Saturday, 12 December 2015

Bad Habits

Seven years ago I was in love.  When that ended, I swore I would stay single until I was over him.  By the time I was over him, and ready to start dating again, I was happy being single.  I began dating guys and never developing feelings for them.  Whether this was deliberate or just a result of being single and happy in myself I don’t know.  I met one guy that I had feelings for right away, you remember V?  But those feelings were never returned, so we never developed a relationship, I was never even physical with V.  Over the years I have continued to date guys that I never developed feelings for, and I was ok with it.  Being in relationships with guys that I knew I would never love, allowed me to demand the very best from every relationship.  I would joke that all my relationships had a one-month expiration, because that was typically how long they would last.  First sight of hormones, and they would be gone, because I didn’t ever care enough to filter my crazy.

I was quite happy dating in this way because it protected my heart.  If I never fell in love, I would never get hurt.  I could end relationships as soon as I was unhappy about something, and never shed a single tear.  I could push them as far as I wanted without ever worrying about them ending it, because I never cared if they did.  I am now learning however, that I may have also picked up some pretty bad dating habits by dating this way.  I am spoiled, bossy, demanding, controlling and crazy (I’m shamefully laughing as I admit this). 

A month ago I began speaking to a guy that I worked with.  I had always thought he was cute, so when he added me on Facebook I jumped at the chance to talk to him, even though I was already dating someone (though not exclusively).  I knew I was interested in D, and I knew I wanted to kiss him.  I had no idea however that dating him would lead to me feeling things that I haven’t felt in seven years.  Imagine my surprise when I began falling for him.

I can’t even begin to tell you all the ways that D isn’t my type.  But damn if I’m not crazy about that guy!  He is the sweetest, sexiest, most hardheaded pain in ass, and I’ve fallen hard for him.  He makes me so happy.  I miss him when I’m not with him, and I never ever get tired of him when we are together (which is unusual for me).  When we spend the night together not only do we cuddle all night, but also I WANT to be cuddling him all night.  For those that know me, they know that this is unusual for me even when I’m in love.  I don’t like to be touched at night when I’m sleeping, but with D, I’m waking him up if he’s not cuddling me.  I don’t recognize myself.  And I love it.

So here’s the problem.  Like I said, over the years I have picked up some bad dating habits.  The difference now, dating D, is that I actually do care if we break up.  But I’ve spent so long treating guys a certain way because I don’t care, that I’ve developed dating habits that I must now break.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not horrible, I’m still friends with all of the guys I’ve dated over the years (well kind of) so it’s not like I treated them terribly.  And with D, because I have feelings for him, I’m naturally very affectionate and loving. 

But remember, I’m spoiled, bossy, demanding, controlling and crazy.  These things do not make for a good, lasting relationship built on compromise and selflessness.  Things almost ended a few days ago because I pushed D too far with my bossiness and my attitude.  I cried which is very unusual for me, I couldn’t even tell you the last time I cried over a guy; I think it was a year ago because of V, and I think it lasted ten minutes.  I cried a lot longer than ten minutes at the thought of losing D, and it was a wake up call for me. 

D is very understanding of my hormone imbalance; he seems to be willing to deal with the crazy once a month.  But I need to work on how I speak to him when I get that way, and do better at filtering the crazy.  I need to treat him like someone I don’t want to lose, because losing him is not an option for me right now.
Luckily, I am very self-aware of the bad habits I’ve developed, which means I have a good chance of fixing them. 

Perhaps it’s premature to say, but I believe I’ve found something real with D.  Our differences scare me sometimes, and I know that it could be a challenge making things work, but I believe we can.  I believe D when he tells me he feels the same way I do.  I believe that we have a connection that is rare, and therefore we must fight to protect what we have.  His family likes me, and my mum likes him (he meets the rest of my family next week, and I know they’ll love him).  I think they can see how much we care about each other, so how could they not approve.  I realize that I have become one of those soppy people I used to make fun of, but I don’t even care.  I’m so happy.

It is of course terrifying to feel this way.  Every day I worry about how much it will hurt if this ends.  But I don’t care.  I wont let my fear of striking out keep me from playing the game.  The only thing worse than getting hurt is being afraid to get hurt.  I’ve jumped, and there’s no going back now, the only thing I can do is enjoy the fall and hope that I land softly.  Love is scary, if it wasn’t a risk, it wouldn’t be as special when it works and it would be easier to find.  I don’t know how I will feel in a month or two months, or how things will go.  All I know is how I feel now, and this feeling is completely worth the risk.  It’s amazing.  I’m crazy about him, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make it work (while he’s good to me anyway). 

I’m proud of myself for being brave enough to go for it with D.  And I’m thankful that he’s so caring and understanding with me.  We agree that communication is important to make a relationship work.  We will talk through any of our problems and work past them in a healthy way, because we both see value in this relationship.  We both want it to work.  And we both believe that it can.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Skinny Shaming

We have all heard of fat shaming.  We know that it is wrong, and most of us have no tolerance for it.  There is no argument about whether or not fat shaming is wrong, and we applaud women of a larger stature for being proud in their own skin.  We celebrate that confidence.  But when it comes to skinny shaming, I feel that people are very much the opposite.  You might argue that there is no such thing as skinny shaming, because they should just be happy with how they look.  But why is one ok and the other is not.  NO WOMAN, large or small, should be made to feel ashamed in her own skin, especially not by other women. 

I myself am guilty of skinny shaming, without even being aware of it.  I have always been against skinny shaming, and have celebrated women of all shapes and sizes.  But being a larger girl myself, I have been known to playfully call my thinner friends “skinny”.  I do this as a compliment, because for me, I would LOVE to look the way they do.  But I have learned that these comments are not always taken in such a way. 

I have a gorgeous friend, who has an amazing figure.  She could be a model if she wanted to be, every picture of her looks like an image that should be on the front of a CD cover.  I look at her and I just assume that she is full of confidence.  Why wouldn’t she be?  She’s stunning.  But she’s not full of confidence.  In the time that I’ve known her, I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I’ve seen her get upset because of something that someone has said to her about her weight.  People have told her she needs to eat more (may I add that she eats like a horse), people have told her that she looks like a heroin addict and people (like me) continually call her skinny.  None of these things are ok.  If I told you that someone told me that I needed to eat less because I was too fat, you would agree that that person was an insensitive D-bag.   But why is one ok, and the other is not.

We celebrate singers like Megan Trainor and Nicki Minaj because they are empowering us to be confident in our bodies.  But they are not; they are skinny shaming women for not having curves.  “I’m bringing booty back, go ‘head and tell them skinny b****es that,” shockingly those are lyrics from Trainor and not from Minaj, I won’t even begin to quote her.  If you replaced the word “skinny” with “fat” there would be uproar, and she would be wildly discredited.  But when it’s skinny shaming, we celebrate it because she’s empowering us.

She’s not.  We should be celebrating women of all size.  We should be empowering each other and celebrate that we are all so different.  That’s what makes life interesting.  It doesn’t make a man shallow for being attracted to a more slender woman, just like it doesn’t make him any less shallow for being attracted to a woman with curves.  We are all beautiful in our own way, and hopefully there will always be someone out there that will be attracted to us, but none of that matters if you don’t absolutely love yourself.  We need to empower each other to love ourselves, not body shame and put down, in order to build ourselves up.

I am not writing this to put blame on anyone.  Like I have said, I have been guilty of this in the past.  But knowledge is power, and when I know better I do better.  I know the effect words can have on people.  We need to think not about how we mean for things to be taken, but about how they are received by the people we are saying them to.  We all have the power to build up or tear down, if we build each other up; think of how strong we could be.  Stop body shaming of any kind, and celebrate our differences, they are beautiful. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Be your own light

While I was cleaning out some old things, I found an old folded piece of paper dated June 2011.  Back then I didn’t write in a blog, but writing has always been a release for me and scribbling on the back of a travel insurance print out was not out of the question.  Though I wrote it only four years ago, it was like reading someone else’s life.  It made me sad, remembering how lost I once was.  But it also made me proud of the person I am today, and how far I’ve come.  I have shared with you before that I wasn’t always the positive person that I am today.  I am aware of how annoying my positive attitude can be to some people, and it seems like it just comes naturally to me.  But I wasn’t always this way; I really had to fight to be the positive person that I am.  I definitely had a tendency to get very depressed and lonely.  But I did get through it, and fight it, using my mother’s advice about faking positivity until it came naturally to me, which it now does.  I want to share with you the words that I expressed in 2011, only because I want to emphasize that we all get depressed and face dark times in our life, but we can all come through it if we fight hard enough to find the light.

Sitting here on this flight home, I can’t help but feel anxious and terrified.  Out in Spain it was so much easier to shut off from my life in Scotland, easier to numb myself from the pain, anxieties and stress of University, money and my love life.  Don’t get me wrong, there were of course times in Spain where my loneliness would creep into my psyche, there were even a couple of nights where I cried myself to sleep.  But nothing compared to the pain I felt before, the pain I expect to face when reality once again hits. 

I used to make excuses for why it was good to stay single, arguing that I was too busy with University, work, friends and family to add a boyfriend into the mix.  But my recent fleeting relationship with JB made me realize how wrong I was.  What I realized (or admitted to myself) was that a boyfriend can offer so much needed support by just listening and caring.  I also realized that the feeling of loneliness that I had was my most powerful feeling, above stress and anxiety.  Therefore just vanquishing that feeling of loneliness was enough to give me the strength to cope with the other stresses in my life. 

But here lies my problem once again I am boyfriend-less.  Before I dated JB I had convinced myself that I didn’t want a boyfriend and I certainly didn’t need one.  In fact, I had convinced myself that having a boyfriend would only make things worse.  I now know that this isn’t true, and my loneliness has only increased with this newfound knowledge.  Having had a taste of a relationship, however short it may have been, it makes it more difficult to go back to facing my life alone.

Ten minutes to landing now and I am all the more anxious.  I am terrified of falling into a sea of depression and drowning in my own abyss of self-pity.
All I can do is be aware of my feelings and do my best to prevent it.  Like my very wise mother always says, knowledge is power.  So I will prevent my depression by being knowledgeable of it, and of course, by staying positive.

Reading that was difficult for me, because I was reminded of the pain I used to feel on a regular basis.  It’s easy to forget how lost I once was in myself, and it’s hard to remember a version of myself that isn’t the one I am today.  I am a strong, independent woman, who of course gets lonely and has difficult times that she must work hard to get through.  But the person I am today never doubts herself and her ability to make it through, like the person I used to be once did.  I don’t need a man in my life to get me through life’s many struggles.  I have more stress in my life now than I ever had then, but I am more equipped to cope with those stresses through my positive attitude.  I am proud of how much I have grown, and how far I have come as a person. 

J and I are dating again, our break up lasted a total of three days.  He told me that he wanted to be with me, and he wanted to know what he should do in the future if I happen to fly off again (and let out my crazy).  I am happy that J and I are dating again; it’s going pretty well.  But I don’t NEED J to make me happy.  The only person I need is myself.  This is absolutely nothing to do with the person that J is, but everything to do with the person that I am.  I have come a long way from the girl I used to be.

I’m sharing this entry today for people who are still in their dark times.  I want people to know that they will make it through as long as they keep fighting and staying positive.  It’s hard to see light at the end of the tunnel during dark times, but there is always one there, sometimes you just have to look harder to find it.  That light is you, and it can’t be anyone else.  You are the light that will guide you through your dark times.  Everyone else that you meet along the way are merely positive rays that can help your light shine brighter, but you are that original source of light.  And the good news is that only you can extinguish your light, no one else has that power; so don’t give it to them.  Be responsible for your own happiness!  Accept that loneliness is a part of life, and that you don’t need anyone to make you happy.  Take on each day with a fighting spirit, a smile and a positive attitude, and you will see your light grow brighter each day.  We all have the strength inside us, don’t be afraid to unleash yours.  Be your own light!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Leaving the past behind me

So I had been dating someone for the past few weeks.  It was going pretty well, until today when it ended, because I’m a crazy person. 

I met J online a while back, but we stopped talking when I pretty much gave up on the whole dating thing.  We reconnected during my recent trip to Scotland.  He messaged me and told me that he wanted to take me out when I got back, and reluctantly I agreed.  I was so glad I did, because it ended up being THE BEST first date I’d ever been on.  He took me to Dave and Busters.  We ate the crappiest meal, and then had the best time playing some cheesy arcade games.  I kicked his ass in a few of the games, and he luckily won the rest.  The evening was lost in laughter and chitchat and we both left feeling pretty great about our first encounter.

The next few weeks were lovely.  J is literally the nicest guy I have ever dated.  Our dates were a never-ending parade of compliments, talking, sharing, laughing and sweet gazes.  Just the way he looked at me told me that this guy was really into me.  He made me feel so beautiful.  I really loved spending time with him, and was growing to love his itchy beard.

J told me that he couldn’t come over last night because he wanted to get some rest.  Later I got the feeling that he had actually gone out.  It didn’t bother me that he wanted to go out with his friends!  I’m really not the jealous type, and I honestly knew that he was really into me regardless.  But I did struggle with the fact that he lied to me.  Naturally, my mind went into crazy mode, and I decided the relationship was over.

The next day I confronted him and told him it was over for me, and he told me the truth right away.  I believed him, and told him that I wanted to move on from it all.  But it was too late; my crazy had already scared him off.  He told me that he couldn’t be in a relationship with someone who could just end it so quickly, without even speaking first.  I tried to explain that that was my way of speaking to him, and that I really didn’t want it to end.  But it was no use, J is a stubborn Leo and his mind was made up.  I then told him that I respected his decision and I wished him luck. 

I’m now sitting here.  Feeling sad, but mostly frustrated at myself.  I became irrational, and I know that.  I threatened to end it (or ended it as he says) because I thought that he might be lying.  I know that I am naturally a very trusting person; I don’t get jealous or suspicious.  But I also know that I have been in quite a few relationships that have perhaps left me with trust issues.  I know lying is a problem for me.  But I didn’t know that I could react so impulsively to a lie (or a perceived lie). 

I have been hurt in the past.  Ex’s have cheated on me, lied to me and let me down.  I’ve been verbally and emotionally abused, and have been left with scars as a result.  I know my past is just that, and I feel like it has made me who I am, and I have learned and grown from all that I have been through.  But perhaps the past isn’t just that.  Perhaps it is still here in my present day, influencing me and affecting my present day relationships.  All that I can do is learn from it, and try not to let it affect my future relationships.

I feel sad tonight, J was great, and I enjoyed spending time with him.  But I do believe that I deserve to, and will find, a wonderful and lasting relationship one day.  What’s for me will not go by me.  There was a reason this happened to me.  Perhaps it was so that I could become aware of the hold my past has on my present, so that I could break from it finally.  It is time to put my past behind me, and embrace my future.  I know it might not be easy, but I need to trust that I deserve happiness and therefore will find it.

I obviously wasn’t meant to be with J.  If I was, he would have understood why I reacted the way I did, and talked through it with me rather than running scared.  Perhaps he has a past that is alive in his present day too.  Perhaps my reaction scared him in the same way that his perceived lying scared me.  I can’t change what happened, but I can prevent it from happening again. 

This is my life, and I will be happy.  One day I will meet someone that loves everything about me, including my crazy (or at least accepts it).  He will be wonderful and I will trust him with all my heart, because he won’t give me reason not to.  And if somehow he does (through no fault of his own), we will work through it, because that will be the relationship that is supposed to last for me.

J is a great guy!  The next girl that he dates will be a lucky one.  He will love on her and compliment her like a true gentleman should, because that is what he is.  I wasn’t the girl for him.  I was just the girl that kicked his ass in some arcade games.  We had a good time together, and our relationship was exactly what we needed it to be.  I wish him luck in everything that he does, and hope that he finds happiness throughout his life.