I was reading Jenn’s post about why she’s not interested in dating and thought about my little social experience last weekend.
I didn’t want to date after my heart was broken. I had been abandoned, emotionally and physically, and I had way too much on my plate to add something as messy and scary as a man. As my life got more settled, predictable and reasonable, I still didn’t want to date. The fact that I had achieved a relative peace with my single mom status was a good feeling and I was afraid feeling would be obliterted if I tried dating.
But maybe the truth is, I really don’t know how to go about it.
Before I met Rooferman, I had very little dating experience. I was on my own path of self-destruction, and having a healthy relationship definitely wasn’t an ingredient in the pot (so to speak, heh). When he put that ring on my finger, I was shocked that someone actually wanted to be with me (probably one of the worst reasons to say to yes to a proposal).
Jenn said she wouldn’t want to date someone like her. I felt overwhelmingly saddened to hear this from such a fabulous mother, writer, spiritual grasshopper & general good person, but it struck a nerve with my own self image. Those words were coming out of my mouth less than 3 days ago.
Who would want to date a 27-year-old single mother?
I had to be confronted by 21-year-old dude to change my mind. Having this mantra repeated in your head for years can do some pretty crappy things to your ego. Jenn is right, having low-self esteem is defintely a turn-off for both men and women, and can get you into some pretty bad situations (insert 3/4 of my relationship with Rooferman).
For me, having negative self-thoughts also created a situation where I refused to find out if my thoughts were true or not. Mantra became fact: no one would want to date me, and that’s just how it was. I could get used to my life alone as long as there wasn’t any hope for me.
The funny thing about this “no hope” philosophy was I wasgetting more self esteem from other parts of my life. Honestly, being a single mom has been the best thing for my confidence level EVER. I was practically Obama’s cheerleader during his “Yes we can” speeches, because I really HAD done so much for myself and my daughter. I was totally feeling it. I started facing my fears. I spoke in public about being a single mom. I went to court and got custody of my daughter. I refused to close my child support case. I confronted my daycare about something I felt was unjust.
So I’ve implemented my “no hope” and “yes I can” themes together, creating a “Who cares of no one wants me, I’m still going to have fun and rock on” bumper sticker for my soul. That billboard was promptly ripped from my self-esteem last Friday.
Like Mama Cum Laude said, I didn’t want to be a single mom. There was no way I would have chosen this path. I was forced to face a life alone with a child, and maybe that happened for a reason. Maybe it happened so I could prove to myself how strong, confident, and amazing I really was.
I have to keep adjusting my mantra. Its gotten me this far. Its put me into situations where I crashed, recovered, expanded and perhaps became a little enlightened. I experienced a little more, I got a little braver. I know if I keep on wading, I’ll get to the deep end eventually.
Maybe I can add “desired” to the things I’ve found out about myself . Maybe we both will, Jenn.