August 4. Still up past midnight on a school night. What a naughty woman I am.
I used to be with a boyfriend who was obsessed with preaching that “being happy” was a stupid goal. In interviewing me for the position of His Girlfriend, he asked me if I thought I deserved to be loved by someone else. Although now I look back at that with condemnation, at the time, I suppose he was just projecting issues from former relationships.
But, it always stuck with me. Since when is believing you deserve to be loved a prerequisite to relationship status? In fact, I believe this question comes from laziness of the purest form: if you ask me if I am worthy of you and I say “yes, I believe I am,” then you can hold that against me whenever I need reassurance in the future, forever, and ever Amen.
Of course I’m conflating two issues. The first is that our partners have become lazy. We date people who expect us to maintain our own emotional needs so that they can go on with their lives without worrying about us.
The second is that happiness is not something to be desired. I’ll never know what that old boyfriend wanted out of life in place of happiness. Although I could just ask him, I no longer care enough about his opinion to bother.
The funny thing is that for all of my feelings, I am a remarkably happy person. There are things that are awful that happen in life. Accepted. But I’m happy. I’ve never been less than grateful. I’m privileged and well loved. I have had opportunities others haven’t. I get to work and get paid. I can make decisions for myself.
My problems only inflate when I look to others for recognition or acceptance/approval. For example, I had been accustomed to doing something that no one I knew thought was acceptable. Yet, it made me feel better, every time I engaged in it. I was taught that this behavior was unacceptable and would have “serious consequences.” So I did it better. Secret-er. (Sic.) Guess what. I still feel better when I do it and there are no consequences. But when it peaks beyond it’s secrecy, I become ashamed. And I ponder this.
So why do we lie to ourselves and pretend that the status quo will make us happy? I myself advocate that I shouldn’t care if my boyfriend(s) think someone else is beautiful when they haven’t told me I am in…as long as I could remember. But you know what? It still feels shitty to hear it. I still care…and I resent that tremendously. First of all, because I’m not here to be pretty for anyone. So, I hate that I feel bad about not feeling pretty. And second, because — damnit — I’m not a robot. I have feelings. I want to be maintained. And I expect my loves to read my very intricate and perfectly logical/emotional mind.
Let’s be clear:
1. I simultaneously do and do not care what you think.
2. I want to be loved and happy and I want to create those things for myself. Your disapproval or detrimental commentary makes me violent.
3. “Justified” is the best television show you’re not watching.
4. I get to determine what makes me perfect – and you get to determine what makes you prefect.
5. If I’m worthy of anything, it’s self-love. No one else on this planet gets to define, outline, suggest, or ANYTHING otherwise – that I could be better “if….” And that goes for you, too.
Feeling numb – by your own hand – only works to some extent. It’s helpful in getting by moment to moment. But really. When you wake up in the morning and face yourself…the numbness is gone, and getting it back won’t fix a thing you have in front of you. I have always believed I’m my own worst enemy. But it scares me that I could be someone else’s as well.