Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Not my Gumdrop Buttons

When I was a child, my mother  would read us fairy tales.  Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty.  They were romantic and I spent many play moments dressed up as a princess, with my flowing skirts and my wand.  For some reason I always had a wand.  But then again, I had a lot of wishes that I wanted to come true.

And I grew up and I started looking for my Prince.  The one that was supposed to complete me.  Heck, I envisioned passing some handsome dude on the street and the hands of fate would bring our heads up, our eyes would lock and that would be it.  It would be instant love, so strong that it would last forever and beyond.

I know that conditioning wasn't done on purpose but I have spent many years waiting for my fairy tale, my Prince Charming, my happy ending.  Cinderella got it and she had to put up with those bitchy, ugly stepsisters.  Wait a minute!  I have siblings.  So what was with all these frogs???  Love was supposed to be everlasting, with no problems, a blissful, peaceful life.

I am not even really sure why I thought that love was like that.  I lived with my parents.  I saw my father destroy my mother with his multiple affairs.  I was witness to more that one argument and sometimes a full on fight.  I overheard my mother talking to her friends on the phone about her problems with my dad.

I think I clung to the hopes that MY marriage would not turn out like my parents.  A love that was so great that they couldn't even stand to be in the same room together.  A love so everlasting that my father left his life behind and "disappeared" to start a new life with a new woman without even the courtesy of a goodbye.  Oh we got a goodbye, my mother flew to where he had last been seen and dragged his ass back home to face the music before she divorced him.  I was going to have that Sleeping Beauty love.  My husband would think that I was the most beautiful being in the universe.  He would spend hours gazing at me.  He would slay a dragon for me, walk on fire for me, die for me...and then I got married.

My first husband is a good guy.  He is a good father to our children, mostly has his head screwed on, is a fun guy and a hysterical drunk. However, he didn't slay dragons, he didn't walk on fire for me although I am pretty sure at the time, he would have died for me.

There were no hours spent gazing into each others eyes.  No, we got pregnant very shortly after we got married and the only gazing I did was in the toilet bowl and I am pretty sure the only gazing he did was at the top of my head as he held my hair back.

Then life happened and somewhere along the way we lost each other. Things not let go.  Hurts not resolved.  And there was no happy ending.  We are both remarried now and I know he is happy where he is in life and I am happy for him.  He was my best friend for a long time and I am glad that we are both where we are.  Maybe that is our happy ending.

I have made a lot of people responsible for my happiness when MY happiness should come from me.  I need to be the owner of that and a lot of other things that I seem to have handed over to others.  It's really hard to take that ownership.  It means that you don't have anyone to blame anymore.  But I have given away a lot of my power and I need to regain that.

Every once in a while, some poem or saying will catch my eye and I will put it on my fridge as a reminder.  I actually have this one in a few places.

After a While

After a while, you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning 
and company doesn't mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts 
and presents are promises.
And you being to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes open
with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plan your own garden and decorate your soul 
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure.
That you really are strong
and you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn.
With every goodbye you learn.

Veronical Shoffstall

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