"The problem here is a totalitarian uniformity, a cult-like mentality such that even allies are enemies if they fail to follow the Exact Party Line. " - Phyllis Chesler

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Reflections

So I am reading Robert's post a few days back about how he is reflecting on his life with his ex's and it got me thinking about many things. I find it wildly fascinating that a man of his age who calls himself a crusty redneck could be so introspective, deep and profound. Compared to Robert, I am a city slicker, and yet I completely relate to his inner thoughts and find myself inspired by what he has to say. And his words give me hope. Because I was begining to believe that men were not capable of understanding the things he does and behaving honorably as he writes about how his father taught him about thinking of how the other person would feel if he crossed the line.

Another blogger's stories, Punchy over at Lucchese to Louis Vuitton has also inspired me and given me hope for my own dating life. She writes the following about her husband:

"He is the man who saved me from myself so many years ago. The same man who told me I needed to be put on a pedestal because I deserved it and no one had ever said that to me before. I did pretty well for a girl who grew up in a cement house with a tin roof. I made my own way. I was a single mom working my ass off taking care of two little kids and trying to be “tough”. In those days I trusted no one and was the most suspicious, scared, take the bull by the horns and do what I had to do kind of girl. He took me away from all that and allowed me to trust and allowed me to drop my guard. God smiled on me one day and sent me my price charming in golf attire. He is not perfect and he is not a cowboy, he is my husband, the man who defends me to the end and takes pride in taking care of our family. We may not have it all together, but together we have it ALL."

I have also had a few personal conversations recently with friends who have pointed out some very important things to me and to which I have also had the opportunity to pass on to another friend recently regarding the appreciation for myself and believing that I am deserving of the things I want and need in a man. The two people I write about above show me that what I want does exist and that I don't need to settle for less.

It's funny how 100 people can tell you wonderful things about yourself and truly mean them and then one craphead guy comes along, that is beautiful on the outside, and seemingly charming, and covertly tells you things to the contrary and you can be totally sucked in and forget that you have 100 people who love and adore you and think the world of you and just "get you" and you start to doubt yourself.

I know I have been in far too many of these situations, to the point where I believe this has become to seem normal and so I just continue with it. I also know that one very good friend of mine is living this same situation too. Speaking with her has been such a help for me, as we are walking this lesson and journey of new understandings together, and keeping each other on the right path.

I am going to open up here, be raw and vulnerable and share this memory from an email I recently deleted (finally) from DTM where he said to me, " I LOVED our sex life, it was the rest I didn't care for." There was so much that transpired between he and I that I couldn't confront him on everything. But if I had the chance again, as this particular issue is at the forefront of my thoughts today in regards to my recent dating life, I would have said to him, "How could you not like what you did not even participate in! We had no real conversations. We never did anything together nor shared experiences. You offered me nothing yet shot me down and told me who I was, which was really who you wanted to make me out to be, all in your tiny little head of yours without me ever being present or a party to the conversations. Just what is this "rest"you speak about that you didn't like?"

I share this with you because I am realizing that his little digs that he would get in, to put me down and keep me down, and make me feel I was less than...well, I gave them "their rightful place". I bought into them.

Here I am, this amazing (if I do say so myself) woman, who is open, caring, empathetic, spiritual, loving, kind, a good listener, who has the busiest of friends, many of whom work two jobs and raise kids or their grandchildren, who yet still make the time each day to at least email me to see how I am doing or to tell me how they are doing, when they only have a few spare moments each day, they do this for me, because they love me and want to let me know they love me, is spending time with a man who thinks of me in this terrible way and I am giving thought to the crummy things he thinks and says to me (when he did say a few words here and there) rather than realizing that I am one of the luckiest people because I am so loved by my friends and they think the world of me, I am buying into his shit!

And this is not the first time I have done this.

Even with Mad Scientist, I realized this pattern was happening as I brushed off a lot of the rude behaviors and mean-spirited remarks because I thought he was just a bit insecure and possibly a nice guy. He was not!

There are two moments that stick out glaringly to me, that are not the overtly pathetic displays of bad behavior I wrote about, but the more subtle. I will share them with you.

As he so invited himself over to my home for the third and last date, he scanned my room. I have had many friends over my apartment. They come in and say, WOW how nice! I love your curtains, what a pretty color. DTM said, "Oh you like purple!" Mad Scientist looked at my photos and then saw the collage of my grandmother and said, "Why do you have these papers up on the wall?" These are not the things friends say to you. These are not the things you say when you like a person. These are snarky, nasty digs. They are nasty-lite! And these are the very comments I have experienced from many men, that I just take as normal, because I experience them so often that I just go with it.

No friend of mine would ever speak to me that way. Friends take part in your joy and share with you what they like that you also like.

The papers in the collage with my grandmothers photo ,which happen to be a photo of her at 18 (black and white of course) but of a red velvet dress my grandfather bought her when corting simply because she mentined how pretty it was when they saw it in the window (during the depression), are letters from her superiors at the school she worked at her entire adult life, commending her on her job and how much her colleagues LOVED her and her pleasant and always helpful attitude. They meant something to her. And she kept them her entire life until she passed away a couple of years ago.

Need I really have to explain this to someone?

The other experience that night was in sharing my Flip video camera purchase with Mad Scientist. I am having so much fun with this little video camera in so many ways. This shmuck asked me, "Why did you decide to buy THAT? It seems like a strange choice over a regular digital camera that could take video as well."

Reflecting upon that moment I realize this is not a nice or appropriate thing to say to someone. When I shared that same camera with my friends on New Year's Eve, my friend's fiance said to me, "WOW. That's really neat! Can I see it? How much is it? This is fun. I want one."

And that's how a good conversation should go with a friend or a date. These little things shouldn't be a debate. They just shouldn't. And yet, to me, in my experience have just become so normal I never thought about it.

UNTIL, a girlfriend of mine pointed it out to me the other day. And it started my reflection.

7 comments:

Barbara said...

Everything you say here rings true...I am so glad you (we) are learning more each day via friends and experiences.

It is human nature to hear the one bad thing vs. the 100 good things, but if we recognize it we can change it. I am working on that too.

Thanks for sharing all of this, Lauren!!

Julie said...

I just started dropping by your blog, but from what I can tell, you are a really great person! Don't take any crap from anyone. The older we get, the more we learn....It is hard to not focus on the one bad comment, but it is something we need to do sometimes-especially when you get 100 good ones! Realizing the pattern is the first step in stopping it, too. It sounds like you are on the right track!

Lauren said...

Julie, thanks for the encouragement. Hope to see you back again soon!

Robert said...

Listen to Julie.. or I'll start nagging at you and we wouldn't want that would we....:))))

just let it happen...forget the crap in the past learn and move on...

I bestow upon you the highest redneck compliment..youse a "keeper baby"..:))

Lauren said...

Robert and Julie, I think I need to hire the two of you to be my matchmakers! First one to find that great guy who digs me the way I am (that I of course dig back) grabs the cash!

Perplexio said...

There's a certain universality of human experience-- regardless of our walk of life, upbringing, etc. that we all go through... And while the circumstances of our human experience are often unique to us-- there's a common thread in how we feel going through many of those experiences-- first love, heartbreak, unrequited love, etc. etc. What delineates us from one another as people are how we react to those similar feelings, those common threads.

After we broke up, the girl I dated prior to my wife told me, "You set the bar really high for the next guy, and for that I'll always be grateful." That really meant a lot to me, and considering that at the time she told me I was still kind of reeling from things not working out with her. It did help me get back on my feet and move on.... And lo an' behold the next person I dated I ended up marrying (and incidentally the next person that ex dated she ended up marrying too).

Robert said...

I heard the word "Cash".....:))))