Not The Same Girl

I’ve always been a romantic girl. The emotional, mushy, in-love-with-love romantic. The queen of romance novels and happily ever after; I’ve read more Harlequins than you can count. This attitude served me well in previous times. I never let love, or failed love, get the best of me. I was the eternal optimist when it came to relationships. The good always outweighed the bad, and all was eventually right in the world. Now I’m not saying that I’d never been hurt; I certainly had. But I’d never been hurt enough to give up on love- never… until him.

My ex is controlling, emotionally unavailable West Indian (no offense to West Indians). Our relationship was as red hot sexually as it was freezing cold emotionally. And because of some latent biological daddy issues, I fell for him- even knowing that he’d never fall for me. I spent three years begging him to love me. That optimism I talked about earlier is the reason I hung in there so long. I always hoped he’d realize that we were soul mates. Of course, that was a delusion on my part; there’s no way in hell you should have to work that hard to be with someone you “belong” with. Anyway… that was us. After a while, not even my optimism could hide that we were completely unhealthy as a couple and that I was completely unhappy as a person. So… it was over.

I bring him up to give a sense of how far gone I was, and how much I changed after that. I went through the crying, the depression, the bitterness, everything. It took me a long time to stop feeling sad, and to stop feeling like a failure. It took me a long time to feel like myself again. But recently I’ve found that although I feel like myself, I don’t act like myself anymore- at least, not the self I knew myself to be (does that make sense?)

Now I find that when I think about relationships, I’m filled with something along the lines of anxiety- with a hint of fear. Even though I haven’t admitted it before, I’m more afraid that people are out to take advantage of me somehow. I look for the underlying reasons, the ulterior motives- something my formerly mushy, in-love-with-love self would never have done. And when I look at other people’s relationships, most of them just seem like a giant inconvenience that I would NEVER put up with.  I’m a little amazed. Now it seems like my guard is up- when I didn’t even have a guard before. I even stopped reading romance novels. I have zero interest in fake independent women who get swept away with their emotions with one kiss from some arrogant ass man. I don’t know if I’ve shunned those women because they’re not reality, or because I’m ashamed that I used to be one of them. Either way, I’m different. And if there’s one thing that makes me uncomfortable, it’s change. To confront that I’ve changed is hard- maybe too hard.

It would be simple to blame it on my ex. To say that his mental and emotional torture  jaded me, and that there’s no way back. But that’s just not true. The truth is that I’m hardwired to fix things, to make them better- to try and improve them. And after that relationship, I was broken. So while my heart was recuperating, my mind went into fix-it mode. I convinced myself that the way I handled things with my ex was completely wrong… so I fixed myself. I trained myself to think that my romantic nature was at fault- it made me fall for someone totally wrong, it made me ignore the fact that we were incompatible. And the biggest sin of all- it made me hold on, when I should have been letting go. My mushy happily-ever-after disposition had gotten me into so much trouble- so I put it away. I told myself it was for the best. And then my heart healed… and I thought I was fine. It took me a while to realize that my mind, in trying to protect me, had caused me to change. So now, even though I’m the fun-loving girl I once was, I don’t trust anyone- and I don’t have as much tolerance either. The real dilemma? Trying to decide if this is a good or bad thing.

I want to relax, but I don’t want to be taken advantage of. I want to be patient, but I don’t want to put up with bullshit. I want to be understanding, but I don’t want to be played for a fool. I guess I need some practice finding the middle ground. But I do believe I can do it- that’s it’s possible. I believe I can find what I’m looking for, out there… and inside too. Maybe my optimism’s coming back…

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Singular Experts

I’ve been single for a while now, getting my life together for myself, by myself. I think I’ve reconciled the occasional loneliness, and the fact that I miss having someone lay next to me. I take little treks into the dating world, but nothing too serious and I’m enjoying that. The most important thing is that I’ve learned not to stress. But the more I learn to be happy with myself (and whatever relationship status “myself” has), the more I am bombarded with opinions on why I don’t have a man and how I am not likely to get one unless I change, fix, or adjust “myself.”

Ever since Steve Harvey became an author, and then by default some pseudo-savior of the Black relationship, he’s inspired others to jump into the fray, using their homespun version of advice and personal experience to tell single women in no uncertain terms, exactly what is wrong with them- and how they’ll never get a man if they don’t fix it. These people have waxed professional on all that single women do- the way they think, act, dress, speak, where they work, who they’re friends with, and even their sexual activity. I’ve been reading articles and listening to interviews from all kinds of people. Now, let me first say that I have nothing against Steve Harvey- he’s a talented comedian and radio host- but I didn’t buy or completely read his book, and I’m not about to. I won’t go into whether I think he’s right or wrong (and I couldn’t any way because I didn’t finish the book); I’ll just say that I don’t believe that his brand of “wisdom” is something that applies to me or my life- simple as that. The one thing that does bother me about him writing his books is that he has subliminally proclaimed himself an expert on what single women are doing wrong- and in doing so, invited the battering of the single women’s life from other parties. I’m sure this was not his intention, but it surprises me when people in the business of communication don’t realize how their words can affect other people. I’m aware that he was not the first to write a book of this kind; but his fame and him writing his books have been super helpful at publicizing those who wrote before and after him.

In some ways, these new “know-it-alls” have valid points. Yes, some single women are angry, bitter, promiscuous, emasculating, broken, damaged and have unrealistic expectations. But I want them to remember that a single woman is first a PERSON- and these are traits that PEOPLE share- not just single women. Single women did not create the mold on any of these traits- they were already well into their existence. Making an example of single women as though 1) they are the only ones who exhibit these traits and 2) they don’t sometimes have good reason, is pretty damned unfair- and not very truthful. If you’re going to tell the truth, you need to tell the whole truth- which is that EVERYONE is sometimes guilty of letting their past hurts and disappointments affect their present behaviors (remember that men feel things too and that all these women in relationships were single women at one point). Another truth is that men have just as much responsibility to try and understand what makes us tick as we do to try and understand them- and neither party should have to change themselves to achieve that. Relationships will never work if only one party is giving- and the idea that the single woman has to adjust (her dress, behavior, demeanor etc.) while her potential counterparts remain the same sounds like only one person is giving- which is ludicrous to me- but that seems to be what’s being implied.

I know that some will say I’m too sensitive (and I can admit that sometimes I am) but I’m also pretty good at reading between the lines- and I know when a dart’s being thrown at me- and my behavior. I just want it to stop. Stop the self-righteous attitude, stop the posturing, stop giving single women the impression that the real world is some kind of nightclub- and they’re standing outside of it in jeans and Timbs, not able to get in until they change. It’s rude, and you’re overstepping your boundaries. You don’t know these women- their pasts, their trials, their struggles, their anything.

If anything, what we need to be doing is teaching people how to be happy. No one ever says just be HAPPY- and that’s what’s wrong. Happiness is essential to living any sort of satisfying life, single or not. And happiness is deep, and personal- because it’s individualized. It’s something no one can do for you. Finding the key to YOUR happiness is a road you have to walk alone- even when you’re in a relationship. That’s why it’s so key.

So if you really care about the single woman, and you want to help- tell her to be happy- whatever happy means. Don’t tell her to get rid of her baggage, close her legs, stop listening to her friends, or think like a man. Just tell her to find out what really makes her happy- soul deep happy- and then tell her to do it. That’s the best advice anyone can give.

Weighty Opinions

I was talking to a friend, and we were discussing late-night dinner options. She was thinking chicken, while I had my eye on the familiar Golden Arches. Now, I know these are not the best choices, but as you’re getting closer to bedtime, your options thin to things of the fast food variety; it’s just the way it is. Anyway, as I’m getting my mind set on a fish filet sandwich, she asks me, not so casually, “How many times have you been there this week? I’ve just noticed that you’re going there a lot lately.”

HOLD UP. WAIT A MINUTE.

There are so many things running through my mind right now. I’m shocked, offended, defensive, mad, and a little less hungry- none of which is good, by the way. Now, I know I’m a big girl- nobody has to tell me, I look in the mirror everyday- even the days I don’t want to. I’m well aware. I’m also very well aware of the fact that this weight is not the best thing for me, and that I will need to lose some of it. Last, but certainly not least I am aware that this is coming from a friend, and so it has undertones of love and concern, and not undertones of mean and malicious.

All of that having been said, I can’t help but feel a little angry. I mean, fast food isn’t really healthy for anyone- but it seems like only big people get the lectures about the risks (or in this case, a lecture disguised as a question). I feel… picked on, for lack of a better phrase. I have plenty of friends who want to lose weight, and I encourage when I can, but I don’t go around passing judgement every time they lift a fork to their faces and I expect the same treatment. It’s a sad double standard. I know I’m not a skinny girl, nor do I have the greatest eating habits- but it seems like my weight comes with a clause that allows everyone smaller than me to “weigh” in on what I’m eating. This makes me self-conscious in ways that no one even imagines. And no matter how well meaning you are, you come across as self-righteous and judgmental- maybe those feelings are coming from somewhere inside me, but I reserve the right to project them onto you- the same way you reserved the right to comment on my eating like you walk around in my body all day.

So let this be a lesson to you people who want to shame your fat friends by reminding them of the junk they eat- keep your weighty opinion to yourself. You don’t know how it’s affecting people. I can tell you that it’s not helping- which I will assume was the desired effect.

Hello World…

Well… I’ve done it. I started writing a blog. I don’t know why I’m doing it now, anymore than I know why I never did it before. I only know that now the words are coming, and I have to write them down- because I’m so amazed that they’re returning to me… amazed and totally, completely, grateful. I was almost beginning to think I wasn’t a writer anymore. My thoughts have been jumbled, to say the least- thick and fibrous, tangled and confused- impossible to separate. They’ve been like a tumbleweed running back and forth through my head- and dry as the desert too. I am hoping this is a good place to pull my thoughts out again, make them straight lines again, get them out again. Holding them in was starting to make me sick, quite frankly.

I want this blog to be a safe place, a place that’s mine, a place that’s free- because I think that I’ve been a little trapped in my life lately- which is the direct cause of the words being trapped in my head. So we’ll see, won’t we? Here we go… welcome to My Plus Size Life…