A real girl at 31
When the dust settled and I embraced life, I realized how young I still was. I have to forgive myself for wasting my 20s, but I’m finding myself in surprising circumstances concerning socializing with the opposite sex. I finally began to embrace my femininity. You have to understand that I never thought of myself as desirable so I just became busy with other things in life. I can honestly say that a relationship with a man or even just sex wasn’t something I thought about regularly. No wonder! Haha… But I digress.
I have come to see that new found freedom can get out of hand if caution is thrown to the wind. I truly feel the second wind of puberty when it comes to looking at men with sexual attraction. It sounds comical to be 31 and feel this way, but in a way it’s nice. In the past two years I have had a lot of attention from guys. By saying this you could be lead to think I’m some sort of model type, but I am far from. I’m overweight but working towards changing that. I also try to keep my aesthetics up, but I’m not a high heels, dressy dress type of girl. It amazes me that a lot of men are highly attracted to non girly girls and don’t mind the curves and “extra ness”. So where do I start meeting guys?
Time and Place
Now that the past is past and there is no school schedule contending with work and other activities, I have some time on my hands. Don’t get me wrong, I have a job and things to do to keep me busy, but now I’m in that part of life that I have to seek out activity and people rather than it finding me. Now I have some adjusting to do. I have this “rule” of not dating anyone from places I frequent and have in common. For example, work and church. Places like those you generally don’t experience a high level of turnover so people tend to stick around. School would have been the best place for me to meet guys because your environment can change every three months. All this is to avoid the awkward state of having a failed relationship and feeling trapped in a place I originally had positive feelings for.
I would like to meet someone in an environment that is ever changing and not so “fishbowl”. I may be a bit cynical and preparing for the worst so I make sure I have an easy out. So where do go? Online of course! The true equalizer and common ground. I can log on if I’m interested and log off if I’m not. I do make it a point to not have online relationships and meet if there is a connection. The key to online dating, at least for me, is being local. Dating within a 15 mile radius is ideal.
I Feel Just As Safe
The Internet is now the neighborhood or the bar or wherever else people tried to socialize. Believe it or not, it’s as safe as meeting someone in person for the first time. They can lie just as much in person as online so I’m not any more suspicious. Success and safety depends on emotional intelligence, common sense and cosmic help, haha.
What 9/11 Taught Me about Me
That day will forever be ingrained in all of our hearts and history. I remember where I was and what I was in the middle of doing. This was a shared tragedy that was experienced on different levels. Many were personally affected by losing loved ones to those concerned about the future of the country. The event of 9/11 and the subsequent actions leading toward healing and rebuilding mirrors a microcosm of our own lives as individuals. We get hit hard, fall, try to find our missing pieces, find help, heal and rebuild.
Life will hit us hard with some sort of loss. Whether we have faith in God or not we will feel the impact. The absence of someone’s presence, the end of a relationship or the perceived loss of ones identity will feel like that plane crashing into our very existence. It will rain on the good and bad. We will fall to our knees and the embers of sorrow will keep the events replaying in our minds.
Putting the Fire Out
Even after an entire year there were still embers burning at ground zero. It was the same with me. The relationship was over for quite some time. I had help from counselors and friends that I thank God for that put out the harmful flames. I must never make God an understatement. I give Him the credit for giving me hope enough to receive the help. I was never truly alone because of Him. Now in order to rebuild, the fire must be completely out. They did not erect the exact same building in its place right away. They had to dig deep to make sure everything was right, ready and stable. It could take from months to years to get to the place where rebuilding is possible. For humans, it all depends on how quickly we can get up and see through the perspective of hope.
Hope gives us courage that gives us the hand to reach for help. That help gives us the tools and materials to lay a firm foundation to rebuild a good, strong life again. Yes, faith in God is that firm foundation. I build my life on what is immovable, unwavering and sure. What was built after the twin towers was a new design. That’s exactly what I am. I’m absolutely renewed with the knowledge of what NOT to do that lead me down the rabbit hole in the first place. So as the builders made improvements in the design in light of the past tragedy, so have I been improved upon in light of my past heartache.
When you choose to believe, hope and live again, you will always be stronger and wiser for it. And the best thing to come of this is that love will once again conquer all.
The best analogy I’ve heard to describe what I felt is having two pieces of fly paper stuck together and then trying to separate them. One, if not both, rip to shreds. So like one getting off narcotics, there I was balling my eyes out for 3 months. My family didn’t understand why I was so depressed, but a select few witnessed the whole ordeal and stood by me. So how do you get over emotional devastation? Well, this how I did it…
Hope is the only thing that gives meaning to our lives. Depression is symptom of hopelessness. For the first time in my life I was afraid of being alone. It was the strangest feeling because I’ve always enjoyed solitude. The specific fear that griped my heart was that no would know me as much as she did. Because of that I decided live my life honestly and transparently. How did I go from suicidal thoughts to getting up, dusting myself off and living?
The source of my hope is my faith in God. You know, like in the Bible… Now before you think I’m getting on some soap box, I’m just being honest and transparent (remember?). So many people live for other people. I did. But what happens with people? We love, change our mind, leave, uplift, tear down and just die…. I mean we change all the time. So how can we put real hope in unstable, non-guaranteed humans? I’m putting my hope in the One that never changes.
Getting real help
I asked God to help me ask for help. One pet peeve I have is when people that go to church say its just me and God. We, humans, were not meant to be islands to ourselves. As prideful as we can be, we know all the more how much help we need to get us out of our own mess. For me, I need to feel that someone is qualified to handle my problems without affecting them. So I gravitate towards professionals in counseling or at least someone impartial. Because I took a step out of myself I was able to gain the tools to get my life together again.
I believe seeking help in a time of need is a sign of wisdom and strength.
Everyone is a crapped out mess after any kind of breakup… if we actually cared. The reason why it can hurt so bad you want just die is because we let them in. The longer we stuck around the deeper they got in until they were apart of our own soul. Well, that was “Susan” to me. We’ve known each other since I was 18 and she 16. We became close when she was graduating high school. I helped her get into college when she had no family support. At that point, she started to need me. Now before you roll your eyes, my attachment to her was slower coming but no doubt building.
Sometimes you get more than what you ask for
I knew what I wanted. A friend. Not just any friend, but one that would put me in check when I needed it, finish my sentences, know what I was thinking with a look and just want to know everything about me. For several years she was the only one that satisfied that deep need I developed. Because of that need, I couldn’t think of loosing that emotional drug. When she wanted more than I really wanted to give, I went with it. Yes, this is the “I don’t want to loose you so let’s do whatever you want” part. Hey, I’m no saint, I wasn’t fighting it, but I knew this isn’t something we should be engaging in.
“Why don’t you say what you REALLY feel…”
All the while this need is just digging deep in my soul. So fast forward through the break up: this seriously hideous dude starts in to “get with her” (this was actually a unanimous conclusion among those who knew him well, not just my bitterness at the time). We’ll call him “Shrek”. Me and “Susan” were quitting it but he demanded her attention and told her he knew what was going on between us. They were not even dating at this time. It was a shock to everyone around her that she actually went with him. Of course I’m just trying to hold on so now I do my best to be the “best friend” and be supportive, but it just gets too hard… especially if she’s still messing with me at the same time for a while. Things just went from bad to worse and she moved out a week before our apartment anniversary. That was just the cherry on top.
So here comes the darkest time in my life.
When your world seemingly comes to an end, the best idea you can up with while feeling crazy is to end it all. End your life because this relationship was life. I was living my life in a microscope. What do you do with a hole in your heart? Fill it! The question is, with what?
That began my next journey.
Is this the end?
To capsulize the series of events that brought me to my present, I’ll spare you the dirty, boring details. To explain it as a superficial time in life, I suppose you can categorize it as the “college experiment”. So here is the fast forward version of 4 years:
My best friend, “Susan” and I have been very close for about 3 years prior to the “experiment”. Interestingly enough, it was also the same time I began my college education at a very prominent Christian university. Susan and I became so close that the friendship became co-dependent. We didn’t want to breathe without one another. So one look lead to a daring touch that lead to crossing the line. Big time. We covered up our intense relationship the best we could, but people noticed that she looked a me differently. After a while we tried to stop because we just couldn’t live that way. We tried and failed to “quit” each other like smoking. After a year of successfully not engaging in activities we shouldn’t, we had the genius idea of moving in with each other. This is the beginning of the end.
We lasted 11 months together until we end up in tears and resentment. The experiment ended up relationship tragedy. I became so stressed out about the situation that I even ended up in the hospital. I spend 2 more years in that lonely apartment grieving and soul-searching.
This experience was actually my very first taste of any kind of relationship and the activities related. So, my “first time” was amazing, dangerous, wrong and devastating.
See I told you, we’re not so different. My next blog will be on how I came out of the depression that normally follows the toxic relationship. Good times… not!
This the first of many blogs about me, the 30s and some hairy situations I’ve gotten into. I will change the names of my family and friends when I make reference to them so I can still be invited to family gatherings and girls nights out. Its really for my protection than theirs.
Anyway, where do I start? Most will start at the beginning, but my 30 year history can be categorized.
Birth to about 13yrs- super shy, obedient and just the kind of kid parents like to have.
13 to about 19– Liked school, but just wasn’t very good at it. Still shy, but became more resistant to parental rules (how unique for a teenager…). Played sports in part to not to be socially awkward. Became heavily involved in a church. I did plays, dances, volunteer work, got into the church band and singing. And most important to my story so far is that at this place is where most of my peer relationships come from and met someone who changed everything and not for the best.
20 to 28- Played with fire, the most emotionally stressed I will ever allow myself to be, got burned and started to literally pay for it. Its during these years my eyes were opened like Eve’s (in the Bible) after that first bite. Nothing was same. This is where my story really begins. My next blog will uncover what influenced my subsequent epic failures and learning curves.