Woe to the man whose heart has not learned while young to hope, to love, and to put it’s trust in life.
– Joseph Conrad
Once upon a time, there was a girl. And she was fat. She didn’t like being fat either. She thought everywhere she went people were judging her on her fatness because as life experience had taught her, they were. But this girl kept her head high, ruthlessly resilient and determined to prove to others that she was more than she appeared. For years she shouted from rooftops, preaching her differences, her ideas and ideals, believing that they made her special. The people around her would shake their heads and chuckle, sometimes even giving a small patronizing pat on the head, before shuffling along. It wasn’t that they didn’t believe her, they just never once took her seriously. She was of course, the girl with a million and one dreams. And she was lonely.
Then this girl met a boy. She had met boys before. But the boys of Before either couldn’t see past her fatness or they tried to hold her back. The boys of Before were like statues, perfectly content where they were in life, and the girl wanted more. She wanted more, much more, only she wasn’t sure how to get it. And this boy, the boy of Now, was on a similar journey. The boy of Now understood how she felt about her body. He didn’t try to fix her but never the less, he was always there to help. He didn’t just listen with interest to every one of her million inane plans or her body concerns, he selflessly jumped in with both feet to help her. And befuddling to the girl, he found her beautiful. The boy shared his life with her. And so this girl and this boy became fast friends and helped support each one another.
For a few months, this boy and this girl lived in a bubble built for two. They shut the rest of the world out of their lives and for a while, that was enough. Months passed by and suddenly, the girl became restless. Through the bubble, she began watching the world move around without her. The life of two was just no longer good enough for her, and again she began to crave something more. Part of the void inside of her had been filled but it was like watching carbonation bubbles deflate after it reaches the top of a glass. Her cup had not yet runneth over. It wasn’t enough that the girl had found someone who loved her completely, she wanted the relationships she idolized that were cultivated on television. She wanted a Kramer and a Carrie and a Lorelei and a Phoebe in her life. In her own way, this girl wanted to create her own family.
“Suddenly I realized – two people isn’t enough. You need backup. If you’re only two people, and someone drops off the edge, then you’re on your own. Two isn’t a large enough number. You need three at least.” – About A Boy
But like any illusionist would have you to believe, such things are often much harder to come by than they appear. The thing was, the girl was lucky. Like all human beings, she had the tools to accomplish anything she ever wanted but, she just didn’t know how to use them. And so she went through life constantly asking the imaginary audience, “is this your card” until this girl finally had an epiphany. The truth is, the answer has always been there, had always been there and always will be. It was a simple question really: How could you really comprehend another’s love for you when you cannot understand what it is to love about yourself. Most know what it is to unconditionally love another soul but cannot comprehend what the other see’s in return. Or at the very least, I didn’t.
And so, a little over a year ago I went on a journey to change myself. I may not have understood what I was getting into when I started it all, and my attempts certainly didn’t intentionally begin that way but never the less, it’s where my feet, and heart, ended up. I don’t have all the answer’s yet, and I doubt I ever will. There are days when I feel like I am little more than an annoyance to be tolerated by all those around me and then other days that are full of such joy that words could not even put justice too. I understand now what it’s like to completely surrender one’s will to thyself, not to a god or any one person, and to love what they see. It’s more than not feeling guilty over eating a whole box of cookies. I don’t have to love the parts of me I deem as flaws, but I do accept that, as a whole, it doesn’t make me an ugly person.
It’s a journey of just letting yourself be happy, even when the world around you is constantly trying to rain on your parade. And it’s time to move on to the next chapter, I guess. If the first stage, or chapter, is just loving yourself, then the next is letting people in. That in itself is a scary thought. There are too many fears to simply relay in an already long-ish entry. Fears that are common that almost every single person has ever had like, what if I get hurt? If I can forgive, how do you trust again? How can I communicate well to others? How can I make others understand how I feel?
And the truth is like before, I don’t know. I don’t know how this next chapter will play out but, I can make the same promise as I did when I started out last year, to just keep trying.
I think most women will agree with me that, being a woman is hard. Don’t get me wrong fellas, I’m not proclaiming one sex has it easy and the other has it hard. I just feel that, in the battle of the sexes, women generally get dealt the shorter end of the stick. You’re free to agree, or disagree, with that statement. But, as you’ve probably figured by now, I’m going to explain why.
Women in general, have a lot of negative stereotypes. And we’ve had these same negative labels associated with our gender for thousands of years. I could get into plenty of detail about the history of women and give you countless examples but let’s face it, not many will disagree about the struggles women and our rights have fought for. When it comes down to the basics, in any culture, in any society, women always have much harsher and higher demands placed upon our heads. And sometimes it does costs us our heads if we fall below those standards.
That’s not to say that being a woman are without their perks. I know there are people who would argue that women today have more unfair advantages then men. But I’m not here to argue which gender has it better or worse than the other. On that note though, one thing I love about being a woman is, we as a gender are amazingly resilient and are always finding a way to push through the envelope. We are always looking for way to place a toe beyond the forbidden line of standards and push our boundaries further and further back till one believes these lines are non-existent. For instance, did you know that since Chinese women weren’t allowed to know how to read or write, for thousands of years they created their own secret code of writing? They wrote poems and letters as they developed their own system, they passed down through generations.
But sadly, despite wishing for equality, the boundary line of expectations and standards women are supposed to have are always still there, and they quite never disppear, no matter how hard one tries to wish otherwise. The tricky part of these standards for women are, they can’t really be blamed on men anymore. I mean sure, the jokes men still make about women making them a sandwich are enough to roll your eyes at, but it’s not really what holds our gender back. But I’m getting ahead of myself here and excuse me while I back track a ways.
For my boyfriend Chris’s thirty-first birthday, I decided to buy him a bike. I don’t know anything about bikes. I spent some time nonchalantly acting like any girlfriend does, asking advice months in advance about bikes as if I were shopping around for one, and what kind of bike he would get. And so forth. I was successful in my plan of utterly surprising him but the hitch was, he would be slightly delayed in receiving his present until I could finish paying off what I thought was a good Trek bike from a pawn shop. I was told I could switch out the bike, or bring it back, if anything was wrong. Finally, five weeks later, I finished paying off his birthday present. Three days later, the bike’s gears wouldn’t stay and worse, the bike seat came flying off while he was riding it home from work one night.
Two days later, I took it took the bike back to the pawn shop, hoping I could switch out bikes. But no such luck. The bike seat had gotten lost after Chris almost crashed and had to run to catch the last bus home at one in the morning. The pawn shop told me that no seat, no credit, and that was final. To say I was upset, is a understatement. I tried putting my foot down and pleading for humanity, that it had taken me five weeks to pay this off of my pitiful salary. I tried explaining the sacrifices I had made but none of it made any difference. They were unmoving and unsympathetic to my plight.
I left the store feeling defeated and stupid. The moment my feet were outside, I wanted to run back in and try harder, fight harder. I didn’t feel like I had truly left all stones unturned or tried hard enough. But I didn’t. It wasn’t so much that I was afraid, it was more that, I was afraid of not looking like a lady.
Little girls are told to be good, but above all, to act like a lady. What exactly a lady is, or expected, is tricky to explain and different in many people’s eyes. It’s typical for a lady to be portrayed to be as old-fashioned, conservedly dressed, well spoken and usually found drinking tea. Stepford Wives comes to mind. But honestly, I find that concept a little dated. Because a woman and a lady aren’t the same thing. One is born a woman, and one becomes a lady. But how? And if what we define a lady is no longer so black and white anymore, what makes a woman a lady? It’s bad enough that women degrade ourselves, and each other, to make such an ideal of becoming something as simple as a lady, nearly incomprehensible.
For I knew why I didn’t press harder in the pawn shop. Because deep down, I may not feel like a lady, but as nuts as it sounds, I am always fighting myself to reach that ideal. I’m always trying to teach myself to be more graceful, poised, charming and as much as I don’t like admitting it but, complacent too. And if I had argued back and pressed the issue, till I had thrown a huge scene, like my mother would have, was just something I didn’t know how to pull off. I never reach the lady like ideal, at least not completely. It’s like that quote from Sex in the City, “I know I’ll never be the girl with the perfect hair, or be able to wear white without spilling anything on it, but that’s okay.” And it is okay, at least for the most part. Because I’m not striving to be perfect and honestly, nor does anyone really expect me to be.
The thing is, trying to act like a lady isn’t as arcane as it’s perceived to be. I think there is something to be said about how little we put into our appearances or manners today. A lady doesn’t have to know an entire twelve course place setting, knowing how to use each and every fork. But she does know how to eat gracefully, without slurping or spilling food onto herself. A lady knows how to dress for her body, so therefore there are very few wardrobe malfunctions (but nobody is perfect). A lady is articulate and chooses her words wisely. She debates rather than argue. A lady doesn’t have to raise her voice to be heard, nor does she yell, throw tantrums or often swear. A lady has direction in her life, or at least a life, but does not over dramatize every bump in the road. A lady is comfortable with her body and doesn’t sweat over a few measly pounds.
I know I have trouble with a lot of those sentiments but, for the most part, I do try to live up to what I just said. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty though, the problem isn’t about trying to be perfect or act like a lady. Because having a little tact, a little charm and a little grace in today’s society are sorely lacking. The problem is among our own gender. The boundaries we should be pushing are for less hate and more acceptance among women. Because honestly, we are the ones who label too many of ourselves negatively. She’s too fat. She’s a bitch. She’s a slut, prude, weird, nerd, drinks too much, etc. So, let’s stop being in such a rush to grow up as we’re missing steps along the way and just let, Luck Be A Lady.
There are many universal facts that everyone knows but no one really talks about. Like we all know that there are many different types of people in the world. We all know these people not only look different, but have different, opinions, interests and tastes. And we know that these opinions, interests and tastes don’t always match up with our own. What one person may love, we can safely assume that there is probably someone not so far away who will hate what we love. We learn that even if we try to deny ourselves, or force feed people to like the same things we like and have the same opinions are ours that the independent will of a person is, inevitable. For instance, a child could find this out simply when a bully confronts them and makes that child cry for no apparent reason other than they’re different.
And so we spend our childhood and early teenage years trying to get by and fit in as best into whatever cliché niche we can. Essentially, most of just want to be liked and accepted. For some, fitting in comes more naturally than it does for others while the rest of us are constantly working or struggling at it. We try to figure out how to balance fitting in and finding our own likes and dislikes as we continue to try on different outfits of ourselves. But in the end, we learn that no matter how hard we try, not everyone will like us nor will we like everyone we meet.
At some point, there is a moment when we notice a boy, and we start to think he’s cute. We’re not sure why we find him attractive, but we do. And we start to like him. Then there’s the moment when a boy first starts to like you. You may not know why they find you attractive, but they do. Sometimes we like them back and sometimes you don’t. The first time a boy had a crush on me, I was mean to him. Not only was he not in any socially cool cliché but not even known by association like I was. He was tall, chubby and a complete dork. Just like me. So the moment he passed me a note in 7th grade English class if I would go to the Halloween dance I was help putting together, I circled no. I avoided him every chance after that I could. And when it couldn’t be avoided, I found ways to taunt him away.
In truth, he scared me. I had never had a boy like me before and yes, I was a little shallow. All around me were these ideal expectations being driven into my head about the kind of boy I should like. Because by tween standards, Eric was a loser. And maybe I should have been too, if my two closest friends hadn’t been in the “popular” group. But, I had also developed my own reputation by being acquaintances with at least a couple of people from each social group from band to a members of Student Council (a great way to get out of class I tell ya!) I never quite fit in, but I was accepted. Much like my life today.
It didn’t take me long after to fully appreciate and understand the sentiment, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” It wasn’t hard for me to admit the statement not long after I started high school. I felt bad how I treated Eric because I knew I had been unfair. My thirteen year old self had assumed that if I circled yes on that piece of paper then I was signing my life over to a boy I didn’t want to be with. My thirteen year old self didn’t understand I could be casual friends with a boy and do things like, go to dances with, without being labeled as a boyfriend/girlfriend. But then, that’s middle schooler’s for you, always in such a rush to grow up.
However I felt though, it didn’t seem to wash away the guilt. I still felt bad for how I treated the first boy to like me. I knew after I left middle school, I was going to choose a guy for what I saw in him and damn anybody’s else opinion. Some people consider this lowering my bar but,I saw it as readjusting my perspective. As long as I saw a decent human being, I was going to give every guy a chance and not care what anyone else thought. Maybe it was also a way for me rebel against the “good girl” I was cast typed as and maybe I was also growing up a little bit faster than my peers around me.
Over the years, while I had learned to love and accept other people beyond their physical appearance, I forgot to love myself. Yes, I just went there with that corny sentimental LifeTime television network phrase. But it’s true, I did. I could love a guy unconditionally for the potential I saw within him but there would always be something slightly missing. No matter how happy I told myself I was, there would always be a wedge of doubt. I found myself continually making compromises for another person’s happiness instead of my own. Which is only half unfair to say, because bringing joy into other’s life does bring me pleasure. I had just lost my voice.
My “me” had turned to a “we” and I had to learn how to insist what I wanted and I liked in guys instead of reinventing myself into the type of woman a guy would want me to be. Before, all my stories consisted of memories of “us” and most of the time when someone was referencing my name was just thrown in with his, if at all. I wanted my own identity but I felt the security in sharing one, and I felt guilty while I felt myself pull away. But, I found one. Or more like, little by little I just learned to love myself unconditionally and to let others do the same.
Because of the billions of people we share this planet with, there are many, many different types of men. And although it feels like I’ve been out with every single one of those types, I realize that I haven’t even come close to touching the tip of the ice burg. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how many dates you’ve been on or what type of person your attracted to if you’re not honest with yourself about your own needs and let yourself be happy. Sometimes that’s hard and sometimes it hurts other people. Okay, it’s almost always hard and the medicine is what I need to keep reminding myself to swallow. But like I said in the beginning, the independent will of a person is, inevitable. I know that no matter how hard I try and fight against myself, that I will eventually lash out and free myself from any bonds I let myself get tied up in.
When I was eleven years old, I had my first crush. He had dirty blonde hair, brown eyes and looked like a monkey. I was absolutely head over heels in love. Whose to say what or why we’re attracted to the people we like. All I know is that I was eleven years old and had just experienced my first heartbreak from an unrequited love. Deep down inside, I knew he would never feel the same way. But, like most girls, I kept telling myself if I could only make him like me, then everything would be okay.
I was only just a Princess, searching or her Prince. But unlike most girls, I wasn’t in a rush to find him. I knew I would have to kiss a lot of frogs before I found my Prince because, my grandma told me so. And my grandma was the Queen of Westwood. And even though the boy had broken my heart, and the pain hurt more than anybody could ever prepare me for, I knew because of my grandma’s words that I’d be okay.
When I was twelve there was Alex, who was like a persian Hugh Grant. I stalked his number from the Parents night sign in book (where I wasn’t supposed to be). I called the number twice and threw it away. All I can say is that I am so glad I grew up in the last generation before caller ID! In seventh grade there was George, who was a year ahead of me and the only time we spent together was in student council. He looked like Joseph Gordon Levitt. I squealed with delight as George signed my yearbook at the end of the year but I was sad to know that was the last time I’d ever see him.
Then Tony came along. Since I have to be honest here, I wasn’t physically attracted to Tony when we first dated. But I loved his personality. He had this way of charming whoever he talked to within five minutes. And I knew anyone who let him get away was a fool. Tony was smart and cool in the way I can never be. He was hard-working, kind and a family man. I just wasn’t physically attracted to him for the majority of our relationship. I wasn’t repulsed but my heart wasn’t doing backflips. I did love him though, more than he will ever understand. I just didn’t understand what was wrong with me.
The first experience I had out of my eight year relationship with Tony was with a man I call Mr. Cocky. The name should pretty much speak for itself. But he was exciting for me, or maybe he just a flavor I had never tried before. I guess I should have known better, that he was more in it for the conquest than actual dating. While he semi-broke my heart, he also showed me how to be tough. He told me how to hide my heart and all the flaws that scream as bright red flags to make men run away screaming. I guess you could say he took pity on me because, as he liked to brag, he was my “rebound”.
I didn’t take Mr. Cocky’s words fully to heart until after I dated a man I call Mr. Monkey… and what can I say about this man? He made my heart feel whole. He was intelligent, extremely kind, hard-working and handsome to boot (in a nerdy sort of way). In truth, it was me who probably ruined any prospects of a relationship working out. I was still too emotionally needy. I wanted someone with mostly all the answers. I wanted someone who could fix me.
But instead of facing the truth, I just vowed to myself to never let myself get close enough to be hurt again. I had already rightfully lost Tony, the closest thing I had to a best friend. We were still talking, but it wasn’t the same. I was lost and I was lonely. So I kept putting myself out there, praying that something would click. Hoping that somewhere things would change. I’d like to think that I was putting myself out there looking for love, but I think I was really looking for a friend.
And while one morning I woke up and clicked that I was the one who needed to get my life together instead of waiting for someone to fix it for me, it didn’t seem to stop me from guarding my heart from men. I was barely phased when I ended things with a man I call Eggy in August. I wanted to let myself fall but, I could recognize the patterns and resisted. But it’s easy to resist against a man who you barely see and rarely makes any effort to talk to you.
There is one more guy, but at risk of losing my job, I’m not going to go into it. Except I will say that it was my fault how things turned out. Not all my fault, but most of it… probably. I tried too hard to fight against my feelings to not knowing how to turn off the emotional faucet.
The thing all these guys have in common though, is me. Each one of these men made me question what was wrong with me? They have made me question my self-worth, of why I wasn’t good enough or what they were looking for. They have each in their own way, made me have resentments against them. I have wondered countless times of what if’s. What if I had done this, what if I had done that? What if I had held back a little bit more? Remained a little bit more mysterious? What if I were thinner, prettier, funnier, cooler, etc? The questions about my self worth never seemed to end!
The ironic thing, for as coo-coo as I make myself about a boy I like, around the boys I could give a damn about, I act exactly as the girl I wish I was. Around the boys I’m not interested in, I come off as a girl who is playful, flirty and silly. To them I am independant and confident. I don’t come off as a girl who gets clingy or over emotional. These guys tell me that I am a catch! It’s just usually these are the guys I don’t want to get caught for. And I resent myself for not being able to act like this around the boys I do like.
I resent the stereotype that a guy has to make the first move. I resent the fact that women are supposed to give men something to chase in order for men to like us. I’ve grown enough to know that just because I’m interested in a guy, doesn’t mean I’ve been “caught”. I resent games and I resent that I can’t just walk up to a boy and say,“I like you. Would you like to go out?” I resent that in order for a guy to be interested in me, I’m supposed to show a persona that’s only half me. The charm of smiling, flirting, and the restraint of not talking too much only lasts for so long.
I am grown up now and have been long done with playing Princess. I never did like the fact that the Princess was supposed to wait around for Prince Charming to get off his lazy butt and ‘save her’. Growing up, waiting wasn’t a strong virtue of mine. Neither was being saved. If I saw something I wanted, I went after it. And if I didn’t get it, I got over it because I realized maybe it wasn’t something worth having. I knew that as long as I gave what I cared for a 110% that trying and caring was always better than trying and being afraid. I get scared but eventually I’ll tell myself, “Hey, what do I have to lose?’ and go for it.
So this is me, saying goodbye too all those affairs that ended one sided. I could say something corny like it’s their lost, but that’s something I already know. Because I know I’m a catch. Because I am the girl who may talk too much, but I listen just as intently and openly. I am the girl who no matter what kind of relationship, platonic or romantic, will try to bring smiles, laughter, and sillyness into. So goodbye to all the boys who made me feel like I did something wrong, or made me feel like something was wrong with me. When all I did was… be myself.
Every now and then, I play therapist with Chris. About a month ago, I demanded more than requested, “Tell me five things you like about yourself.”
It was a task I knew he wasn’t really comfortable with and didn’t know how to begin. And I knew that even as I helped him point all his wonderful qualities, that nothing I said that moment would truly stick. Because I’ve learned this, that if you can’t find qualities that you like about yourself, you will never be happy. No matter how much weight you lose, what clothes you wear or how much make up you cake on your face, if you don’t have qualities that you like about yourself, you will miss life. You will miss the sun shine on a beautiful day as your holed up in your room watching TV. You will miss opportunities to get out and bond with people. And when you’re in the company of others, you won’t truly enjoy yourself. Because what happens is that when you don’t like yourself, you both physically and emotionally wall yourself away.
I know this because I was that person, and sometimes I still am. Everytime I go home on the weekends to my mother’s house, I feel as if I’ve become Rip Van Winkle. Walking inside, I feel the calm air settle over me like pixie dust. My shoulders begin to sag and I lethargically make my way upstairs to my bedroom. I only emerge from my fortress of solitude when I’m rested but never fully rested. Sleep still lurks on the corner of my eyes and doesn’t escape until I’m about two blocks away from home, on my way to work. I can’t seem to motivate myself to do anything while I’m home. Boxes sit half packed all over my room, for my move with Devyn & Jack and a ton of little details that need to be taken care of are still left undone. I yank the curtains closed to block out the sunshine that’s trying to taunt me to come outside and curl up under the blankets all day. Even when I am over at Chris’s, I have realized that I have holed myself up. It might not happen as often or to the same drastic extent, but there have been days when I have had a long list of errands to do on a rare beautiful sunny day in Portland, and I find myself curled up on Chris’s couch playing Oblivion while Chris sleep’s the day away, simply because I didn’t feel like it.
Days like that happen because of the way I feel about myself. While days like that are happening less frequently, they still happen. I still hole myself away. I miss out on the sunshine I rather be playing in. But instead of wallowing in regret, I just remind myself that their is a tomorrow for another try. And as many tries as it takes to get it right. Maybe I am like a fly that doesn’t give up, banging into the light bulb over and over again. I may still miss out on opportunities, but because I believe in myself and because I like myself, I never doubt my capabilities of ever succeeding. And I’ve learned to just enjoy myself when I’m with others, instead of worrying about fitting in.
Like my mother is always snidely reminding me, I’m not a doctor and I didn’t go to medical school, but I do listen to my intuition. And I like to think that my intuition is sometimes as good as a doctor’s analyse. Just cheaper. I like to think that most of the time, I can read people’s emotions pretty well. Usually, because I just look at people. But just because I can usually read a person, doesn’t mean I know how to act about it. I can look at my mom, a few other friends, even a few coworkers and just know their sad. I know they’re hurting. I know that specifically, that they don’t like themselves. Most of the time I think anyone who just looks at another’s body language and uses their intuition would be able to tell too. Because it’s the little details people over look. Most of the time people are caught up in their own narcissistic problems to really care. But I do. But just because I care doesn’t mean I pry… most of the time.
If a person seems upset, distracted or bored, my first reaction is to play the clown. My first reaction is to try to find a way to put a smile on their face. My second reaction is to watch and listen. I usually have a thousand of questions to ask but I don’t, because I don’t want to come across as nosy. Instead, I think the best question to ask is just, “Are you okay?” And I leave the offer open to talk to the recipient. Sometimes, like with Chris, I am a little bit more persistent and annoying because I know he won’t come easily come and ask for help. But while I deeply want to know and I want to help, I can’t genuinely force someone to tell me what’s wrong. What I can do, is leave the offer on the table to talk. And I can hope the person I’m asking will take up the opportunity. Because a conversation is not just a dialogue. It’s not about one person being heard above more than the other. A conversation is about expressing, “I hear you.”
I’m not the girl you come to for advice, because I’m not good at giving someone answers on how to fix their problems. I’m great at listening. I’m great at understanding. But just because I understand, doesn’t mean I have the right words that a person wants to hear. It doesn’t seem to stop me from wanting to try to help. It doesn’t stop me from trying to unload a little bit of their burden unto my own. But in the end, am I a help or a hinderance? For as much as I keep wanting to inspire other’s to finding their own personal happiness, to have a little slice of my pie, I know that I can’t make anyone happy who doesn’t want to let them self be happy! I can’t make anyone to just instantly have the inspiration it takes from deep within to just let go. To let go and not care anymore about their insecurities, to dig up the strength to push yourself everyday and live in each moment. I can’t force someone to just let themself be happy.
We all have different insecurities. We all have different reasons why we hole ourselves up away from society and think it’s more fun to watch other people live theirs. We all have different regrets and different pasts. We all have different reasons to be sad. Someone I was very fond of once asked me a long time ago, why I always smile. And the answer is simple. Because I want to be happy.
My boyfriend is a Beatles fan. Not just a Beatles fan, but a Beatles nut. On our first date, he asked me who my favourite Beattle was.
“Ringo,” I easily replied in between sipping my iced chocolate frappuccino. We had met up at my favourite sushi restaurant and were now sitting outside on a bright summer day, drinking coffee (or at least he was) at the Starbucks across the street. I was surprised he hadn’t run away yet since I admit I looked a little strange. I was a two hundred eighty-six pound girl with very long slightly red, slightly blonde wavy hair trying my very best to look like a character from Mad Men. A very dear friend was throwing a birthday party in a few hours and I didn’t have time to go home and change.
“Ringo? What in the world do you see in Ringo?” I remember the expression on his face. It was a mixture of impressed, curiosity and utter dumbfounded.
“I love Ringo because Ringo is nobody‘s favourite. Don’t get me wrong, John is probably my next favourite but that’s probably because my school’s anthem was Imagine.” I think Chris almost spit out his coffee from laughter.
“You’re highschool song was Imagine?!”
“Yup, what can I say,” I nonchalantly shrug, tilt my head and smile. “I went to a freak school. It was awesome.”
As both of our laughter subsided, even though I didn’t know much about the Beatles at the time, and actually I still don’t, I could tell I made a lifetime friend. A fellow freak I guess you could say. A freak can always spot another freak. It doesn’t take special clothes, crazy hair or adorned body art to join the club. I think like the word fat, people take the word freak offensively. It’s just another forbidden F word to add to the list. Say it loud, say it proud! I am a freak! Okay, you probably didn’t just say it now as I didn’t while typing it. But I digress. I explained briefly on Things Mother Taught Me, about the fifth important thing was letting your freak flag fly!
I think that by growing up fat, a self-defense mechanism was giving an illusion of not giving a damn what people thought about me. Which is why I always stood up against drugs, smoking and drinking when my middle school friends were experimenting and I stuck my nose into a book. I was giving the illusion that I was raising my freak flag and that I didn’t care. Of course that’s only half-true. Of course I care… to an extent. Because who doesn’t want to be liked? Who wants to be thought negatively by anyone? That’s why when you watch most of Hollywood’s “behind the scene’s” you only hear “we’re one big happy family.” And maybe they are. Who knows, I’m not there to judge their actions. The only person I can account for is myself and the relationships I cultivate. But I do believe because of my background, I am more laid back about my “freakyness”. My “freakness” has become a shell of armor.
My freak seems to also have developed a radar. Like Willy Wonka’s egg dectector, I can smell a rotton egg. But I can spot the good ones too. I can usually tell when your lying to me but I rarely call people out on it. It’s usually not worth the effort. I think apart of being a freak is accepting other freak’s flaws and short comings. Because we realize we’re not perfect either and we know expecting that from others is hypocritical. I love each freak for who they are. I love Chris’s rants about how Abby Road is technically the Beatle’s last album and not Let It Be. Because Let It Be was released after the band broke up but Abby Road was the last album the band recorded together in the studio. Even though he knows I have absolutely no imput in the matter except that love the triva knowledge.(See Chris, I DO pay attention… sometimes) And he accpets (most of the time) when I will randomly bite him.
I love the way my friends in their own way, are freaks too. Like a friend who will belt out I believe in miracles, you sexy thang, on stage in public during karaoke. I love how I know four people who hate mayo as much as a vampire hates holy water. I love how I know someone who actually owns a shake weight (and has yet to let me play with it!), I love how I know two people who have seen every episode of Star Wars and Star Trek. I love the way Chris yells Buttscratcher! I love the excitement a coworker gets over a videogame that has yet to be released. I could go on forever, but I think you get my point. Without these people, life would be very boring indeed. So what exactly is wrong with being a freak anyway?
Here’s an entry to placate many nosy (but loving) friends and family. Chris knows I blog, and sometimes helps me edit, and as long as I don’t destroy all of his atomity by linking his photo or Facebook page onto here, he doesn’t mind if I use his real name (versus a nickname. And any nicknames I have given him are personal ones and shall remain so)
Simply put, Chris is a man I unconditionally love. His arms are ones I look forward rushing into after a long day at work. I look forward to his monologue rants about nothing, half tuning them in while I surf the web but following along enough to show I’m listening. I love it when he randomly picks me up (not an easy thing to do) and twirls me around or how we will randomly waltz really badly without music in his kitchen. I love his jittery leg that never stays still, and his many impersonations that make me giggle till my sides hurt. I love how he attempts to teach me things like how to make a paper airplane or how to cook even if he has yet to successfully teach me either of those things. And yet, my heart is torn because while there are many, many, many more wonderful reasons why I love this man, I cannot make my heart fall in love with him.
Around this time last year, I once made a list shortly after I had my heart-broken about who my ideal dream guy was. I spent hours creating in detail, having many categories of qualities I wanted my dream man to possess. I found this list again, unseen, for the first time since I wrote it out a year ago. And I shocked myself at how Chris fit nearly every quality, even the silly ones like wanting a guy who knew lots of random useless trivia facts.
So what’s the problem? If he’s so perfect then why can’t I make myself fall? Good question. It’s complicated. A lot of it has to rest on the fact over my frustration over his depression and the fact that he relies on other people to support him. This is where most girls would be kicking him to the curb. But I’m not most girls. Like I said, it’s complicated. On the one hand he was my very best friend who understands me, plays with me, and emotionally cares for me. On the other I am trying to be supportive, encouraging and taking care of him the way a mother would. I feel while as hard as the later was for me, it out weighed all the positive joys he brought into my life.
So what changed that we decided to date? He got a job. He was working hard and sticking with it. I no longer felt obligated about making sure he had enough food and toilet paper for the both of us for the week because I know he could pick some up. I knew he would start picking up the check more frequently when we ate out, because I knew he felt bad about the burden he was placing. And he did start doing all of those things and more. I started thinking of us as an, us. But imagine my frustration six weeks later when I heard he was fired from this new job! I was furious at his work for out and about lying why they fired him, then I was furious at Chris for not fighting back!
And I was furious at myself. Because I knew Chris would go right back into this self-defeatist attitude, and he has. I feel so helpless on how to help him and I feel very stuck. While our money issues are not nearly as bad as my eight year relationship with my ex, money has become an extremely sensitive subject between me and men. I feel as if I have signed a contract even though there is no break up clause, and I’m free to leave anytime I choose, I’m not ready to quite give up. I want to be in love with this man, I want to make my heart do backflips over him. I just don’t want to feel like his mother, or his wife.
Another part of it too is that I’m scared. I’m scared I’ll end up in a relationship again like with my ex Tony, silently resenting him each time a money crises popped up. I’m afraid that money will wedge in and replace all the qualities I love most about Chris. For once in my life I would like a relationship, where until things got serious, I don’t have to stress about money. Where my money’s mine and his money’s his and we treat each other as we go, or go dutch, because we want to. Not because we’re stressed over the very last nickel we can squeeze together. That’s what I feel marriage is for.
I do love Chris though and how he makes me happy. In less than a minute he can turn my entire day around by making me smile and laugh. Something as simple as watching TV for instance. The TV could get stuck (and did) on Charlie Sheen’s face and Chris crying out “Oh god! Please!! Nooooo!” And I could get stuck in a fitful of giggles while Chris goes outside to fix the satellite. For now, this is enough of a reason to stay. But for some reason, it’s not enough of a reason to make my heart race, tongue roll outta my mouth or howl. I’m not banging my head against a tree or finding a horn that honks oooh-oogah. Okay, so I’m exaggerating like a Hannah-Barbara cartoon character just a little bit but I digress.
Is it a little nieve to want the whole package? To want someone I not only want to sexually assault every time I see his face but have a partner financially as well as emotionally & physically? I feel as if I have half the package. I feel as if I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m trying to be patient, by not rushing things and let things happen “naturally”, but it’s hard. (That’s what she said lol!) It’s hard when you have that sexual lust for someone else. (Another blog entry for another time.) It’s hard when you feel like you have people staring at you saying, “Chris is perfect for you.” and wanting to answer, “Yeah I know but…”
Nobody’s perfect. Even I’m not anywhere near perfect. I have my flaws, insecurities and annoying habbits that would drive anyone nuts. But theres always a light to the dark which is how I feel about Chris. I have faith in him even he has little faith in himself. What I need is more faith in myself. Faith to trust that this won’t turn out like my ex did. I need to trust myself to make the right decisions for me and not to please others. I need to start putting my own needs first before trying to take on others, and I am trying to do so. Chris is my best friend and I love him dearly. I’m just waiting on that other shoe to drop. And if it doesn’t, then I guess life will go on. I hope Chris will still be in my life because he’s someone I always want to be in it.