Respect Yourself

I’m tired of women who get into a relationship, lose all of themselves in the man, the relationship ends in a matter of weeks, they come apart at the seams, and it’s “Oh, I’ll never love again.”
Get serious.
And to moan and piss and whine like this publicly, on social media sites?
Get serious.
I’m not lying and saying I’ve never done that.
I have, and I’m not proud of it, but it’s been a few years since. I don’t respect myself for having been that way, but at least I know it was because birth control fucked up my estrogen. Even then I knew it was shameful, the way I was coming apart over this guy I knew didn’t really deserve me or my heartache, not now, not after all I’d come to learn about him.
It’s a few years later and I know now that, this dude I came apart for, I wouldn’t even date today. I’d be friends. I probably wouldn’t get turned on by him, and I sure as hell wouldn’t be having the delusions of marriage I entertained then, but maybe it’s because I saw how he became in times that got bad.
All of us are pretty undesirable when our lives go off the deep end. We’re not ourselves. That makes sense, it should be apparent to others.
Times get bad. Hurts happen. Sadness is inevitable. Anger bubbles up.
These are human elements and we’re at home with each of them.
But I draw the line at tolerating victims. I draw the line at anyone who thinks shit keeps landing on them on purpose and that they have nothing they can do about it.
In the last decade, the amount of shit that’s come my way — man, if I thought someone had it in for me and it was happening to me intentionally, I’d just cry. And I’ve kept my head on reasonably straight about this throughout more than one depression.
Just an example: This back injury that debilitated me for a year? Rehabbing it repaired most of my other long-ailing injuries, and taught me that I finally understood how to eat properly to maintain my weight, and gave me insight into really seeing what living a long-term compromised life did to others, and I think the whole horrible year made me a FAR better person.
Almost every negative that has found me — including my mother’s death — has resulted in incredible personal growth and insight.
Am I tired of the endless struggle? Fucking right I am. But am I feeling like a victim? NO.
I’m feeling like someone who’s woken up and realized all the fighting I’ve been doing just to survive has been completely misplaced — those energies can be better spent, my attitudes & goals can be refocused.
If anyone can do it, I can, and don’t you even think I don’t know it.
I know I’ve overcome incredible odds, but the odds I’ve overcome are the kind that HURT the bank account and HURT the bottom line, not help them. To the outside, I’m some underachiever getting by in an expensive town with a job that doesn’t nearly compensate me for my skills and talents, working too little to really get anywhere, with a stubbornness about “selling out” to get by.
TO ME, though, I’m an incredibly resilient person who’s been kicked somewhere new by life almost every 6 months for 10 years, but I still keep improving, I still get better, I develop more empathy not apathy, and I grow from every single thing that hits me.
I don’t need to be a social butterfly or the talk of the town. I don’t need a fancy car or pretty things. Like Atwood says, as a woman, I need a man like a fish needs a bicycle.
What do I need?
I need to respect myself and know I’m doing what a girl’s gotta do. That’s it.
I got that. I’m down widdat. On it like Oprah on a ham, baby.
I still like the directions I’m going in. I wish I could have more — I wish I had a man on this beautifully full plate of mine, someone to sink my teeth into and a relationship to take shelter in on weekends, but space to enjoy during the week. I wish I had the energy and money for friends and good times.
But money and love, they’re out there, and I’m getting to them. They’re usually the icing on your life cake, and patience is needed.
I know, deep down inside, that I’m changing at a clip I can’t believe. The last thing I need is to get into a relationship with someone who’s where they want to be while I’m going a mile a minute. I need some stability and some comfort with where I am before I think I can choose rightly as far as man-things go. The more of this “self” I enjoy discovering, the more I’ll have to offer in a month or two or three, as my newly changing realities take firmer hold.
A month or two? Yeah, I’m not biting at hooks TODAY but I’m looking as of now. Why not? What’s the worse that can happen? I love a little, get left a little, hurt a little? Okay. So be it. I’ll try.
Because I know, who I am has nothing to do with a man. My attitude, my goals, my abilities, my dreams, they’re all me. Would I like to share them? Sure. But no one’s co-opting them or taking over the driver’s seat. Not now, and hopefully never again.
I think, biologically & anthropologically, something in women hardwires us to pairbond for security and protection.
But what happens in 2010 when a girl’s forced, through economic & social realities, to survive on her own? To get her own security taken care of? To protect her how interests?
Then what’s she looking for in a man? What’s she need now?
Does anthropological history and biological predisposition still kick in? Or does a different quality of pairbonding happen? “I’m the queen, I’ll let you rule in my kingdom alongside me. You, your chair is there. Don’t even think about sitting in mine.”
I don’t know.
But I know I look at men differently now than I did four to five years ago.
And I know I’ve proven I’m a survivor of the kinds of things that most people would rather not test themselves through.
So, a girl’s got to wonder.
What am I really looking for, and what’s it going to take to get it delivered? (Grin.) I really don’t know. I really don’t care. ‘Cos I know I’m gonna find out. Don’t know how, but I’m gonna. So are you.
And if, or when, it goes south, since there’s 95% chance of that when every relationship starts, well, I’ll try to hold myself with a little decorum, because I’ll be pretty confident in the knowledge I’ve overcome bigger things than a boy.

5 thoughts on “Respect Yourself

  1. butterfly

    When I was first reading this entry I have to say I found you holding a lot of people’s pain in contempt and then moving on to the cliche “pat on the back” cuz look how much I’ve suffered I’m going to list it and then be all that’s why I am so rad.
    But then I kept reading. And it went from “get over yourself” to inspiring. Hard times do befall us all. It’s the one thing that binds all of us. But, essentially, how we deal with life is what separates us. I feel the same way about self-proclaimed victims who dribble on about how victimized they are, searching for attention while the rest of us are mute and face just as much adversity.
    Thanks for the post, made me feel better about life.

    1. A Scribe Called Steff Post author

      I fixed the word “diversity” to “adversity” for you per your other comment. đŸ™‚
      Everyone has tough times, but it’s your choice to feel like a victim or not. And, yeah, I’ve been through a lot and I know others have, but I’m saying that if I can get through all my shit without ever feeling like I was a victim — definitely feeling sad or frustrated or hopeless or angry, sure, but NOT a victim — then others should be able to, too.
      And I was depressed for 3-5 years of those years — medically, chemically — and yet I never went into victim mode. Maybe here or there for a night, but never longer than that. I always managed to get my head on and see what needed to happen, and just do what I needed to do, y’know?
      It’s the attitude that irks me. People have to choose to be “victims” in their adversity instead of just someone who’s been interrupted/redirected on the road of life, and I just feel it’s a really stupid choice to make.

  2. butterfly

    I completely agree. And thanks for changing the word*
    I think we need more bloggers like you out there because you take your experience and do something positive about it.
    I work at a community newspaper and my only competition is an online source. He’s a self-proclaimed burnt-out journalist who continues to “serve” the community.
    He also reminds people constantly, every time we’re both out covering stories, about his recent cataract surgery and cancer that he survived. He does it to evoke people’s sympathy and business. He uses it to let them know why he’s constantly being scooped by me.
    I’ve gone through some really harrowing experiences myself but I keep them personal because that’s my nature. But every time I see him and all I hear is “god I can’t do this anymore, I’ve been through enough. This job almost killed me”. His negativity drives me nuts.
    The attitude of victimization is stupid. And that’s why this blog made my day. It applies to so much.

  3. vancouver

    i was sent the link to this post by my best friend. at first i felt like butterfly felt; that you were one of those hard-as-nails feminist cynics who look down on women who feel too much, too openly.
    I just broke up with my boyfriend of almost five years. We broke up 8 days ago and right now i’m in that ‘i’ll never love again’ place. in fact, i’m not even there yet. i’m still hoping to get back with him. I think I’m like you right now, discovering myself. My ex seems to know exactly who he is and what he wants. That’s not me. Not yet. I don’t think I can make good relationship choices at this point in my life either.
    I don’t see the break up as a curse, or as God choosing me as His personal punching bag. I see it as an unfair opportunity for me to grow tremendously as an individual, unfair because I’m the one who hurt my boyfriend and that’s why our relationship ended. I don’t know what he’s going to gain out of this, or his family or his friends (who all really liked me btw) who now have to watch him hurting.
    Reading your entry was a little bitter for me right from the first line, because I did lose myself in my boyfriend. The line was blurred between my throne as queen and his seat beside me.
    Then again, i’m nothing like you right now. I wish I were. I’m miserable and pathetic and confused. You, at least, have direction. You are happy with yourself.
    You’re so much like my best friend (at least the facet of you that wrote this entry) it’s no wonder she liked your blog. If beneath your tough-as-nails exterior I saw living, breathing, struggling warmth that gains empathy, and not apathy, from her struggles, then maybe beneath my best friend’s hard shell of self-reliance, she’ll understand why I’m completely crippled over a relationship that eroded my personality and ultimately drowned me.
    Thanks for sharing yourself with us.

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