Last night I had a dream that was so ridiculously telling, I have no choice but to write about it. I was struggling to get to my apartment door while holding a small puppy in my arms. There was a hawk circling menacingly overhead and I knew puppy was for lunch. When I approached my door, there were two kittens who had gotten out of the apartment building somehow, so I scooped them up into my free arm and began to struggle with the process of getting my keys out and opening the door while wriggling fluffballs flailed under each arm, the hawk dive-bombing us all the while.
When I finally got into my apartment, an old friend who I no longer speak to due to his constant needy and abusive nature was in my bed, wearing pajamas. I put down the menagerie and asked him if he could move to the couch because Devo (my fiance) would be home soon, and needed to sleep. The old friend refused. At that moment Devo came home and told me it was fine, that the bed was big enough for all of us.
As amusing and stupidly transparent as this dream was,(Devo would have probably drop kicked dude, for instance) I was comforted by it. It reminded me of some things. Yes, I am a class -A- sucker for all of the kittens, puppies, and jerks in the universe, but I also have a guy in my life that not only embraces this part of me, but loves it. Despite the occasional annoyance it causes, he wants to marry me.
I’m getting married next October to this patient, awesome person, and that’s pretty cool.
Married. At a wedding. Dear lord.
Weddings were always a very far away, foreign concept for me. Partly because I was a horribly teased fat kid with 30 years worth of voices in my head telling me I didn’t deserve this holy union, and partly because rebelling against it was easy. To love, honor and obey? Maybe the first two. I didn’t want to feel like a princess. I don’t like poof. The entire industry feeds on proclaiming this to be the most important day of your life, and I thought that was complete crap.
I’m not saying it’s bad for everyone, and if you’ve been dreaming of this moment your whole life, then I wish nothing but happiness for you. I’m jealous, because at least I could have had this crap planned out nice and early.
I’ve also struggled with the concept of what “I” want as an individual, which is making this process extra hard.
When I was younger and I wanted to gain perspective into ego I read Ayn Rand, and that didn’t help. It mostly just made me hate Ayn Rand. To attempt oneness and unity with all I read Heinlein, and I thought he came off as a macho pig. I went back to X-Men and read The Dark Phoenix Saga because being a telekinetic superhero seemed more fun than being a selfish douche or an alien sex slave. I mean come on, what better role model than a kind, intelligent Omega-Level mutant, constantly struggling with duality.
Having “boyish” interests had little to nothing to do with my inability to fantasize about my perfect wedding, in case that’s where you think I’m going. Feeling a general disconnect, a lonely nerdy-ness. You know, back before nerds were okay, I guess. That was the biggest culprit. It was much later in my life that I began forming amazing bonds with people other than members of my family. I wanted to keep them around and never hurt them. This is carrying into my wedding planning in a huge way.
As strange as the concept was, it suddenly became something I wanted more than anything when I got to know Devo. I was 31, and completely unprepared. I am now 35, and still completely unprepared.
Coupled with being a people-pleaser, being out of a job, and being a naturally cheap and non-fluffy individual (who is also quite fluffy on a biological level), planning a wedding is completely out of my comfort zone. Thankfully I have a mother who is a natural party planner, a soon to be mother-in-law that makes amazing wedding cakes, and a ton of family and friends to slap me around when I shut down. My amazing maid of honor who has been my rock since the age of 12 already stated her concern that she’s going to have to drag me kicking and screaming into the world of “what I want.”
I’ve found a lot of extremely helpful websites such as offbeatbride.com, romanticthreads.com and my personal favorite http://www.thebrokeassbride.com/. These sites were a fantastic conformation that there were others out there like me. People who suddenly out of nowhere wanted to marry a person, and had no idea how to practically go about it without going broke or having to haphazardly go along with concepts and expectations they were not comfortable with.
My challenge from now until October 26th of 2013 will not be getting married. That’s the easy part. My challenge will be the same challenge most people who are about to get married have. Being conscious of others while throwing yourself exactly the kind of party you want…
…And not go insane in the process.
I’m willing to tackle this head on because Devo is worth it, and I really do want a big party. That’s the best part of weddings and why I like going to them. I’ve always loved and have thrown big parties. You get to see tons of people, you get to dance. You get to be married because you met someone that made you want to be married.
That is the essence of this union, whatever you want to call it. I want to be with this person, and I want to have a party celebrating it where my friends have fun because I like them a whole lot.
Now If I can muster up the strength to tell them to go to hell midst a chorus of “booing” because I’m not having open bar, that’s a good start.
My mother has described me as someone who’d bring home little lost people instead of animals. Through the years, I’ve survived toxic relationship after toxic relationship because of this accursed belief that I can fix people. Make them better. Help them see the good inside them.
In my current state, I’ve managed to wash my hands of most of those relationships and surround myself with positive people.The most recent relapse into my old ways (and likely last relapse) was a run-in with an old friend who almost everyone had washed their hands of due to his actions. I held out my hand again, and he bit me. Not as hard as he had in the past, but he still bit. This time, the bite did not puncture me. As hard as it was, I turned my back and walked away.
As much as my love for other people defines me, it also puts me in an unwelcome situation. I am easily manipulated, emotional, and have an extraordinarily hard time with appearing as anything but kind and rock-solid. I go internal when I’m having problems, and have no one but myself to blame when no one has any idea how low I’ve sunk. I know I’ve confused friends in the past with this behavior. It’s easier now that I have a man in my life that (unfortunately for him) is the softest place to fall I’ve ever experienced since the support I get from my family.
Writing has helped tremendously with the decisions I’ve made to keep my life chaos free. It started with Livejournal a million years ago (I know, I know…) and now I suppose it’s come to a head with this blog. I’ve been able to see my mistakes and learn from them. Even when I make brand new ones!
My life now is wonderful. I’m basically broke, but who isn’t. I’m 4 years deep in passionate love. My family is amazing. Every friend I have is magical. Yet there is still that want to hold on to old, wounded people. Even when they have no interest in being held. In a way I’m sure this is tied to my ego, as I feel fantastic when someone tells me I’ve had a positive effect on their life. Learning when to let go is a hard process, also likely tied to my ego. Why couldn’t this one work out? How are they still such broken assholes when they’ve had ME?
Learning about quality over quantity, as cheesy as it sounds, was absolutely key in growing apart from the clutches of Miss Nightingale. I went from having no friends, to having hundreds of acquaintances, to having a few dozen key loved ones. Holding on to the want to be surrounded by admirers is easily diminished when you realize a lot of them are there for the same reasons you are. Because everyone else is.
I cherish the friendships I have now because each of these people give me something.
Does that sound selfish?
It’s not material things, it’s not verbal praise, it’s just company. They give me good company, and good times. I don’t have to pretend and I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. I don’t have to walk on eggshells. I communicate. I disagree without fear of losing them. I agree without want of pleasing them. I treat them as I would want to be treated, as they do me. I never feel bad in their presence, I trust them with every fiber of my being. I know that no matter what happens, no matter the hardships we all face, they will always have my back. So yes, it’s selfish.
If you are in a relationship where you are missing even one of those elements, you need to re-examine it.
To be your best you, you have to be selfish. You are nothing to anyone if you do not love yourself first. This is vastly different from self-importance. That builds walls around you and it’s nothing but fake, grandiose crap. See the difference.
Sometimes I forgive, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I forget, sometimes I don’t. When I think back on those no longer in my life I wish them well, and thank them internally for serving a purpose in building me as a human being. Your abuse made me strong. Your lies make me smarter. Your unforgiving, selfish natures made me want nothing more than to be exactly what you were not.
I am a work in progress. Always. I am never perfect. I can not make anyone cease to suck if they don’t think they suck. I can not fix the universe.
Be charitable, be kind, but do not be a doormat.
This is a lot heavier than most of my posts because it means a lot to me. I am surrounded by people who I know exactly where I stand with and it is literally the best feeling in the world. Those few who I question get my co-existence and nothing else.
And thankfully they are very, very few.
We’ve either done it, or seen it done.
You’re in the lunch room at work and you grab a donut. You search for someone…anyone in the room and say “Well, there goes my diet.”
At a wedding: “This is going straight to my thighs.”
Baby Shower: “I’ll work out an extra 15 minutes.”
Barbecue: “I’m being so bad right now.”
I’m not going to slam the population that exhibits this behavior. Connecting food with guilt is something that I’ve done for a very long time, and I understand it’s a way to verbally atone for what you think is a detriment to your health, coupled with showing everyone that you are not a gross pig. However, the connection we have with food and guilt is what got a lot of us…me very much included…in the situations we are in now.
We’ve all seen images like this. Women secretly scarfing a brownie sundae in their living room in the dark, candles lit, seductively licking the spoon. Talking all sexy like on the phone to her bestie about the Boston cream pie she had three times this week (except it was actually yogurt…NAUGHTY SNEAKYPANTS) and this particular woman who looks like she’s celebrating the house she just set on fire.
For a long time, I didn’t let anyone watch me eat. Being overweight made me feel like everything I put in my mouth was judged by those around me. The guilt got deeper. I’d eat out with friends, and finish the rest at home in the dark watching Police Academy. I’d never order dessert, but I’d stop for ice cream on the way home.
So I decided to attempt to disconnect food with guilt. When I eat, I eat with Devo, or with friends. The times I eat alone are because I am alone, and not because I’m going out of my way to be alone. The only thing remaining was my extraordinary drive to apologize for what I did eat.
In the past two years I’ve made a very concentrated effort to remove food apology from my life. This does not mean eating what I want, when I want. My health is in jeopardy if I do that, which the doctors have made very clear. However, if I’m at buffet one weekend I’m not going to clue in the rest of the world unless it was extremely delicious!
It’s not easy, especially being overweight. People watch what fat people eat. They watch us work out, walk down the street etc. It happens. It’s ok. Feast your eyes. Right around the time I decided to end food apology I started going to the gym. I wanted to tell the world, because the first few times I felt amazing about myself and my accomplishments. I decided that this was a different sort of over-sharing, because I got support. I needed it, so I put it out there. There is no support when you eat half a donut and get the other half fifteen minutes later. There is only a weird silence, followed by the occasional “Oh please you look great” which you never believe, because you’re a gross pig who just ate a whole donut.
Food’s connection to guilt, to me, is proof positive that I am battling an addiction. It’s also proof positive that we are a nation still obsessed with appearance. If a beautiful, thin girl can’t pick up a cookie without bowing penitent at the alter of the break room table, what the hell are we doing to ourselves?
Believe it or not, this new-found freedom from food apology has helped me exceedingly in both my self esteem and my quest to be a healthier person. Food is becoming less and less of a pair of comforting arms the more I disconnect it from my emotional well-being. Eating a piece of Easter candy with no follow-up comment has started to take away the naughtiness of it all. It’s not a life ruiner, it’s a piece of chocolate.
This does not mean I’m throwing caution to the wind and eating everything that’s not nailed down. I just don’t want to feel bad about it anymore. Feeling bad about things and then eating to feel better is a lifelong cycle I’m trying to break, and loving my treats is helping. Taking away negative feelings from food is the best thing I’ve ever tried to do, and it’s working.
This is my ice cream face. My cake face. My careface.
So go to the gym if you’re going. Do that extra lap. Just try to fight the urge to proclaim your horrible guilt, and move on knowing that you’re working towards emotions being emotions, your body being healthy, and food being delicious.
Look to the world for support, not confirmations of guilt. You’ll be happier receiving the former.