Why I Got Angry My Boyfriend Wasn’t Ready to Propose

When I was in my early teens, I wanted to be married by eighteen and have five children.  I was raised Mormon and a great deal of emphasis was placed on marriage and having a family, so for a long time my idea of value was tied to someone wanting to marry me and have children.  I probably began to question that plan when my parents divorced, but my faith in the religion shattered the day I had too much self respect to continue attending a church that allowed a boy my age to insult me via demeaning my gender.  He did it in front of two adults during early morning seminary and neither of them checked him for it or ever tried to contact me about it afterward.  I walked out that day and have been on a search to discover what I really believe ever since.

I have changed my mind—perhaps a few times—about marriage and family.  As it currently stands, I don’t believe a marriage guarantees a couple success and feel that allowing both parties the freedom to make the best decisions for themselves makes sense.

Imagine my surprise when I found myself angry that I wanted to marry my boyfriend by the end of next year… and he did not.  The first question I asked myself was whether or not I would leave him if he never wanted to marry and the answer was, of course, that I have no intention of leaving him over something so minor.

He sees us married in the future.  Why, then, did it bother me so much that there was no thought of when?  Why was I ready to, but he wasn’t?

While there are few advantages to marriage, there was one aspect if it that made me feel I needed it, and soon.  The thought that he could end up in the hospital, unconscious and hanging by a thread, scares me.  Without marriage rights, I would be powerless.  A wife would have a right to be present and inform the hospital what I believed he would want.  As a girlfriend, no matter how committed to each other, I could be relegated to a waiting room by his kin while they made the choices for him, no rights to speak of.  This scenario terrifies me.

As I mentioned before, there are few advantages to marriage these days.  I thought the only ones left were healthcare rights in emergencies, the tax benefits if only one spouse works, and the clear declaration of commitment that everyone in my society understands.  It’s so much easier to say ‘my wife’ than ‘my girlfriend whom I intend to spend the rest of my life with, but not marry.’

Then I remembered a conversation with my mother (who is an RN), when she had mentioned in passing that there was a way to have healthcare rights without marriage.  I went on a research spree and learned all about healthcare directives and power of attorney in healthcare, which I now believe to be even better than simply having the right to make decisions.  A healthcare directive outlines what a person wants in as much detail as can be planned for, while power of attorney in healthcare allows you to be appointed to make medical decisions on their behalf should they become unable to make the decisions themselves (such as unconscious).  It’s also possible to write up a power of attorney in finances that allows you to pay their bills on their behalf should they be incapacitated.

I suggested to my boyfriend that doing this for each other would relieve my sense of urgency about marriage.  It’s important to me that he not feel pressured to marry me, lest he resent it one day.

Armed with all of this new knowledge, I’ll soon have all the paperwork in order (and it won’t cost us a thing!)  I no longer have to worry about our rights if an emergency comes up and, more importantly, he has all the time in the world to marry me… or not.  The pressure is off of both of us knowing that we don’t have to and that, if we do, it’s entirely our choice.

How CrossFit Has Led To Me Adulting All Over the Place

Over the past week I’ve thought a lot about finances, and not in the usual ‘I never have enough money’ way.  Instead, my penchant for excessive thinking and researching has led me on an exploration about who I am and what I want as I follow the revolution I’ve started in myself.

It all began with the battle you watched me wage over needing to change my life and how money often holds me back.  Then I decided to join the CrossFit gym two minutes from home despite my fears about money.  With that decision came the experiences of my first week of CrossFit, which showed me I have more strength of will than at any other point in my life the last ten years.  And while all of that was going on, I discovered that I am ready for marriage and Mr. Rio is not, and so began the adventure of trying to understand why I want so badly to be married to him when I don’t typically feel there are many advantages to getting married and believe we are as committed as people come. (Once I can make any sense of it, I’m sure I’ll write all about it.)

All of the above led me to think about where I want to end up one day.  My career(s), where I live, how I live it.  I’ve always wanted a homestead, for instance.  The desire to be self-sufficient and connected to my food is a strong one.  I’ve researched the subject off and on for about eighteen years (I was sixteen when I first started doing so).  This time I found myself doing a bunch of research on property prices in the Pacific Northwest, where I live now and do not want to leave in any permanent way.  Doing this, I found the exact town I will want to live within an hour from and plan to make a trip to visit it soon to get a feel for it in person.  Then I made a list of all the things I want my future home and land to be.

And that, my friends, is how I found myself wondering what I could start doing now to make achieving that future easier and sooner.

I refreshed myself on how to manage money and learned new methods I’d never heard of before, then began to learn how to grow the money you save (something I have always been in the dark about since I almost never made enough money to save until very recently).  At the same time I wrote down my income and expenses to analyze, I also got the cleaning and organizing bug and began to work on making my home more efficient.

Guys, I felt like an adult.

Even though I still have a lot to learn and sort out, I feel incredibly good about everything in the same way I felt like this this time with CrossFit would be different.  That it’s time and everything will fall into place.  Considering how well that’s been going so far, it’s hard not to be optimistic.

Pointless as this post may seem, this is all a big deal for me.  I have not felt hopeful about money and my future for a long time.  I feel like ‘I will never have enough’ will become a feeling of the past fairly quickly and that me adulting all over the place will become a familiar joy in the years to come.  Especially one day in the next ten years when I sit on my porch in Montana eating angelfood cake made with my chickens’ eggs and caramel from my goats’ milk, after a dinner of rabbit I raised myself and greens from my garden.

This Is the Last Day I’ll Ever Be This Weak – My First Week at CrossFit

I did it.  I started CrossFit.

I am both excited and terrified.  I want this to work for my body so badly and I really don’t want to waste money if it doesn’t.  I know, it’s hard to imagine that something as intensive as CrossFit wouldn’t work.  It’s my fear talking, of course.  I’m still afraid nothing will create the changed I hope for.  I am, however, doing it and time will surely prove which is true.

The first day was hard.  I felt the betrayal of my body; how hard it is to lift the weight of it, how weak my muscles are.  I fought for it, though.  In the final baseline workout (to determine where you are in terms of fitness), I pushed and growled.  I made each squat, push up, sit up, row, and pull up happen.  I was weak, but I thought: ‘This is the last day I’ll ever be this weak.’

The pain in my body the next day is hard to describe.  It was soreness and stiffness on a level I have never experienced before, it plagued my every movement—though none worse than getting up and sitting down.  I truly rested that day, especially since I was also dealing with a headache I had had since the beginning of the previous day, long before the CrossFit class began.  I rested and then the second day of Fundamentals arrived and I was still experiencing extreme muscle soreness.  I did the workouts anyway, which seemed more tame than the first day—until burpees were part of the final WOD.  I struggled so badly with them that I barely accomplished anything in the time allotted.

The day after involved less soreness than the other days, which gave me hope that I would not be completely wrecked for weeks.

The workouts on day three were still tough, but I felt good after the discomfort was through each time.  The soreness had almost disappeared by the end of day five (the third workout day).  A difference in my daily tasks at work were noticeable.  Crouching repeatedly wasn’t a painful effort that left me winded.  Picking up a heavy stack of plastic boxes hardly gave me any trouble at all.  I’m amazed that only three workouts has made such a significant difference.  What, then, will a month bring?  Four?  I can’t wait to find out.

The best part of being so sore was all of the joking Mr. Rio and I did, commiserating over the shared experience.  Having him as a partner in this is more of a blessing than I’d thought it would be.  I appreciate so much that he can understand what I’m going through, but also that I don’t feel like I’m more weak than I am.  He’s noticeably fitter than I am, yet he experienced many of the same things I did.  It’s nice not to be alone in this.  And as the soreness lightens, I find the little tugs of what soreness is left makes me feel good or proud, knowing I did something good to get it.

So there you go.  I said I needed a revolution and I’ve started one.  I started CrossFit—and I will never be as weak as I am today ever again.

Workout Mantra

You are not going to quit when you go to class and feel how hard it is again.  You’re going to embrace the burn, pain, and discomfort of every moment.  You’re going to remember that you are honoring your body by doing it.  You are going to remember how proud of you Mr. Rio will be.  You are going to remember how much you hate your body right now and that each struggle is changing that.  You want to be a Valkyrie/ Wonder Woman/ Angrboda/ Octavia/ Lagertha, etc—this is how you become that.

This is your path, you cannot stray.

You can wobble, you can fall, but you will get your ass up and fight harder.

How Crying More Could Help Me Cry Less

So… I cry a lot.  I don’t think I cry more than other women, I just cry a lot more than I used to.

Growing up, I was a rock.  I cried, but it was over pretty big things—like the time my parents gave me a kitten and I exploded into tears because I’d wanted one so badly and never thought they’d let me have it.  Despite bullying and other kid struggles, I was cool as a cucumber most days.  Well, except for the anger issues… I guess that’s what I did instead of cry.

I’ve spent so much of my life delaying my knee-jerk reactions, so I wouldn’t overreact, that I’m actually guilty of not reacting enough.  I should have royally reamed out the roommates that cheated me out of rent money, instead I tried to remain calm and rational.  I always think of the things I should have said long after the opportunity has past, when my brain is finally allowed to work normally again.

I resisted crying so expertly that I didn’t cry when my grandmother died—my best friend until the age of 22—until years later when another grandmother commented on the commemoration tattoo I’d gotten to honor her. “That is so lovely to do,” she said, in the kindest voice.  I turned around quickly as she was distracted by her daughter and I cried silently while I worked so no one would be the wiser.

Now I cry if a leaf falls, I swear.  I used to think it was age making me softer and more sensitive, but I don’t think that anymore.

Not only do I cry at even slightly emotional things, but I will even cry at things I’m not actually bothered by.  I also used to cry before a CrossFit class—not at first, but as it started to affect my body.  So I don’t think I’m crying for the trigger, I think I’m crying about something unresolved.  How the hell do you solve something you don’t know anything about?

I suspect, in this instance, that the only medicine is simply more of the symptom.  I need to cry more.  Crying is a way to get stress and tension out of you, so if it’s not all out then I need more tears.

So my plan is to cry it out whenever it comes, and maybe induce it too.  I think about how my body must have been changing when I began to cry before a CrossFit class started.  I thought something was wrong with me, but I’ve realized that maybe I was healing.  Now I can possibly use it as a tool to process my anxiety.

So I cry a lot.  I’m ready to cry a lot more.

Why I Chose Not to Have Lap-Band Surgery

At the end of last year, I seriously considered lap band surgery.  After all of the struggling, I wanted a chance to give my body a leg up.  I wasn’t trying to drop sixty pounds in two months, I wanted an option that didn’t Frankenstein my insides but restricted how much I could eat and how hungry I could feel.  I wanted to eat healthier and work out and know it was likely to have a successful effect.

I chose not to because I would have to finance it myself and because I didn’t understand why I was willing to pay a large monthly bills for the surgery when I wasn’t willing to pay for a Crossfit gym, supplements, or food.  So I put my desperation in a drawer knowing I needed to try one more time on my own.  I mean, go all in even thought it’s hard to find the time or energy to cook and be active.  I need to know I’ve tried everything without a shadow of a doubt.

I have been hesitating a lot about doing this, though.  I’m afraid I will fail and waste the money.  Maybe it’s less about the money than finding out that all I am is talk.  I’m afraid I’ll find out I can’t overcome the pain and discomfort of this lifelong challenge with weight.

I am lucky that Mr. Rio volunteered to go all-in with me.  Even though we would be unable to go to the gym at the same time most days of the week, the support and accountability is still there.  Not having to cook separate meals is easier too.

He has not nagged me about not having started yet.  He is a credit to his gender, the way he supports but doesn’t push.  He is ready whenever I am and I am grateful.

Buuuuuuut, I need to sign up for the gym.  I need to commit to my meals, I need to take my supplements.  I need to make this happen and stop waiting for a better time when I might be more successful at it.  I’ve heard others say ‘one at a time’, but I’ve tried that and I don’t think it works.  I need to just get in there and make it happen.

Our anniversary is in four months and I’m going to take him to Florida where I grew up.  I want to take him to Disney World, Typhoon Lagoon, the Venetian Pools, Coral Gables, Vizcaya—the works.  I’d like to wear a swimsuit and not feel awful about it, so that’s what I’m going to aim for.

I want to prove I don’t need that surgery to make it.  My life long struggle aside, I don’t like the idea that I can’t do it on my own.  If I have to face that truth eventually, I will, but until then I’m going to fight for my own strength.

A Little Revolution Now and Then

The following is adapted from things I recently explained to my best friend.

The truth is that I’m not satisfied with who I am and that it’s time for a new revolution.  I had one when I moved here and that was a decade ago—I’m probably overdue.  The changes in me the last two years… I’m still picking up the pieces of what happened with the last two people I fell for.  I’m still figuring out who I am in a real relationship with a great guy.  I’m trying to figure out how to react to politics, to basic human interaction, and to the one and only flaw the man I want to marry has (something I’m not ready to share with others).  The less I know about myself, the harder all of that is for me to absorb and respond to.  I don’t know enough about how I feel to do anything but withdraw, and I don’t want to do that.  Even if my opinions are unpopular, I want to have them.  I want to be well researched and certain of those opinions.  I want to be strong in every possible way, yet I am weak in every way but one right now.  I mean to change that and become who I want to be.

The thing that is hardest to face about it isn’t actually the truth, strangely.  It’s pain.  The discomfort of knowing the truth, the pain of changing it.  I have to get used to idea that what I want is on the other side of pain, the other side of fear, the other side of the battlefield.  Of hell.  I am human, I want to avoid pain, but to be who I want to be requires it.  That’s the hardest possible thing and right now I’m metaphorically hyperventilating before I jump in the freezing cold water.

I think about how I’d rather watch Netflix and eat deliciously horrible foods than gag on healthy food and struggle at the gym, but is the pain of working out hard and heaving over a bite of kale really worse than the moments of despair I have when I look at myself in the mirror and hate what I see?  Am I really saving myself from pain and discomfort?  No.  I’m delaying the pain and trading it for despair.

I have actually gotten angry after I ate the right food and still felt hungry.  I stayed angry all day, and when I ate some french fries I magically felt better.  That is stupid.  I mean, Jesus, the fact that I did that infuriates me.  I’m a slave to a corporation.  I’m a slave to delaying the hatred I will feel for myself sooner or later.

And I get a high off of amping myself up to change my lifestyle, of being better, but I never do it.  Because I like my Netflix, I like my fries.  I’ll do the hard stuff tomorrow.  I’m too tired, because I hate my job, to do something that will probably give me more energy in the long run.  That will make me happy when I look in the mirror, make it easier for me to have children one day, and take my life from the couch to the mountains or another country.  It’s awful that I can want to be better so badly and never get there.

And don’t get me started on not doing the things I actually love to do, like writing.  That’s a whole giant room of nope.  That’s even more stupid than food addiction.

I’ve faced a lot of this already, I’m learning about myself by writing it out like this.  The thing is that I know other people think I’m beautiful, or wonderful, as I am.  That isn’t the point.  The point is that I need to be happy with me and come to grips with my grit.  Mr. Rio doesn’t think I need to change at all, for instance, and I love that he feels that way.  I feel differently and that means I need to do something about it.  I’m not a mess, it’s just the truth that I’ve been learning about me.  It’s not always easy, but I’m actually calmer knowing the problems than wondering why I feel so bad ‘for no reason’.

I read this interesting little book called ‘The Flinch‘  It’s about that instinctive fear reflex that can save us when we’re in danger.  And about how we’ve begun to see everything in our lives as being life threatening, but they aren’t.  The outcome of a decision really won’t be death in 99% of situations, and yet we recoil from them as if they might.  And it’s all common sense, but it really got me thinking about how I really do need to stop worrying about things that can’t kill me.

Politics will probably not kill me, and if they do one day then it will be time to worry about it then.  What I should be doing right now is stand firm about what I believe and act accordingly.  Making social mistakes will not kill me.  They might be unpleasant, but I will not die.  I should be confidently true to myself and accept those who do not agree with me.  Whatever I face with my beloved, big or small, will not kill me.  I will be emotional, no doubt, but everything we go through is worth it.

The revolution to a greater me begins now.

“I’m Broken”

Writing is a hobby of mine.  I would love to say I’m a writer and I would love to make money from writing, but I’ve never published a book or short story.  I write, however.  I explore ideas and scenarios as they come to me just to see how they feel.

Three days ago, I wrote about a woman so emotionally abused that she avoided getting close to anyone, but there was a man who wanted to get to know one another.  She made it clear that she wasn’t interested, but he persisted.  She demanded to know why, only to be given reasons that didn’t satisfy her.  He  defended her to the man who had hurt her the most, who called her a slut for using her body to find a protector.  She told him she could fight her own battles, but he persisted.  She asked him again why he wanted to know her so badly and still the answer wasn’t enough: I want to.  They fought about it, but eventually she relented knowing he would lose interest in the end.  She let him get to know her and told him clearly that sex was not in the cards.

They spent every day after work together.  She showed him movies he’d never seen, he told her stories she’d never heard.  Nearly a year went by like this and one night he told her he wanted to kiss her.  She had grown so comfortable with him and, for a moment, she thought it would be okay.  He kissed her only with her permission and the kiss held a hundred feelings.  The kisses that followed narrowed and intensified until she pushed him back—overwhelmed, scared.  She excused herself for a minute with a friendly smile and cried in the bathroom.

They went on as if it didn’t happen until one evening when he prepared to go.  He kissed her, this time without permission.  It felt as intense as the last and the fear in her told him to leave.  That maybe he shouldn’t come back tomorrow, a tradition they had yet to break since it had begun.

He wanted to know why.  They clearly had feelings for one another, they clearly had chemistry.  He cared for her, had chosen her.  She urged him to leave, to find someone else that would be easier.  As he pushed back, her restraint vanished.

“Don’t you understand that I’m broken?” she told him angrily, then dissolved into tears as she repeated the raw truth. “I’m broken…”

~

I broke down into tears the moment I wrote that line.

Don’t you understand that I’m broken?

All of a sudden, what I wrote was too real.  I realized that as those words came out of her, they came out of me, and all I wanted to do was scream ‘I’m broken’ at the top of my lungs.

My life is not bad.  Yes, I have been hurt a lot in my life, but I loved again and again anyway.  I never died as a person, but I learned to live a certain way, treat people carefully, and expected a low level of value and consideration from others.

The quality of my live has improved dramatically by meeting the true love of my life.  His acceptance, respect, thoughtfulness, and affection have been a healing balm to my sense of self-worth.  Yet the way I learned to act and what I expect from others has never been dealt with or unlearned.  So deep down, I am broken.

For me, knowing it’s there helps me tremendously.  If I know what the problem is, I can take it to task.  It’s always been harder to feel the hurt and not know why I feel it.  I’m a puzzle-solver at heart, but I have to have the pieces.  Writing helped me find another piece.  I feel gratitude for this art form that has evolved with me and served me well for twenty-six years.

Addicted to Digital Drugs

It shouldn’t have to be said that the perspectives I express here are my own and are not a reflection on others.  When I say things like Facebook and Netflix are addictions, I mean they are a problem for me.  Some people are addicted to Pinterest, or Snapchat, or World of Warcraft, or what have you.  If it also happens to apply to you, then I welcome you to my community with full understanding.

I love the idea of Facebook.  I love the idea that you don’t have to talk to someone for what seems like a hundred years and then suddenly they’re relevant when you connect momentarily over a common element.  What I used to really like about it was keeping up with other people without putting effort into the relationship or getting too close.  I’m a fairly private person, I like spending my time at home recovering from the work day, or week, without social pressures.  Only I also feel extraordinarily alone when I realize that I need a real person and there is no one there for me.  Or when I learn about an important announcement through a post instead of receiving a text or phone call.  Either I need to cultivate relationships with real people right in front of me or I need to learn to be happy with superficial ones online.

Superficial was never really my thing.

Not to mention that going onto Facebook to keep up to date with everyone has… become increasingly difficult to actually keep up to date with everyone.  I won’t see posts from people all the time, since Facebook now chooses which posts are important and which ones aren’t.  I’ll see a lot of negativity, most of all during times like election years or major events.  I’ll see nothing but ’23 Things you didn’t know about ____’ or ads about things I just researched (creepy).  I’ll go on Facebook to spend a few minutes and suddenly find an hour lost and have nothing to show for it.

In the last two years I have found myself unfollowing, but not unfriending,  to remove the ones who post negativity consistently.  I don’t want to drown in despair, I know how bad the state of the world is.  I comment less and less as people ceased being respectful when they disagree with me and primarily insult me instead of having a real conversation.  My feed is mostly composed of groups I follow now, which really defeats the purpose of being personally involved in social media.

Facebook just makes me sad or angry now, so what’s the point?

Then there is my one and only true digital love: Netflix.  My sanctuary from the world, my distraction from reality and all the things I should actually be doing.  My need for instant gratification is encouraged here, where a story can be told in two hours or binged in thirteen.  Hours and hours of my life vanish on a daily basis because of this beautiful creation and then I wonder why I have no time left for other things.  It takes so little effort to let a story be told to me, so I welcome the relaxation and then stress when nothing else has gotten done.  All I have to do is I watch more Netflix and I forget about my troubles again.

It’s the habit that gets me.  Even if I say: I just won’t go on Facebook for awhile.  The next idle moment I have is spent reaching for the phone to check it.  Even if I tell myself I can watch Netflix after I clean the apartment, I will abandon my task an hour or so in and lose three hours that could’ve been spent accomplishing things.  The habit is so ingrained that saying ‘I just won’t’ is a pretty lie.

The hours lost will not come back if I don’t make some irreversible decisions.  If I am sad about never seeing my loved ones or having no time to be active, I must claim that time from the dopamine-inducing activities of browsing and watching.  I must delete the Facebook account instead of suspending it, because it’s just too easy to turn back on.  I must cancel the Netflix service or else it’s too easy to sit down and let it in.  These addictions are so nice and seem so benign, but if the time I spend on them are better served elsewhere, then I must accept the harsh terms to make it so.  Either I’m strong enough to change or I’m not, and I’m betting on the former.

I Hate My Body Because I’m Conditioned To

I have spent my life learning why I don’t get to lose weight like other people.  I’ve learned all about insulin, insulin-resistance, androgen/estrogen/phytoestrogen/testosterone, PCOS, poor digestion and bile flow, too much exercise, too little exercise, how birth control can keep your uterus from rotting from the inside (but damages a hundred other things in your body), and so on.  I’ve tried a hundred diets, I’ve tried a hundred exercise styles, and I’ve come away from it all disheartened.

It isn’t that I haven’t tried—I’ve tried so hard and so often that I am beginning to believe nothing can change—it’s that so little of it works.

I have never been thin.  I have swung wildly from self-hatred to determined self-love over the years, but mostly I was just sad about it.  I was tired.  I was tired of being told that if I just ate less, I would be thin.  If I just did more, I would lose weight.  When I dared express my wish to be thinner, I would get that look, the one that said I obviously didn’t want it enough or I would have achieved it.

The most success I have had as an adult is a short list.  Weight Watchers works for a couple of months before I enter a permanent plateau.  Crossfit three times a week followed by a walk a few hours later, coupled with walking all the other days and eating the Zone Diet strictly.

That’s it, folks, I swear.  Nothing else I have tried has done a damn thing, no matter what combination I have attempted.  I even tried that ridiculously awful ‘Military Diet’ (try it if you’re looking to get so hangry you murder someone) out of desperation.  Simply cutting calories and working my ass off isn’t enough.  Apparently there’s something in the combination of Crossfit intensity, frequent walking, and the purported hormone-balancing Zone Diet that worked for me the one time I was able to do it.

Which leads me to the other reason I’m still fat: time and money.  I don’t make enough money to live alone (so thank God I don’t have to try to do that anymore), so I have to spend every possible hour I’m able on work and then I have to spend all that money on bills, food, gas, etc.  When I finally start to get ahead enough that I think that I can use the funds to better myself, an emergency happens (like one of us lost a job for awhile).  This is no mystery to you, you are in this place yourself or have been there at one time.  So riddle me this nay-sayers: Tell me where to find the money for an minimum monthly cost of $150 per month just for the Crossfit when there is no money leftover?  Where do I find the money for the type of food the Zone Diet asks you to eat?  Where do you find the time to work full time and workout full time?  All to finally lose a pound or two here and there?

I know it’s easy to say “Well if you just…” and “If you want it bad enough…”, but  I have people I love that I haven’t seen in months because I don’t have enough time.  This is the same struggle all underfunded households face: lack of nutrition, lack of time, lack of funds to achieve better things and situations.

So, sure, I’ve wanted to be fat all this time, clearly.

But then I have to hate my body too.  I am not shaped like a woman is meant to be shaped.  I go out in the middle instead of in.  I’ve called it ‘barrel-shaped’ because that’s exactly what I look like: Nice legs with a barrel sitting on top.  I’ve read that it’s an ‘apple’ shape, or even a ‘rectangle’, and that it’s normal and natural, but it’s not.  I can tell you from the hormone issues, the weight struggles, the brief tango I did with a flatter tummy thanks to those intensive months of Crossfit and Zone Diet, that it isn’t natural at all.

Add to that the lack of how attractive that is for other people.  I have been told more times than a heart can take: “But you’re so wonderful, how can you be single?  Well, boys are stupid, you’ll find the one.”  You can only hear that so many times before you want to scream that ‘one day’ is too far the fuck away.  That every rejection teaches you that you have no worth to yet another man or woman, that every third- or fifth- wheel experience teaches you that you’re outside the parameters of attraction, that every person you’ve loved because they gave you a shred of kindness and beat you down the rest of the time is the best you’ll ever get.

He showed up, by the way.  The one.  The perfect-guy-that’ll-show-up-one-day.  That turned out true, but after all the heartache I come to this relationship with knee-jerk reactions to what’s been my normal.  He gets angry every time I ask him a question, or put forth a solution, that proves to him that I was treated badly by others in the past.  That I was conditioned my whole life to protect myself from being last-picked, underfoot, inconvenient, and asking too much.  It physically hurts him that I hate my body when he wants me enough to make love to it.

I recently realized why I hate it, though.  It’s not the ads showing me what a woman is ‘really supposed to look like’, it’s not a guy calling me disgusting or asking if I’m really a dude.  It’s because it kept me from being loved properly sooner.  I have been hungry for love as long as I can remember.  My mother loved/loves me so very much.  She tried to love me enough to fill all the empty spaces other people left in me, but she couldn’t.  So I tried to be liked so that someone would love me.  I became funny, dependable, thoughtful, and I gave when I didn’t receive.  I thought, surely something karmic would bring that all back to me.  I got used.  Again.  And again.  Ad infinitum.  Except one person, I was used by every single friend and potential loved one, in some capacity or another, until nearly two years ago when I won the most incredible man I will ever know.

I know that I have to become better than that.  I also know how unfair it is to do that now that I have a loving base to explore from.  I know it’s hard for those who haven’t found their mate to accept that people use you and you have to be kind and generous anyway.  I know the anger and self-loathing it causes, the near-madness you can feel when you’re finally so tapped that you can’t keep giving.  I have been there.  I am lucky to have found a love this profound after all of that mistreatment and lonliness, but I think that being lucky means that striving to be better is mandatory.  I must learn to forgive being used and abused emotionally, however accidentally sometimes.  I have to find my kindest self and let it all go out of me so that I can undo the bad I was taught.

I’ve spent my life learning why I don’t have a body like most other people, but I’m still learning how to be the best version of myself.  Today I begin figuring out how to set aside the lifetime of conditioning and love myself better.