Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Overwhelming Desire to Be Loved

Recap:  I was married for 13 years.  When I accepted his proposal, I believed that I was deeply in love, and that I knew what I was getting into, but it went downhill almost immediately after the proposal.  Even in the first year of marriage, there were some serious warning signs that we were incompatible, and perhaps that he did not love me (according to what I think love looks like).  I wanted to love, and be loved, and I stuck it out.  Hindsight shows that I should have exited many years before I did, but hindsight always says things like that.  He moved out in 2012, and we were divorced three years ago.  Since then, I have gone on countless first dates, very few second dates (mostly because that is how I felt about the first dates!), and I've had one little rebound relationship that lasted a glorious few months and included sex, but then went up in a blaze and quickly disappeared.  Almost all of my dates have been from online dating.  In 2013-14 I dated frequently; in 2015 I dated less; in 2016 I vowed to take a year off dating.

That brings you up to speed.


I told myself that I was taking a year off dating because I don't have time.  My new job is keeping me super busy (three evening meetings in a row this week and I'm so tired I can barely think), I'm committed to being there for Katherine as the best mom I can, I have this house that feels too big for me and takes a lot of energy to maintain, and then there are the tasks of eating (a trip to the grocery store, prepping, serving, cleaning), etc.  When eating seems like too large of a task, I know I'm over the edge.  I missed meals this week due to meetings, and then after the meetings I was too tired to deal with it, so I ate a bit of chocolate and went to bed.

This is ridiculous.

My self care is in the toilet, and I need to get better at that.  When food feels like a burden, it's time to look at my life and figure it out, because this has gone too far entirely.

I don't care how much work I need to get done, I need to take better care of myself and leave room for myself in this busy life of mine.

I need some self love.  Not some words, not some basic belief in my own goodness (which I have: I am proud of who I am), but some love that looks like action.  I tell myself that I am worthy of love, but then I don't take care of myself.  How is that worthy?  I beat myself up over what I do not get done.  I haven't had a haircut in a year.  I am spending little to no time in nature, and not taking care of my body (healthy food and exercise).  I haven't taken days off (including MLK).  I'm spending little time with friends.  When I have time alone, all I want to do is sleep or vege in front of the TV; when I read the words dance on the page because I'm so tired.  My sleep is restless, the anxiety of how much work I need to do coming to bed with me.

And do you know whose fault this is?


If a friend told me about all this, I'd raise my eyebrows and suggest some time off, suggest that she go for a walk, suggest that she set a timer of when to stop work and then adhere to it.  I'd point out that food and sleep are not luxuries, and that if she got sick that it wouldn't help anything, including her deadlines.  I'd give her some love, some encouragement, maybe make her some soup.

I'm not treating myself the way I'd treat a friend, and that is a problem.


It occurs to me that maybe, just possibly, I'm making myself this busy to avoid admitting just how much I want to love and be loved.

Ouch.  I don't want to admit that.  I don't want to acknowledge that sometimes it feels like I am absolutely alone and that I will stay this way forever, and that the knowledge of that truth feels like the kind of grief that death leaves in its wake.  I don't want to feel those feelings.  I want to feel strong and capable and optimistic.  I want to feel in control, directional, positive, hopeful.

But sometimes I feel the opposite, and ashamed of it to boot.  (I know.  Brene' Brown.  I know.)


All of the focus on my career and motherhood - worthy pursuits! - can't cover up the facts.

I want to love.  I want to be loved.

At the end of the day, I want to slip beneath the covers and feel strong arms around me.  I want to wear something sexy to bed on some nights to make his eyes flash and his body respond, but I also want to feel accepted when I fall into bed (and those arms) too exhausted to do more than bury my face in his chest.

I want to listen to NPR in the kitchen, doing the morning dance around coffee cups and feeding pets and packing lunches.  I want him to say "You look great!  Are you meeting a donor today?" and "I'll be down by the market today - do you want me to pick up anything?" and I want to grab him before he goes out the door and plant a giant kiss on him and say "Something to think about today..." with a twinkle in my eye.  I want to plan surprise birthday parties for him, and I want to come home to find that he arrived home before me and made dinner.  I want to plot vacations with him.  I want to meet his friends, learn his inside jokes, support his passions.  I want him to look at me and say "You're a nut case, you know that?" with gentleness in his voice, and I want him to look at me and say "I didn't even know I could be this happy."

I want to know him, and be known by him.
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I want that kind of love.

But if I can't give it to myself, how can I expect to take it from someone else?

I think I don't believe that I deserve love.  Why I believe that, I have no idea, because intellectually it's not the case, but the idea is there, anyway.

I told myself that I would not date in 2016, but what I think I was really saying is "I'm not good at this, so I'm giving up."

I am not a quitter.

I want love.  I deserve love.  I'm going to make a great partner for someone.  I long for it, and I won't be ashamed of that longing.  I am no more lacking than anyone else.

I'm not sure what happens next, but there it is.  I'm putting it out there.  Again.

I'm working on my self love, my self care.  I hope that grace takes care of the rest.