Sunday, April 18, 2010

its my anniversary....

Today is April 18, 2010. I am single, not dating, not having sex and not really overly concerned or driven to do much about changing that.

A year ago today, I knew eventually I was going to stop “meeting up” with my ex, but I cant say I had a concrete plan on when that was going to happen. I wasn’t his biggest fan (hence the “ex” title) but our meetings served a purpose that he was, shall we say, skilled at. It wasn’t interfering too terribly in other aspects of my life. Sure, there was the occasional uncomfortable phone call if he had more to drink than I wanted to deal with and schedules to sync up. I knew that I was sharing penis (a practice I despise) and there was the time or two that his inability to understand that we BOTH were single resulted in some surprise visits that probably weren’t high on my neighbors list of positives to their restful sleep. But on the whole, I had my cake and I got to eat it too. And really, isn’t that the point of a piece of cake anyway?

Then I was over it. The option was there, the opportunity was there, but the drama from even a no strings attached type interaction wasn’t enough to justify the benefits. So I set my mind into taking a little break and starting to keep an eye out for other prospects once summer came into full swing. That should be easy enough, right?

Apparently not.

As time crept closer to summer, I used my time to get some more work in both professionally and on myself personally. I had gone without sex before, but never without a dating crutch or at the very least a few friendly pursuits to keep me occupied. It was time for me to be truly single for the first time since I started dating at 15. No numbers in my phone or on slips of paper in my purse to fall back on (that I would use anyway), no picking up new ones, no falling back into old habits with those friends you call when you are in between relationships- just me.

At first, this break was incredibly liberating. I felt truly free of years of dating the same possessive and almost obsessive types that kept sniffing around long after the final curtain call. (Why I even got into that habit or tolerated that kind of behavior for the majority of my twenties is another discussion for another time.) I remember a conversation with an internet buddy around this time in which I was deluded enough to think it was the sex just that good to the point that old flames refused to just flicker out when told. I guess it was too early for me to admit that it was more about them recognizing and capitalizing on my need to still be desired physically. A want to be wanted. Smart guys. Assholes of my own choosing for the most part, but smart none the less.

Well spring turned into summer, summer was getting close to fall. By that time, I was in- what kills me to admit, but let’s be honest- all out depression. Not from the lack of physical affection (in all forms, not just sex) but from having the time to force myself to look in the mirror and see how broken the reflection was.
I had spent so many years looking for that man to love me “despite” that I had let all my potential get used up. Without going into gory details, what I mean by that in a nutshell is that my physical appearance had always got me in the door so the speak. I have always been smart; school was relatively easy, as was making money, my job, friends, acquiring material possessions, living life in general- even with the bumps in the road. But that’s not what I was valued for in most situations with the men I chose. I was the pretty one. The green eyed one. The long haired one. The big titty one. The thick thighed one. As time went on, I lost my drive to keep up the physical, hoping that eventually I would be valued for all I was despite my appearance instead of because of it. And the longer I went without this need for validation being met, the more I let all the other positives fall by the wayside too. I just didn’t care enough to keep it all up. I didn’t care enough to keep ME.

After coming to the realization of how skewed my self worth was and having no idea how to fix it, the depression came. Sure life was long, but having to face wasting the time that was supposed to be spent on building my foundation and starting over when many were settling into what they built broke me. I was no longer pretty or exhibiting any smarts or making money or fun at parties. I was overweight. I was jealous of my friends that seem to have it together. I was jaded and dangerously close to bitter. At one hundred pounds heavier than I was at eighteen, with no degree, no man, no children and a job I detested it just seemed like too much to be able to rectify before it would be too late (in my own mind) to get back on track, I simply checked out. Thankfully, I failed at that too.

As fall came and crept into winter and the holidays came, I sat still. I had started a semester of school with a new major to try and jump start myself out of the self hatred, but the need to stay in it meant I ended up withdrawing. A new nephew came into the world and despite loving his cute butt so much, it felt like another slap in the face on my inadequacy. My finances fell further into the dumps with my overall indifference to my job. Most of my friends stopped calling or texting because I never answered anyway. My family, despite their best efforts and closed lips, couldn’t hide that look that said they saw I was very much drowning. I stuck mostly to communication with people that didn’t know me well enough to realize there was a problem. I hid until I could figure it out. But I never did.

It was months before I felt this cloud of inadequacy start to lift. I’m still not sure when or how it did, nor can I tell you it has completely gone away. I still see fat, broke and ugly when I look in the mirror. I still see someone who isn’t strong enough to admit their own beauty (inside and out). I still see someone who doesn’t feel wholly deserving. But a year later, twenty pounds lighter, re-enrolled in school and climbing out of debt, I do see someone who needed to not have sex, someone that needed to take physical validation out of the equation, someone who is trying to make a change absent of outside confirmation. And while I don’t think I’m looking to make it two years, I do see someone that’s ok with sticking it out until sex is the icing, not the whole cake.