than what I really have to offer, right? Better even, let me serve as therapist and best friend ever, maybe even as a nurturing mom role. Ewwww. But it comes so natural.
A precious friend recently told me that “God made me and his work is always beautiful”. I love that friend and his heart. I want to believe his words. My heart agrees, it is beautiful…my brain taunts me by letting me know I’ll never measure up. But to who? How long am I going to let others opinion of me determine how I view myself. It’s ridiculous. Real stuff, but ridiculous.
I have a safety plan. Another dear friend and I have a ‘twenty year plan’. If neither of us are married at age 60, or in 20 years…we can marry each other. This is our little funny! In truth, I freak myself out. What if I die before then without experiencing the gift of a deep and abiding love with the ‘right’ man. I know…God’s timing…it’s just so hard for me to trust.
I am tired. I cannot believe I am ‘here’. There are new crinkles around my eyes and I see faint wrinkles on the delicate skin of my neck. I can’t seem to keep up with the fastness of passing time.
My precious children…lots of love and hugs from them tonight. That should be more than sufficient. Why do I long for anything more? I just do. Even in my deep gratitude, there is a constant yearning.
This is my story. I’m trying to figure out how to live in the truth of who I am…in ALL of the circumstances and with ALL of the people. I am trying to let go of the story I once helped me survive and embrace the story that is truth.
This is my honesty.
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.
There are occasions that I wish I could go back with my magic wand to erase certain points in time; there are other times that I’d like to go back and sprinkle more pixie dust where I previously restrained myself from doing so. As this post-divorce journey complete with the roller coaster of grief, healing and transformation progress, I am still at times surprised by my own strong emotional reactions.
My beloved Anais Nin so eloquently said, “Sometimes we reveal ourselves when we are least like ourselves.” There is intense applicable truth for me in this quote. Recently, I was retelling my precious Mother something I had done that left me full of regret and shame. She replied with, “Sarah Ann! That doesn’t even sound like you!” (She’s right, I know). In other instances, I have found myself jumping quicker into aspects of a relationship that I ‘normally’ would think to hold much more stringent boundaries around. This time, I scold myself…”Sarah! Gaaaa…this isn’t even you!” Hmmmm…is it not me or is it the me I have always restrained?
A dear friend mentioned “this version of me” in a conversation about this very topic. Initially, this was a struggle to understand. How can I be authentic and still a very different version of myself…what is real? We are always changing, ever evolving, consistently transforming, right? It seems the harder we resist change, the stronger change overtakes us. I guess it’s all about riding the wave but why is that so much easier to preach than to practice?
In the ongoing self study I am doing, there are absolutely new aspects of me that are emerging. I’ve decided that there is far more value in embracing and accepting myself than there is in trying to discern whether the aspects are truly new or just now being allowed to be present. In the multitude of errors I’ve been making, there are lessons (albeit painful), there is growth, and mostly…there is grace. I have to talk myself into the last one though.
HUGE valuable lessons I’ve received lately, they’ve been hard but in light of trusting the process and enjoying the journey, I’m doing the best I can to take accountability, apologize and move forward. There’s always that inner voice telling me to make things right for everyone else and it’s exhausting. One thing at a time, right?
- Sexual intimacy…no matter what I tell myself…changes the emotional attachment dynamic. When sexual intimacy occurs too early, it can decrease brain power and increase ideation….thus elevating the chances that inappropriate emotional reactivity will occur. Ugh.
- People will judge behaviors. Only God and I get to decide the best actions, thoughts and behaviors for me. Feedback is always appreciated and weighed carefully, but in the end, the one who will confront my inner conflict is me. So…thank you for caring enough to share, I promise to weigh it carefully. 🙂
- Dating is an adventure. There are friends to be made, things to learn about others and myself and tons of value in this season…but I still miss my family as it was and that is okay. Grief for a loss and celebration of new can absolutely walk hand in hand.
- Due to a chaotic childhood, I tend toward the ‘what if’s’ and control. Not control to control; rather to keep my world feeling safe. Not everyone (actually no one) is super appreciative of that…including me. Rather than constantly worrying about creating safety through control, I’m changing my definition of safety and remembering my God, who has me in His hands…that’s really the only safety assurance I need. (coming to terms…a process!)
- Just because I have a great imagination and may have determined exactly how something will play out does not make my determination accurate. As a matter of fact, following my imaginary scenario results in the aforementioned emotional reactivity which I strongly desire to move away from.
- I may have missed a few spectacular opportunities because of my own reactivity. I have embraced the icky lessons, asked forgiveness (from myself too), defined what I can do different next time and moved on with grace. I still hate myself a little bit for it though.
- Unrelated….the stroke has less power over me than it once did but still too much power. Working on that. Trying to replace my fear with constant faith and gratitude. Keeping my eyes and heart open…I am incredibly blessed and I know it.
“Sometimes we reveal ourselves when we are least like ourselves.” – Anais Nin It is remarkable what I have learned through the errors that are ‘so unlike me’.
Grateful in all things.