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I had to think long and hard about the worst advice I’ve ever gotten. Seriously, I have gotten so much bad advice throughout my entire life. Let’s review…
You need to lose weight or you’ll never ever get married and have kids.
You don’t need to go to college, just get married and settle down.
You can’t get married, it’s too soon.
That’s just a few of the doozies I’ve gotten over the years. But I think the absolutely worst advice I got was stop going on so many dates with new people. Give someone a chance! I talked about meeting Jim here, here, here, and here during my Halloween anniversary tribute. I won’t make you read it again–unless you want to!
I went on a lot of first and second dates after my divorce. Somehow, I was a completely different dating entity once I got past the age of 30. I don’t know if it was actually an age thing or if it was more an I-have-been-divorced thing. I do know I started looking at the act of dating in a completely different way.
It seemed that when I was younger and dating, I was always more worried that they like me. I wanted to be what they needed and wanted. Sometimes at the risk of not remembering who I even was!
Add to the mix the whole you’re-too-fat-for-anyone-to-ever-date-much-less-love messages I had been given since I was a prepubescent girl, and I was a dating mess! I had to prove to my family that I was worthy! Someone could and would love me despite my weight. I knew that underneath my weight I was a pretty swell person. Smart, funny, decent. But no one worried about my insides and instead worried only about the outside.
You have such a pretty face…
The “but” always hung there. Youhavesuchaprettyfaceand if.you.lose.weight.someone.will.appreciate.it.
Add in the bullying of high school–have I ever told you my nickname was “Suey”? I can still hear the boys chanting it as we walked between buildings, as we walked through the halls. Suey. I hate that nickname.
But no one worried that that was bullying. After all, it was my fault for being fat. Oh yes, I deserved to be bullied because I was 20-30-4- pounds overweight.
I had two big fuck you moments when I realized that the problem wasn’t with me. The first, I got pictures from mom and realized that I wasn’t a horrifically fat person at all. I was a little plump. But I didn’t see a fat girl. I saw a very pretty girl who deserved so much better.
The second, when my mother asked me if I had lost weight. This was after I had just told her I was graduating college with honors, was inducted into the honor society, a member of the Who’s Who of University Students, that my graduating GPA was a 3.94. She heard none of that and instead was focused on my weight. I saw a woman who valued nothing but the physical and couldn’t appreciate what I had accomplished while working full-time, attending college full-time, and being married.
So when I was given the chance to date and to date a lot, I took it. This time around I was going to be discerning. I was going to be in charge. It was my turn to make the rules.
I wasn’t mean about it. But I had my list of things I needed and wanted in my next husband and I wasn’t afraid to get them.
I really did have a list: cute, funny, smart, kind. I thought about it so much I had a whole picture of Mr. Right in my head. I could see him so clearly.
I like to say I sent my list and the picture into the Universe and got exactly what I wanted. I did!
I dated a lot of nice men. I dated a lot of duds. All while I was way fatter than I had been in high school. I’m happy to say, none of them called me “Suey”! I don’t know if it was because we were all a little older, but things like brains and humor seemed to be a mutual want.
And so I dated. And dated. And friends told me to stop dating and pick someone already. They did it in a nice way. I explained that I hadn’t found the right one yet. But I had complete faith I would find him. Eventually. So in the mean time, I was going to enjoy dating.
Then I met Jim and we all know he was Mr. Right. Heck, he’s MR. RIGHT!
Still, I wasn’t completely ready to give up the dating after I met him and actually went on two more dates. The first was a second date and I spent the entire time wishing I were with Jim. The most amusing part of the evening: another couple was with us and the guy brought security tapes from a department store showing people doing idiotic things! The second was a first date, and while I drove to meet him, I had my picture of Mr. Right in my head. And I realized that Mr. Right looked just like Jim. I got exactly what I wanted!
The moral of the story? It’s easy for people to give you advice. But you don’t always have to take it. Some advice should be shot down with a missile. Other advice can be politely rebuffed. It’s up to you to decide.
And maybe that comes with age. Now that I’m in my 40s I have all kinds of retorts for the advice people gave me when I was younger. I just can’t imagine my nine year old self telling my mom and aunts, “Fuck you! I’m fine the way I am!” and not getting the crap smacked out of me. Or being 16 and telling the high school boys to “bite me” without me getting the detention.
Yes, today I am fat, 40-ish, and not afraid to say Fuck You! And I’m so happy that I am!