Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “being unlovable”

When the worst thing VD stands for is actually venereal disease and not that February 14th holiday…

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. And it was my first ever Valentine’s Day where I had a valentine. Ever. And I am 36 years old.

I didn’t need this Valentine’s Day to be a special day. And it really wasn’t. My boyfriend and I both worked a full 10 hour day plus commute. We came home and had dinner. We watched an episode of Heroes on Netflix. It was no big deal. But Valentine’s Day being no big deal was a VERY BIG DEAL for me.

I have very much hated the day for as long as I can remember. I didn’t even want the chocolate, though I was a sugar addicted compulsive eater. Because it came in a heart-shaped box which I was sure was only going to make the contents taste bitter. Like my heart.

Because I was sure that not only was I not going to get any romantic gifts that year, but I was never going to get any romantic gifts any year ever. I was going to be alone for my whole life. I was positive that I was fundamentally unlovable. And VD (as I used to call it) was a day when everything seemed to revolve around being single or not being single. Being loved or not being loved. Being somebody’s chosen, or being alone and neglected. It was about measuring up. And I not only didn’t measure up this time, I was never going to measure up.

For the first time, because I am in a relationship, I can look at the day with some clarity. Because it was too loaded for me to ever see it properly before. And I have to say, it is an unkind holiday to the single. I can see that there is first a kind of shaming of people who don’t have “a valentine.” There is an expectation that you should at least have something. A date. An admirer. A booty call. There is this underlying idea that to be alone on the day is pathetic.

And then there is a shaming of single people who hate it because they are being shamed. There is a clearly stated reprimand if you don’t like it, and especially if you say so. You are ruining it for everybody with your bitterness.

Seriously? Bitter single people are ruining your Valentine’s Day? Are you joking? It was so hard to choke down your chocolate? It made your filet mignon with the person you love taste bad? You had to throw away your bouquet of roses because you couldn’t stand to look at it while Bob and Mary were hating February 14th?

I have compassion for those who suffer on that day. I’m serious. Not pity. Compassion. Because I suffered too. I hated the holiday. And I felt ashamed of myself for hating it. And for being bitter. And I am so grateful that I have a new context, and can see it from a new perspective.

No, I did not shun this Valentine’s Day. I have to admit that it felt amazing to have someone to give a gift to because I love him so much. My boyfriend did indeed get heart-shaped chocolate from me. And I am graciously (and very happily) accepting my gift of being whisked away to Florida for a long weekend at the end of the month. But it didn’t feel amazing because I “finally” got chosen. It felt amazing because it’s him. Because I have a relationship that has continued to exceed all of my expectations. Because it took 35 years, but I ended up with love that is better than a fairytale. Because it’s not “happily ever after.” It’s a day at a time of honor, and respect, and laughter, and music, and Netflix, and dinner together, and grocery shopping, and laundry, and cleaning the oven, and making the bed, and mundane life.

Getting my eating under control gave me a ridiculous amount of clarity in my life. Not being high on sugar, not being obsessed with eating, not being obsessed with my body and my weight opened up so much room in my head for understanding, and critical thinking, and hearing my intuition. But for the 7 years that I had clarity but no romance, I could not have been this clear about Valentine’s Day.

This has been a powerful reminder for me. That there are still things that exist in my blind spot. That there are still things I can’t see, for all of my heightened perception and lucidity. That my life will continue to change as long as I continue to grow. And it is my intention to grow. It is what I want and what I work for. So I’m looking forward to the next time I get taken out of my own context and watch the world shift.

If you take your toys and go home, there is nobody to play with

In my last post I went on and on about how I have all of this self-confidence and self-assurance. So obviously this week life slapped me in the face and reminded me that I’m an insecure fat girl. You saw that coming, right? (I didn’t. Could you give a girl a heads up next time? ‘Preciate ya…)

I have mentioned before that for most of my life, I shut my heart down. Even with my food under control, I didn’t let anyone into my fortress. When I lost my fortress of fat, I still maintained a fortress of bitch. Over the years, I have mostly given that up. (Mostly.) It makes me feel bad to treat others badly. Protecting myself at the expense of someone else’s feelings makes me want to eat a chocolate cake. So I try to be gentle. To have room for other people’s humanity. To remember that they are just people in the world doing the best they can. Same as me.

But I also have another fortress.  This one is hard to let go of. Because it works so well. It keeps me so safe. It is a fortress of indifference. Of untouchability. It is an amazing ability I have to stop caring. Really. If I feel like you are going to hurt me, I can stop caring about you in an instant. I can turn it off and shut it down and put you away like an old shirt I don’t wear anymore. I call it “taking my toys and going home”. And I have a promise with God that I won’t do it anymore. Especially with men.

There’s this man that I like. We’re not seeing each other. You know, it’s complicated. It’s totally impractical. So technically, we’re friends. (I think.) But I have been thinking that maybe eventually we might be more than friends. Because as impractical as it is, I think he may be worth navigating the complications and the trouble. And I thought he was interested in me too. Which is hard for me to admit to you right now because I have Carrie’s mom doing that kaleidoscope thing in my head. The one right before Carrie goes all telekinetic. They’re all gonna laugh at you. They’re all gonna laugh at you. Especially because of the next part of the story.

I was on Facebook the other day. And there was a conversation between him and a friend of his. Was it any of my business? No. But it was out in the open on a social networking site. And I read it. And it made me feel awful. At first I didn’t register why. All I knew was that I wanted to go smoke a cigarette. More than that, for the first time in almost a month, I actually considered smoking a cigarette. But I don’t do that anymore. (Stupid promise with God…) So I had to look at the awful feeling. And I realized that it hurt because it sounded like the way he saw it, there was no room for me in his life. It made me feel invisible. Unseen. Like he didn’t even know that I existed. So I wanted to shut off my heart. I wanted to stop caring. I wanted to take my toys and go home. But I don’t do that anymore either. (More stupid promises with stupid God…) So I had to ask him about it. And in asking, I had to admit that I thought that he was interested in me. That I had entertained the notion that I might be good enough for another human being. One that I think has a lot to offer. And that was hard to do. That was frankly terrifying. But I did it. (Stupid God.)

The truth is, I still don’t know where I stand with him. And I don’t love that, but I can be with it. That’s between him and me. (And it is, by the way, between him and me. The purpose of this post is not to solicit love and/or dating advice. Especially from “the internet”. I have friends for that.) And what I decide to do about my relationship with him, for myself and my own life, is between God and me. The purpose of this post is to talk about the part that’s between me and me.

I was not wrong about my self-assurance in my last post. I was not exaggerating about my confidence level. When it comes to my integrity, I’m confident. When I ask myself if I’m the kind of person I want to be, the answer is definitely yes. If I ask myself if I like and respect myself, there is not a doubt in my mind that I do. I even think that I would make somebody a good companion and partner.

The insecurity that this brought up is about the belief that I have that I am fundamentally unlovable. Fundamentally. Like I’m broken. Damaged. Faulty.  And not that something happened to make me unlovable. But that I was made that way. Born that way. That never being loved is my inescapable destiny. I have held this belief for as long as I can remember.  It is not rational, of course. But is not meant to be. It does not even masquerade as rational. It lives in me like survival instinct.

To dare to like someone is shameful. To expect, or really even to hope, that someone would be interested in me feels unforgivable. But to have someone find out that I was so presumptuous as to believe that they would think I was worthy of being loved sets off warning signals in my brain. Danger! Retreat!

But here’s what else I know. Until recently, I never let any relationship with a man come to its natural conclusion. Until recently I never just went along and let myself feel about someone the way I felt about them. Or let someone feel about me the way they felt about me. I never just let myself be hurt if I was going to be hurt. I never risked the humiliation. At the first sign of trouble, I always took my toys and went home. I never stopped to face the danger.

When I was the one who walked away, I took the power away from any other person to hurt me. But I took the power away from them to love me too. So I didn’t get love. And I didn’t get companionship. And I didn’t stop being lonely. Instead of getting hurt by someone else, I suffered at my own hand. I fed that thought that says I’m broken. I fed that belief that says that I will be alone. Forever. That it is my destiny. (Yes. It’s totally in The Emperor’s voice, in case you were thinking that.)

See, I have all of these promises with God. No sugar. No cigarettes. No drama. No lying. No taking my toys and going home. No trying to escape life. No trying to escape being present. No trying to escape personal relationships. I have all of these promises with God that I will actually be in my life. But God has made me a promise too. A promise that’s scary to admit to you. Because what if I’m wrong. And what if I really am broken. But He promises that if I show up for love, that he’ll send me love. So here I am. And here are my toys. And I’m ready to play.


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