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  • Writer's pictureeschaden


This could be an ad for my dating life...

I mean that is kinda how I have operated. It isn’t very pretty, but it is true. I have never (until recently) really wanted an everything person. I have wanted someone for selective service. My approach to love and dating and relationshiping has been flawed. Like a lot.

I, not unlike the Federal government, have made the requirement of men to sign up with me, in case I ever needed to call them up into action. It is embarrassing to say this but I had a bench. Like a line up of guys over the years, that I felt I could call up when needed. In fact, as ugly as this is to admit, right now is the first time that I have cleared the benches. There is not one guy in the cue. Not a single one that I am signing, benching, holding onto. Not one.

Wait, I am thinking....

Because this is more a thought process for me. Not like I literally have ever had a line up of men sitting on a bench waiting for me. No, my idea was much more akin to selective service. I kind of required that they register with me. Check in, let me know they are there, then if and when I was ready, my own national emergency situation, then I would call them up into action.

I was sitting with my sponsor the other day and we were talking about my fraught dating and love life. And I made the off handed comment, about selective service. We both stopped the conversation and laughed. Hard! Then we both said, almost at the same time, “that is more true than not true.” Then we both laughed again. Then I got quiet. Jotted down the idea in my writing journal and knew that I would now have to own this not so lovely thing about myself. Fuck. Shit. Damn.

I am not sure where I got so far off course. I feel like I would like to wipe from my consciousness all of my thoughts about dating and love. Start over fresh. But that is not possible. So I have to begin again where I am. And if there is one lesson that I have been very slow to learn. It is about being honest in these types of relationships. And to date, I am still not very good at this.

I had some shit go down when I was younger that caused me to come to the conclusion that I should never, ever let men know what I was thinking, or feeling. That I could let them in so far, but then, that was just far enough. And I wouldn’t tell them I was doing this, I would lie and cover it up. Making it seem like I was really there. But in reality, having this whole other thought life going on over which they knew nothing about. They didn’t know if they hurt my feelings most of the time, they didn’t know what I thought, if I really had an orgasm, how I really felt about them. It was all just this giant manipulation which brought be back to the bench over and over again. Considering my roster of men who signed up for selective service.

That hurt to write. Like a lot. I do not like looking at who I have been. For decades I operated under the idea and delusion that it was the men’s fault that I could not find “the one”. Today, I know that I was not capable. I dated a lot of good men. I dated some real duds. But the common denominator was always, and still is, me. Fuck. Shit. Damn.

It is a hard adjustment to change course mid life. Like seriously. To have this practice of being fundamentally dishonest, while requiring and insisting complete and totally honesty from people I have dated. It may sound weird, but I used lying as a means to keep a layer of safety around me. If I never told you the complete truth, then I was safe. Because if you ever left me, then it wasn’t really me that you were leaving, because I never really showed you who I was...I KNOW! Totally fucked up.

There were men that saw through this charade. Actually quite a few. And some of them stayed around anyway. Tried to get me to let down my guard and be vulnerable. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, it was just that I couldn’t. I couldn’t do it. I was not able. I was broken, and keeping myself safe was more important than anything, or anyone else.

I have been working on this shit for years. Decades really. And I would like to think that I have made some progress. But this fundamental idea that I am this solo creature, walking through life alone, unattached, unpartnered, that has persisted. That safety can only come with solitude. And having this roster of abled bodied men all too easy to just go down the list and call someone else up. Except that I can’t do it anymore. I mean, I can. But I won’t.

I can no longer just grab someone and jump in. My life, my inner life and exterior life have this congruence today that will not allow it. And it kind of sucks. So often I would just love to have a date, to just have someone that would ask me out and be interested in them. But I have done a pretty good job of running all of them off. And as fucked up as this whole deal is, I needed it. I needed this down time. This solitude to sort through all of this and admit it to myself. How I have been, why I have acted this way. And to sit with whether or not I want to change it...

Now, it would seem an easy answer. And it is. Sort of.

I do not want to require the selective service registration anymore. I am out of that business. No longer keeping a roster of men. This is progress for me. I am here to tell you that I have no one on the line, no one waiting in the wings. All the men currently in my life, friends. That is all.

Wait, I do have one that keeps sending me dick pics but I have told him repeatedly that as tempting as he is (and he is tempting) that I do not want a hit and run. I am not interested in what he has to offer. He persists. But I am guessing that is largely his own issue. I am working on being a friend, nothing more, nothing less.

I guess what I am trying to get at here is to own my own dysfunction in the hope that perhaps if I own it, I can change it. Because if I am ever to have a relationship again, I want it to be real. I want to be able to say when my feelings are hurt, when I love and am scared. I want to be able to admit someone into the inner sanctum of myself and be admitted to that in them as well. I want to connect, not just glance off each other. I want something good, solid and real. Even if it is just with myself. Which is why I share this with all of you.

I am a secret keeper. Lots of them stored up over the years. Things that I wouldn’t tell, not say. Things that I kept to myself that almost killed me. And my recovery, my becoming actually, has required that I own it all. The good, the bad, the ugly. That it all be allowed daylight so that it can heal. I can heal. I can become a better and more loving version of myself. Even if as far as I ever get is that I just love myself.

I used to have the goal that I would love myself enough not to try to kill myself everyday. And so far, I have 27 years of experience in not doing that anymore. I can say that I have the most loving relationship with myself that I have ever had. There are still days when I am quite a horrific bitch to myself. But those days are few and spread out. For the most part, I operate under the idea, that I love myself and therefor take care of myself. I am still unwinding and learning all the ways I got so fucked up to being with. It is a process, not an event. And I have been processing for a long time now. And I will own that I still want it to be an event.

My goal every day when I wake up is to take care of myself: body, mind, spirit, so that I may help others do the same. My pets. My kids. My family and friends. I see each day as an opportunity to be of service. And now, not just selective service. To fling wide open the doors of my life and tell the powers that be, “BRING. IT. ON! Or not”. I am really good either way. If I march through the rest of my life, solo. I am ok with that. Life will be challenging in certain ways and wonderful. But if the powers that be see fit to really make me do the work, then I need to relationship. And as much as this terrifies me, I am willing to do that also.

Engage. Relate. Allow admittance to the parts of me that I would rather keep to myself. Hiding out and behaving in ways that I am way too old to still do. Men are not a prize won or a victory claimed. They are people, with feelings, and the same desires and needs and wants as I have. I have thought of them differently far too long. Like a lifetime way too long. And I have to own this pretty ugly truth, in order to do something differently. And I really want to do it differently.

So I am removing the selective service requirement. I have cleared the benches. I am solo. Really. And I am having to face all the reasons that I have never done this before. All my insecurities, all my doubts about myself. All my shame and guilt and ugliness. I have to see it and own it. And hopefully begin to alter it. How I show up in my dating life. And I have to trust that I can’t be involved in the selection process anymore. I have to just sit and wait. I cannot have any idea of control. I can’t online date. I can’t ask to be set up. I can’t comb the rooms for eligible men. No, instead I have to sit back and just work on me. Trusting that whatever comes, will be for my highest good. And if that is a life spent solo, that is just fine too.

See I pick all the wrong shit for all the wrong reasons. Still. And so the only way I know to remove me, is to create space for God. Allow God to be in charge of my life, even my dating life, which I have held onto with a death grip. So afraid of what would become of me if I loved and lost. If I allowed someone all the way in. I have only done that once and it didn’t end well. Lots of heartbreak and pain but I would have never gotten to this place with myself if it weren’t for that experience. I would not have grown into me. This me, right here who is owning her shit. Who is willingly admitting her dysfunction. Me. Who loves myself with all that I am, so much so that I am willing to stop doing the stupid shit that has only kept me and others suspended in a perpetual loop of misery.

So I am closing the selective service office window in my life. No registration. No application process. No selective service at all. I am resigned and relegated to living my best life as authentically as I can. Owning the lesser, hard pointy parts about myself so that I can round them out a little and hopefully grow into a more loving human being. One who doesn’t behave in fucked up ways that are destructive to myself and others.

Being who you really are, isn’t always pretty. But this is who I am. Well, at least who I have been recently. But even as I own this less than stellar part of myself. I can see that I am not her anymore either. I cleared the bench. I did that, well me and God and my sponsor. And it feels good to just be ok with what I have and not have my self worth and esteem on display by how many dates I have lined up. Saying that makes me so sad, like I just want to hug myself, that person who has resided in my skin, who so desperately has wanted to be loved and to love, but who has been so afraid. So very terrified to begin with being honest. So I begin again today. And in five minutes from now. And in six hours. Honesty is a practice. So I endeavor to do that here with you every day of my life. Share me, the real me, with you so that perhaps I can grow into a better, kinder version of myself. Namaste.

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