“When you come to the realization that the only person who you need to make happy is yourself, your entire life will change and it will become what you always wanted it to be.” ACM
First things first. For some reason, I do not listen to myself. I read things, I think I’ve absorbed it, and then I behave as if I haven’t learned anything. I have been writing for months about many topics: Self-love, different types of love, pain, anger, co-dependency, boundaries, friendships, romantic love, de-escalation of monogamous nesting relationships. And in the past four months, I have not retained one iota of information. A friend of mine wrote a blog entry and credited me with giving her a kick in the butt. A kick in the butt about loving herself first because her relationship with herself has to take precedence. And then she blogged about that conversation. Which I read and felt as if a mirror was being held up to my face. How many times have I advised friends to love themselves? How many times have I told people that a relationship with one’s self takes precedence? How many times have I written about my addiction to codependency and sworn a blue streak that I was going to put the kibosh on that behavior? Why am I telling other people these things and not listening to myself? My friend wrote that she was angry about chasing someone to be in a relationship with when she doesn’t have her own shit together. I’m certain she meant romantic relationship, because of how the word was used in the sentence. But for all intents and purposes, I want to address the elephant in the room and make it ALL relationships. I cannot be a true friend to others if I cannot like myself. I cannot help others if I can’t help myself. This goes back to the “oxygen mask” concept I spoke about in previous blog entries.
I do not have the foggiest notion of who I am. Well, not entirely true. I have a general idea. Superficially speaking, I am my own best acquaintance. I have also spent the majority of the past 41.5 years of my life avoiding answering that question. Each time I am confronted with these questions (asked by other people) I come up with some socially acceptable response that satisfies them temporarily. But I have not sat down with myself and answered the questions. Because I don’t feel as if I am enough and that is painful to admit. My expectations for myself are extremely high, and almost impossible to achieve. In fact, that’s the point. Because if my expectations are too high and I can’t meet them, then I have an excuse to not love myself.
I have been chasing love and acceptance from others. It doesn’t matter if it is a friend relationship or a so-called romantic one. In fact, I have had conversations with several romantic interests in the past 6 months in which I stated that I was interested and they said they weren’t; OR we had a date or two and then de-escalated from romantic interest to “just platonic friends.” What is interesting is that I knew that I wasn’t “in love” with any of them. I just wanted them to love me. That might sound selfish, but if nothing else, I am honest. I do enjoy their attention. I think I like who they are as people. I know that I find their physical forms to be attractive. But I’m not ‘in love” with them. In fact, I have never been “in love” with anyone. None of my previous relationships contained the feeling of eros. I could and did appreciate them as unique individuals, but I didn’t have romantic love feelings. I don’t think this necessarily makes me a bad person.
I think that I have pride. I think my pride has been bruised. I also think that I need to get over myself. No, they don’t want me. No, they have other priorities. No, they have different goals for romantic relationships than I do. It’s not because I’m fat. It’s not because I’m Deaf. It’s not because I talk too much. It’s not because I’m on the non-binary spectrum. It’s also not because I’m AFAB. It’s not because of anything that I have any control over either. IT’S JUST BECAUSE. And that hurts. I’m not what someone else wants. I’m not enough. I’m not their person. I’m not who they want. So, I settle. I settle for something that I don’t want. I don’t want to just be friends. But I say, “Okay, we can just be friends.” I say, “Okay, I don’t need hugs, or kisses or sex. I’ll be fine.” I say, “No problem. I don’t have to see you except when you have time.” I say, “Let me know when you are available, I’ll make time and we can have coffee or something.” And even when they NEVER have the time, I excuse that by saying, “Oh they have a lot going on.” Or “They have the kids. Kids always should come first.” I never say, “I’m busy.” I never say, “I’m not available.” I never say, “My needs aren’t being met.” I never say, “I have to go to bed, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” I never set limits that put value on MY time. I never set boundaries that value MY feelings. I settle for whatever they are willing to do because for so very, very long – something was better than nothing at all.
But I’m bitter and angry about this. Because I want to know when I’m going to F&%^ING come first. When is it MY turn to matter? And then I realized something. I have to check my ego. It’s not that I don’t come first with them. I haven’t been allowing myself to come first with me. Can I really love these people? Can I love anyone else if I don’t love me first? I don’t think so. I think it might be a false love. I think that there are some hard lessons that I need to learn. I also think there are some hard questions that I need to ask myself. When am I going to figure out my life? Who am I? What do I want? Where do I want to be? How am I going to get there? Why is it so hard to ask myself these questions? The basic truth that needs to sink in though? The only one whose happiness matters to me… is ME.