So my resolve is being tested like none other… well, maybe like Job. I thought I had finally hit my groove in this whole experiment, but this weekend brought light to how wrong that was – I’ve just been hibernating for a few weeks.
I cheated again. I made out with a gentleman that works in my industry – and this time I don’t have alcohol or anything else to blame, I just really really wanted to. But… I didn’t sleep with him (but that wasn’t for lack of desire – I also really really wanted to do that). This man, let’s call him “Art”, is fairly well-established in my industry and I have admired his work for a long time. Last year, I finally met him in person at a holiday function and made a fool of myself (at least from what I can remember of the night – reasons not to drink at work functions!). For the past year, I have avoided making eye contact with him and would pretty much run away every time I saw him – you know, the super mature approach.
You might remember from my Girl Brain post that I have a crippling inability to talk to men I’m attracted to – Art is the epitome of that. Well, this year, at the same holiday function, the possibility of something happening was off the table, so I felt confident, cool and self-assured (for the most part). YAY! We talked and had a great time at the party. He offered me a lift home (he is not a drinker, which when I found out put a curb on any drinks I planned to have – did not want a repeat of last year, especially once I found out that he was sober so there was no chance he might have blacked it all out). He came up for a cup of tea and soon I found him sitting close on my couch and I gave in. Truth be told, I was completely helpless. The only thing that ensured my pants stayed on was that I still haven’t shaved my legs since I started my protest at the end of October – I thought about shaving before the party, but something told me that could be a recipe for disaster. I was right.
Moments after he left I found myself laying on my floor trying to bring my temperature down and stop my heart from racing. I knew that as long as it is pants season, no shaving can occur. That was too close a call. (We’ll see how long that lasts… I cannot express how much I really really wanted something more to happen.) Bringing me to what I discovered…
The rational side of me (you know, the part that isn’t a sex-starved animal ready to pounce on the tender filet mignon dangling in front of it… mmmm… his hair was so soft… anyhoo…), that rational side understands that if I had slept with Art last night, I would have spent the entire day today wondering if he would call, would it happen again, does he like me - aka GIRL BRAIN! GAH!!! Instead, I spent the day reveling in the fact that he kissed me at all and lamenting that that was as far as it went. There was no anxiety, like I have felt in the past. Even still, I woke up and wanted to text him to say good morning, but that desire came from the same place of wanting validation. The Girl Brain place. But this time, it took no more than a couple minutes to overcome that feeling and get on with my day – unlike the episode with Prince Charming. Progress!!
It also made me realize that all the Girl Brain stuff comes from a deep-seated feeling of inadequacy. I have a hard time believing that a man I’m attracted to could be attracted to me as well. This always baffles me because I’m generally fairly confident and self-assured – but cute boy walks in and I’m a puddle of mush. Taking this year off is helping with that. It is making me develop new habits. I couldn’t just jump into the sack last night (even without the leg hair), it goes against the rules (and I was clear about that before the making out started). If I had, I would have felt all kinds of awful this morning and not just because of girl brain, but because I would have reverted back to my old patterns the first chance I got.
I don’t actually know Art. Sure, we had some lovely conversation and we did get into personal territory a bit, but you can’t get to know someone in a few hours. I would have been having sex to feel attractive. To feel validated as a desirable woman. The simple fact is, I am a desirable woman. I don’t need to sleep with a man (not matter how much I really really wanted to) to confirm that. I would rather learn this lesson in some other way, but that’s not really the way life works. You have to go through the hard stuff to get to the good stuff. Who knows?! Perhaps Art and I will hook up in the future, but if not, that’s okay too. My goal is to break the patterns of my past and find someone who is awesome enough to want to be with me because he recognizes how amazing I am (and sex becomes the super fun stuff that just makes that connection even more incredible).
See, learning lessons all over the place. It took a good half hour this morning to come to these realizations. My first thought when waking up was: why am I doing this again? The answer was simple – because I’m worth it. Worthlessness is something that was drilled into me during my childhood and it has haunted all my relationships since. This is the only way to break that cycle. I have to put myself first and become one with being alone. It’s not so scary. And the thing I have discovered is that I’m not really alone. All that energy I used to spend stressing, thinking, worrying about whether or not boys liked me, is now available to be used on other people in my life. It has been truly remarkable to see how various relationships in my life have grown and become stronger because I’m more ready to receive them. I was never a popular kid, but now that I am accepting the wonderful aspects of myself, other people are seeing them as well.
The whole no sex thing won’t last forever (almost at 5 months!!! Yay?), but the sense of self-worth will. I won’t let myself disappear ever again.