Updated: Feb 5
TL;DR: I do my best to make resiliency and learning seem like second nature, because that’s what society wants from me. If I succeed, people will think I have some kind of magic. The point is that this is the furthest thing from easy. I’m not telling you because I want sympathy. I absolutely hate sympathy. I want recognition. I want recognition for continuing to move forward, and maybe some extra recognition for making it look easy enough that those around me aren’t concerned – or at least concerned enough to have to express it.
I can pretend to be tough all day, but I don’t think I’m fooling anyone, nor do I really want to. I’m fragile. I built all this muscle to be less fragile, but turns out that my bones are the only thing that (probably) won’t break. The reason I keep getting up isn’t because I don’t break. It’s because I’m resilient. I’m like one of those gross bugs in that way. You can cut off an arm, but I’ll wake up the next morning with a stronger one. I think friends and family assume that it’s not a big deal by now because I’ve been hurt and put myself back together so quickly and so many times, but it doesn’t hurt any less. In many ways, it hurts more. I’m just good at it. I promise I’m not trying to be dramatic either. Honestly, I generally do my best to downplay because it happens so often. I'll continue to act tough, but I’m exhausted. I'm human.
Everyone around me seems to be so okay that I constantly feel like a fool for continuously getting hurt or bringing it up. I’m sure people wonder why I haven’t learned yet. Maybe others have better ways to process? Honestly, I don’t think processing is my issue. I go for the wrong people, get invested too quickly, etc. and you know what? F*ck that. I am getting better. This time I knew when to break it off instead of letting it go further, investing more time and getting hurt more in the future. If I’m being "dramatic," I’m the one that broke my own heart this time. I did it on purpose. I didn’t have to wait for someone else to do it, which would’ve been easier. I’m angry at the universe that I haven’t met my person yet, but that’s still improvement. I have moments of doubt all the time if I'll find my person. At the end of the day, I know in my heart that it’ll happen eventually and that it will be worth it. Or at least, I have to believe that or I’m absolutely screwed.
As much as each person I’ve gone out with more than once represents something, I’m starting to realize what I represent to them. Guys almost always make the comment that it’s difficult to find an intelligent, ambitious woman. That’s my most obvious quality, so of course a guy who’s looking for that (or in many cases, thinks that’s what he’s looking for) will think he’s into me...until one of us realizes that we aren’t compatible or maybe he’s just not interested. I’m waiting for the day when someone likes me for more than my ambition and looks. I want someone to like me for my childish sense of humor, or think it’s cute how excited I get about my pink mouse or morning cold brew. Maybe that’s what I need to a better job looking for. The worst part is knowing that I have to get comfortable being alone until then, and that I will probably be alone so for long that distracting myself in the mean time won’t solve the problem.
A few other things I’ve realized recently:
As much as I will forever see myself as the girl who couldn’t do a single push-up on the tennis team, I’m not that girl anymore. It hit me at the gym on Friday night in Hawaii the other day. First of all, the only people who go to the gym on Friday nights are the people who either have nothing better to do, or really love the gym. I could make a joke, but it’s the latter. Anyway, I couldn’t figure out why I felt like everyone was staring at me, until I realized that I am that girl. I don’t think people were staring at me in a creepy way. They were staring at me because I am the muscular girl in the gym. I’ve had several bodybuilders give me the head nod at the weights I’m using in the last month or two. I’ll probably always feel inferior still (because I’m afraid not to), but on some level, I have to recognize that I am exactly the girl I wanted to be. I have no idea how the hell I did that, other than never being satisfied until I felt like I couldn’t do anymore. I’m still afraid to be proud of myself, because I have to keep it up. I see myself in the mirror and I still want more. I feel like I need more or I’ll lose it all. When I’m shopping these days, I often have to ask myself if it’s the clothes I actually like or just how muscular my body looks. I wish it didn’t hurt me that I wish I had someone to share it with who would truly appreciate it. I hope that my person can be excited for me when I’m excited, and understand how much those comments hurt me as a kid and why I’ll forever be in shock of how I look now, despite wanting to be skinnier at the same time. I don't think people understand that I'm not conceeded. I'm just in disbelief.
I used to love smiling to myself that I could lift more than the guy next to me. But as I saw a normal sized dude put a plate on the quad machine, and another normal sized guy incline bench 35s, and thought "LOL I could do way more than that." I realized that they aren’t weak. Obviously, there are still many women who are much stronger than me, but I’m up there. They aren’t weak. I’m just strong, which unfortunately means that I can’t make those jokes anymore. I didn’t realize it was insensitive because of how I see myself. I respect everyone in the gym, and I’d hate to discourage someone on their journey to my position now.
Finally, I’ve been under a ton of stress and working a lot of hours since I started this role. I thought it was temporary, because I was new and it was busy season, until I realized that I’ve been saying that for the last six months. I don’t hate it, but this is my life now. I work a ton of hours, and that’s not going to change. I think I’ll have to come to terms with that idea, even though it doesn’t change anything. Besides, nothing makes me want to work more than getting hurt again.