You have all heard the romantic tale of The Message in the Bottle. A woman finds the most wonderful man- the man to ease her troubled history- and he has his own demons that she manages to quell for a moment. And then, all hell breaks loose when he is trying to say good-bye to his dead wife. And, all the woman is left with is the memory of the man- the man who made her a better person. The man who showed her how to love. (Excuse me while I go barf somewhere).
I am one of those unfortunate souls who loves a good romance. I have fallen for the scheme- hook, line, and sinker. I want the fairy tale. A knight in shining armor who needs me as much as I need him. The man who will never forget my birthday. The man who would rather hurl himself onto a bed of hot coals than to cause me a moment of distress.
Let me tell ya ladies, I have never met anyone who met this guy. Apparently, there is no perfect man. You want to know something else? There is no perfect woman either. We have filled our heads and hearts with these completely quixotic notions. (by the way- I love that word. I never finished the book… but, that word seems to sum up all of my fabulous plans). Time to stop tilting at windmills. Stop looking for dragons to slay- and magic unicorns to carry us and our prince off into the sunset.
The inevitability of disappointment is hard to avoid as long as we keep up these fantasies. I am a total sucker for a good hero. Especially one who manages to get the girl in the end. I would be lying if I led you to believe that I did not harbor very sincere hopes of being that girl.
I know I talk a lot about waiting. I am constantly waiting. I no longer know what I am waiting for. When I was younger, it had a lot to do with my body. I was waiting until I was 5’8 and 110 pounds, with long flowing blonde hair. Oh, and I had perfect breasts too. WTH? That makes no sense. For one thing- I am 5’5- well, I am probably really 5’4… but, that is not the point. I am also never going to be 110 pounds. I would look odd if that did happen. Oh, and I am a brunette… and my hairdresser steadfastly refuses to ever bleach my hair again. So, now that we have determined that none of these feats of amazingness are ever going to happen… what am I waiting for?
I found an old journal. It spans about 8 years of my 20s. There are some happy parts. There is a lot of delusional wishful thinking about men. And, there is a lot of heartbreak. And, once again- there is a lot of waiting. Waiting. Hoping. Wishing. Not a lot of DOING. Now, obviously, there was some doing. I graduated from college. Started Grad school- Finished grad school. But, I still felt like there was something I was forgetting. This is a very real struggle for me. Is it actually possible that I am waiting for a man- STILL?
Now, keep in mind- I like to tell myself that I don’t need a man. No, I can be the master of my own life, thank you very much. Let’s be real though. I think that humans are programmed to want a partner. Maybe not all of them, but, there seems to be an evolutionary, biological need to share your life with someone. Even a can of soup holds two servings. Everything in life seems geared towards people having a significant other to do things with.
Now, I have heard the fables of the extraordinary women who live full lives and are perfectly content to be alone. I try to convince myself that I am one of those women. I AM NOT! This is a lie. Now, I am not willing to settle down with whatever loser I can find that needs a place to live. Someone who wants to mooch off me. Believe me, I see women do that every day. However, how do you express a desire to find someone without putting off a desperate vibe?
So, the crux of the situation is this. How do you be honest about what is missing from your life- without searching and driving yourself mad with the impatience of your heart? How do you find a way to be honest about what you want- while not allowing people to take advantage of your heart? Furthermore, why are so many people willing to play on your desires- and take advantage of your lonely heart? All in the name of a folly or distraction? Why are so many people liars? I do not have the necessary skill set for bullshit. I am really confused by all of this.
You would think that a woman of my advanced age- remember the definition of spinster from earlier post- would have it more together. I have read the romance novels, the Cosmo magazines, and watch all the romantic comedies. I have changed my expectations- (I no longer think that Robert Redford or Dave Grohl are secretly waiting to meet me.- or their younger twin…) In fact, I have plainly stated that I am open to anyone who is a nice, smart, educated person. Perhaps that is the problem. I have not defined what I want in a man. How do you do that? Make a list? Draw a picture on an etch-a-sketch? (yes, I know that is from She’s Come Undone- great book, don’t ya think?) Seriously, what is the deal?
So, in light of the fact that I have found no answers- despite all my literary research, I am going to start living life looking for adventure. I am going to do this Tough Mudder. I am going to learn to run. I am going to continue boxing. I may not have figured out how to get a man…. but, I think I am beginning to understand how to seek out new challenges. Perhaps I do not need a man to help me push myself. Perhaps, I can be my own hero. And, maybe… just maybe… I can rescue myself.