I'm Just A Girl Who Can't Say No.
I feel so sad for 20’s me, that she thought so little of herself, I wish I could give her some 47 year old, feisty wifie vibes to play with, she’d have been unstoppable and probably would have had some pretty amazing sex!
A few weeks ago I realised that I’ve never really known how to say “no I don’t want that”. I’ve just gone with the flow or taken what I could get rather than think about whether I wanted it or not. In particular with dating. Dating? Not even that glamorous, 'pulling' would be closer to the mark. In my 20’s if I’d got to the stage of kissing someone you could bet your bottom dollar I’d be sleeping with them later that night, even if I wasn’t that into it. I would shag men to get rid of them rather than tell them to go, because past experience had taught me that if I slept with them, they would leave and I wouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of what they might do if I changed my mind, but also my self esteem was not great (er try diabolical). I'd hold on to my people pleasing past and find it almost impossible to say “no, this is not for me, it’s been lovely but nah”. I feel so sad for 20’s me, that she thought so little of herself, I wish I could give her some 47 year old, feisty wifie vibes to play with, she’d have been unstoppable and probably would have had some pretty amazing sex!
Why am I talking about my sex life and sharing these insights about myself? Well, as you'll know from my previous posts I've been working to better my health and level up my work life, those boxes are being sorted and all that's left to deal with is a giant, damp stained, cobweb'd, crumbling, dusty box shoved right at the back of the eves. My love life. This is a subject I've been happy to let languish in my recesses while I raised my daughter and didn't have to think about or deal with the fundamental blockages I have around this issue. Right now, thinking about going on dates gives me a full body cringe and the feeling of being dragged, against my will towards a cliff edge and it's probably time I did something about it. A few things have sparked the need to do it now rather than carry on ignoring it.
My daughter is 16, out all the time, smooching, drinking, hanging with pals, working and at school. The flat feels extra empty when she's not here even though I'm pretty happy in my own company. I tend to work when she's out and it occurs to me, there must be more enjoyable alternatives.
There are two exercises in Elle Luna's book, The Crossroads of Should and Must, one to list activities that give you chills, and the other to think about "sights, smells, sounds or sensations that give you butterflies". These questions made me think beyond work goals and get to the core of what I'm missing. The first things listed to give me chills were 'going on a date' and 'doing something bold'. First in the butterfly section came 'being caressed' and 'wind on my face'. My initial reaction was to deny any feelings of wanting closeness and intimacy as this would mean admitting to vulnerability and shake my 'too cool for school' exterior. During these tasks the realisation that it was reasonable to expect love and affection hit me like cold water to the face.
There's only so much love I can pour into my dogs.
My self worth has multiplied exponentially and I now feel loveable - more than loveable, someone would be lucky to have me!
I have boundaries in place, I'm fully ready to advocate for myself and I'm excited to take the improved me for a spin.
I'd really like some sex, affection and tenderness. Really.
Since all these epiphanies and realisations 4 weeks ago, I have been asked out on a date. I passed over my number then secretly hoped he wouldn't phone. He hasn’t. Phew. But also, what’s wrong with him? As you can see I'm still a work in progress and I'm trying to be more Alexis Rose* and embrace the “yes! I love that journey for me” vibes.
There's still a fair bit of work to do when it comes being open to finding love with a living entity that isn't my dog (but he's so bloody handsome). Here's what I have to remember...
I am loveable.
Not all men are selfish, patronising, mansplaining, misogynists.
The specifics of what I want a good relationship to feel like.
I do actually want a long term relationship.
I'm not the figure head for strong, single, we can do it all and don't need men, women's club.
I'm not the shining light for women in relationships who wish they weren't ("oh no, you don't want to be in relationship, it's annoying", said the woman in the relationship).
If you don't want to do it, don't do it (internet dating, speed dating, cooking night classes, sex)
David and Patrick*
*Schitts Creek references