Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The First Five

I've been thinking a lot since my last post. Specifically I've been thinking about what you guys had to say about my last post; about having to like yourself, right now, not in a year, or 50 lbs from now. So over the past few days I've been pondering,plumbing the depths, getting my introspection on, and trying focus on things I like about myself. It's been harder to do than I thought it would be. I don't know if that's because I'm uncomfortable saying out loud the things that I like about myself (it feels like bragging, or being snobby and shallow), or that when I say those things, they ring hollow, and I don't really believe what I'm saying. Conundrum!

So I tasked myself to come up with 5 things (physical or otherwise) that I genuinely like about myself. My old therapists would be so proud. It's taken a week, and I'm still not sure how I feel about putting them out there, out here, but here it goes:

I like my eyes. They're kind eyes. Blue, but they change in intensity depending on what I'm wearing or if I'm pissed off, and sometimes they look kind of green. They remind me of the colors of the ocean, which is kind of cool because my name means 'star of the sea'.

I'm a really good listener. I feel honored and needed when someone trusts me enough to unload. It happens a lot, I think I put people at ease( that might be considered another "thing", but I think it's part of what makes me a good listener) Even if I can't offer any advice or solutions, I find it easy to empathise with people, and I can tell that they feel better for sharing whatever it is they have on their mind.

I like my hair. It's long and naturally curly, and while it's thinner than it used to be it's still really full and thick. I even like the color; a kind of reddish brown that with a little help from Loriel, can go a deep auburn. A friend once told me I had "princess hair". I know, it's totally vain, and I feel extraordinarily silly and sheepish writing about it, but its the one part of my physical self that I feel like I can flaunt.

When I put my mind to it I am a pretty good cook. I learned from watching my father, he did all the cooking when I was growing up, still does as a matter fact. He does amazing things with food. We haven't always had the best relationship,so the affinity I feel with him when I cook is very important to me. I don't do it very often, but I love getting in my kitchen and experimenting with different recipes. This past winter the Tapdancer and I had a ball dunking homemade cranberry orange biscotti(my own variation on my grandmother's recipe) into thick dark melted chocolate. Watching people enjoy what I've made is very satisfying. It feeds my soul. Perhaps I should do it more often.

I like my sense of humor. I'm funny dammit! Okay, so it may not come across here, but trust me, this is funny stuff. I love to laugh, and when I'm the one who's made the funny, all the better. I love those rare giggle fests, the ones where you laugh so hard you can't catch your breath, tears are streaming down your face, and you might even snort. I can be bawdy when the situation arises, and I pride myself on being able to hang as the only woman in my department. I get all the tasteless jokes and emails, and it is a constant source of amazement to my co-workers that I don't get offended. Bonus points if I can shock the hell out of them.

So there it is. The first five. I don't know if this little exercise actually helped or not, but it did bring to light just how hard I am on myself, all the time. That little voice loop that runs in my head is almost all negative. I don't know who gave the mic to the critical bitch in my head, but damn, she needs to shut the fuck up.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's a Disgusting Process

Is it me, or does everyone on those dating websites all look like they could be Hannibal Lecter's love child? With every profile I read I'm convinced I'm one blind date away from the inside of someone's freezer. It's kind of depressing, when one reaches a certain age, to have to actually go through all that dating crap, not to mention the humiliation that is online dating, just to live happily ever after (if there is even such a thing). Why can't I just blink my eyes "I Dream of Jeannie" style, and have my perfect match standing in front of me complete with flowers, a good bottle of wine, a compilation CD of all my favorite songs, and a book of poetry by ee cummings. Is that so much to ask?

It recently dawned on me that I have had one, just one, legitimate relationship in my entire adult life, and I'm here to tell you, it didn't matter how many times I kissed him, he remained a lifetime member of the frog club. Nothing says "forever" like a thirty something Peter Pan who's primary goal in life is to find a woman to keep him in the style to which he has become accustomed. Sexy! The rest have been one utter train wreck after another.Take for example the gay guy in college. That was a year and a half of mixed signals and hand holding that ended abruptly when he finally came out of the closet. I really should have seen that one coming. He was named after a plant for Christ's sake, and he shared a bed with his roommate because "they couldn't afford two". Seriously, how did I miss that?

Then there were the two married men, one of which went no further than an intense two year phone conversation while I waited for his separation to turn into a divorce. It never did. No, I'm not proud of myself for those digressions, and I realize now that with each "affair" there was a woman who I betrayed right along with the schmuck she was married to. But in both cases I was naive enough to believe them when they told me they loved me, and perhaps they did, but not enough.

All of these pseudo relationships, along with the countless other obsessive, unrequited infatuations have had one thing in common; they were all with unavailable, and therefore, safe men (guess how many years of therapy that charming little realization took?). So now I'm wondering if I will ever have the capacity to have a normal relationship. Will I be able to fall in love with a relatively stable, emotionally available man, and let that person in enough for them to be able to love me back?.

What if I can't?

What if I'm doomed to ride the relationship short bus for the rest of my life?

I know a lot of it is wrapped up in low self esteem, and a poor body image, blah, blah, blah; but somehow it feels deeper than that. It's an innate distrust of men. I don't know if I can trust anyone enough to show them the real me, to hand them the keys to the gun cabinet and give them the ammunition to do some serious damage if they wanted to. Hmmm, interesting metaphor. What would Freud say?

And now I don't know where to go with all this. Ive just barfed up a giant hair ball of a character flaw(sorry 'bout that), and I just can't wrap it all up in a neat-cohesive-lesson-learned-pearls-of-wisdom-bow. It's a mess. Hell,I'm a mess.

I know, I know, I'll never get good at it unless I try. I see others dating, and actually making headway through to their own happy ending, but I think I'm a little worse off than most. Oh yes, here's where the weight thing rears(no pun intended) it's ugly head. There is no way any self respecting man is going to find this attractive. And if they do, they immediately become suspect to me.

Okay, so I'm going to have to work on that.

There is a lot I'm going to have to work on, because I do know I don't want to be single my entire life. I do want to have someone I can share all my bits and pieces with, and the only way I'm going to get what I want is to actually go out and get it. Maybe spewing all this stuff out here is some sort of bizarre first step in making that happen. That's my story anyway, and I'm sticking to it.