Women Don’t Want A Fairytale – But We Do Know Our Worth

I am so tired of women being told that we are unreasonable for wanting a good relationship.  Standards have slipped so far that we grasp gratefully at the smallest of courtesies from a partner, and yet we are ridiculed as presumptuous when we ask for what we need.  I am done.  I am done settling for less than what I give. It is not unrealistic to want someone who meets me halfway.

I’ve never asked for much – I’m not at all materialistic.  I don’t care about money or possessions.  I want to know what’s in a person’s heart.  That’s what really counts.  Of course I have my imperfections, and I’m well aware of them.  I’m a human – why are women so often expected to be more than that?  Having imperfections does not disqualify us from deserving a good relationship.  We fight against inequality at every turn and then we are told to accept whatever it is a partner is willing to give us, if they feel like it, when they feel like it.

Relationships are never perfect, and they require much hard work, dedication, and trust.  That’s to be expected.  What I will no longer accept is the idea that I am too demanding for wanting an equal, loving, honest partnership.  If participating in the effort of a relationship is too much for someone, they should not be so selfish as to bring another person into their life romantically.  It seems that many want to have their cake and eat it too.

If we expect anything to change, we have to stand up for ourselves and stop accepting crumbs.  We are only going to get what we demand – we have put up with too much for too long, and now subpar treatment is all anyone is willing to give.  I’m done extending the benefit of the doubt and trying to be the “cool girl”.  That’s a fantasy driven by those who don’t want to put real effort into a relationship, something they can fall back on when they need to blame you for their behavior.  If we needy bitches were only more cool, more chill!  Oh yes, if only.  How nice that would be for all the crappy people in the world who are selfish, inconsiderate, and non-committal.  

If I sound like I’m angry, I am.  We should all be fed up at the societal expectations of us that have dragged on for ages, shifting only in form but not in their function of keeping females down.  Creating a wave of change will not be easy.  Men are accustomed to the patriarchy, and the force of women beginning to assert their equality does not sit well with them.  Many literally do not know how to react, but unfortunately it is often with dismissive and defensive behavior.  

We must remember that this is not our problem.  We need to stop apologizing all the time for our apparent audacity in simply asking to exist on this planet and own our needs, wants and rights.  We are not difficult.  We are not high-maintenance.  We are not too much.  Many of us are conditioned by our upbringing, our surroundings, and the people in our lives to believe that we are.  It takes effort to change this mindset, but we must begin now.  There is no time to waste.  

I do not want a fairytale.  What I do want is a partner who loves, respects, appreciates, and understands me.  I only desire an equal return of the effort I give to those I love.  In my opinion, that’s what most women want – simply someone who is good to us and meets us halfway.  It’s not too much to ask.  Stop trying to gaslight us into believing that it is.  We are sick and tired of the bullshit.  

(Originally published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

Every Time I Have A Chance At Happiness, Life Drags Me Down

I’m so tired of feeling angry.

It’s not that I want to be this way.  I’m in a constant state of development geared towards letting go of my helpless rage.  I am infinitely aware that it solves nothing … but is it too much to ask life to cut me some slack for once?  It’s as if I’m constantly being tested and quite honestly, I find it incredibly exhausting.

I don’t know what I’ve done so wrong.  I’m continuously attempting to be kind and loving and mindful.  Most of the time, I succeed fairly well, even in my own harshly particular opinion.  Over the past several years I’ve completed so much work on myself.  My life is full of therapy, yoga, journaling, and meditative time spent outdoors.  It seems like no matter what I do, how deeply I search my soul, it’s never quite enough.

So, yes, I’m angry.  I’m angry that I finally have a chance at a healthy, normal love and life just tries to fuck our relationship at every turn.  I get the concept that we need to be able to work through the tough times, but how do we get ahead if all of the difficulties are primarily out of our control?  It makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs, beat on something until I’m so tired I collapse.  I know that life is not fair, but I do not understand why, after all these years of heartbreak and sadness, I am not finally allowed something good.

The weight in my chest has returned and this time I fear it’s to stay.

If I lose this one, the man who makes me laugh more than I ever thought possible, the best adventure partner I’ve ever had, the person I look at after all this time and still think is the most handsome guy I know – I don’t think I want to try anymore.

I mean it this time.  I’m sick of having my every fault thrown back in my face in glaring detail simply by virtue of trying to love again.  Romantic interactions only serve to remind me why I keep my distance.  It’s too difficult, and then, when I finally overcome my issues and feel I’m improving, the world responds by taking away what I’ve earned. 

I may not feel love when I’m alone, but at least I don’t cry.

The most difficult reality, the one hardest to accept, is that I can only control my side of the relationship.  I will understand if he wants to walk away, if the problems and hurdles that life keeps using to thwart our happiness are too much for him to handle.  I don’t blame him.  I blame … everything else.  I hate that around every corner lurks another unexpected barrier to our success.  

All my life, I’ve wanted love like this so badly, and now it might disappear despite all the progress I’ve made.  Everything I’ve done to improve my life and myself over these past several heartrending years feels for naught. 

I’m doing my best to keep myself happy and positive, but I could use a break here.  I don’t think I’m asking for much.  All I’ve ever wanted is to find inner peace, a committed equal partner, and the chance to do what I love.  I have no illusions that those are easy goals to achieve, but I keep putting in the work only to get thrown back on my ass over and over again.   It’s difficult to bother trying at this point.  

At least when I’m angry, I feel something.  More often lately, I’m simply weary.  Weariness is dangerous because it contains no energy, no forward motion … no hope.  I don’t want to lose the best love I’ve ever had for no damn good reason.  I’m tired of hurting. 

(Originally published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

You Are Capable Of Getting Over The Baggage In Your Past

You aren’t broken just because you’ve been through heartbreak.

The damage that you’ve sustained has nothing to do with who you are at your core. It has changed you, yes, and it’s shaped the way you approach love now. Sometimes you have to remember that not everyone will hurt you. It’s not always easy to get past the pain you experienced, but you try. All anyone can do is try, and keep trying, in the hopes that one day you finally let go of your fears. 

What matters most is your awareness of what’s happened in your history and your determination not to let it dictate the way your future turns out. You can stop yourself from allowing your insecurities and past experiences to ruin what you have in your life now. It’s impossible to discover if you’ve found something wonderful unless you let yourself go there. 

It’s not simple. You will make mistakes, and you will second guess yourself, and you will encounter frustration. Unfortunately, you may even lose someone great because you haven’t quite gotten over your baggage yet. It sucks, but it’s the only way that you learn what you don’t want to do again. 

Life isn’t always kind. Try to remember that everyone else has a past as well, and the right person will not judge you for yours.

Someday someone will come along who understands what you’ve been through and shows you patience. No matter what pitfalls, or struggles, or missteps, somehow they’ll stay. They will keep showing up day in and day out when no one else ever has. You’ll hardly believe that it’s possible. Every time, you assume they’ll run away, but they don’t. They make the decision to continue choosing you even when you are difficult and confusing. That person will show up for you until you finally believe that you’re worthy.  

Then you will finally understand what love is supposed to mean. 

Keep doing the work. The love will follow. 

(Originally published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

It’s Okay If The Love Of Your Life Isn’t Another Person

Once upon a time, you absorbed the notion that you have a single soulmate out there in the world, waiting for you.  You’re not sure where the idea originated – maybe from a book or a movie or maybe someone told you it was so.  You began to believe that you needed to find this person or your love life would never reach its potential.  If they did not materialize, you could not consider yourself whole.

Now as you move along your journey, reality sets in.  Maybe there’s not one single soulmate for you – and that’s okay.  In a way, it opens up your horizons to varied opportunities.  You’ve learned that love isn’t always what you think it’ll be.  It doesn’t have to manifest in a certain way.  Even if it isn’t a lasting romance, you always learn and grow from the experience.  Sure, you’re a bit disillusioned because your ideals were shattered – but that’s part of growing up.

With every ending, you begin looking inward.  You take time away from love, realizing you need to figure out who you are when you aren’t searching for someone else to distract you.  You’re not sure anymore if you have one true love, or many, or none at all.  Instead of constantly reaching for a person who will satisfy you, you start to learn about yourself and what you truly want from life.

In time, you actually enjoy being on your own.  You realize that discomfort means you’re evolving and that you don’t need a partner in order to experience your life to the fullest.  You appreciate every little idiosyncrasy that makes you a unique individual.  The best day you’ll ever have is the day that you look in the mirror and understand that the true love of your life is right there, smiling back at you.

It was you all along.  You were always enough.  The world tricked you into believing otherwise.

You become whole entirely within yourself.  For the first time, you’re truly happy, because you understand that love from another source isn’t meant to save you.  It’s a complement to the self-love you now embody proudly.  You’re in a place where you need no one else – and that is when you are finally ready to love someone in a healthy way. 

If you find a partner, wonderful.  If you don’t, you’ll be perfectly fine.  That’s the best position you could possibly experience both mentally and emotionally.  Not meeting someone will not disappoint you so badly and losing someone will no longer break you.  You worked through your harmful patterns and discovered a world of acceptance and joy. 

You only get this one life.  There’s no point in spending it dissatisfied with who you are and what you have.  Now that you realize the preciousness of your short time on this earth, you are no longer willing to waste it yearning over romance, regrets, and lost love.  Instead you choose, every single day, to appreciate the person you are and the life you possess, right here and now.

You’re the own damn love of your life.   And that’s a beautiful thing.  

(Originally published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

8 Questions To Ask Yourself When You’re Facing A Giant Life Change

If you’re anything like most people, the idea of making a substantial life decision gives you a great deal of anxiety. You’re justified in feeling that way – after all, it could change the entire course of your destiny. When it all seems like too much to handle, take the time to ask yourself a few crucial questions:

What do you need to do to prepare?

It’s all well and good to enjoy spontaneity, but you have to be realistic when you’re making drastic moves. Take the time to think through what you need to do in order to ease the transition. It’s not worth it to go in unprepared and risk a disappointing outcome.

What are the pros and cons?

Set aside space and write out a list for both. Not only will this help you visualize whether it’s the correct road for you to travel, it may bring up thoughts and issues you hadn’t yet considered. This is a great exercise especially if you are on the fence about how you want to proceed with the change in question.

How will it affect your everyday quality of life?

Sometimes a shift feels exciting just because it’s something new and different. Step back, look at every facet objectively, and proceed rationally. Make sure that you know what you’re getting into before you’re already there and it’s too late.

What is the long term goal or effect?

You can get so wrapped up in facilitating a life transition that you lose sight of the big picture. It’s important to keep the overall results in mind when you’re going through a major change. Ensure that you’re sticking to the path you envisioned in the first place.

What is your gut telling you?

It’s easy to get bogged down in a mix of feelings, thoughts and worries – especially when something massive looms on the horizon. Try to separate what’s in your head and your heart from what your instincts are telling you. If you’re in tune with them, you’ll find they rarely lead you astray.

How can you center and ground yourself through the transition?

Don’t let the stress and chaos of a big life change knock you on your ass. Take time to listen to yourself and turn inward so that you can proceed with conviction, resolve and most of all, clarity. Do not lose yourself in the whirlwind of what’s happening around you.

What do you need to make it work?

Instead of thinking about what’s best for everyone else, take some time to make sure your own bases are covered. If you acknowledge your own needs, you can move forward with a clear idea of what has to happen in order to meet them. This will keep you from freaking out about inconsequential issues.

Do you feel fear or excitement?

Sometimes excitement can feel a bit trepidatious, but that’s not the same as dreading the outcome of a situation. Even when a life change gets overwhelming, you shouldn’t be truly afraid of what could happen. Acceptance and planning lead to positive anticipation as opposed to stress.

 

Coping With The Realities Behind The Millennial Fairytale

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was told she could have everything. She believed what she heard. The world was there within her reach, waiting for the moment she stretched out her small, optimistic hands.

There were dreams and schemes and fairytales, all very well in concept. Praised constantly but given no practical tools, she floundered in unfamiliar waters. Ironically, she’d done much the same when actually learning to swim, forever traumatized when thrown in and expected to fend for herself.

She was a product of an era that encouraged children to dream big and shoot high, but which gave them no clear path that enabled success. Some got lucky and found a way despite the lack of foundational stability. Most did not, and many stumbled into adulthood with jaded hearts and a sense of desperation at inheriting a world not particularly kind to dreamers.

Whenever she had the courage to express her doubts and fears, she was told she’d figure it out. They all seemed so sure of it, she supposed that she must behave in kind. The path she chose had only a marginal chance of success but she had no idea what else to do. No one sat down with her and helped her determine other possibilities. She was out there on her own, a tiny boat tossed amongst the waves of an uncertain economy, with a brain that was capable of much but could not settle on any one thing. It was both her greatest asset and most tragic undoing.

It didn’t much matter what her passion was because no one taught her how to overcome her fears. Every time she conquered one, a thousand more arose in their wake. It terrified her. She was always sensitive as a child but circumstances forced her to squash her emotion, to push it down, to forgo curiosity in favor of chasing perfection.

A parent must never underestimate the effect that their every word and action has on their impressionable offspring. Perhaps if she wasn’t paraded around by her mother when she was young, bragged about for this and that, then she wouldn’t have felt the need to constantly achieve more and more in order to matter at all.

When she reached adulthood, she was still stubbornly chasing the same “passion” despite having lost her ambition and drive long before. There seemed no alternative. How could she devote so many years to one goal only to forsake it? She did not know how to do anything but pursue excellence, and to let go of something that clearly no longer served her still meant failing. If she did that, she lost all sense of self.

No one ever told her that there’s no shame in failure – in fact, it’s necessary in order to learn. Most consider it crucial to their eventual success.

But that little girl – no, she was given no whisper of the notion that mistakes were normal, even welcome. She was promised that she could climb to the highest heights, but when she readied herself for the journey, there was not a path to be found. Faced with a shadowy chasm full of the unknown, she faltered. This wasn’t part of the story. No one explained the guidelines. All she knew how to do was follow the rules as closely as humanly possible. That was supposed to guarantee her success.

It was all a massively horrible lie, she soon discovered. There was no magical path and the rules no longer got anyone anywhere. A special kind of creativity was required to keep afloat in the world she entered.

She began slowly, confusedly carving out a route for herself, but without any idea of who she really was or what she wanted. There were countless missteps, dead ends, and return journeys to familiar ground. She cried into her pillow frequently, and on the nights that she felt particularly alone, life forced her to get uncomfortable and dive into intense self-study. It became the only way she understood how to grow and change, little by little, in the most necessary of ways.

Today, she is still resentful of the world left to her and her peers by the generation prior, the parents who promised the moon and then left them crumbs. She’s well aware that her path will never be a simple one, but she’s learned to appreciate the joys along the way. The fleeting instability of life is not lost on her. It may not always be easy, but better appreciate it while it lasts.

She’s far from alone, and this gives her a morbid sense of comfort. Everyone she knows was spoon fed this Millennial fairytale and most face the same predicament of confusion and groundlessness. For what it’s worth, they will muddle through together, and eventually perhaps discover their own iteration of a happy ending.

(Originally published on ThoughtCatalog.com)

The Procrastination Method

How do you manage?

He asks.

How do you keep going

When it feels like your soul is breaking into bits

You can’t breathe

You can’t move

All you want is for existence to cease

When you forget that sometimes it’s all okay

Good, even

How do you survive?

Weather the storm, so to speak.

He smiles wryly, sadly.

I know he’s downplaying his desperate need to understand what I do.

I’m not sure I can explain

But I try my best.

Well, I sit there

With the pills

With the booze

With the pain

And I talk to myself

Like a nutso.

It’s all I know to do.

I say,

Not tonight.

Just go to sleep.

See how you feel tomorrow.

See how you feel in the morning.

And if you still feel like shit

You can do it then.

What’s the rush?

I pause, shrug.

That’s really it.

And so far, I’ve never felt as bad in the morning.

So far, he repeats. 

Yup. So far.

What if that changes? What if one day it doesn’t work?

A bead of sweat formulates just below his hairline.

I stare at it, fixated.

Shrugging again.

Hasn’t happened yet.

That’s all I’ve got.

I can tell he’s frustrated, that he thinks I’m lying, holding back…

He can think what he likes.

It’s not my responsibility to convince him of how I survive.

It is my responsibility to keep doing it.

Until I don’t.