Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Power is in the Present

The biggest lesson that I learned from my Virginity diaries is that I've been holding a grudge against the girl I was half a lifetime ago. I've been secretly believing that 19 was the age when Everything Went Wrong and secretly blaming 19-year-old me for:
  • My 26-18 football score of lovers (26 for anyone I was ever naked or intimate with, 18 for men I actually had intercourse with).
  • Nearly a decade of manipulation by Dollar the psychic.
  • The woman I am right now: single, childless, celibate and fat at the ripe old age of 38.
Don't get me wrong. I have moments, days, sometimes even weeks when I realize that I have a great life. I live in California, a 15-minute bike ride away from the Pacific Ocean. I have a job that pays me a decent salary, and unlike women of previous generations, I can make a good life on my own. I've overcome a lot of difficulties, and I have more self-love and self-esteem than I've ever had in my life.

But many days, many moments, many weeks, I really feel that life sucks.

Like when I wake up alone in my empty bed with my body on fire and no one but me to put it out. When I go to my high-school reunion and see everyone else's spouses and children and realize that all I have are stories to tell. When I count up the 10 years since Brown and the four years since my last ill-conceived love affair and wonder how a woman who always wanted to be a wife and mother became a spinster instead.

Then I look back and point the finger at 19-year-old me and say, "It's all your fault. If only you could have kept your legs closed ... if only you could have made better choices ... if only you could have had enough self-esteem and good sense to just say no."

So the lesson I'm learning – present tense, because I'm still figuring it out – is how to make peace with the present so that I can make peace with the past.

I got through my childhood and the difficulties of my 20's by living in the Glorious Fantasy Future inside my head. I daydreamed constantly about being rich, being famous, being adored. And that glittering future helped me gloss over the grossness of the present.

But now that I'm in my late 30's, I can't dream about the future anymore. I tried my damnedest to gain fame, fortune and adoration as a Hollywood actress, and it didn't work out. I fooled around with 26 men, secretly hoping each would be The One, and it didn't work out. Hell, I've even been on and off Weight Watchers for eight long friggin' years, and that only works out when I leave the best lover I've ever had – Chocolate – out of my shopping basket.

So I'm trying to appreciate the life that I have now and the woman that I am now instead of comparing my life and myself to the Future Fantasy Me that never was. I know that when I can truly be happy with Present-Day Me, I can truly forgive 19-year-old me and thank her for helping me create a life that I truly love.

(Virginity Diaries: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Lessons Learned Part 1 of 3: 1 2 3)

4 comments:

Laetitia :-) said...

You never know, when you do make peace with both the Present-Day You and Past You, you may find that you don't want Chocolate in your shopping basket. Of course, you could be like the rest of us - simply addicted to the taste. :-) Anyone know of a chocolate flavoured chewing gum? That way I could have the taste without the calories.

I like the way you've put this post. I find myself empathising with the whole "blaming my younger self" for everything wrong now or worse, blaming everyone else for the lessons they didn't help me learn better - playing the victim instead of the victor because it's easier.

Lucinda Primrose said...

Sweetie, you're too hard on yourself. You're doing great! As for the 18-26 stat, I wouldn't worry about it. I have a friend, male, born again Christian, who is also keeping his legs crossed...and he's had over 70 lovers in his time! I was SHOCKED when he told me. But we shouldn't judge. It's his past and that's that. He's been celibate since October 1998 so he tells me and trying to find the one and trying not to blame himself for past mistakes. That's what he says. In reality, he loves being single and only grumbles about being single for dramatic effect.

As for mistakes - we all make 'em. That's what being young is for. We only wise up later. So 18 guys that you slept with...not a big deal when you put it in that perspective. Really. Just enjoy your life. You're young, you're not old, and most certainly not a spinster complete with a smelly dressing gown, shower cap on your head, and a parade of cats as your family. I'm sure you're a bright, savvy, intelligent, compassionate hottie who just doesn't know it. It's all good! Also I love your posts!!

Retromus-ik said...

You're so not a spinster. You're beautiful, don't look your age for one, even though 38 is by no means "old", and like you said, you live in sunny California with a great salary! Plus it's never too late to meet that someone special. If that is what your heart is yearning for, then I believe you'll find love;)

Don't Be a Slut said...

Everybody, thanks for the kind words and the blog love.

I've been in a ... how can I put it mildly ... GODAWFUL DEPRESSED FUNK ... when nothing feels right except self-pity, self-flagellation and deep regret.

Fortunately, I've been through this enough times in my life to know that this too shall pass, but in the meantime, yick!

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