…thoughts on dating, mating and self love…
It seems lately the number of ads for online dating sites has increased so much that you can’t watch ten minutes of television without seeing at least one. I hear them on the radio, they fill my inbox with spam. They’ve got sites for Christian singles, and singles over 50, sites for LGBT folks, sites that boast the largest database.
Hell, there’s even an organization that touts itself to not be a “dating” group, but is specifically for single people to get out and do stuff together.
The message seems to be that being single is bad. That anyone without a mate is incomplete, and necessarily must want, even NEED a partner.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not against marriage or dating. I’m not saying that it’s necessarily wrong to want these things.
I know people who have met their current partner online, whether they’re married or not doesn’t matter. I’ve dated a person or two that I’ve met online.
However, I see something in this advertising blitz that disturbs me. There’s this sense of desperation out there, this pervading feeling that if you’re single you are less of a person. To some degree, this carries over into parenthood, but my point today is about dating, about the desperate need to be a half of a whole.
That is something I can’t ever see myself being. I am a person, whole and complete, and while I may be flawed, I do not, as the movies might make us believe, need another person to “complete me”. I can see myself with a partner, another whole and complete person with whom I may enjoy activities and intimacy and time spent lazing on the couch on a Sunday afternoon, but he or she would never be someone I couldn’t live my life without.
Now, to be fair, I’ve known for a really long time that marriage wasn’t for me, and I do not have the most conventional views of relationships. We’ve covered that ground before. Add to that the very hard work of accepting myself for who I am, for learning to love myself, not in spite of all of my flaws, but precisely because they define me…and you have a recipe for a distrust of an industry that makes MILLIONS of dollars off of the desperation of the American people to be paired up, to find love, to be completed by another with the same needs.
However, there are somethings I learned over the years. It wasn’t easy, and there are days I still behave as if I never learned it at all. These aren’t lesson you can learn by being told, although I’m going to tell you. These are lessons you can only learn by doing.
Those lessons are these:
1) No one can ever love you fully if you can not love yourself first.
2) You can not love yourself if you can not look at yourself and accept your beauty and your scars, your strength and your weakness.
3) No one can ever complete you but you.
4) Love yourself and you will find love outside yourself.
Let me tell you, this fat chick has to work hard at that whole loving myself thing some days. I look in the mirror and see my fat face, I look at pictures and see my big belly, and I think to myself “who can love that”…I de-humanize myself, make myself an object of loathing and I wallow in the despair of the outcast and lonely. You know, that one I dug for myself all the way back when I was in Junior High and High School and was deemed to be not “cool”, not “pretty”, and all that. Yeah, I still have it. It maybe isn’t as deep as it was during my emo teen years, but I’ve never managed to completely fill it in either.
My head fills with things like “No wonder you’re still single, look at you” and “who would want to date such a fatty as you” and “everyone you’ve ever kissed was just taking pity on you” and other crap like that.
That voice is so loud in fact that I somehow forget that I’m single mostly by choice, not because I can’t get someone, and that the last person who I kissed, kissed me first.
And then I see those ads and there’s a longing inside of me, a feeling of wanting to fit in, wanting to be “normal”…and if I could just find the right partner I could be happy and normal and life would be perfect.
Fortunately, I eventually wake up and realize that no partner is ever going to make me happy if I’m not happy with myself, and no normal life could ever compare to the one I live now…and perfect is nothing but sabotage waiting to destroy the sanity of those who attempt to attain it.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t date, that you shouldn’t want marriage and family and all that. I’m saying that it’s time to consider the source of the desire. Do you want it because it’s what you’re told to want….or because you want it for you?
Are you ready to share your life with someone? Do you love yourself enough to share yourself with someone else? Or are you looking for someone to love you enough that you can believe you’re worth loving?
I’ll step off my soap box now and get myself to work. Happy Monday…welcome to 2012.