Another One Bites the Dust
The crying has finally let up. Honestly, a few weeks ago, I didn’t see an end in sight. That’s a testament to the cathartic and healing power of writing.
It’s why I do what I do. I take the journey of writing because it allows me to be raw and vulnerable, delusional, and naive, powerful and hopeful in exactly the ways I want and need to be. It provides answers.
So here goes…
At age 41, I have to seriously consider that half my journey could quite possibly be over — maybe even more than half! Tomorrow’s not promised.
One thing I know for sure is that I don’t want to spend the second “half” of my existence pouring time and energy into pointless pursuits or ideas. Many times, over the course of the last year, I have wondered whether there is anything more pointless than the idea of romantic love as we know it.
The three deaths that I alluded to in Part I of this series were the passing of my grandmother and college friend, the move my mother made from our home to five hours away in Virginia, and the end of my most recent romantic relationship.
The first instances of death were physical, the last was the end of a family dynamic, but the end of the relationship was like the resurrection of a long-held set of beliefs that I once abandoned in favor of optimism and free-spiritedness. It was like taking up arms again after a cease-fire, upon realizing that adversaries simply cannot be trusted.
I have learned that my path requires moderation and that when it comes to these matters of the heart, it’s best to lead with my head.
Here’s the thing, I was never the girl who dreamed of white picket fences and big weddings. I didn’t like Disney Princess movies (still don’t). I hate romance novels. I thought Romeo and Juliet were two of the dumbest suckers to ever cross the pages of a book. And my favorite part of Titanic was the drama that ensued when the ship sank. The photos from Rose’s full and exciting life in the end were a bonus.
However, I grew up in an environment where the women were over-givers. I was raised in the church, and I was taught that it’s better to give than to receive, especially if you’re female. Plus, as one of the most generous, steadfast, and loyal members of the zodiac (a Leo), I much prefer to lead with my heart.
I give. That’s another thing that I do, and all my life I’ve been battling the consequences of giving too much too soon, and sometimes to the wrong people.
I’ve never been one to half ass a love relationship or to hide from an opportunity to be sharpened by its blade. Yet, I’ve learned that too many people are cowards operating like insurance companies. They lead with lies and reject all claims by default in the hopes that you’ll just give up and require nothing more of them when it’s time to pay the piper.
My time is not charity, my love is conditional, and I expect as much as I give. Some call such expectation foolish or wrong. I call it self-respect and reciprocity. In romance, there's no such thing as unconditional love -- not when the goal of so many is to conquer.
Can you tell my love language is Acts of Service? I’m not particularly proud of it, but if there was a mantra that described my general orientation in the world, it would be “I do, therefore, I am”. There isn’t much in life that I despise more than the concept of a lazy lover. Yet, we live in a time when plastic slippers have become the go-to footwear for travel, school, and even work. Laziness is the order of the day.
I don’t let a lot of grass grow under my feet. I get bored with a lack of effort easily. My co-parent sometimes calls me “Sharkie”, because he knows I require movement to breathe. I’ll die without it. That’s why we’re no longer together. It’s why I have no problem with terminating relationships as soon as I catch a whiff of stagnancy and an unwillingness from the object of my affection to grow, to move.
They say a woman has to kiss many frogs before she finds her Prince Charming. Yet, whenever she finds herself surrounded by lily pads and the deafening sound of ribbits, they blame her for taking a chance and going for a swim, for not “choosing better”.
They say you are responsible for who you attract, that something must be wrong with you if you experience a series of “failed” relationships. But light attracts flies, and flies will try to join a cookout just as quickly as your favorite friends and family will.
If you are an honest person with a lot to offer, you will attract bullshitters by no fault of your own.
So, stop beating yourself up over the fact that you haven’t mastered the law of attraction. It’s not who you attract, it’s who you keep that matters in the end.
They say good girls like bad guys. I spent most of my life choosing the quiet “good” guys and learned that good guys don’t really exist. Neither do good girls, I guess. We’re all just human, and everyone has an agenda.
We’re told that any healthy love relationship must first begin on a firm foundation of friendship. But it seems that when a man is attracted to a woman, the last thing he wants to be is her friend. Actually, he sees friendship as some “zone” akin to the fifth circle of hell, which he’d prefer to avoid at all costs.
They call any relationship that doesn’t meet the standard of this fantasy we’re all supposed to be chasing a “failure”, but when you don’t run for the hills at the first sign of abuse or toxicity, that’s also considered failure.
I’ve yet to meet anyone who can prove to me that they’ve succeeded. Even those who make a career of putting their relationships on display prove to us again and again that these things have a very clear expiration date.
The gurus who keep trying to gaslight us all into holding out hope for love are making their livelihoods selling us the dream. Many of them are single, miserably paired, or are themselves still trying to figure out if this ideal is possible.
I’ve heard it said that women control access to sex, and men control access to relationships. And like everything else men control, (sorry fellas) the realm of romantic relating is currently a shit show.
We worship our western notion of romantic love like God himself, and just like a man-god in the sky, nobody can prove that shit actually exists.
The earth is beyond overpopulated. Maybe the abysmal relationship landscape and the celibacy trend is designed into the system, some form of natural selection that makes us less inclined to form lasting pair bonds when too many options for pairing abound. It’s not just that social media magnifies the paradox of choice. Nature created it.
Like the bible says, you have to,
"Guard your heart above all else, for out of it flow the issues of life."
Guard your heart. That means there’s supposed to be a fucking bouncer standing at the gateway to your energy ready to toss out anybody who doesn’t approach with the loving spirit and respect you deserve.
Yet the world tells us to not be so hardhearted and defensive. Where the hell is the middle ground? I am exhausted with trying to figure that out, and I don’t have time for this charade. Hope takes energy and valuable mental effort, and I don’t have that to waste.
My nervous system is finally on the mend. My body is returning to stasis, and I’m enjoying more peace again. I’m reveling in business opportunities and deepening my relationships with the people who matter most. I’m proud that I have done my part to cultivate healthy relationships with my loved ones, and I’m grateful that most of my efforts have been worthwhile.
Maybe my expectations of a potential partner are too high and that’s why I never seem to meet my match. Maybe my subconscious expectations are too low, and the Universe is simply giving me the fruit of my limiting beliefs. Am I too smart to keep a man or too smart to want one? Whatever the issue is, I almost don’t give a damn anymore.
I’m not looking for Prince Charming. In fact, I’m not looking for anything. I never was. If, while living a doggedly dynamic and purposefully good life, I happen to encounter an honest, interesting, and humane counterpart with whom I gel, who has his shit together and is ready to meet love with love, that’ll be icing on the cake.
But it ain’t the cake.