There is something about compliments and attention that has always made me hesitant.
Lately (not shockingly), I have been settling into the image of my perfect single life. It’s the image of world travel, and photography, and caftans, and essentially perfection. But it’s a band-aid image. It is the image the covers up the wound that says, you don’t get a relationship or a family. It is the brightly colored Dora the Explorer band-aid that keeps out the dirty and the ugly and gives you a chance to heal. And one day, it will heal and it will also probably leave a bit of a scar. That doesn’t make it good, but it also doesn’t make it bad it just makes it life.
Me. I’m skittish. I would say I probably always have been. I grew up in a land where princes and princesses reigned supreme in my imagination and all of my friends “kissed dating goodbye.” The rest of them, hussies. Obviously. Good girls, the golden children, they didn’t date…they went to school and got good grades and when to more school and got a job and their attention wasn’t to be pulled to the right or the left by a man. And so I was, and remain, highly cautious of everything and everyone. I shy away from connections and with that, I probably self-sabotage any chance of relationships. With that realization, the need for the band-aid became more of a necessity than a want. Because it is easier to imagine a jet-setting life of adventure, than a life of endless yearning.
A yearning and a mental picture of the what if and the what could be. It doesn’t need to define my life and all of my choices, but it does exist and it deserves a voice. It is a voice that longs for someone to call my own, for babies, to care for the orphans and those left with no one to love on them. There are silly family portraits and dance classes and hippie-dippy schools.
When push comes to shove and the curtain is drawn back, the hope and the desire still exist. The belief that someone can break through the stubborn and sharp edges to see that I might be a wee bit of a challenge, but I really am just full of a lot of feelings.
Maybe the actually realization, is believing that about myself.
The moment hits when the thought in my head isn’t a never-ending blame game, but it’s the realization that is may not be about what others don’t see and more that what I choose not to acknowledge on a regular basis. The unending loop of “not being enough” never really goes away. Instead, it is about staying so busy that I really don’t have time to think about what is lacking. It isn’t shocking to believe that I doubt the future existence of relationship, because I also doubt the chance of even a coffee date. I friend-zone myself to keep the world on one side of the glass, while I remain safe on the other side. Compliments often make me think, at some point the rug will be pulled out from under my feet because this is just the build up for a good joke. I doubt the possibility in my mind because I know if I was the one choosing, I wouldn’t pick me. There are better choices; ones who are fun, pretty, active, charming, not abrasive, and less panicked about life. Whether it is true or not, it becomes part of the narrative to cover the wound and plan for what feels like reality.
Though the truth of the matter is, the want and the yearning won’t go away. We are beings created to want and long for more. The reality won’t be dramatically altered, but it makes us pursue higher callings and when taken off a pedestal and placed into the guiding hands of a God who loves, it can lead to a more fulfilling and wholehearted life.
But sometimes, it also just makes you want to weep a little bit.