jdeena

Never settle for what is…come tomorrow it will be what was

Month: February, 2014

Making Room for a Man

I was talking to a guy the other day, and he said something to me that has stayed on my mind for the last week or so. I’m getting to know this guy as someone I’d possibly date, and while we were having the normal getting-to-know-you conversation, I mentioned everything I am involved in. I talked about my classes, work, involvement in the community, babysitting my cousin, writing my blog, social gatherings, etc. I talked about my weekly lunches alone to read and have 2 hours to myself at my favorite lunch spots, getting my nails done once a month, taking myself out shopping. I mentioned that after work every night, I come home, have dinner, and read or watch Friends until sleep overtakes me. Then this guy said something that got me thinking; he said that it sounded like I was happy with how my life was going, and that it seemed fulfilled and including a guy into that lifestyle would be inconvenient.

I paused mid-answer. Was he right? I was ready to defend myself and say that I could easily accommodate another person in this life I had cultivated over the past 3 years of being single, but would I have been lying?

It’s true that since my last engagement fell through, I have struggled to find my own happiness- one that doesn’t include a guy. So I have done something most people don’t think of doing while single: I have courted myself. I found out what motivates me, makes me happy, and brings me joy. I have wooed myself with presents, dinners, and travel. I have spent many long hours having conversations with myself about life and love. I have allowed myself to be selfish and focused on my own happiness, rather than finding someone to make me happy. Is that wrong?

In order to love someone, you must first love yourself. For the longest time, I felt that without a man in my life, I was incomplete. Most of what I come across in social media daily tries to coerce me to feel inadequate without a man. Quotes that I read, pictures I see, events that go on…they all make you feel that as a single woman, you are wrong, and you cannot enjoy life without a man. So because I have been unlucky in love, I must be miserable so that society can feel more at ease? No way; not going to happen.

So could I allow a man into my life right now? Or am I so set in my ways that I’d be hard to compromise with? To be honest, I can’t really say. I am so happy with my life right now, that for the first time in my life I enjoy being single. Even the comments from friends and family don’t bother me anymore. I laugh it off. To me, the one thing I am missing (someone to fill my intimate and emotional desires) isn’t as big as all the other great things that fill my life. And honestly, isn’t that what is more important? We always place such an emphasis on finding that special someone that we lose sight of our own needs and happiness.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am not looking for someone to complete me. I am complete within myself. However, when I do meet the right guy, I will be sure to share myself with him. I still expect to have my own life and interests, as I hope he will too. What I want is a companion, someone to share great moments with, but not someone who will expect me to drop my life for him. To be single for so long makes it much harder to change from that mindset when you do meet that special person. That doesn’t mean I won’t change; I was engaged and made time for fiancee. But when you suddenly find yourself as the lone single friend in your group, and you have no one to go to movies or dinner with, you learn to adapt. So maybe I have gotten used to being alone. Maybe I do relish the quiet hours at a bookstore, browsing titles and sipping coffee. Maybe takeout sushi and bad TV make up the perfect Friday night for me….now. That doesn’t mean that if the guy is wonderful I’d turn him away.

But for now, I will continue to love myself. I will spoil myself. I will do all those things that my friends have a spouse to do for them, for myself. After all, just because I’m single, it doesn’t mean I have to miss out on all that.

I deserve it, too.

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Age IS Just a Number

Everyone has heard the saying “age is just a number.” Usually it’s someone younger saying it to justify their actions that are deemed too adult. Or an older women uses it as a defense when dating a younger man. Or, in my case, when a guy who is ten years younger than me tries to pursue me. But this post isn’t about me; not entirely.

One of my guy friends turned 40 this past Saturday. Granted, in most people’s lives, this would be cause for celebration. You have established a career, you have a great circle of friends and family, and you are content. I was browsing Instagram and Facebook and noticed no one had wished him a happy birthday. So I text him wishing him a wonderful birthday and many more healthy years to come. His response was less than enthusiastic. And I knew it would be, because I knew he felt he was missing something he should have had by his 40th birthday: a wife and kids.

Now, my friend is handsome (despite his protests that he isn’t), he’s VERY smart, accomplished, involved in the community, and respected by many. I have know him for ten years and he has always been there for me. Seeing him upset by this upset me as well. Why? Well, because I know where he is coming from. For males, it is more accepted that they get married and start a family later. For females…not so much. But my friend feels that even he has pushed the limit. The thing is, he is SO amazing that it boggles my mind as to why no girl has snatched him up yet. Granted, he is a bit picky, but so is everyone.

After our brief text exchange, I concluded by telling him he has so much to be thankful for. His life is fulfilling and rich with purpose. If nothing else, he should be proud of those accomplishments that most people need a lifetime to achieve.

Later on in the day, I started thinking. It seems that my friend was feeling that he was missing something, but only because of his age. Had the two not been linked, I’m sure he would have been happy to celebrate his birthday. (He actually deactivated his Facebook so no one would know, and ignored all his friends’ phone calls and texts). The fact that he was 40, an age which most guys would have a family established, and was still single himself must have tugged at his heart. If there was anything I could do to convince him of his worth, I would have. What bothered me the most was the fact that he was consumed with the one thing missing in his life to appreciate all that he DID have.

If society doesn’t place an emphasis on age in regards to anything we accomplish, then no one would ever feel inadequate. People expect you to graduate college by 22, get married at 24, and have a child shortly after. When you don’t follow this timeline you are now viewed as a pariah. When I quit school 8 years ago to pursue my work in sales, everyone gave me the “that’s so sad” look when they heard I didn’t graduate college. But what we all need to remember is that life isn’t so perfect all the time. Sometimes the career comes before the degree. Sometimes marriage comes after 30. Sometimes kids come after 40. To me, whatever makes YOU happy should determine when you do things.

Right now I’m 31, bordering on 32. When I turned 30, I was single. I was working my hourly sales job after stepping down as a manager. As much as I wanted to sulk, I didn’t. Because at 30, I had been afforded opportunities most hadn’t experienced yet. I was loved. I had a wonderful family and group of friends supporting me. So what if I was 30 and didn’t have a husband or kids?

Am I the only one who sees no importance in being married? To be so accomplished across the board and then be missing just that last puzzle piece should not make you feel incomplete. Focus on what you DO have going for you. Don’t dwell on the one thing that is taking a little longer to make its way to you. If you do, you’re going to miss out on all the great things life has handed you. Enjoy your life now.

Too Attractive?

The other day while I was browsing Facebook, I came across a status one of my friend’s had posted. It was a quiz she had taken titled: “Why am I still single?” Her results concluded that she was still single because she was “too perfect.” Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link to see what it would say. The questions were easy to manipulate; that is, if you want it to conclude that you are “too” something or other, you answer it the way you think it should be answered. I was honest in my answers because I really was curious to see what my outcome would be.

The result was: “You are too attractive.”

I laughed.

Not because I don’t think I’m attractive (and I am not conceited by any means but I know I am not ugly), but because how could that be a reason as to why I am still single? I see plenty of pretty people get married or are in a relationship. But then, when I discussed this with a friend of mine the other day, she agreed with the quiz. She told me that many guys are usually intimidated by just ONE of the following: beauty, brains, and independence. The fact that I carry all three intimidates men so that they are afraid to approach me, feeling that they aren’t good enough. I started at her in shock; is that really true? Can a guy be THAT intimidated by my looks? I am constantly getting compliments on my skin, my figure, my smile, my eyes…from both men and women. But to be honest, I get tired of all that attention. It might seem like I am tooting my own horn, but I honestly have never seen myself in that way. Until recently, I always had to win guys over with my personality. They’d tell me I was cute, but that was the extent of it. So what changed?

I’m not sure when it happened, but in the last few years I’ve started not to care. I don’t care about having the perfect figure, I don’t care about looking like the actresses in Hollywood, and I don’t care whether or not people like my style. What I do now is for me, and me alone. I have never changed anything about myself for a guy. And when a guy came along and tried to do that, I kicked him to the curb. So maybe it’s my confidence that has made me so attractive. Maybe it’s the fact that I have fallen in love with myself and I make myself happy that attracts guys to me. I don’t shy away from my imperfections; I embrace them. I treat myself right, I take care of my body, and I find hobbies and interests that stimulate my mind.

So maybe that’s what being attractive means? I’m really not sure. All I know is that this can’t be the excuse for guys to not approach me. How insecure must you feel to be intimidated by looks? I am friendly to everyone; you have an open door to get to know me. I don’t have a “type;” whatever guy matches me intellectually and emotionally is good enough for me. I know there are girls out there who ruin it for the rest of us. A guy has a bad experience with one of them and he is forever scarred. Still, if I’m willing to get back on the proverbial horse, the guy should put forth the same effort.

I’m not sure what else to say. Guys, if you’re waiting for me to become less attractive, you’re going to wait for a while. I am at the peak of my life right now. I am healthy, happy, and loving the relationship I have with myself. They always say if you want to find love, you must first love yourself. So now that I have that accomplished, I’m waiting for the right guy to show up and love me for who I am. And if you think that because I know you are intimidated I will let myself go now, you are sadly mistaken.

This is who I am. Take it or leave it.

Objectification of Women

Lately, there has been a trend on social media where men feel the need to explain to women what they are in their eyes. And I use the word “what” because they are not speaking of women as people; they are objectifying them. Now, before all you male readers go up in arms about my post, read the rest.

The other day, a friend of mine (who is a true gentleman, by all means) posted a meme that read: “Ladies: Showing a great amount of skin when you dress up isn’t the way to find Prince Charming. Prince Charming likes his gifts wrapped.”

At first glance, this seems sweet and harmless. And there have been many other memes that have come about recently that are along the same lines: Classy women attract gentlemen, intelligent women get the intelligent man, etc…however, I had an issue with this specific meme because it speaks to a larger issue facing our society: the objectification of women. Let’s break down this meme real quick.

The first line is saying that prince charming isn’t lured in by the showing of too much skin. Who determines what too much skin entails though? Is a short-sleeve shirt okay, or is that too revealing? How about a knee-length skirt? The problem is, “showing a great amount of skin” is relative to each individual male. Some guys might be okay with their girl walking around in a bikini. Not everyone likes that, but that is okay (which is a relief to me since I am covered a lot more than that!). So maybe we shouldn’t assume what Prince Charming likes. Maybe we should ask him after getting to know him.

The next line, “Prince Charming likes his gifts wrapped,” should explain itself, however I will elaborate. One can look at this sentence from two angles: the “gifts” can refer to the female herself. She is a gift to man, and therefore should be wrapped so that he- and only he- can unwrap her. Okay, I just threw up a little while writing that. Because that’s just demeaning. So I’m going to assume the “gifts” in this meme refer to her most intimate and sacred parts of herself, which should be saved for the man she loves and not given away so freely. But even that explanation doesn’t go down easily. Who are we to judge when and where a women gives away her most intimate self? Isn’t that a decision between herself and God? To judge a woman on that is to continue to perpetuate the image that women who are provocative deserve all the labels and assaults, because let’s face it- she asked for it.

Which brings me to the next point: rape culture. Along with judging women on their outer appearance and actions is the culture that women who are raped “ask for it” by dressing a certain way, getting intimate with a guy on a first date, or getting intoxicated. However, all that aside, there should be no reason why a man feels entitled to raping a woman because she wasn’t conscious, or was dressed like a “slut.” When are we going to stop blaming women for the actions of men? It seems that when a girl is raped, the man “just couldn’t help himself,” or “he didn’t know she didn’t want to.” The problem is that we glorify the boys who commit these acts, especially if they are part of an athletic team like in Maryville or Stuebenville. The girl is blames because she was drunk, and well, that’s not very lady-like so she deserves what she got. I mean MY GOD! No wonder women have such a hard time breaking the glass ceiling in corporate America! They are reduced to nothing but objects, there for a man to use and discard after. And when a girl has a rape in her history, society will automatically wonder what she did to deserve it. Was she dressed a certain way? Intoxicated? On drugs?

Not only that, but the fingers will point to a girl once she has been identified as the culprit in exposing the incident. Especially when it comes to schools, a girl will be shamed for speaking up and harassed as if SHE is to be blamed for the rape. Social media is brutal, and the students behind the screen even more so. This takes cyber bullying to a whole other level. In turn, women will hesitate when reporting rape or assault, as they fear that once identified they will be harassed as well.

Why can’t it ever be that the guy was at fault, that he has no respect for women and felt entitled to something that wasn’t his? Why can’t we teach our boys that no means no? That when they rape a girl we will not glorify their actions and there will be consequences? We, as a society, place the welfare of our women behind that of prestige, recognition, and profit. Just this past week there were arrests made in NY/NJ after the Super Bowl in the distribution of prostitutes and sex-trafficked women. The Super Bowl is one of the largest events that draws the most business, and women are brought to watch parties in the area to please the men. It’s just all so disgusting.

What can we do to change all this? Easy. Stop treating women like objects. Stop likening us to wrapped or unwrapped lollipops and gifts. Stop handling us like a porcelain figurine that will break. Stop reducing us to memes and pictures on social media. Show us the respect we deserve and treat us like we are meant to be treated: like human beings.