Today, while I should have been grading stuff, I kept reliving the last three years of my life here in the Candy Jar.
And I realize, that as 2014 is quickly coming to an end, a lot has changed in the last year.
I’m this odd balance of much stronger, yet much more fragile.
I have somehow beat the odds and am living an independent life. I live in this beautiful little house that probably needs one more bedroom, but has been my first HOME in I don’t know how long. I finally have this safe haven. I finally have this place where I can walk in the door and breathe away the day and the outside and the people. It needs new carpet and there is always a lego on the floor or a doll wedged into some odd corner. But, it is beautiful and safe and my first real place of grounding as a single woman.
I have work. Granted, I fall in and out of love with my job every time the anxiety sneaks in at the end of the semester and the unknown about work next semester comes in. Anxiety. Fear. Frustration. This year was a lot of anxiety. Teaching is officially my ONLY stream of income. This time last year I had a lot of different gigs in the mix. Nothing I am overwhelmingly proud of, but, again…nothing that I wouldn’t do again if push came to shove. I don’t have my dream faculty job and I barely write (so, we can kiss that whole book deal off the table), but, I support myself and three kids. I get a little bit of support from their dad, which I am overwhelmingly grateful for, but, I finally feel like, “I’ve got this.”
And I do.
I am living a pretty damn normal life.
And by normal, I don’t mean mediocre.
By normal I mean just that.
We have a schedule, friends, meals, chaos, fights, hugs, love, tears, stories, struggle and celebration. We have unity. We have goals. We are committed.
We are a family.
And in some ways, I feel quite settled in this. I’m finally learning how to just live a normal life.
I’m not living this estranged double life that kept me away from my family and kept me away from friends. Hiding.
Today, as I talked to my bestie about Newt, I came to the realization that he is probably the first NORMAL person I have dated since I’ve been divorced.
He had a normal job in sales.
He lived in a normal house in a very normal neighborhood.
He was in great shape, but, he was just normal.
He was good looking…but normal good looking.
I think that he was/is attempting to create this life that people see as extraordinary – which is fine – but, I think that I liked him and the potential of him for his normalness.
I definitely was not at a place where I wanted us to be a public “Us” – but, he was the first person I didn’t intentionally HIDE from my friends and my family.
He wasn’t a secret.
I didn’t have to be a secret.
He always told me, “I want to take you out and show you off” — and it made me super uncomfortable. For a long time, my job was to be the one you took out to show off.
I didn’t want to be his arm candy because that would make him not so normal.
Newt knew me as a suburban mom who worked at a college and as he said, “works just too damn much” for what I’m getting out of it. He knew my ex-husband. He didn’t know any of the pieces that connected the dots.
So, the real task ahead is trying to figure out what I really want if I choose to go down this dating route again.
I’ve never done that. The whole dating thing has been passive. I’ve never actively sought out anyone. People come to me. And I guess, because I apparently have this self-deprecating way of looking at myself, I must think, “well…why not. This might be it.”
I don’t think that I have really had any standards about what type of partner works for me. Today my bestie told me, “You’re not a dater. You need to figure out what you want and if that motherfucker doesn’t meet your standards, go home and watch TV instead of getting wrapped up in some relationship soaked in drama that you don’t need. You need someone who is long-term like you. You need someone as smart as you. Although he isn’t out there…you need someone that is almost as good looking as you.”
And she’s right.
I don’t actually NEED anyone. But, I think I’m at the point where having a real-life person to share my real-life with would be nice. Someone who can meet my friends and family and hang out without me needing a second phone or a string of lies to hide. I need someone normal.
My normal isn’t mediocre. It’s pretty fucking exceptional.
Today I met a guy running (go figure), and we talked a bit about what my day looked like and our lives and all that kinda junk and he said, “You’re impressive. How do you pull that all together every single day? And you’re here running AND smiling AND talking all at the same time”
I told him “I’m magical. My spirit animal is a unicorn”
He laughed at my cheesy joke and said he could only hope he got to talk to me more because my magic worked.
I think I am fucking magical.
My life is a big life. I work. I work a lot. I am intense and I am focused. I have three kids who are all involved in a varying intensity of activities after school. I take my gym time seriously. My house is insanely clean and picked up. My kids eat home cooked meals every night they are home with me. And somehow, somehow I still laugh and smile and find gratitude in the chaos that I sometimes think is going to overwhelm me. I am not perfect by any tiny stretch of the imagination. But, I’ve somehow managed to not only pick up the pieces of my life, but turn it into something I am proud of.
In some ways, I’ve moved mountains.
I’m not even slightly mediocre.
I’m a fucking Warrior Princess.
And if and when I start the whole relationship thing up, I’m taking it from a whole new perspective.
I want someone who can, or who wants, to fit into my life. I need someone who is smart. Thoughtful. Educated. Thankful. I need someone with a stable job and a loving support system outside of me. I want someone who is happy. Laughter. Has goals. I need someone that takes care of themselves…physically and emotionally. I live a fast life and I keep high standards. I need someone who doesn’t just keep up, but motivates me to work harder, love deeper, laugh more freely and maybe, leaves me in the dust sometimes.
Today, my bestie said, “You don’t need to settle. You need someone that recognizes your energy and wants to make it bigger. All your finding are assholes who want to take that shit from you. Don’t give that away.”
And she’s right.
I’m pretty fucking amazing.
There really aren’t many people out there like me. I’m starting to realize that. It isn’t uncommon that I hear that I am ‘unique’ or ‘interesting’ or ‘impressive.’ However, what I hear most of all from people is that I am mysterious.
And I think it is because I’m a bundle of anomalies all squished into one body. I’m not a typical anything. I fit in everywhere because I don’t really fit in anywhere. And perhaps I’ve always been like that. I’m not sure. But, I’m happy here. Deeply HAPPY with who I am. Perhaps not all the intricacies and daily bullshit of my life. But, who I am? I like me.
And if that isn’t a big deal, I’m not sure what it.
I can look myself in the eye and the soul and be happy with who I’ve grown into. I couldn’t do that 10 years ago, 5 years ago, especially not 3 years ago and a year ago I was barely holding my life together. March it imploded.
Today I’m happy.
But, I think that the drama with Newt has taught me that I need to not let someone’s light take away my natural essence. I’ve lived in the shadows of men I have tried to make bigger than they are for most of my life. I was never ME, I was always someone attached to someone else. Then I hid in shadow because I was afraid and I didn’t want anyone to see me.
Maybe now I just need to embrace the fact that even with my imperfections and chaotic life, I’m oddly living a perfect life. I have amazing health, my body works exceptionally well, I am intelligent, I am kind. I am compassionate. I am passionate. I have family. Such beautiful family. Healthy kids. Healthy parents. I have promise for tomorrow. I am ready to welcome the future from this place of self-value instead of the cloak of doubt and fear I carry with me.
I think that Newt-Drama somehow taught me that I don’t need to be afraid anymore. I’m an amazing woman. I have no need to hide. I have nothing TO hide anymore.
It’s like this rare opportunity of raw breath.
Clean air – refreshing my spirit somehow.
So, what does this mean if I dare venture into the world of dating?
I need someone who believes in magic and unicorns.
When I find him, I’m pretty sure I’ll have found the one.