Baggage Reclaim on following trends - I still can't tell you what the feck Twin Peaks was about

When I was a teenager growing up in Dublin and battling with that very typical desire to ‘fit in’ by being and doing what I thought everyone else was, my mother would trot out her standard line – “Would you jump off a bridge if someone told you to?” As one of only a few black kids around at that time, finding things to help me ‘blend in’ was very high on my agenda. I thought people would overlook my differences or even my ‘flaws’ such as my parents not being together, the big scar on my right leg, and whatever it was that I thought was ‘wrong’ with me that stopped my father from being in touch, if I kept up with whatever I perceived the trends to be. The thing is, this is not untypical of being a teenager whether you stick out like a sore thumb or not. We pretend to like bands we don’t like (The Clash), we claim to enjoy watching things that actually leave us scratching our heads in confusion (Twin Peaks), we contemplate dressing in things that in retrospect, we know we would have looked ridiculous had we followed through (Goth and grunge gear), and we convince ourselves that if we don’t lose our virginity or go to various ‘bases’ that we’re abnormal, so we even contemplate pretending to have done some of these things.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop in our teens and I realised recently when I was reading this really great book to my daughters, The Little Girl Who Lost Her “No” (Amy Starkey – and a BR reader too!), that we can go from people-pleasing kid who’s afraid to say no to their parents, friends, and bullies, to grown-ups who still haven’t found their ‘No’ and so we end up putting our need to please ahead of our misgivings and authenticity. Next thing we’re pretending to be something that we’re not, ‘putting out’ for fear of upsetting, and accepting crumbs because apparently, it’s the ‘done’ thing.

When we’re growing up and not sure of who we are, authenticity seems like a pain in the bum that will cost us friendships and ‘cool’, but there comes a point when we do have to recognise that there’s only so long that we can defer to ‘others’ and operate on autopilot for, before we wind up in pain from not being willing to listen to ourselves. It’s even tougher when we actually have a sense of of who we are, so our needs, expectations, wishes, opinions and feelings, and yet we go ‘off brand’ or ‘off message’ and end up feeling lost and adrift from the people within our Circle of Trust.

We follow instead of being – we diverge from our authentic self, something that we can’t be in any danger of actually discovering or trying out when we’re too busy trying to keep up with the Jones’.

I hear from people who effectively argue that there’s a trend for not respecting one’s self, for screwing around, for never committing, for using people, not being honest, being rude, lacking responsibility and the list goes on. Of course, there are ‘trends’ for everything – there’s big trends, regurgitated trends, and micro trends. Basically, we can find a trend for most things – it’s how businesses sell to us, it’s how the media come up with their scaremongering stories based on ‘research’ that are normally aimed at striking fear through women, and it’s how people who want us to do what they want (even if it doesn’t suit us), ‘sell’ it to us and it’s also how we legitimise our own behaviour and thinking.

If we adopt a trend, it’s because it speaks to who we are as a person or we are unconsciously (or possibly consciously) following a trend because we don’t have the confidence, and yes sometimes the responsibility, accountability, and even integrity, to be who we are. We’d rather follow the trend and be assured of being in the herd even if the herd hurts or even mauls us. ‘Following’ is regarded as safety in numbers (no vulnerability) plus when we rely on being ‘directed’, we don’t have to think plus if things go awry, we may even feel inclined to blame the herd.

Sometimes we find it hard to do right because it feels as if we are only compelled to be and do the things that speak to our hearts and souls when everyone else is doing it too. It’s a bit like, if we were in a crowd of people who were all doing something shady, we might feel as if we no longer have to bother doing what’s right or just plain ‘ole authentic to us – our values.

On some level, we regard being different from someone else as ‘wrong’. We perceive it as a cue to question our position and choices. We may even see differences as an attack, when really, they’re just somebody going about the business of living in their way.

There are always going to be people who diverge from our own values, there are always going to be people who do and think differently, and there are always going to be people who follow their own trends. Truly being authentic is the result of being and doing the things that speak to your values, your heart, your soul, and basically who you are as a person. It means you’re willing to ‘go there’ regardless of whether you get consensus.

Typic

Of course this isn’t ‘easy’ but then it’s not a walk in the park to follow the herd plus when you focus on being you, you don’t have to contend with the blame and shame that kicks in when you feel as if you sold you down the river, or deal with that wounded feeling that you get from that sense that even the ‘fake you’ isn’t accepted. Family is a prime example of where you can learn about what it’s like to deviate from the trends. Some are thrilled when you strike out on your own and see it as good for the team and progress, and some… feel threatened. I recognise that I’ve ‘gotten on’ with both sides of my family when I was a compliant pleaser. Strangely enough, these also represent the most miserable times of my life…. When I started to step up for me, some common ground (living in the past but also pretending that a part of the past hadn’t happened), was lost. Over time, I’ve found my peace with this and some relationships have gradually regained ground and others haven’t. They key thing is that I’m very awake, aware, and me.

When we follow a herd, we stop being truly conscious. It’s the equivalent of sleepwalking and the danger is, we start to automatically accept that what the herd says or does is ‘correct’ and this has a knock-on effect because we keep on adjusting ourselves to ‘fit in’ so that we don’t feel vulnerable or experience rejection.  We stop representing because we’re too busy following. We essentially end up arguing against ourselves or against others so that we can maintain the uncomfortable comfort zone and then we don’t end up liking or knowing ourselves anyway because we’re so dependent on external validation.

There will always be people who do things differently and this is OK. When we learn to accept the differences in others instead of trying to clone ourselves, we can also learn to accept us and respect the very things that we share common ground with others but also the very things that make us unique.

Your thoughts?

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65 Responses to There’s no point in following the ‘trend’ if you don’t end up liking or knowing you

  1. ljsrmissy says:

    Great post Nat!

    That is one thing that I can say about myself, I have always danced to the beat of my own drum. Even in school. But you better believe I paid dearly and royally for that with being teased and bullied all through school. That, coupled with being ‘sensitive’ (now I know I am an empath) coupled with an abusive bipolar mother was the perfect sh!t storm as it related to my self esteem/confidence/self worth; but not enough to become a ‘follower’. I was a wounded warrior princess lol. I see how my experiences growing up impacted how I went about forming relationships when I got into college and into my twenties. To me having a boyfriend was to serve as my confirmation that I am ‘okay’ and was going to serve to undo a childhood and adolescence, filled with being told I wasn’t okay whether in actions or deed by others including my parents. I look back on it and I think ‘sweet cream of Jesus soup. I was seeking my okayness in other human beings who I didn’t really think way okay!” I felt very much like those pets (don’t know if you guys have something similar in the UK) in the ASPCA commercials. Broken, abused, hurt, shaken, and will somebody PLEASE take me innnnnnnn! I also felt like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. Time has brought on a change though. Slow and gradual change. I now feel like and see myself more and more as a lioness! In regards to people’s downward trend into basically being rotten, I believe it is because there is a true spiritual and energetic battle going on and the lines are being drawn. There are just certain people and their energies I will not entertain if I can help it as I see myself as a spirit in a flesh suit. In regard to dating… ladies I must say that the bottom has fallen out with us in general. Its like enough of us don’t have a soul or we sold it a long long time ago. I can see how girls in their teens and young college girls falling into a lot of these situations (though still not good) as they are growing up in a different era than us 30,40,50 year olds. But ‘us’ more mature ladies came up in and remember a time when guys had to actually call and court us. Now let me be the first to say that it took me YEARS to grapple with the fact that there were adult men that behave like they behave! I was stupefied for the longest lol. I had to accept the fact that there are people who will try to yank my chain for their entertainment and sadistic purposes. I had to learn that there are guys who see each woman as a video game that he hasn’t got a chance to play and beat yet. And that there are guys who go from woman to woman like George of the Jungle swung from vine to vine….literally. Again, nothing new. Its something else to see 30,40, and 50 year old women essentially setting up their own mental, emotional, and spiritual funerals with the guys WE CHOOSE and keep choosing. There is nothing special about our AC and the countless other ass hats at the bar, the grocery store, at the barber shop… Nothing but that happen to be the particular AC we chose. I remember when I was in college, the last guy I dated stood in my kitchen and told me that ‘he didn’t know why he wouldn’t do right by me’. Sweet mother of Mary! That struck me and was one of the turning points for me. He was parked on the curb not too long after. Men used to have to pay if the wanted to play. Back in the day, it was only men who could afford mistresses who got to have mistresses. Now women are paying to get played! We get ourselves into crap situations with guys, go whining to someone else about the crap situation, and then as soon as that person says something we don’t like, we defend the crap situation by normalizing it. Of course men benefit from that mentality, its a free for all for them, but why are women adopting and green lighting the same things that make us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually sick? we as the gatekeepers have left the gate wide open and are begging guys to please come and ransack, pillage, and desecrate our place! Then we will get upset at another woman for telling us that is exactly what we did. I stopped attending a bar that I used to frequent on Mondays. It was a down to earth laid back spot. I choose Monday night as I just wanted somewhere to go, I didn’t want to be bothered with a ‘pick up’ atmosphere. Make a long story short, the married bar owner to sleeps around on his wife wanted to sleep with me. He started with the old my wife is crazy/bipolar blah blah blah. And while I know there is not a shortage of women who will sleep with him, though I know that its normal enough, sad to say, it was simply something that I didn’t want to allow into MY reality, my home, my bed, and my body.

    • HappyAgain says:

      Ljsrmissy

      I find what you say about today’s society and and men and womens attitudes correct. Its sad and still im confused by it. I dont get it. Yes women have created alot of this monster by exactly what you say. I was talking to this guy I know when my son was getting his haircut. It came up I was single and i said I left my ex alone because of many things and how I deserved better because im a good woman. he told me basically its alot of good women out here and most of them will take alot of shit from men so they’ll get chosen quicker. Mind you this came from a man who self confesses to cheat on his wife always for 15+ years but its what alot of men believe because its accurate. I had a good friend I had to let go of the other year because after 8+ years of watching her be dogged out she left him again then she kept asking for my opinion about marrying him because now he was “going to change” and they would marry. Finally I told her i didnt think it was a good idea because ive watched this over and over for 8 years and how it has hurt her to where she will get to the point shes been so torn down she wont even make eye contact w people. Then over the course of the next weeks and months the hatred unleashed. It made me feel like I cant be a friend. When I was w my ex who was mistreating me im glad I had a couple of friends who were respectfully honest even if I didnt like it. I knew what they were saying was true. It means they cared. Im still confused by it all I just dont get it. Oh well onward and upward. I wish you all the best.

      • ljsrmissy says:

        Miss Happy Again,

        One thing I’ve said is that ‘the system’ has been so brilliantly and wickedly set up….FOR MEN. I have also said that too many women (myself included) have failed to cover our own butts. Like I said, I was stupefied. I couldn’t make it make sense. It still don’t make much sense but Ive acknowledged that its out here whether I like it or not. Guys are out here dogging women out for sport, leisure, and entertainment! Then they run back to the bar and barbershop and give their buddies the play by play. As far as your sons barber and his cheating, just like the owner and the bar that I used to frequent and his wife…I don’t have much to say to that. Don’t no woman be married to no man for 10 15 years and not know he’s cheating…serially. Whatever them and their wives got going, after 10 and 15 years…it works for them. These married men feel like, I take care of my wife and the side booty takes care of me. It terms of you old girlfriend, this is why its so easy to get over on women because men know we prefer the fantasy over the truth so why should the bother delivering the latter? Why should they. Its a win win for them, they getting what they what and we are getting fed the Disney/soap opera bull that we crave! We are gluttons for complaining and unhappiness! In terms of being ‘chose’, he is right. But what are we killing ourselves to be chose for? Use and abuse? I’m serious. And I’m not talking about the good sound and happy couplings, or the ones in which partners are truly trying to work out their kinks.. that’s every couple, but these women who are just begging to be mistreated. And for what? To take facebook selfies with a guy who is ‘choosing’ other women whenever out your sight? If that is something the other women are ok with, I am no one to judge…its just not for me.

        • HappyAgain says:

          Ljsrmissy,

          Of course we are not talking about mutual co piloted relationships. We are talking the trend to settle for crap to have a guy. Of course im not on BR for my good looks Lol. Im here because I gave that trend a try and it took everything out of me until I was at a low place. It wasnt working for me. Tbt it isnt working for most of the other women and its alot of angry angry women out here because of what they wont walk away from because its love and its that herd mentality to meet the norm. Im sad my options seem more limited because I want to be treated w respect but I had a go in fantasy world and I lost myself and started to really get angry but honestly I had/have a choice and I told myself at a certain point im not a victim anymore im a participant in my own hurt because I know good and well whats coming. I decided I also get to step away from getting sucked in to listening to some stuff.

  2. Sheila says:

    Celebrate Diversity!!! It makes life interesting…

  3. happy b says:

    I love this! A friend said recently, ‘why be normal?!’ So simple but it’s stuck. I have spent so much of my life trying to be normal and now I want to be brilliant instead.

    It’s hard to undo all those instincts but it makes so little sense to try and fit in and get accepted as a ‘normal person’ when I never will do. I haven’t had a normal life, I liked Prince when my friends were all into Take That, now I’m not normal because I’m not going shopping for range-style ovens with my internet-acquired husband. Sometimes these people who ‘have it all’ don’t accept me and can’t see what I have to offer and it used to upset me. Why would I keep trying to catch up and please them? One of my closest friends has this ‘normal’ life and we fully respect each other.

    I never try to change others and respect all differences as long as people are true to themselves, but somehow I managed to struggle to apply it to me.
    I don’t have to try to be different either. I AM different. I spent years breaking myself down and working out what was wrong with me, maybe we have to go through that, but now I just want to enjoy my freedom to be who I am. I’ve shut down that voice in my head that tells me it must be wrong if it’s not what everyone else does and wants and instead I keep doing the things that make me tick, see new places, walk different routes, love and support my friends, try new things.

  4. kookie says:

    haha laughed out loud at the pic as I am a hardcore Twin Peaks fan but it’s awesome that not everyone has to be and we can make fun of each other (I’m looking at you my Star Trek loving friends whom I still love btw,lol). All our differences make the world a more interesting place to live in so be who you are!

  5. Jennifer says:

    I absolutely get what you’re saying Nat but my experience is that when it comes to family, there has to be a balance. For example, my mother-in-law has a tendency to drive me crazy if I really insist her way is wrong. We experienced this in planning our wedding and decided it was best to do certain things the way she wanted in order to keep the peace. I think this was worth it because if we hadn’t, we would have been fighting until kingdom come and experienced a ton of aggravation. While I may have preferred having the wedding that was more authentic to me, in the end certain things just weren’t worth the fight. There have been a few other times where she has gotten very defensive when we’ve wanted to change something from the way she’s used to, and we have similarly decided to just let it go.

    Does this mean that I (and my husband) are being inauthentic? I hope not. For me it was recognizing that not everything is worth fighting about when it comes to people you really do have to keep the peace with to some extent. I’d love to hear other’s thoughts on this too.

    • SoulFull says:

      Ok here goes, my thought :)

      You let your own wants and needs be dictated to by a woman who has already been her own bride. This was not her wedding, it was you and your husbands, and i just feel really sad that you both let her have her own way to keep the peace. If she loved and accepted you both, she would have backed off and enjoyed the day that you and your hubby created with your personalities.

      Do you think she let anyone tell her how to have her own wedding when she was a bride?

      Sometimes, we have to say no despite the fall out, or else where does the control end? What about babies? would you do something against your own preference to keep the peace?

      :)

      • Jennifer says:

        I think it’s about assessing how important something is. A wedding is one day and I would imagine that my mother-in-law probably did do things her parents or in-laws wanted her to do on that day. She may not have minded doing it that way (or maybe she did), but the point is, it’s one day.

        Would I raise my children in a way I didn’t feel comfortable with to keep the peace? No. To me, that crosses a line and is worth fighting about because it goes beyond one day and into fundamental values/the rest of our lives. But if my MIL wants to invite all her friends to our wedding and will pay for her guests herself, am I really going to fight to the death so that she doesn’t do it to the point of possibly jeopardizing our relationship with her, even though I might have preferred something small? No. Not worth it. For whatever reason that neither my husband nor I understands, it’s important to her to show off to her friends on this occasion. I don’t get it and wouldn’t do it, bit it’s also not a fight I’m willing to fight.

        Point is, I think it’s important to be authentic to yourself when it comes to what’s important, but also to realize you can’t take a gigantic stand about each and every little thing because it is too aggravating to live with constant fighting. Sometimes you have to just let people be who they are, even if it means making certain compromises.

        I would be very interested to hear what Nat thinks about this as well.

        • SoulFull says:

          I think youre downplaying this…we are talking about your wedding day, not one day. Its not an ‘each and every little thing’ this was something that heeded taking a gigantic stand, because whilst you feel you just made little compromises, letting her be who she is, you lost out on your own day, and you, and did it in a way that pleased the MIL and set in stone that you are going to cast off your own true self in order to keep her happy. She will win everytime, and you think she isnt going to interfere with your children? You say that you would draw the line with them, but why didnt you draw the line WITH YOU and your husband?

  6. oona says:

    Congratulations ljsrmissy for being different, knowing it and embracing it – it will certainly save you from any assclowns or EUM’s i hope and I am really pleased to read it!
    I wasn’t and haven’t been so aware – I was taught at a very young age between 2 and 4 years that being different and standing out meant that I would be cast off from the family unit forever and not loved by them or anyone. And I believed it. My mother was already harsh on me because she had a baby she loved besides me and my Dad hid at work constantly and took her word on everything. I broke my leg around 3 trying to get attention. We didn’t live near extended family. So I already felt less than good and alone.
    To survive I learned to do some really bad things – to live in a fantasy world and to try to appear like I was a normal/good child by hiding my real feelings from everybody. I faked so good in the end I didn’t even consciously know I was doing it. It was normal in my world. As a child I didn’t properly process things on my own, as you would expect, and this survival habit of hiding became ingrained without me properly realising the actual damage it was really doing to myself and my important relationships and my development. I actually prided myself on my skill at being able to do it.
    This set me up for the whole heap of trouble that followed – unchecked by any psychologist or trained therapist for 38 years. I was unable to form real relationships with anyone as I was always faking and felt it necessary to survive – one family relationship by one became damaged (not helped by living a few hundred miles from the nearest relative and relatives that didn’t understand or want to know). When I did see relatives it was like I was on show and the best clothes and behaviour was expected at all times. I always tried to show off to them and I conformed completely to what I thought they wanted. Play was always really difficult, I always felt safest strangely with the adults, because I actually did not know how to play. I would see my brother with his toys playing epic games with all his friends and I had absolutely no idea how to join in – even if I was genuinely encouraged by other children. I can remember being really embarassed for not knowing how to play and again less than good for not being able to join in. The idea of telling someone that didn’t come into it and I certainly never related it to being abused and neither did anybody else. At best I would cover up by staying away form older children and bossing around younger children as a way to pretend I was actually playing but this would usually go wrong and never elicited the point I was actually looking for, which was to be loved by others for being myself, for being different – like everyone else.
    Evan with all of this I appeared to be a ‘normal’ child, apparently, no one noticed a thing or if they did they didn’t help or know how to help. I presume because I was so young when it all started everyone just presumed that that was my character and who I was.
    As for friends I never had a chance. I already felt unloved in the family unit and so it didn’t go much better there but I never made too much trouble, was mostly quiet/conformed and so it was never properly addressed. By the age of 11 I was fully addicted to all those old films on television – I would fantasize being which ever star in the film I watched and carry that through into daydreams that could last all day. I would worry about everything and tell nobody because I felt they couldn’t handle my problems as well or if they knew would be burdened with me and hate me…after all in my fantasy when I was 27 and old I would have everything and could run off, of course!….I was still waiting at 39 when I met the last EUM/Assclown that I will ever be with. I still hadn’t learned that not only was it ok to be myself and therefore different but it is absolutely essential to your life to actually…. be yourself.
    I’d been hiding so long I had no idea what that really meant because I’d gone through life conning myself and everyone else around that this was who I was. It was normal to me to be always terrified of being exposed as lacking in some way – which of course my brain could always see where I was lacking in every relationship – then they wouldn’t love me and I would be alone again.
    As you may imagine I survived but I never lived and have experienced all manner of abusive relationships in friendships, groups and relationships. Resulting in me nearly dying 18 months ago when I was disembowelled – I’ve had 7 operations since – one major one and possibly one more to go to put things back together again. This was the second near death experience I have had since 16 years of age and finally I was able to wake up and listen to myself.
    If you don’t live your life as you are (ie different) it will be taken from you without you even noticing or seeing what is happening around you, in fact that is exactly what you do to yourself, as you take the decision to switch off your own natural life support.
    I am now learning to know who I am, I can’t really describe how good this is yet because as you may imagine it is a really slow and terrifying process for me but I am starting to experience moments of joy, success and confidence like I’ve never known before. I have discovered things about myself I never knew.
    I am 42 and have the knowledge of a terrified three year old who is unprotected, feels unloved and unlovable. All the decisions I have made in my life was based on this feeling and therefore actually do not represent me at all. I am a virtual recluse, i have no friends or family around at all. I am helped by a psychologist and mental health nurses who are really good. Strangely enough it was having to have honest relationships with surgeons, consultants, nurses, patients and my parents where I finally started to expose my true self (in order to survive all the physical stuff) that has probably saved me because I had to learn to trust that I could be myself, be really brave and communicate exactly how I felt in order to get help ie when I was in pain or confused about what they were telling me about surgery, for example. I made lots of mistakes (hiding at the wrong times, not trusting the right messages I was getting) and still am sometimes but I am working on it and at least much more aware when I am doing it now. Basically I had to learn to be prepared to be a right pain in the ass when I needed it and not when I didn’t :-)
    I believe being different in this world means to be yourself with others and if you are not being yourself or they are not allowing you to be yourself, you are one of the walking dead – literally. Listening to myself and learning how different I actually am and expressing it is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I’ve disagreed with surgeons I trust and value who specialize in the field.. and been proved to be right. I could have easily ‘agreed for an easy life’ but I can guarantee that isn’t what would have been the final result.

    • ljsrmissy says:

      Oona,
      Congrats on your journey to be true to you. As long as we have breath, its never too late. I must admit that I cant really relate to being prisoner to what I felt family and peers wanted me to be, which I pretty much knew was a puppet and flunky for them. I have always had a kiss my arse attitude when it came to that area. But I do know about abuse. And sweet cream of Jesus soup I have certainly put in my time and ‘paid my dues’ with AC’s! That’s why I said that I spent years just trying to understand and accept that yes there are guys/people in the world that are like that…and its normal for them! I also know about how being raised without the emotional support and instilment of confidence impacted me in my adult life. I can look back and say that I did my part in created situations where I was in friendships/relationships with others who did not ‘pull their weight’. I lacked support from these people. One example, I was dating a guy in college and he spent the night over my place. I was upset that I had made a mistake at work (I worked for the president of a company) and I was worried about how much trouble I was going to get into. I was worried and tearful. He said a few things to help me feel better but I was worried. He proceeded to essentially say that if I didn’t stop crying he was going to leave. He also told me that was the main reason that he came over to my place was that it was “so peaceful and quiet”. He was essentially saying that he comes over as a get away from his chaotic household (he lived with his parents) and her I go vexing him with my need for comfort and support! That taught me that people will use others for virtually anything. I was being used for my stability and peaceful home lol. I can chuckle at it now. This is what I am saying, as women period, we are socialized and raised in ways that are of DETRIMENT to us. Its too much! And it makes us mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically unwell. Of course I don’t know the back story behind your physical condition but you are young to be having those issues. “what you do to yourself, as you take the decision to switch off your own natural life support.” You are right on the money with this. And to keep in line with Nats topic, I have started to give myself permission to be HONEST! I am a very ‘nice’ and kind woman, but I spent my life not being very honest in terms of how I really felt about people. I was so famished for romantic love and acceptance that I guys who I really didn’t respect as men, admire as men, or thought that highly of. I felt I was ‘above’ and ‘better’ than these guys actually. I give myself permission to be honest now and I don’t worry so much about being ‘polite’. A month or so ago, I essentially ignored a guy while he spoke to me at a coffee shop the I frequent. I mean I literally acted like he wasn’t there. This was after he approached my table a few weeks before and made a smart ass comment to me out of no where. About a week ago I gave the owner of the coffee shop such a cold shoulder to let her know under no uncertain terms that I didn’t want to type of rapport with her. Late last year, I came into the door behind her at the coffee shop and this women tried to let the door shut in my face. I don’t know that woman, I don’t speak to the woman, all I know is that she is an ugly spirited women who owns the coffee shop that I frequent. Last week she tried to start a conversation with me and I wasn’t having it. I enjoy her shop and I enjoy her baristas but I gave myself permission to be honest and not speak to her instead of polite. I just got to the point of seeing how ‘holding back’ was making me sick and being pissed because I spent all this time, effort, and energy faking, fronting, pumping them up and I still didn’t get my needs met. It was all par for the course as I wasn’t being honest anyways. I thought these guys were too low on the man totem pole truly. I came to see that I am the manager and coordinator of my life. I am a grown woman and I am already made and defined. THE COMMENTS SECTION AND SUGGESTION BOX IS CLOSED LOL! I am serious, my likeability, lovability, worthiness, and respectability is not up the next person! I am grown and I have earned my stripes of life and living. I work every day to come out of being that wounded abused puppy who is just begging for anyone to take her in.

      • oona says:

        Thank you so much ljsrmissy for your reply – its the first post I’ve made and I’ve been following this web site for about 1 1/2 years and it makes me feel so much better – outing myself.
        I couldn’t come back to see any replies for over two weeks because it is so emotional for me so you may never see this but I hope you do.
        Your reply made me smile so much because I can connect with your experiences even though they are different. Yes I totally agree with you about the socialization of young women without consciously realizing into a pleasing woman, where women who really say no or stand out are vilified and ostrasized by both men and women in our societies.
        To answer your question about my physical situation I am now disabled permanently as a result of the abuse – let alone the mental/emotional abuse – I am coming to terms not only with having different feelings and opinions and learning for the first time to assert them but also being very aware I am now also physically different to the majority of people in the world. I am wrestling with trying to hide it/ not hiding it (it is possible with certain clothing etc) and to be honest I have some days good some bad.
        I willowed at seeing my caring elderly Neighbour’s face turn white as he politely asked me ‘how I was now’ and I actually told him the truth. In the hospital even though I knew I was different and couldn’t hide it – everyone was different and no-one made me feel less than or knackered as a prospective member of our society – in the least they were able to not make it visible to me – so I came out of hospital actually really confident. I had survived nearly dying after all! and I had a miracle solution, a medical marvel from great respectful surgeons that kept me alive. Stigma? What for? I didn’t evan think I was disabled/different/wrong. I still felt myself – if not stronger for my new understandings.
        It is hardening myself to others reactions I think I am working on. Its one thing being and expressing that you are different, its another dealing with others reactions when you have a history of bad reactions to you – which you believed and felt yourself.
        In a way its a blessing for me to have this disability because it is going to make me have to be honest about being different.
        There is no hiding it once the clothes are off and for half of the year my body easily looks distorted/disfigured with light summer clothes on. This is possibly a metaphor for every one who hides their differences in any relationship – your difference will always be found out eventually so you might as well deal with it upfront like ljsrmissy and Natalie and me hopefully… here’s to not willowing to others reactions. Which I believe is coming from a sub conscious need to gain validation/love externally. Good luck y’all!

  7. oona says:

    ps Natalie I can’t tell you what twin peaks is about either and I was addicted to it in the 80’s – I even tried to watch it again recently but actually turned it off founding it just too bad to bear it…I understood Top of The Lake though even though I know loads didn’t. Go figure?

  8. Nigella says:

    I remember the times the ex took wide-eyed interest in everything I told him, including things about my cruelty-free lifestyle based on empathy for animals. To show his support for my eating choices, he appeared at my doorstep a few times with bags full of my favorite fruits and vegetables. No wonder my usual reserve melted and I granted the charmer access to my heart. I adored him. Of his own accord, he never ate meat around me – and perhaps this is one reason I felt such an intense attraction to him. To his credit, he never lied to me about consuming animal products. I appreciated his honesty on this matter and respected his right to eat whatever he wants. I don’t allow others to impose their choices on me – and in turn I don’t expect them to conform to mine.

    Somewhere down the line, I started to sense that he didn’t really *respect* our differences. I sensed his ambivalence. He swung from being compassionate & caring to controlling & critical of my eating choices. In fact a couple of times – under the guise of “teasing” me – he said that I’m “following a trend” and “depriving” and “repressing” myself by not consuming animal products. Of course, I reminded him that being vegetarian for five years and vegan for another five years does not qualify as a trend, but rather as a long-term commitment that is integral to my individuality. The food I eat nourishes not only my body, but also my soul & heart. Because I didn’t act compliant around him, didn’t allow him to fast-forward our relationship, the chopper began to displace the charmer. During the run-up to the break-up, he passed snide comments on my choice of clothing & TV shows. Basically, he couldn’t *accept* or discuss our differences. In his break-up email, for the first & final time he said that he couldn’t “bridge our social and professional differences”. If I’m expected to morph myself to be with someone – turn into their clone – then I’d rather be on my own.

    Recently, I ate roasted peanuts & discovered a tad late that the box listed “gelatin” – often made from pig skin – as an ingredient. I didn’t beat myself up for this mistake – just passed on the box to a peanut-loving friend. I also laughed at the realization that although I’ve been uber-conscious of the things I purchase & consume – taking the time to read labels to avoid products incompatible with my beliefs – I’ve not been half as careful about the people I allowed into my life. I didn’t take the time needed to read them properly before investing in them. Of course, people are not inert things that come with an accurate & complete list of ingredients or disclaimers. One of the best lessons BR taught me is that people unfold – and either intentionally or unintentionally they could be misrepresenting themselves to me. For this reason, it’s my responsibility to ensure that I’m not overlooking things in them that might not be right for me. I understand that the differences between me and others might seem unbridgeable or unacceptable to some people.

    Maybe someday I’ll find someone capable of accepting me for who I am. More importantly, I need to accept myself. My parents, siblings, and close friends are aware of the fact that I’m bisexual – and accept me as I am. But I’m terrified of colleagues discovering this side of me. I fear my professional reputation might be compromised if people find out. Living under the weight of this secret is soul-crushing. Easily, I pass as straight. I don’t understand my fear of coming out. I’m pretending to be someone I’m not. I’m hiding my difference from others. I can’t accept myself…as yet.

    • lizzp says:

      Nigella, You demonstrate time and time again through your comments here, your active commitment to not only self awareness but following through by being and living authentically the best that you can, by wanting to live your truth. With patience, honesty, hard self reflection and time you seem to have discovered so much about yourself, your values, your feelings and your current and past relationships in the wake of Mr liar. Give yourself the same now – time patience and trust in your self and continue down your own path. I am not bi sexual and can’t therefore speak from personal experience, however I do want to say that personal authenticity is just that – it is personal. There seem to be some globalised western trends that pump home a message that authenticity is the same thing as ‘baring all’. In that context I have occasionally wondered if some people ‘come out’ as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual in response to this trend, in a manner and/or with timing that is not really of their own choosing. What I am imperfectly and clumsily trying to say is that you already have all you need inside to keep being and living as you. Trust that you too will deal with the conflict you are experiencing in a way or ways that are true and right for you.

      • lizzp says:

        Nigella, I wanted to say that it may be useful to see the question of coming out as you experiencing a conflict inside. This does not mean that you “..are pretending to be someone” you are not because we are not the sum total of the conflicts we must deal with on a regular basis throughout our lives.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Lizzp,

          Really? I beg to differ. I feel the we represent the sum total of our experiences in life, both the negative and the positive. Hopefully, we learn from the negative experiences and try to effect more of the positive as we mature and grow older.

      • oona says:

        Lzzp – That’s really interesting! Yes I can relate to the idea that baring all, all of the time externally may not actually be in your own best interests/loving. It is internally accepting your difference where the real acceptance is needed. If you are not in the company of tolerant accepting people of – difference – to out yourself purposefully to a hostile crowd knowingly without support, then, may be an act almost of self harm….but I also do see the need to see some sort of a mirror of who you feel is your true self, outside of yourself.
        I guess we have to make a choice when we feel we need to listen to our ‘be safe instinct’ and when to listen to our ‘we are safe to take a risk instinct’?
        And to acknowledge that others responses to us is their response and not in our control. Some may be good, some may be not so good. But we are still the same person deserving of love no matter what their response is.

        • lizzp says:

          Oona,

          “If you are not in the company of tolerant accepting people of – difference – to out yourself purposefully to a hostile crowd knowingly without support, then, may be an act almost of self harm….but I also do see the need to see some sort of a mirror of who you feel is your true self, outside of yourself.
          I guess we have to make a choice when we feel we need to listen to our ‘be safe instinct’ and when to listen to our ‘we are safe to take a risk instinct’?”

          I think you word that really well. I have seen people indiscriminately bare their all in the name of ‘authenticity’ and much of the time the irony is that they are in fact doing this in the name of ‘validation’. Validation from ‘unfit sources’ if you like. Validation from both unknown strangers and known others who have already showed themselves as unsafe for that person on an emotional level. I have done the latter periodically in my past, in the days when I was oblivious to myself and my motivations. I am not that person any more thank God. It is indeed self harming behaviour. You are so right in that we do better to hone our intuition so as to respect our needs and know our own limits around what is and is not safe for us.

          I admire the strength you show in moving forward from what reads (above) as a terribly violent/traumatic past relationship. Be proud of this wonderful achievement as often as you can.

    • Pauline says:

      Nigella

      Have you spoken to a good therapist about being terrified of being found out that you are bisexual and the impact it may have on your professional career and other people who through their own prejudice’s won’t accept you for who you are?

      I’m not sure I see why you feel you have to come out and I don’t think it’s anyone’s business but yours. Seriously! In this information age it seems to be accepted that it’s quite normal for anyone to poke and pry and intrude into people’s personal lives and then splash it all over the media as if it’s some sort of god given right, it isn’t!
      Just look at the garbage that is placed on the so called social media sites every day, I can’t look at any of it, it turns my stomach.

      Your family and close friends know you’re bisexual, how do you know there aren’t a lot more people who know and aren’t saying anything because it’s of no consequence as to how you do your job and how you live your life and your values.
      I for one, am in awe of the depth, clarity, care and insight of your comments to other posters here on BR. This is who you are and quite frankly the fact that you are bisexual doesn’t matter a damn.

      I think if you talk to a good therapist you will come to believe that you are a lot more than who you might be sleeping with. After all, who really gives a fuck what other judgemental, prejudiced, screw ups think?

      • Mike from Oztralia says:

        This is a great post, and as per usual good conversation.

        Re the herd, I’ve never been a herd follower for various reasons.

        The hardest thing many of us face in life is accepting oneself.

        There is some good advice here for Nigella.

        Permit me to give a personal anecdote.

        I have a disability. Dyslexia. It’s not like I have an obvious physical disability.

        My schooling and childhood was shaped by negative messages. I was labeled lazy, dumb, didn’t try hard enough, wouldn’t amount to much…

        But I did. Somehow along the way I developed the resilience to cope. But it came at a cost with an inner voice that was harshly critical for much of my 40 plus years.

        I didn’t have myself properly assessed until my early 40s. For years I was terrified of confronting the truth. “I can’t be!” I kept telling myself.

        So I went and got tested, spoke to experts. And it was true.

        So much of my life, the struggles I’d experienced and had to overcome just made bloody sense.

        I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t choose dyslexia. I was born that way. It was not my fault. I spent a day crying like a child when that realisation hit me. I was angry with my parents and the education system. But they didn’t know either.

        Fear, misunderstanding and silence is what makes it so much harder.

        Even after that it took me a year to tell people. Because I was afraid of being judged, or even worse people thinking I was using it as an excuse for laziness/stupidity.

        But then I realised: I’m different.

        I am neurologically wired differently from 90%-95% of the population. I can’t follow the herd as my cognitive thought processes are different.

        I’ve told people. Some of them have been wonderfully supportive and accepting. Others less so.

        But I can’t control how they feel, I can only control how I feel.

        I realised in hiding my disability I was really trying to control people’s reactions and emotions. I will no longer spend my life trying to please others or hope they accept me.

        I accept me.

        The people who love me and who I invite into my life will, or must, accept me.

        And dam those who don’t – if they lack the empathy or compassion to broaden their minds and open their hearts they’re the very people I don’t need.

        • Teachable says:

          I get this Mike. I am dealing with a disability also (which in my case, means I cannot work atm) but I fear that this makes me ‘undatable’ because it has left me unemployed. Thankfully, life wont always be this way for me. I admire your attitude in relation to dealing with having a disability.

          I have an ‘invisble disability’. Few understand because they think ‘I look ok’. They don’t see though my struggle behind the scenes at times, to participate in life in what from the outside, may seem like a normal way. Things like no longer being able to do a million things in a day. For me, at least at this stage, a couple or few things only, is now my limit.

          I even had an ex tell me (we seperated before I became unwell but after time apart were on civil speaking terms when he told me this), that he ‘didn’t believe that I was that sick’! I was gobsmacked and dropped him like a sack of potatoes. I thought yeah right you idiot. That would be because you have not been in my life at all since before I became unwell, and having never, ever, even once accompanied me to a single one of many Dr’s and hospital visits, you know what exactly? Didly bloody squat! I got rid of him completely after that, even as an aquaintance.

          Thanks for this post about dealing with disability. I found it inspiring and your attitude is great. :)

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Hi Nigella,

        I don’t think your fear of being discovered is valid because you are a woman of great wisdom and savoir faire. Certainly you would not initiate an intimate relationship with someone on the job. Right? So what are you concerned about. I’m sure you conduct yourself in accordance with the highest level of professionality. I see no reason why anyone would suspect you’re bisexual. Anyone who does should mind his/her own business and focus on the work to be done. I sense that YOU have some feelings of discomfort about your sexual orientation which you need to work on. Also, I’m sure you know that people are generally not as curious about others as you may imagine and fear. They’re too wrapped up in their own lives and trying to maintain order of same. Forget it, honey. It is not an issue in the workplace because you conduct yourself beyond reproach. (((Hugs))), Tink.

    • Nigella says:

      Lizzp, Pauline, Mike, and Tinkerbell.

      Thanks for your helpful comments. Having read them, I feel the fog is clearing from my mind regarding the question of coming out. Lizzp, for me everything boils down to these magic words spliced together in your comment: “Live your truth”. Thanks for this quotable reminder. The truth is I’m not interested in dating anyone right now but this doesn’t stop me from feeling attracted to an external auditor of our firm. However dull this might sound, I do enjoy listening to her distil a report of our accounts. She is bright & beautiful. Over lunch two weeks ago, she made her attraction to me crystal clear. Old habits die hard: I did entertain the thought of hoping on a plane with her to the Maldives for a lot of sunshine and sex. Some things are better imagined than lived – and now that I’ve berated myself enough for my dissolute thought I know that I’m just flattered & overextended at work. Using sex to cope with stress is not going to help me. Next time we meet, I’ll tell her I’m not interested. Even if I weren’t grieving the end of my last relationship, I’d still be unwilling to date her despite our mutual attraction.

      The *truth* is I won’t date anyone – male or female – if they’re a part of my professional network. Tinkerbell: How did you intuit this about me?! By getting *extracurricularly & emotionally entangled* with someone within that network, I can’t risk putting my career interests & job responsibilities into jeopardy. In case there is a fallout, I know that’ll affect my performance & peace of mind at the job front. Just as I resisted the temptation to break this rule of mine before, I’ll do the same now. I’m an innately & extremely introverted person – and as a result disinclined to share details about my personal life with people I meet at work. Even around friends & family, I prefer to listen more & talk less. For me, it is a lot easier to write than to speak. This is not to say that I am uncommunicative. I speak my mind but – as Lizzp and Pauline have helped me remind myself – it is not necessary to *bare* it all. I have the right to be *discreet* about some things. This – contrary to what I was thinking – does not mean that I am “pretending to be someone I’m not” or that I am “fooling” others.

      Had I been left-handed instead of right-handed, I doubt I’d feel the need to shout it from the rooftops that I’m left-handed. I’m different than most people I encounter on a daily basis as far as my sexuality is concerned. But I’m under *no* obligation to come out to anyone. This is not to say that I subscribe to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” line of thinking and thus judge people if they are open about being bi or homosexual. Like Mike, I want to care less about how others might perceive me for being different than them. Pauline, at your suggestion, I asked myself: “Why are you terrified of being found out at work?” Because I don’t want people’s prejudices affecting their assessment of my job performance. Because I don’t want people – especially women – to assume that I might be attracted to them and thus feel uncomfortable collaborating with me.

      In my dealings with men & women at work, I stay within the bounds of my profession. In writing all of this out, I’ve come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t tax my mind with fears about *their* assumptions or prejudices about me. If narrow-minded people feel the need to fetishize & judge this aspect of my identity, then that is there choice. The intolerance & prejudice of a bigot is not my problem. I didn’t choose to be born the way I am. But I can choose not to be affected by what others think of me – good or bad, true or false. If they can’t tolerate our differences, then that is their burden to bear – not mine. I don’t need to carry their *baggage*. I do need to ensure that I continue to perform my duties & climb the ladder in a surefooted manner.

      I asked myself: “If you were (a) not recovering from the last relationship and (b) not dealing with the auditor in any professional sense, would you then be okay with people at work finding out that you are dating a woman?” This is my truth: “No, I won’t be comfortable with people finding out”. This has nothing to do with her gender. It has to do with my need for personal space. Unless someone earns my trust and shows that he or she is in it for the long run, I am not interested in mentioning – let alone broadcasting – details about my dating life. I crave privacy – not secrecy. I crave space – and some time to understand someone on my own before involving others in the relationship. The Liar tried to rush me into meeting more of his friends, thus revealing that he couldn’t or didn’t understand this need of mine for space & time. Unlike him, I didn’t consider it important to parade our relationship to others. I requested more private time together. In response, I got the boot.

      The best kick I got. It pushed me ahead to much better things.

      • Mike from Oztralia says:

        Nigella,

        Likewise, I work in a professional environment. Actually, the legal environment (not a lawyer BTW). I live in a sea of perfectionists and whose living is predicated on words and their precise use, meaning and spelling. And I’m dyslexic. The irony huh?

        But I only inform people if a) I feel there is sufficient trust and b) it is important in the context of a personal/professional relationship.

        The first and most important step, which you seem to be doing much more readily, is to accept yourself. To stop that inner voice that judges who you are and your actions.

        I look back at my posts on BR and see many, many spelling/grammatical errors. This is typical for me. But has anyone here said anything? Or even cares? When I look at them I sometimes wince. But mostly, I shrug my shoulders and say “People will understand my intent and what I’m trying to say.”

        I get the social sanctions are different, and the prejudice is not the same. So it is not a like-for-like comparison.

        Like you I’m staying away from the dating scene and romantic entanglements. I’m working through a long list of personal to dos. More importantly, the “work” I’m doing on myself and that is facilitating my healing I see as the best investment for the future I can make.

        There are days when it is a hard space to be. There are times when it is more than OK, even great. And there are times when it is just being. But I recognise the importance of this time.

    • Mymble says:

      Nigella,

      I can see why you would feel conflicted about coming out. The trouble is that heterosexual people “come out” about their sexuality constantly and without even thinking about it, (talking about wives, girlfriends and boyfriends, who they fancy) and they also will make assumptions about you too. We are not robots and sexuality is there in the workplace. I can see that that would be deeply uncomfortable at times and feel as though you were living a lie. At the same time, it may well have an impact upon your working / professional relationships, so that is something to consider too.
      I remember when a colleague came out as gay, I think in many ways he felt much more authentic and comfortable with himself having done so. I was glad for him that he did and for me it was easier to relate to him. However it has to be said that some of my male colleagues have said distasteful things behind his back. Prejudice is still there.
      I can see that it would be a dilemma and a balance to be struck between authenticity and openness on the one hand and safety and privacy on the other.

      • Mymble says:

        Nigella,
        I wrote the above before your latest comment appeared, clearly you’ve made a decision that works for you, for now at least. If you do form a stable relationship with a woman in future, I think you may be looking at this issue again, but that bridge can be crossed when/if you come to it.

        • Nigella says:

          Mymble,

          Thanks for your comment. Your thoughtful wording of my dilemma – choosing between authenticity and safety OR striking a balance between these options – really moved me. For now, I don’t feel comfortable being *open* about my sexual orientation in a professional context. My feelings for the auditor temporarily muddied my thoughts. The fact that she’s a part of my professional circle makes it difficult – nay, impossible – for me to reciprocate her interest. This is unfortunate. But I’ll have to exercise caution and self-control in our future interactions – for my own sake as well as hers.

          Yes, I agree. Heterosexual folk don’t have to label themselves as such. Their actions and casual conversations inadvertently reveal their sexual orientation. Regardless of whether I’m dating a man or a woman, I prefer not to talk at all or at length about them unless I feel the relationship has the potential to grow and last. Unfortunately, the majority of people I’ve dated – men or women – have felt the need to declare us as a couple a bit too soon for my comfort. Often my interest in them nosedived because of what I perceived as their *exhibitionist* behavior: snapping (respectable) pictures of me or us in order to post them on FB or insisting on introducing me to their friends, family, and colleagues early in the dating stage. To me, such things feel downright disconcerting. One thing is for sure: I can’t allow fast-forwarders or attention-seekers into my life.

          In the past, whenever I dated a woman, I *monitored* what I said and did in public for the sake of our privacy & safety. Being a mega-introvert, I found it easy to be reticent about the person I might be dating – and although I never felt the need to put up snog sessions for public edification, I found it challenging not to show *any* physical affection to my gfs in public spaces. This sort of self-monitoring takes its toll on the relationship since people sooner or later begin to feel stifled, ashamed, and dissatisfied.

          So will I make the same mistakes with different women? How much am I going to police my behavior, censor my speech? Is it fun or fulfilling to date someone if I can’t be spontaneous and affectionate around her? How long do I expect to hide like a coward? Is it a crime to hold hands in the park? Is it a sin to rest my head on her shoulder in the tube after a 12-hour day at the office? Is it sick to greet her with a kiss at the airport? If I ever date a woman, I don’t see myself introducing or *talking* about her to my colleagues until I’m certain the relationship has the potential to deepen and flourish. This takes time – minimum 2-3 months. However, unlike my former secret flings, I don’t see the point in stopping myself from showing a *decent* amount of affection to my gf in public spaces. If colleagues see us – assuming they have good taste – I think they’ll appreciate the beautiful sight. If not, they can sod off. I’m tired of policing myself. I’m so tired.

          For anyone – like me – fearing rejection, intolerance, or judgment, here is a quotation to bolster your morale: “Before you judge me, make sure you’re perfect”.

          Mike,

          Talking of perfection, I can imagine the sort of creatures you encounter swimming in a sea of perfectionists. Sometimes they’re described as “sharks”. I got my JD and MBA a few years ago – and I’m glad I chose to be a management consultant rather than a litigator. Most of the lawyers I encounter at work, I admire for their remarkable skills and grit. But experience tells me again and again that despite their herculean efforts, none of them are perfect. Of course, nor am I. Far. From. It.

          • Mymble says:

            Nigella,
            I’m an introvert too and struggle with this.
            Here’s a very trivial example but nonetheless it left me flustered and uncomfortable.
            On Friday afternoon the fish van pulled up as usual in my street and I went out to buy some fish.
            Fish van man says “Whaurs your husband, haven’t seen him aboot lately!”. He has of course moved out lang time syne! Cringe, blush. I said something along the lines of “Mmmph, 3 pieces of haddock please” and retreated clutching my fish as soon as I could.
            The truth is, I am ashamed and afraid of people’s judgement of me. Especially my neighbours and such like. I sometimes have no more backbone than a haddock fillet.

            • Nigella says:

              Mymble,

              Mr. Fisher fished for information that is none of his business. He should focus on selling fillets rather than playing sleuth in search of the whereabouts of your husband. No need to beat yourself up for the reply you gave. It was terse & transactional – as it ought to be. You eschewed his bait by not coughing up *personal* info about your husband.

              Insofar as your neighbors are concerned, even if they epitomize perfection, they have no right to judge you. Only imperfect and unhappy people feel the need to judge others. Their judgement does not matter – and it will not matter the day you stop judging yourself. Like you, I sometimes flog myself for acting in a spineless manner because of what I did or did not *say* to someone. I cannot speak for you but my self-punitive style of thinking is tiring me out. Negative self-talk has to stop. I choose not to be aggressive like the people I encounter on a daily basis. But I can learn to be more assertive.

              From what I can assume about you based on your comments to me, you do have a backbone (though you might not be fully aware of what a strong one you have). If you lacked a backbone or a *mind* of your own, then like the bigoted boys at your workplace you might be saying “distasteful” things about homosexuals behind their backs. If you were a herd-follower, then you would be thinking that non-heterosexuals are sinful, corrupted predators or freaks. But you do not think such disparaging and destructive things because you are an independent, open-minded, refined, and compassionate thinker. Far from judging or persecuting others, you demonstrate the ability to respect, live, and work alongside people in spite of their differences from you. This is who you are. These are your strengths that should be recognized and celebrated by you and others.

              I do care about what my family, friends, clients, and trusted colleagues think of me. But I do not fear their judgements of me. But for now I do *fear* the judgement of only those people who can directly or indirectly have an impact on my career, my income, my professional reputation and influence. I am not sure what steps I need to take to minimize or *manage* my fears in this respect. My appetite for recognition and success is huge. I am hungry. I cannot allow bigotry to get in my way. You and I can overcome our fear of judgement.

              Remember your strengths. Please.

  9. Noquay says:

    Nat, I actually DO know what Twin Peaks is; a forest service campground 20 miles southwest of here!
    Yep, as a triracial kid from an impoverished, highly abusive situation, fitting in was never an option in the lilly white, suburban environment I found myself in from ages 10-17. My family then, uneducated, dysfunctional, tried to fit in, didn’t, and dealt with the pain through alcoholism, drugs, and screaming arguments. No thanks. Since I bailed out of the home at 17, I pursued a life based upon respect for nature, traditional ways and totally devoid of middle class American values and obsession with convenience. I also set very high standards for myself for my intellectual development, work ethic, and towards maintaining my health. To this day, now that I am in my 50s, folks have a hard time with my insistence on keeping my farm, needing to be close to the woods, my preference for a good book over television sets, microwave ovens, refrigerators, and much of the gobbledygook of modern life. I also catch h@## because I refuse to accept men who lack a work ethic, are not intellectually inclined, are unhealthy, and generally do not have their act together. I cannot fix then; nor do I want to. Just gave wannabe down and out stalker #5, the short shrift last night. I feel sorry for young folks these days. Their upbringings were so tightly schedules, they seem so dependent on approval from ephemeral sources such as Face plant, Tweeter, etc. I am not sure many of them even know who they are. I see them coming into adulthood with zero independent living skills, no ability to read people in real life, no ability to reflect or be alone, depend on their own stregnths. This is the generation that must face a world with diminishing fossil fuels, the effects of global climate change, and the collapse of the growth dependent economy that will force society to go back to self sufficiency. Seriously worried.

    • lizzp says:

      I suspect Twin Peaks was mostly to do with some seriously weird stuff floating round in David Lynch’s head. From vague memory that included a finger clicking midget dancing to low key background jazz and maybe a red door. Doesn’t seem worth the potential confusion of going there even now.

      Ha, just remembered a Freudian take I once heard – the Twin Peaks supposedly symbolised a pair of women’ breasts. Late 80s David Lynch analysis/head shrink trend anybody? ;-)

  10. Lee says:

    So here is my big difference from the norm:

    I, along with my 10yr old son, live with my Dad. We moved here from another state after my Mom passed away. Prior to her passing she asked me to move here to keep an eye on Dad for her. I was happy to do it and still am. I’ve had to re-build my business so being here with my dad has afforded me the support needed to do this. My son (whose father left when I was 7 months pregnant) adores his grandpa who is a wonderful male role model in his life. This living arrangement isn’t for forever, but it works for all of us now.

    My guy dropped a bomb on me last night, which I am having difficulty processing. He said that because I live with my Dad that I don’t allow another guy to be the alpha male in my life. He said that men want to be protectors and providers and that I don’t have the space for that in my life.

    My question to him was, “if you and I aren’t yet at a point of marriage or living together then how can you expect to be my provider and protector?” He couldn’t answer the question.

    I have expressed to him that if we do get to the point of marriage that I prefer traditional roles. To me the man is the head of the household.

    A side note that may be worth mentioning is that during this same conversation my guy became very upset at the fact that “he grew on me” instead of knocking my socks off at our first meeting. He says that he fell in love with me the minute he met me as he believes in love at first sight and is a romantic. I’m more pragmatic I guess. I needed a few dates to decide if I wanted to give it a go with him. We’ve talked about this before at which time he actually laughed about it. Now, he has a problem with it.

    I think he may be “reaching” for issues.

    • lizzp says:

      Lee, stay on top of this. You have your head screwed on right judging from your comment. Read posts on amber and red alerts and see what you think. It’s not the the time to ignore gut feelings and your intuition. Look carefully and honestly for any other warning signs earlier on as well as now. I’m not saying judge and sentence him to the gutter but stay alert, relaxed and with yourself.

      • lizzp says:

        Your “side note” is, IMO, the more pertinent information by the way and it is that you should probably be thinking about in relation to code amber and even maybe red alerts.

      • Lee says:

        Hi LizzP,
        Thanks so much….I continue to devour everything you all post and find it enlightening.

        I’m watching very carefully for anything else that seems out of the norm.

        Lee

    • ljsrmissy says:

      Lee, I think he is reaching for issue too. Nothing he said made sense. How long have you been dating him? Has he offered to have you and your son stay with him?

      • Lee says:

        Hi ljsrmissy,
        I am beginning to think that he is intimidated by the fact that my Dad is a priority to me. Just as much as my son is. This is family!! I’ve even communicated to him that if we are to marry then he too will enjoy that high level of attention and loyalty. Not sure he understands that.

        We’ve been dating off and on for over two years. And yes, my son and I have stayed at his place a few times. Although doing that is a bit complicated because I have weekends off and he has Monday & Tuesday off. So we have stayed with him on a Fri or Sat night then just go home the next day when he leaves for work.

        Trying to do the best I can for this man.

        Thanks for your reply!!

        Lee

        • lizzp says:

          “He says that he fell in love with me the minute he met me as he believes in love at first sight and is a romantic.”

          Lee, it’s really this sentence that set my alarm bells off as it suggests a lack of maturity. You also say that he is or recently has been very reactive to the fact that you do not feel that you fell in love at first sight. Given I know nothing about the general quality of your two year dating relationship other than you saying it has been “on and off”, on its own, reactivity like that might be a further sign of an adolescent mind set. I have the same question as Teachable really but on a more general level; how has the relationship been progressing generally? Are you both moving it forward together? The on off thing raises these questions for me. Your guy’s concerns re your father would only make sense if he was after two years expecting to and asking you to move the relationship forward and you were resisting with your own excuses. Or if you have not been giving or reducing quality/intimacy building time with him.

          • Lee says:

            Hi lizzp,

            Our relationship hasn’t been without it’s issues and struggles. We have both stated to each other the desire to spend our lives together.

            He has messed up in big ways on several occasions….at which point I “run” as he calls it. I like to think that I’m taking time to decompress and think. He thinks I’ve always had one foot in and one foot out of our relationship. I would agree with that statement. In the 2+ years I’ve known him I’ve not met a single one of his friends AND he still has online dating profiles in place (although he says he never visits them). These 2 facts (and his indescretions) are what keep one foot in and one foot out of the relationship for me. I’ve asked him to take the profiles down AND to meet his friends and he’s not done either. I’ve pulled back because of this. I dislike ultimatums and feel that these are things that he simply has chosen to NOT do for me, and that speaks volumes regarding his level of commitment.

            So with these statements regarding “alpha male” and me not falling in love with him instantly I am thinking that he is looking for things to try and make me look or feel bad because he hasn’t been the model boyfriend himself.

            I just don’t know.

            Lee

            • Pauline says:

              Lee

              You haven’t met any of his friends in 2+ years of going out and he’s told you that he’s not going to introduce you anyway! What the what!
              He still has his profile up on dating sites and wont take them down? People who truly love each other don’t go trolling around on dating sites looking for ‘friends’.
              Indiscretions, what the what!

              I’m not the least bit surprised that you only have one foot in this relationship and didn’t fall for that love at first sight routine that he’s running past you and trying to get you to believe.
              Men who love you don’t do stuff like this.

              You don’t have to give him an ultimatum. You make a decision based on the facts you already have regarding this man’s behaviour, fast forwarding, never met any of his friends, trolling around dating sites, and he’s trying to make out its all your fault, you’re not as romantic as him blah blah blah!

              I think you already know what to do and you’re putting off the inevitable. The only thing you’re going to lose is a toxic, going nowhere relationship.

        • ljsrmissy says:

          Miss Lee,

          I’m not sure if he is truly ‘intimidated’. If he was truly concerned about being the ‘alpha male’ in your life he would AT LEAST take down his ‘im still looking for chicks’ dating profile and introduce/incorporate you into his world by introducing you to his friends….FOR STARTERS. A men who is truly concerned about that will think ‘I know what I will do, I will make her MINE! My partner, my WIFE, that way I can SUPPORT HER in caring for HER, HER FATHER, AND HER SON, and be the ‘alpha male’ in her life. A decent enough man is not going to do anything to create an adversarial vibe/energy/air/impression with a woman he is seeing and her own son and father. Sounds like it is coming from a self serving feed my male ego type place.

    • Mike from Oztralia says:

      Lee, that’s a hard argument to discuss. Trust your own intuitions. Does it feel like an excuse?

      God knows I’ve leant a lot about how individuals can project their own fears onto you or your situation this past few months.

      • Lee says:

        Hi Mike,

        Project their own fears onto you?? I’m not sure I understand what that means.

        • Mike from Oztralia says:

          For example, the person may feel anxious of afraid to commit. But rather than admit that make someone or something else the cause of that fear.

          Thus they might say “I can’t commit to you because you wear red shoes! I hate red shoes!”

          They latch onto something as an object of their frustration. It doesn’t even need to make sense, as long it provides a plausible excuse for them.

          Really they are thinking “I can’t commit because I’m afraid I’ll feck it up, am not worthy or afraid I’ll miss out on sooooo many other things”.

          Hope that makes sense.

    • Teachable says:

      “He said that because I live with my Dad that I don’t allow another guy to be the alpha male in my life. He said that men want to be protectors and providers and that I don’t have the space for that in my life.”

      Hi Lee. Guys do need to feel that they are providers and protectors as part of a bigger picture but this guy sounds full of shite. If we don’t need a guy, they will wonder why they are with us? This is partly a gender role thing, but also, females too, like to think that we are needed by our mates, (in a different way perhaps).

      Has this guy offered for your son and yourself to move in with him and is your relationship at that stage even? A lot of women wouldn’t consider such a thing if they weren’t at least engaged. As the saying goes why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free. Many of us with old fashioned values wouldn’t agree to being strung along co-habiting with some guy who from the outset has no intention of putting a ring on it (old fashioned btw is old fashioned for a REASON. In many ways, tried and tested ways of progressing a relationship actually WORK).

      If this guy is not talking co-habiting with you and your son (whatever this might need to look like for you), this is just waffle from an excuse maker.

      Stay atuned. ;)

      • Lee says:

        Hi Teachable,

        Thanks for your reply!!

        We aren’t even close to a point where marriage is an option and no, I wont live with him unless we are married. I agree on the “old fashioned” way of life. Teaching my son through example trumps a man’s need to “just live together and see what happens” mindset.

        I was able to get a little more info from my guy last night. He said that because he grew on me, that leaves him feeling like he’s had to convince me to love him…..and apparently he still feels that way after all this time.

        Interesting.

        Lee

        • ljsrmissy says:

          Miss Lee,

          You are right about that whole ‘lets just live together and see what happens’ mindset is women hustle 101. Men already know what’s going to happen….NOTHING. Its the women that hold out false hope in those arrangements. As Pauline said, you already know what you should do, but for whatever reason, you don’t want to pull the trigger. What he is saying to add up. You can use your 2+2=4 smarts on this. How in the heck is he talking about ‘he fell in love at first sight’ when he hasn’t introduced you to his people (friends) or taken down his I’m still on the hunt dating profile? He has managed to keep you from people who are important to him, but he somehow can click unsubscribe and delete on a dating profile? 2+2=4 miss Lee. He talks about men wanting to be ‘protectors and providers’ in a womans life, did he SPECIFICALLY say that HE wanted to be the protector and provider for YOU AND YOUR SON? He said ‘because you live with your father’….was that an offer for you and your son to move in with him regardless of his work schedule? Men a problem solvers, did he offer any SOLUTIONS to the ‘grasping at straws’ issues he has with you? We women must listen to what isn’t said as well as what is said….listening to his actions is even better! He said something about having to ‘convince’ you to love him….what does that mean? Again, this coming from a man who is till looking at other women on dating sites and you haven’t been incorporated into his life for real(sleepovers don’t count. You are right, he is reaching for stuff to put you into the hot seat. I think you are right in your assessment. Men know women are prone to guilt and we are the ones who bend over backwards to keep the illusion that everything is alright…including explaining ourselves about and apologizing for transgressions that aren’t even transgressions, just some flimsly, phantom, willy nilly, thing he made up to ‘divert’ you.

        • ThreeDLife says:

          Lee,
          The guy I was seeing on and off for a year and a half said something similar. He had this romantic idea we should have a “story” of the way we met, and since we didn’t meet in a storybook manner (we met online), he used it as an excuse as to why we weren’t “meshing.” It was basically an excuse to distance himself. I would be wary. This is at least an amber flag. The not meeting friends after 2 years is a red flag in my book.
          All the best,
          ThreeDLife

  11. rachael says:

    wtf is twin peaks…. i wanna know now!

  12. Teachable says:

    As an adult, the things which are allowed to influence me are carefully chosen. As a young vulnerable teenage girl this was less so but we all learn our lessons, and mitigating circumstances were at play then (ie no home & no family for even basic protection, as well as not yet being fully developed cognitively and so lacking the mental capacity to fully comprehend the consequences of some of my decisions).

    That said, I tend to be influenced now, only by things that I assess will have a positive influence in my life. i.e. Everyone else is having sex by the third or even sixth date? Tough! It takes a LOT longer than that for me to decide if such a decision will be in my best interersts, and if a guy can’t wait, GOOD. That tells me all I need to know and he can take a hike – the quicker the better!

    Otherwise, I’m headstrong, and personality wise moreso a leader than a follower, so not really influenced by others much, in a general sense. I often find myself influencing other people though; for the better (so I’ve been told).

    On a tangent a bit here but I do sometimes worry that most of the guys out there are tossers (I’m in my mid 40’s). I know they can’t all be, and I’m not exactly putting myself out there right now, but I do hope that when I’m ready to, that there is someone nice out there for me. Nice may sound like a boring word but that is what I’m looking for. Just an ordinary nice guy. I don’t need exciting, drop dead gorgeous, has a high flying job, or any of that other crap. Just honest, employed (lol), decent with good morals, and genuine.

    I’ve been thinking about when I will be ready to date, and of how it’s two years since my ex AC died (fully resolved about all of that now), and noticing that my life (which was completely destroyed by a tsunami of events including workplace bullying leading to serious injury meaning I now cannot work, ex AC demolishing me emotionally, and the fall out of these things) is now slowly starting to settle.

    I’m remain unable to work due for health reasons, and the path back to work for me (this is now my biggest concern) will be via completing my education. I simply cannot work for anymore dodgy employers in organisations that underfunded, overworked and where bullying is rife. I have paid the price of doing this and the time for change came heralded by experiences that almost killed me (including having a heart attack brought on by work related stress).

    To get back into employment, I need to retrain, and I must acheive a certain grade average or I will not be able to progress to the post grad level which I must do in order to meet my goal of becoming self employed. So far (ie before I became ill) my grades met that level.

    So now I have a dilemna. I fear dating as I don’t want to time being taken from my studies, because if my grades drop, I’m screwed. I recently attempted a return to study but the timing of this was under duress and I’ve been forced to defer (again, groan).

    I will try again later in the year. I went to a car show last weekend and realised that activities such as this are possibly places I might meet a decent available guy (I was only able to attend because I am not studying).

    If I wait until I’m definately sure I’m into the course I need to get into before I start dating again, I will be waiting at least 5 years. This seems like an awfully long time when I am starting to feel emotionally ready.

    Are there guys out there who would understand my predicament I wonder? I also fear that I will assessed as ‘not suitable for dating’ because I cannot work atm. This will not change until my education is complete as I now also have an incurable medical condition and I need to manage this, as well as slowly study to qualify for a new career before I will be able to get back into the workforce.

    I’m desperate to get back to work but if I do this before I am ready and capable of coping with such a thing, my life will only collapse again like a deck of cards.

    Any thoughts folks? Am I persona non gratis until I can work again as far as dating goes. I do own my house and have only my retirement left to save for. I have already calculated that I will be able to do this, within the time frame I have left until retirement, by the time I anticipate being able to return to work (so indeed I have given great thought to taking responsibility for myself financially, even though I cannot work atm).

    Teach.

    • Mike from Oztralia says:

      Teachable – I’d be mindful of listening to yourself and paying attention to what is important. It sounds very much like you’re focused sorting out some of your own personal life.

      It takes time to heal physical, emotional and psychological hurts.

      It may sound simplistic, but “When your ready, you’re ready.” Be mindful of boundaries and what it is you want when you head back into the dating world.

      I’m coming up to 3 months since my last relationship. I’ve not dated, hooked up or pursued anything romantic. My focus is very much on myself and the care of my daughter for the 50% of the time I have her. It’s helping enormously. I’m seeing friends – but also importantly taking time for myself to reflect, rebuild and think about the future.

      I can see myself in this space for at lest another 3, 4 or even six months. I’m putting my focus and energy into new projects and life goals.

      I’ve adopted the motto “Be the person you’d want to be with”. Putting myself in the right space, sorting out some issues and keeping healthy means I’m more likely to meet the right person.

  13. Peanut says:

    Jennifer,

    You know, I get it.

    I think it would have been fine and actually good for her had you told her no and just not let up.

    But I understand. My grandmother is super controlling and also likes to hoard thinngs. I am the opposite, clutter makes me nutty.

    It came down to a point where in order to donate/throw some things away that I had left of mine after I moved out, I would have had to pry them from her hands.

    I eventually said, “Fine, keep them; now they are yours.”

    Yes, I could hav fought her on this and picked them up a day she wasn’t there. But, I decided to let it go, let her win and I barely even think of it

    I do care for her, but she is beyond a difficult woman, so, yes, I pick my battles.

    So I understand.

  14. teachable says:

    Thanks Mike. I do realise that getting bk to study (& coping with this, whilst also dealing w health issues) is more important than dating atm, which is why I’m not currently dating (ie totally off the market in self imposed exile).

    I learned to ‘be the person I wanted to attract’ in my early 20’s, as wisdom passed onto me by a mentor at the time. I’ve had this ethos for 2 decades but I still haven’t met ‘the one’.

    That ethos led to me being educated for a professiional career (in my former profession, at which I did very well achievement wise), saving for my home & paying this off on my own, being involved in fitness activitites all of my adult life (prior to illness) & achieving more than I ever set out to with this (I see myself as a bit like the Kung Fu Panda here, lol), not smoking for 15 yrs (relapsed – after heart attack, crazy I know, whilst involved with ex who died. Unable to stop yet though, due to extraordinarily stressful life events – have tried dozens of times & will again a mth from now when there will be a break in stress levels here) & leading a drug & alcohol lifestyle for 24 yrs (this will not be changing for anyone – no matter how much stress! My issues in this area were limited to 6 yrs of my life in my teens & I was most fortunate to get help, that worked, at a very early age. There were also extenuating circumstances in that my usage was underpinned by very serious issues I have since had extensive therapy for, on & off as needed, over the yrs).

    Right now I’m still not ready to date as quitting smoking is my next immediate goal. I know this as I would not date a smoker myself.

    Maybe I could dip a toe bk in the water once my studies are bk on track & I’m confident as a non smoker again. Otherwise, I’m condeming myself to singledom until 50 ish & being single for too long prior, is partly why I was vulnerable to my ex in the first place (ie I had it all, the great job, home on way to being paid off at tht time & my health, but I was terribly lonely, after no relationship having lasted more than 9 mths since my mid 20’s! Guys I dated weren’t really to blame. Moreso so long periods of not dating as was focused on other goals, or else I just chose wrong ppl ie 36 yo still home w mother who had.never moved out. I was inexperienced & didn’t know this was a huge red flag).

    I don’t think staying single a long time will make me vulnerable to a charmer, as such types are a turn off for me, but it will make me vulnerable. I’ve already exp’d this. I just don’t want to repeat any past mistakes in this area.

    PS Did I see Revolution, here somewhere? Hey, Revvie, how are you woman! :D

    • Revolution says:

      What up Teach!

      Yeah, I’m still here….here and there. Just lurkin’ my way through sometimes. Don’t have much to contribute re: dudes since I’ve been busy with so many other things. Good things!!! I’ll try to work them into my comments as they can be worked in “on-topic.” Hope all is well with you, and things seems to be working out, for the most part, from what I read. I always perk up when I see your comments. ;)

  15. teachable says:

    Lee,

    This will sound harsh, but his latest comment, is more excuse making from this guy. If yr r.ship is at 2 yr mark, the next hallmark to progress in a succesful coupling, ought to be discussion abt taking r.ship to next level & considering when this might b appropriate, not back peddling, which is what yr guy is doing.

    If he was genuine, & this was not just a delay tactic on his part (which I think it is), he might say what he said PLUS that he loved you SO MUCH he was gunna stick around & do whatever it takes to convince u he IS ‘the one’ b.c he sees a future with you & cannot imagine his life w.out you. Doesn’t sound like that’s at all what he’s communicating though.

    Stay mindful of the value of yr time with this guy. How long are u willing to wait until u see the nxt hallmark ie a step in the direction of committment? I’d decide this for yrself & if he is demonstrating tht he can’t give u what you ultimately need & want, move on.

    Remember, no guy, (unless he is ‘the one’) is that special. Don’t.allow this guy to rob u of too much time u could b otherwise investing more wisely perhaps, in finding & spending yr time instead, happy & content with ‘the one’.

    Teach..:)

  16. Stephanie says:

    This was one of the revelations I came too when it came to dealing with the last EUM/AC is I was becoming someone else. I was this angry, jealous, obsessive and needy person. In reality I was none of these things. In fact, I was the opposite of all of these things. That’s why that situation was so crazy and I realized that this is not me and I made the decision to return to my old self.

    I was never much of a follower, but I didn’t stray to far away from the norm. I had very few friends, but I was always friendly, it doesen’t bother me to be alone, but I do get lonely, I’ve never cheated on or lied to anybody in a relationship, but did some dumb things out of anger.

    One of the things I learned during my life’s journey is that I am who I am just like other people are who they are. They shouldn’t change who they are to be with me anymore than I should change to with them. I don’t want somebody who has to be fake or shape shift just to be with me. If you can’t be authentic with yourself, then any relationship you have will suffer in the long run. Embrace who you and change things that you know need to fixed for you and nobody else.

  17. Lilia says:

    Ljrsmissy
    I also think that posting selfies is often considered more important than having a significant, REAL life relationship. That´s why it´s so easy to keep the bs going. I was actually thinking the other day that having a partner is something of a social asset, while in truth it has more to do with intimacy and our private lives. Really, what does it matter to others what you´re doing privately, in your romantic relationships? But no, there goes the herd posting all the details of their intimacy, exposing it to the crowds…

    A girlfriend of mine got married recently for the first time and became a mom after long years of being single and celibate (she´s in her early 40s). They wanted to keep things very simple and only invited some family to the wedding. But instead of respecting that, all our other girlfriends are now talking behind her back, extremely offended that she didn´t “introduce” her husband to them. It´s like they feel entitled to participate in her relationship, to analyse him and I guess basically gossip about them. But really, did she get married to impress her friends or to have a meaningful bond with someone? If I ever get married again I think I´m following her example.

    Mind you, I don´t think this is a new phenomenon. I remember in pre-internet times, people would ask the following: if you could choose between having a long and wild weekend shagging Brigitte Bardot (imagine that! a long time ago, that was) with nobody knowing about it OR walking arm in arm with her on the street for 10 minutes, which one would you prefer? Everybody chose the second option.

    • Stephanie says:

      I cannot stand selfies on facebook! Especially, when it is the same people constantly posting pictures of themselves as if they are looking for validation! There is nothing wrong with facebook, but it seems like some people must post everything about their lives on facebook. It starts to seem sad and desperate after awhile as if they are trying to prove something.

  18. Peanut says:

    Mike,

    I am dyslexic. I didn’t find out until I was 29 (recently). It affects a lot of facets of my life (some positively/I’m good with color).

    I too have been labeled lazy, stupid, weird, and even retarded. Gigantic glasses didn’t help either.

    Though I don’t define myself by this, I do believe some people were meant to be different.

    Other than my school, I have pursued music for years. I have little to show for it. It’s like ground hog day every day.

    It also affects the way I speak; I have a hard time finishing/forming thoughts and sentences. Just recently someone was quite cruel in mocking the way I speak.

    Honestly, I cry all the time about it. It’s just healing and processing all the hurt from childhood and being labeled a ‘bad’ student.

    My piano teacher says I will have to learn differenlty. He found these rad colored note kids books for me to learn in. They’re an artists dream and my brain processes color really well. I can actually see the notes now, which feels amazing.

    I always had this dream of being a professional musician since I was very young. Those dreams feel dashed. I have tried so hard and I can’t see what the average person sees.

    I won’t stop though; it will be my sweet little hobby.

    I have a friend who loves me as I am: cranky and dyslexic. She says I’m brilliant in certain things and still very strong. She doesn’t care how strange I speak or how many typos I make. And she’s an English teacher! She loves me for who I am and that is the prize with sticking with being ourselves.

    I also turned off my spellcheck for the first time recently because I just want to be me, struggles and all.

  19. Genki says:

    It’s a very interesting topic & has raised good discussion. If u asked others, in not a follower, but inside I feel myself comparing to others & thinking other people have a more fun/exciting/interesting life….have u ever walked past a house & looked inside at the lights glowing thinking …it all looks great but what’s really going on inside? I do that. But I think finally, at 38, I’m starting to look to myself & not compare myself to others. My life is good, work, family & awesome daughter. When I was with my ex I changed myself…became boring, vain, jealous, insecure – he had that effect thru his criticism & cheating its not good for self esteem but I realised that I was always slightly that way inclined & now I feel like life has given me a chance to strengthen myself – I haven’t been out with any men since we split up & it’s been nearly a year. I’ve had lots if fun with girlfriends from work dancing! Things he didnt seem to approve of. I’m in no rush to get with another man. But at the same time I know there are some good men put there – not all dodgy, insincere & thoughtless, I don’t think on line is the way to go as my ex was playing around on line & I seriously worry that there are other married men on line looking to hook up. Anyway I feel much more like me again since I split – different and all. Love all ur comments on this site I’m learning a lot.

  20. Helena Hart says:

    This is SO true! I always tell my clients that if you don’t take the time to discover who you really are, you’ll always be “faking” your way through love (I did this for much of my life before I figured this out). It’s exhausting to keep up the false facade and always try to be what you think someone else wants!

    Also, if you’re not true to yourself – when someone tells you they love you, you won’t believe them anyway!

    The more you’re willing to honor yourself and be proud of who you are, the more REAL love you can receive and the more you can believe it. Many people don’t know what’s really them and what’s just part of the “persona” they manufactured years ago.

    When you start including yourself, all of the sudden there’s somebody “home” inside you to love. Discovering who you are and what you want takes time, energy, and commitment – but the benefit is that you start feeling love because you’ll find that there’s actually somebody “in there” TO love!

    Great post!!

    Love, Helena

  21. Pamela says:

    Natalie,

    What a wonderful article. I said yes…yes…and yes. The first place I was taught not to be different was within my family. When I wanted to do something different, they said, “Oh you are better than us!” So I spent years trying to prove to them that I didn’t think that I was better than them. I was just different. But it did not matter, they tried to make me feel small.

    Of course, I spent much of my life attracting people, places and opportunities where I would bend over backwards to prove that I was “one of them”.

    I am so happy I gave all of that up with my family and friends. I am now on my path. I save myself time and heartbreak where I tried to prove that I am not trying to be better just because I am different.

    Thank you so much for this post.

    Pamela

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!