When I was very small, I had a big imagination. When you grow up in chaos, you develop a lot of coping skills. Pretending to be someone else in a complete fantasy world was a coping skill that I think helped me to be a better storyteller. How else are you going to play in my imaginary world if you don’t know the storyline and the boundaries, after all? And my stories were intricate.
I’ve always been attracted to strong female archetypes. I rarely played the damsel in distress. I would if persuaded, but that was hardly my go-to choice of made-up character. I wanted to be She-Ra, Princess of Power. I wanted to be Cheetara from Thundercats. Often times because I wasn’t the prettiest little girl in the classroom ever, I got to play the boy part. I didn’t really mind. The boys got to be the saviors. They got to be the fighters. While I had plenty of girlfriends and longed to be beautiful and a girly-girl, my mother refused to dress me in nice clothes if I was just going to conquer the playground like a boy.
Now, one might think perhaps there’s some kind of latent homosexual thing going on here and I assure you it’s not. I’m just very much attracted to strength, and saving things, and justice. Those are just rarely displayed in female archetypes. But Star Wars. Oh, Star Wars and their fierce Princess Leia who was both physically beautiful, sexually empowered, and a general get-the-shit-done-myself kind of princess. Now THAT I liked.
But, alas, while my baby sister forever dreamed of a life with Luke Skywalker, he was much too goody-two-shoes for me. I had the Han Complex Leia did- the cold and distant bad boy. Deep down Han loved Leia, right? He was an asshole with a heart of gold? Right?
I know what you’re thinking- Daddy Issues. You have no. idea.
But my daddy issues only played out fully once and that was with my ex-husband and honestly, that felt more like a hostage take-over or being swept away by the tide than an actual decision I was making. However, I accept responsibility for it and where it has led me, and I offer up my gratitude for the journey.
I told you all of that to finally tell you about my first fuckboy. Aren’t you glad you stuck around?
When I first separated from my ex-husband, I was literally out on my proverbial ass. I had a job and a child, but not nearly enough to cover everything and I had never had to cover ANYTHING ever in the marriage. I was completely kept and powerless and I willingly gave that over to him. I look back now and I see how it was a good thing to toss me in the water and see if I sank or if I swam, but at the time I was terrified.
I had also been a “we” so long, I didn’t know how to be a “me” anymore. I hadn’t been me in 12 years or so. No, all that time I had been trying to stuff who I was into a Soccer Mom life and it just wasn’t me. And that is in by no means a reflection or detraction of those who enjoy being soccer moms. I just realized real quick, that wasn’t me. but oh my god I tried so hard, but I was meant for something else; whatever that is.
So, there I was in my first apartment dealing with the deafening sound of silence all newly divorced or separated people who have children have to deal with in the beginning- the QUIET. Nowadays, I revel in the quiet and meditate and offer up my gratitude, but in the beginning, the Quiet felt like daggers. I hated being alone.
For the first year, my son and I lived in an apartment not far from his father, and it was a nightmarish year. 10 years ago exactly, and I swear to you it turned my hair gray. There is no fair way to divide a child, and the times when he was with his father were the darkest for me.
This is when I first found internet dating. Mind you, this was 2008. They had JUST come out with the iPhone and only techies really had them. Blackberries were where it was at. However, suddenly you could peruse through internet websites of people looking to date.
And that is where I met my first fuckboy. SURPRISE! The fucking internet.
Now, maybe it’s not fair to call him my FIRST fuckboy, because I had dated previously before my ex-husband and I’m positive I had encountered many fuckboys along the way, but for the first time in my experience Fuckboys had gone digital. That’s where I met “Chris”.
“Chris” said all the right things right away, and being lonely and broken and my self-esteem so low (Plus- did I mention I was FAT- like big fat.) And I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. He would draw me in, and push me away. It was always drama. ALWAYS DRAMA. In fact, if a man puts on his dating profile (which I no longer use them, but just a general FYI- red flag- he causes a LOT of drama.)
“Chris” would say things like I was the, “biggest girl he had ever been with, but the one he wanted the most,” and then gaslight me for being offended. He broke up with me on my 30th birthday to be with another girl, and every single time he tried to weasel his way back in, I let him.
I had discovered Breaking Benjamin back then, and each time “Chris” would break things off, I would tearfully listen to the lyrics of “Dance with the Devil” over and over. I was attracted to the dance with the devil–the ones who don’t see or value you. The song starts out “Here I stand helpless and left for dead…” and that’s how I felt back then. My ass had been kicked. I had been pummeled with life. I was attracted to the devil; the bad boy.
Then, I went a long time of consciously not seeing him or anyone for that matter. I was completely self-indulgent. I got to know me. I learned to enjoy the silence. I learned to watch what I wanted to watch and be content with that and thankful that I could do those things even though there were other things I would like to do and be
One day he reached out again. and I told him to never disrespect me again- because I am someone’s dream girl.
I am. Everyone is someone’s ideal.
It’s been 10 years since my first fuckboy, trust that I have encountered literally THOUSANDS more. However, I’m much more adept at seeing the signs. I’m at a precipice in my life. I want to use my life experience to help others. The song “Dance with the Devil” came on the iPod in the car the other day and I was reminded of my tears that flowed at the time. I remembered how uncertain I was and frightened. I think back to who that woman was, and I don’t recognize her. I’ve come so far since then.
I stand here before you today more aware of my own power than ever before and yet still somewhat overwhelmed by what I can accomplish. I know what I’m made of and I know my worth. I would like a partner in life, but I will settle for nothing less than a thunderbolt because I know either way- I’m good.
I may be a complete hot mess. I may not know how I’m going to pay my power bill this month or how I’m going to get to my sister’s wedding in a few weeks, but I’m not worried. I’m resourceful.
So, if any Devils want to dance with me–bring ya A game, brotha.