It never occurred to me to think past my wedding day. I didn’t consider how long marriage lasted. At least I couldn’t have because if I had, wouldn’t I have rolled some ideas around in my head, like, does this person have interests similar to mine? Is he affectionate? Does he get up early or late? Is he ambitious? Interested in saving for retirement? Does he make me laugh? Am I attracted to him?”
As it was, all I considered was how he felt about me. I’d been contemplating how others felt about me for years, contorting myself this way and that. My love life was a Cirque du Soleil with every rejection finding me straining harder, holding my pose longer, bending so far I might snap at any moment. When my ex came along, he took me as I was. Of course he admired the shapes I was able to make and the appearance I kept up, but he wasn’t picky. He loved me, as much as one who cannot see beyond himself can love another.
That first marriage didn’t turn out as I had thought but this is what happens when one doesn’t think, when one unconscioulsy focuses singularly on the outside and only pretends to look in. I hadn’t thought beyond the wedding, which was, in all honesty a picture perfect day if only I’d been marrying someone who I loved.
I only thought, he wants me and I’m getting older and there might not be anyone else who will and who cares if the sex is G-d awful, and if I want money I can make it and it’s good to have independence and I just have so many things to better about myself – what a great opportunity to work on my anxiety, my comparing myself to others, my grass is always greener syndrome.
Turns out the grass was greener. The grass turned metallic green in the yard when I stood in my worth, when I stood understanding for the first time that I was not a burden, I was not lucky to be wanted, I wasn’t a beggar and I didn’t have to choose.
The first time around, I had the husband, the angelic baby and the picket fence. I had everything I needed for my life to truly begin. But the husband was a sad sack and I couldn’t afford the picket fence, so I was inevitably stressed and ashamed of my lack of presence with the angelic baby.
I don’t know why some of us have to learn the hard way. I don’t know how to convey to girls today how to love themselves, how not to place their worth in the hands of others, in the thoughts and minds of others, in their interpretation of the behavior of others.
I don’t know how to convince women that obsessively thinking of others is the exact opposite of what everyone needs. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I’m dedicating significant time to it.