It’s been two years since I decided to pack up my life and move across the country to build my portfolio. Its been a interesting journey, full of highs and lows, victories and defeats, but through all of it, I’ve met some of the best people and gotten to do some of the coolest things. I’ve accomplished so much and (until the next adventure calls) this feels like home.
Because it’s home, I have a life here. So, today, I’ll be going to my favourite salon so my girl Tess can brighten up the blonde. If you need a YEG stylist, feel free to email me & I will give you some deets, because there is no better stylist than Tess and the rest of the stylists at my salon. If not, then check out some photos of my various adventures in YEG (without photos of my children to protect their privacy). It’s been quite an adventure, but I wouldn’t trade the friends I’ve made, my beloved coworkers, and the lessons I’ve learned for anything.
Part of growing as a human means being able to look internally and evolve.
For me, it means recognizing that over the last year, I’ve sabotaged almost all of my potential relationships.
I’ve really enjoyed casual dating. It’s been nice to go out, spend time with someone and be picky enough to cut things off if I don’t see it going anywhere. I’ve never been a casual dater. Just a relationship gal. So, this is all new territory for me. An old friend of mine once told me I needed to do that. That’s how you get over toxic boyfriends; you date. Maybe they aren’t the one. But by meeting “not the one” a whole bunch of times, you’ll also realize how much toxic boyfriend was also not the one. You’ll be able to look back objectively and go “man, that guy was a controlling prick. I don’t need that. I want qualities X, Y, and Z.” Sometimes I wish that I could message that old friend and apologize for not seeing it sooner. But he’s moved forward and so have I. We have mutual friends. Maybe we’ll check each other’s FB and see we’ve grown into cool people and reconnect.
But I’m off topic, aren’t I? Let’s bring it back in.
I’ve enjoyed my non committal dating. It’s helped me figure out what I do want and what I don’t. Then when I meet someone with these qualities, I can venture into a more serious relationship. But there have been times when I was really into the guy and when he pushed for us to be more serious (meet the kids, meet the family), I kind of balked and the relationships fizzled. I’m a bit gun shy. I don’t trust well. And it’s hard for me to let my guard down around men.
I was telling one of my good girlfriends about this today. I was getting to know a guy, and I was really interested in getting to know him better. But then he asked for more personal information and I instantly clammed up & asked to keep some boundaries. I gave a high level explanation about how important moving slowly is, and I’ve had some bad experiences with men moving too quickly and then becoming awful people literally overnight. I just need some more time to get to know him while I have my guard up. He said he understood, but I can’t shake the feeling that there is no more interest on his side. That sucks, because he was a really nice guy and I was looking forward to getting to know him a bit better.
I wonder if this is normal, that feeling of wanting to get to know someone, but afraid that if you let them close to you, they’ll become a bloody fucking lunatic, and then stalk you for years. Or is that just something I worry about? I know I’m capable of long term friendships. I know I can attract a partner if I wanted one. But I feel like I question my own judgement. I mean, I have a neon sign over my head that says “I attract losers.” Am I just assuming that I don’t know how to choose a partner because my track record is a who’s who of the mentally disturbed. But I’m probably cutting out really great guys because I’m so scared that someone is going to hunt me down, tell me they love me & they won’t take no for an answer, and pick out an engagement ring and then stop talking to me two weeks later with no explanation, then stalk me. Or cheat on me with a coworker. Or be abusive. Because that’s what I pick. I have a bad habit of falling too hard, too fast. I look through rose coloured glasses and all of the red flags just look like flags. Now I look through scared bunny glasses, assuming every one will hurt me, so if I stay behind the safe wall, that won’t happen.
Maybe it’s about balance. Maybe you need to have a combination of scared bunny glasses and rose coloured glasses. Maybe having that independent self and boundaries are important, so when the right person comes, they’ll respect those boundaries and I’ll be able to see if they have qualities “X, Y, and Z.” Maybe those boundaries are important because it helps me see what their intentions are before I’m in over my head and being dragged down, but so in love that I’m excusing the worst kind of behaviour because I’m madly in love and ignoring their true, horrible personalities.
Now I need to learn how to balance the scared bunny feeling and avoid the rose coloured glasses. Find the “look at someone through the regular, you wear them every day glasses.” The one good thing casual dating has taught me is that “the one” isn’t the guy that walks out, or the guy who doesn’t take no. He’ll be the one who stays, is willing to put inthe work, and look at you through human eyes, not rose coloured glasses. The good thing about all of the “not the ones” is that they’ll prepare you for the actual one, who’s worth letting your guard down for.
Maybe this is about trusting my judgment again. Letting go of this fear that only psychopaths and narcissists are capable of loving me because there’s something wrong with me. Maybe I need to start believing that really good men would be interested in me. After all, I like me. I have three jobs, three great kids, my bills are paid because I make my own money. I go to the gym, have no criminal record and most people like me. And I guess I’m kind of pretty. On the catch scale, I’m a solid 7.5. Maybe I’m holding myself back because I’ve allowed myself to believe that nice guys don’t want me, I’m just catnip for psychos. I think it’s time I let that belief system go. There’s nothing wrong with me & I am not unworthy of a great guy. Because of this, I can slowly learn that I don’t need to be afraid of every guy, thinking he’s just going to hurt me. But, it doesn’t hurt to keep your guard up a little. Because protecting yourself is never a bad thing.
At work last week, there was a sweet old lady who desperately needed help getting phone service. I found a lovely solution for her. She thanked me. I told her to call me whenever she needed help. She’s still calling me. Did I mention she returned the hardware? Because she totally did. But I didn’t want to turn her away. That’s when Boss Man told me I’m too nice to old people.
In reality, I’m too damn nice to EVERYONE. I forgive people who don’t deserve it. Work late? Sure. Run errands for you? Sure. I just like helping people. I want to be the type of person who cares about others. But sometimes, I realize that I’m kind of a doormat.
This week I missed the gym every. single. day. Why? Because I offered to help at work. Or help out with something at home. Or take a night shift to help someone out. Oh, and one time I left my house like a grownup and went out for drinks with the best coworkers ever & made a tank top with a friend. But in the end, all of my helping out ended up keeping me from doing what I wanted to do, which was go to the gym. I’m glad I finally put my personal life front and centre, and spent time with my rad coworkers and friends, but the rest of the week I cut short my own activities to do things for other people. This is just what I do. I don’t want to rock the boat, so I try to be helpful and accommodating. But the only person who ends up suffering is me.
It’s been this way my entire life; I try not to stir the pot because I just want to be nice. I don’t want to make anyone unhappy, even though they have no problem making me unhappy or taking advantage of my desire to help people. It’s why friends owe me money, or I let it go when they don’t talk to me for weeks, or make other plans when I’m only down for a week. It’s why I try to be extra accommodating at work. I just want to be nice.
So, I need to make more of a conscious effort to say no. To remind myself that the kids come first and my needs follow. It’s not kids, friends, coworkers, random customers, then me. I’ll never be happy that way. If I’ve signed up for a class, I need to assert myself and say “No. I’m going to the gym/I have plans.” I don’t need to apologize either. I’m allowed to want my own space and time & it’s well within my rights as a human to put them first. I don’t need to constantly sacrifice to please others. I know I’ll end up backsliding, so I’ll need to remind myself every now and again. You don’t need to be so agreeable. You can stand up for yourself. You can say no. You don’t have to constantly say yes to everything at work or offer to stay late and come early, you can just go to the gym or go home and watch Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children for the 900th time.
I guess I’m always afraid that if I say no, people will stop wanting to be my friend/date me/I’ll get fired. But that’s stupid; why do I have to constantly sacrifice to please everyone else? Life should be that everyone sacrifices a little bit. Besides, if they really were my friend/loved me, they wouldn’t care that I wanted to pursue my interests. And no human has ever been fired for saying no to a shift swap. I’ll just have to remember this and remind myself that it’s okay to put myself first sometimes.
It’s okay to be nice. But you’ve also got to be nice to yourself. Sometimes that means saying no & putting your needs first. If they get mad, they aren’t worth having in your life anyway.
My life has reached a comfortable and calming rhythm and I’m super grateful about that. It’s been so chaotically busy, but it’s a good busy. I’ve been building up my writing career nicely, I’m still working on those driving lessons, and I’ve been more successful at my day job than I have been in months. That means more money for me, and a better way to provide for the famjam. I’ve also been without fast food, alcohol, or caffeine for 22 of thirty days. I’m looking better, my skin is better, and I feel more alert and focused.
This makes me wonder if I should resume my Red Bull filled life after the month is over.
These past few weeks have been very eye opening. Much like when you rid yourself of toxic people, not having caffeine has been the same for me. First I felt really shitty. But now, my mind is clear, I’m focusing better, I’m less tired because I’m sleeping better. My workouts are better (with the exception of the damn geese). But iced coffee is also really delicious. So, the struggle is real.
Maybe I need to reevaluate how much caffeine I’m consuming. Maybe limit it to that one cup of tea or one Red Bull a day. Or even treat it like I do with alcohol and have it as a rare, once every few months treat. But I wonder if anyone else struggles with a quasi unhealthy love of caffeine? I mean, I don’t eat much fast food because it’s not good for you. I avoid alcohol because it isn’t good for you. But I guzzle caffeinated drinks like water even though I know they’re bad for me. Why am I giving this kind of poison a pass? Shouldn’t I keep it out of my life like I do all other poisons, food, human or otherwise? Or am I overthinking this?
I guess I’m wondering if I’m sabotaging my best life by adding poison to my body and saying it’s okay because it’s just coffee. It’s just an energy drink. I’ve gone without for three weeks and I’ve been emotionally, physically, and mentally better. Maybe this thing we’re taught helps us stay alert is actually holding us back. Or maybe, I just really want a damn coffee and I’m trying to suppress the cravings with justifications that I don’t care about it hahaha.
I want to be my healthiest, happiest self. Maybe that does mean caffeine free, alcohol, and fast food free (until I remember that there’s a Popeye’s five minutes from my house). I mean, it’s been three years since I’ve had soda & that’s been okay. Maybe cutting the cord on coffee won’t be so bad. I’ll probably feel better long term. But I’m not sure if I can stick to it. Maybe I’ll keep replacing it with my delicious David’s Tea until I forget about it forever…maybe.
But for now, it’s time to consider ending my long term relationship with caffeine. It’s not you coffee, it’s me. I want to be a healthier, happier person and I’m afraid you might be holding me back.