I’ve thought a bit on this post, essentially, whether or not to share this information with all of you. You see, this is probably the most embarrassing and private struggle for me that I have yet to find success….personal, intimate relationships. I have had huge success in my professional life, but personally, it has always been a challenge to find the relationship that I feel I deserve and want. Fast forward to the age of Tinder, Match.com, etc, etc, and how do I, a giver, a person that truly believes that all people are good at heart, connect in an online world? This curve ball has made the art of establishing a long term relationship even more tenuous and difficult and I, once again find myself back out in the online dating world. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I so love a challenge. The challenge of meeting people that do not even remotely look like their online picture, divulge way too much information in an effort to be upfront and honest and my favorite, being stood up. What’s the definition of insanity? Nailed it.
I recognize that my dad’s passing has effected my ability to let people in. The fear of abandonment is REAL. Hours of therapy, self care and work have carved away tiny openings allowing for that armor to be softened, but it is still there. However, in the tradition of being a single girl, I have to find fault with some other people along the way for my social status (insert sarcastic wit here).
My dad was extremely protective and strict. Brutal combination for a first child and a girl. I was given a great example of a good man growing up. He was hardworking, loved my mother unconditionally and was a really great father. I wasn’t allowed to even date until I was 15 and even then it was with so many rules and the fear of sweet baby Jesus that I couldn’t really even enjoy myself on a date. As all daughters of strict fathers do, I had a talent for being attracted to not so great guys. While it is no surprise that the majority of times I would end up with a broken heart, my dad was the one there to pick up the pieces, alleviate the humiliation and provide a soft place for me. Needless to say, I have quite the high standard. Strike one.
Growing up, I was very active and involved in sports from a young age. My dad had a philosophy of ensuring that all of his children were challenged in this arena because we were talented athletes. So in 6th grade, instead of playing on a girls basketball team, I played on a boys basketball team. There weren’t really enough girls playing basketball to have a girls league in my hometown at that time, but I wanted to play and this was the option. I recognized at an early age that if I was going to have friends, my role would be to make everyone feel comfortable, girls and boys. Girls couldn’t see me as a threat and boys needed to see me as one of the guys. So while I worked hard, I worked harder to appease everyone. Have confidence, but not be cocky. Be cute, but not hot. Be smart, but not intelligent and so on and so on. I developed strong bonds with the guys I grew up with because it was just easier to be more of myself around them than the girls. These guys, my bromates, I never dated, never kissed (well most of them) and never thought they wanted anything more than friendship. To say that I am utterly clueless when it comes to someone hitting on me is an understatement because my interactions with men have been formed by my friendships with these dudes. Strike two…sort of. I am so blessed to have these men in life and they really have been the only men I can be myself with.
When I was finally able to date I still wasn’t quite sure how to go about “dating”. I knew a guy needed to ask me out and I was forbidden to call boys. On a high school basketball trip with the boys team, I remember a very popular boy coming to my seat and starting up a conversation with me…out of nowhere. I had no idea he even knew I existed. It was comfortable, easy conversation. He made me laugh and of course, was super cute. He called me that night after we got home and boom, first love. It was so easy, so unexpected. Timing is everything and of course it ended. I think about this from time to time and know that this is how things should unfold, organically and without complication. Strike 2…again.
Beginning an interaction online, there always seems to be connection over the internet and text, but until you meet someone face to face, you never know if that chemistry will actually exist. As someone that has worked very hard to connect with myself, I now find this challenge to find the connection I am seeking with someone else. There is an added step to ensuring the connection is there. Social media has changed the way we interact with others and technology has changed the way we work and communicate. We receive so much stimulus on a daily basis that the need to disconnect becomes greater and greater. I remember visiting New York and couldn’t accept that in a huge city no one was willing to smile at each other, start up conversations or get in each other’s bubble. I made it my mission to ensure that I connected with someone daily, but was made aware that travel time in the city (i.e. subway, walking, etc) was downtime before arriving home and much needed in order to connect with their loved ones. Strike three.
My usual posts provide some sort of direction, but this will not be one of the posts. At this time, I am left to one conclusion. That love, true love, is a miracle. It is a rare occurrence and not everyone will find it in the form of relationship. While it is true, lasting, respectful, mutual love and connection that I seek, I might have to come to terms that after 42 years, it is one thing that I may not find because of the miracle that it is. That maybe loving myself is the most important thing I will ever do and that I have been extremely blessed with true friendships, positive role models and finally the ability to be all of myself. No blending in, no filters, no apologies and finally connected.