I went on a walk with a friend the other day. During our walks, we bond, share thoughts, and vent. We also use this time to get clarity on things in our lives that keep stubbing our toes.
During these walks, I'll have small epiphanies about why I think the way that I do. They aren't necessarily life-altering, but they do have a powerful impact on how I choose to think from that moment forward.
One of these epiphanies was about why I don't want children. Without going into detail, I realized that much of that comes from my upbringing. My parents started our family young, and made many sacrifices for their three children.
Therefore, we were raised with the expression: "Live your life before you have kids, because once you do, your pursuits and dreams are put on hold or disappear altogether."
My parents said this from a place of love and protection, not blame.
Now, as an adult in a place that I could probably support a child emotionally, spiritually and financially (preferably with a father in tow), I'm faced with the questions:
"What if I DO want kids? What if I've been thinking about having kids all wrong? What if I do want marriage, 2.5 children and a white picket fence? What does that look like? Am I too late? Do I still have time? Is this really what I want?"
Please do not mistake this for the weepy, single-girl "I want a baby" syndrome. I'm nowhere near that stage. But it does bring to light the question, "What are you so afraid of?"
Another discovery involved my impatience with wanting a romantic partner. There has rarely been a time where I was not looking for someone special. There have been brief spurts (usually a few weeks) where my efforts were put on hold and thoughts of a future with someone were put aside, but they are few and far between.
I became aware of a cycle I have repeated for a long, long time. It starts with relishing my independence and spinsterhood. Enjoying the freedom to walk around in baggy sweats without judgment, to leave dishes in the sink for a day (or more), to not have a schedule or the emotional drama and insecurity that come with relationships. That lasts for a day - maybe a week - seldom longer before the gradual decline into loneliness begins.
The wheels start to turn, and I begin peeling donuts in the parking lot of my mind.
I start feeling lonely, disappointed that I'm getting older and still haven't found someone who gets my stupid jokes, who doesn't mind me being long-winded, who tolerates my idiosyncrasies, and who values my words and time.
My resolve in being patient with God's timing begins to wane, and I start making exceptions for what I'm looking for in a potential mate. After all, marriage isn't my primary goal, although it is something I hope for some day, but companionship is. Logic leaves and I begin rationalizing.
I am very capable of working myself up over just about anything. I've gotten better as I've gotten older, but I still catch myself manifesting grand travesties over paper cuts. The dialogue goes something like this:
Wistful Me: "He has this, this, and this in common with me."
Rational (but slightly negative) Me: "But he doesn't do this."
Wistful Me: "Yes, but he does do this, this and THIS."
Rational (but slightly negative) Me: "True. But what about this, that, and this?"
Wistful Me: "Why do you have to counter everything I say?"
Rational (but slightly negative) Me: "Why do you have to be so chipper about everything?"
Wistful Me: "Why do you have to answer every question with a question?"
Rational (but slightly negative) Me: "This conversation is going nowhere."
*Balanced Me enters the room*
Balanced Me: "Hey guys, what is going on?"
Wistful Me: "Rational Me is being a butt-head."
Rational (but slightly negative) Me: "Your Momma."
Balanced Me: "Wow."
On and on it goes.
Eventually, I start spinning mental circles so fast that red clay dust spews from my tires. A great big red cloud forms around and I can't see anything. I slow down, wait for the dust to settle and realize I've gotten nowhere. I back up and open a dialogue with God. That dialogue usually consists of me whining and God telling me to calm down and be patient.
I get frustrated with these moments.
Yet I don't want to diminish the progress that I have made. It's important to pat myself on the back and say, "Job well done, Kid," because positive reinforcement, even if self-propelled, is fuel for progress. I think of it in terms of small snippets of progress, and that helps fuel me on to the next phase of healing.
Eventually I will trust myself, and men, to date with an open mind. Progress.
Eventually I will find someone that I connect with and can commit to. Progress.
Eventually I will commit to that person and find our balance and what it looks like will be beautiful to me, not frightening and something to run from. Progress.
Eventually I will acknowledge that I'm not there yet and that is okay. Progress.
-Written September 2010.4 Comments