In a sense, I have always been a romantic. I'm ridiculously loyal, I leave cute notes hidden in packed lunches, blush over sweet messages and gestures, I love love songs, I love kisses and snuggling and the rest. In another sense, due to an incredibly arduous history of abandonment, my mom's tendency to date narcissists during my teenage years, other stories for another day...in another sense, I am ridiculously terrified to fall in love, to be in a real relationship. There's a reason I stayed so long with a person who would never be the person I ended up with, the person who liked me the least out of literally everyone I know, the person who didn't actually want me and therefore need me. The love songs I love the most are sad songs of lost love. I'm so scared of love. I've never had an example of this real, healthy love I keep reading about. My eyes have not witnessed it in my life, how can I not be skeptical?
So, while I've always wanted someone in my life to fill the void I've been aware of since the age of about 13, I've generally just wanted someone for that reason. This is where it gets tricky. This is where words like "self love" and "self respect" come into play. Many would assume a lack of these is what would bring a person to endure the sort of treatment someone like myself has. It does sound about right. But I never completely abandoned my true self. Interestingly, when I was in my bakery I was the true Laur. Something with my soul connected so strongly with the owners, the customers, the pastries, even.. Something woke me up when I arrived and welcomed me home. I was still the vibrant, outgoing, strong, confident, happy human being I was before I met that guy who never saw those things in me. I still had self esteem. The self respect had mostly fled, clearly. Why else would I put myself through that? But that was not entirely gone either as, towards the end, I began noticing just how fucked up all this was and began wondering why was I not seeking more.
Then I began seeking more. I saw a light at the end and I was actually excited. I started telling myself in the mirror, on little notes I'd hide for myself in my purse, just how wonderful and confident and strong and lovely I am. I tried not to be hard on myself for the situation I was in and just focusing on better days ahead. Essentially, I was quietly rebuilding myself and my comeback. I took on an attitude that I didn't give a motherfuck what someone with ill intentions thought about me. I decided that was none of my business. I reminded myself that I have an inner Beyonce and she's dope and I don't have to put up with shit that doesn't serve me. That's how it was so easy to leave once I set out to. Because I remembered my worth. I remembered how much I love myself.
Cue the cognitive dissonance. Despite all this work, and therapy, and learning, and self love, and growth, I find myself here scared to death of something real. Like what everyone told me it's "supposed to be like." I'm 26 years old and I know they write articles about how worrying about what life's supposed to be like in your 20's will ruin your 20's but I can't help it! Can anyone? My mom was married with 2 kids living in a house with 2 kitchens when she was my age. But then, she divorced my dad when I was 8 to date deadbeats and assholes, so I can't model my life after hers. But seriously, I spent the day taking care of my best friend's 7 year old daughter and 2 year old son. She has a family.. I have an enormous fear of having a family. A husband, kids, a close relationship with my own.. It's not that I don't think I deserve it. I think I do. But it's just weird to me. It's not what I know. I don't get it. Therefore I find myself destroying relationships with the good ones. I've dumped a few guys that were incredibly nice to me, respectful, didn't cheat, things I always wanted my ex to do but if he had, would I have cared? I do appreciate it. I do think it's a pleasant surprise when a man does something genuinely kind for me without a motive. I don't know where to find or how to turn off the part of my mind that finds this suspicious, and weird, and scary, and tells me to run. Every time it tells me to run. I have allowed a few very good men to become victim to what I now realize is my fear of commitment. I told one of them he could read this journal today so he could understand... I don't think this will be an easy or happy read if he chooses to but I didn't even realize my absence could cause very much unease and when I found out how just hiding away made him feel, I wanted him to know the truth. I always want to tell the truth, that's another thing that makes it so easy to cut myself off from people...I don't want to lie, I certainly don't want them to know the truth. I didn't think if I disappeared it mattered.
I really wanted to hide from this part. I've been seeing (for lack of better term.. gone on dates with and getting to know) someone for a couple of weeks. I'm sorry D that I hid from you instead of talking to you about this. He's the opposite of what I'm used to. He's respectful and giving and kind. I appreciate this person and the respect he has for me. He told me he treats me this way because I deserve to be treated this way and I believe him. Without a shadow of a doubt I quickly remembered how much I am worth, loved, respected, appreciated. This is all wonderful but I take issue with it for three reasons. These three reasons I will later be explaining to this guy, probably in less brutally honest detail, who's perfect on paper.. just not for me. 1. It is way too soon. My therapist said something like, "Even if this guy is the most perfect guy in the world, ever, that ever was, you'd be batshit crazy to jump into a new relationship right now." I'm pretty crazy but not batshit.. 2. This person, while he evokes a lot of strength and determination and ambition in me, does not evoke any romance in me. I'm certain he was placed in my path for a reason but I am not certain it was for love. He definitely has eased my fears that the world is filled with only assholes who are out to treat me like shit. But that's exactly the point. My past experience is abnormal... Being treated well should be a requirement, not a rare occurrence that I will not come across again. 3. I AM SO IN LOVE WITH MYSELF and my potential. When I'm in a relationship, I get distracted from my dreams and responsibilities. I want to be a prosecutor, I'm working towards that. I love my job, my bosses and customers treat me well and they deserve the best of me. I love my alone time and getting to know myself again. I love my best friend and her children, they're my family and they deserve the best of me. I appreciate that this guy does not want to dim my light or put me in a cage. I know he wants to support my goals. What he doesn't understand is I don't know how to let a boyfriend do that. There's like 98 more actual reasons like I haven't been actually single in years, his roommate is a narcissist exactly like my ex and mom's ex boyfriends who treats me like either a pest or as if I am not even there, I don't want to shave my legs everyday, I don't want to settle for better when there's extraordinary love awaiting me.. etc.
Of course I don't believe that I am powerless in this. I am working so hard to learn more and grow to the point that I'm capable to be in an incredible relationship with an incredible person while still being incredible. But I need to be gentle with myself, and I need time. Just in writing this, it's difficult to be gentle with myself, to accept my choices, to forgive myself for my choices. I remind myself, "Progress, not perfection."
I want to turn my life around in every single way in which it is negative. Today that means I cannot run away from something as simple as the truth. I have to be brave and stay around long enough to tell the truth. Twice, in today's case. Even when it's uncomfortable, even if it means someone won't like me. Even when it means I have to accept responsibility for hurting someone. Even when my stubbornness tells me I don't have to be sorry because I didn't even realize I was doing it. I am sorry for hurting you. I'm sorry I hid. I understand how complicated I am. For all the fucked up things I think or do, I am full of as much kindness and love as I show. It's so difficult to be a person with all the best intentions who still can't keep from hurting others and herself because she doesn't know how to deal with all these feelings. Despite my flaws and my past and how it has shaped me, I won't ever give up on trying to be a better person.