Sometimes, I just need to get stuff off my mind so….I write. I realize that this is the internet and when I write things like this I’m not looking for any kind of attention but rather to maybe help someone who is secretly feeling the same way as me and either doesn’t want help or is too afraid to talk about it.
As I was sitting at work the other day, I saw one of our therapist. It got me thinking…maybe it was time to just “talk” with a professional about some of my issues. Now, granted…I’m not shy to ever talk about anything. Part of being strong is realizing when you’re weak and I feel like I know my weaknesses pretty well but out of my own curiosity I wanted to hear what a professional had to say. There are 2 key things that I’ll talk about here, relationships and being good enough.
So…I guess I could say I haven’t been in a true “relationship” since 2008. Since that time there have been a lot of changes in my life: My mom passing, working out of the country, losing my job, moving across country, joining the Army, not being good enough for the Army and losing my job post-Army…just to name a few. At each new destination I never really wanted to get involved with someone because I felt like I knew I would be leaving. I thought I would give dating another stab but I had to ask myself, why? I mean…I’m happy being single, doing what I want to do, when I want to do it. However, the other side of me has missed the intimacy of sharing things with another person. The big problem for me being in the military (and now being unemployed) is that it’s difficult to meet people…a big factor is my age vs my rank the other is where would I meet them? I’m at work, gym and not much else outside of that. I don’t go to clubs, I don’t like bars all that much. Being in a military town can make things rather difficult. I discussed this with the therapist who was intrigued at my reasoning for things.
There are 2 relationships in my past that I would deem as being “perfect” for me, but one pushed me away and I eventually pushed the other away. One was with my college sweetheart, we had the perfect relationship and I thought she would be the one I would marry but things went south a little over a year and she broke up with me. My friends never really liked her but I thought we were great together. She needed to move away and try on the big city to see what single life would be all about for her. I never got closure from that and it ate at me for a long time. She tried to reconnect with me in 2010 and I had to say no, trying to leave the past behind me. I still think about this person from time to time (which I’m assuming is normal since I’m single) but know that contacting her is not the answer.
The 2nd I met at work. This particular person I never thought in a million years would be a person for me. I was intimidated by her (of course I didn’t show that), she was a seasoned professional and I was just a newly graduated college mid 20’s something. The people at work said we would be a perfect fit but (this is where “being good enough” will later come in to play.) We went out to dinner one night and the rest was history. I grew to really care about this person, she was wonderful, caring, had an amazing family and looked at me for me and not what she could get out of me. One day I received a job offer to move west so we went out to dinner and I asked her, “what would you do if I had to move?” I said this knowing all her family was local and thinking she would say she couldn’t which would get me off the hook but instead she said what I really wanted her to say, “I’ll go with you”. I was shocked. I didn’t know what to do…so in my mind I said I couldn’t let her leave those that she loved most. So, I pushed her away. She didn’t give up easy but eventually she gave in. I later had realized how stupid and selfish I was but it was all too late and she had moved on. I still think about this person as well…and I wonder if it’s the person or the situation that I miss most?
In talking to the therapist I asked what is my issue with relationships? Why do I push them away? Why do I get emotional when I see people happy (like perfect partners in a movie/tv) or when I see parents doing wonderful things for their kids? You see….growing up for me was rough. I had no father figure. My mother was absent, she was there physically but very much detached emotionally, she was verbally abusive and when I had something that she felt was useful, she would figure out a way to take it from me. I had my Memaw, my grandmother, my best friend who I did everything with but then she passed when I was 21. It was the hardest day of my life (I’m tearing up just writing about it…). When I lost her I felt empty, I felt like a piece of me had left my body. I felt like giving up multiple times, ending my life several times. I had been alone but now I really felt alone for the first time in my life. My mom was living in Atlanta but our relationship was nothing like ours. Eventually, I toughened up and pushed on. The therapist believes that my relationship issues stem from never having any stability in my life. (The only real stability I’ve had has been my 2 best friends, my brothers, Mike and Jonathan.) When you’re young you don’t really realize how important your parents are to you so you never really create that bond till you’re old enough to know why they are there and why they always have your back (this isn’t everyone of course). I never really was ever able to have that and it’s always been an emptiness that I have longed for ever since. The reality though is I can never get that back, they are gone and now all I can do is live my life and try to make them proud of me. You see people like me, people who are strong, we smile through the pain and are usually the ones that are really missing something…we just don’t want anyone else to see it. Well I will never shy away from talking about it. And, at any opportunity I always take the advantage to tell someone to cherish their loved ones….especially the younger folks out there.
Being good enough:
I sell myself short, I guess. I never give myself enough credit. I have very low self-esteem, these are the things the therapist told me. I hate where I am at in life. At 36, I feel like I should be so much further along. I always place high standards on myself as to what I want in life and I try to go after it. I’ve been laid off 4 times and I’m in a ton of debt with a shitty degree that in reality has done nothing for me. I know people out there have it worse but I’m not comparing myself to them because I have my own expectations. If you want to have no ambition and just work a meaningless job and that makes you happy then cool, I applaud you. But for me, it’s not enough. I want to make a difference. I want to travel, I want to see the world. I want to change peoples lives. I can’t sit idle. I don’t know if it’s that I just make bad professional decisions or (and I know this to be true) my past college grades hinder me from doing things that I want to do moving forward. Are there options? Sure, but not within reason…debt vs income, etc. Just because you can obtain something doesn’t always make it worth obtaining. For example, I think I would make a great nurse! But, is being 100K+ in debt to be a nurse realistic? No, no it isn’t.
I find in dating these days, most women that I’m attracted to are independent and career oriented women, which by the way, I think is great…..and sexy! But, I also find that these same women want a man who can step up to the plate to equal them (or be even further along then them.) Now, I’m not naive to think this is every woman out there, that would be silly but I do see that it’s true at least….8/10 times? Maybe I’m chasing the wrong thing but how can you divert from what is attractive to you? I can’t offer stability or a home or a nice car or investments or 401k or luxury vacations or, or , or….what I can offer is me, which quite frankly is an amazing person! I think most women that know me would say very good things about me, I mean even my exes would tell you how great a partner I am….(no really, it’s true! Lol) It’s impossible to convey these things though to a woman who doesn’t know you. It’s like these days you need to show up to a date with a resume so they can see if you’re worthy of a second date. Maybe it’s just the media thirsty society that we live in these days…making us think that we need a life that we don’t really need. I have no clue….
So….what next? I guess I’ll just stay single. I like me and I don’t have to compete with anyone else for my affection. I take myself out and have a good time, there are no awkward pauses. I embrace the day/night as I go. I spend time with friends when I can. I kiss babies and pet animals. Open doors for women, compliment them on occasion, make a stranger laugh or smile and hopefully for these random strangers that I meet out there they will think, “damn, there goes one of the good ones.” In my head I may not feel I’m good enough for someone else right now but in my heart I know I’m good enough for me. Until that woman comes along again for me who’s a: foodie loving, travel hoping, gym manic, movie going, caring sweet individual then I’ll be here…solo, with the windows down, singing my song and the wind blowing through what hair I have left….what time is it? Oh, it’s gym time. See ya!
(Originally written 2/16/15, revised 5/22/16)