A few months back, I watched this movie again and I marveled at the character of Gidget. She is so full of fun and life and just simply does what she thinks is right and says what she thinks is right. She’s brave but in reality, doesn’t know the first thing about the world. But somehow instead of the world gobbling her up, she seems to invade it with her outlook and enthusiasm. And as I watched that movie, I thought to myself, “Man, that is how I used to be. In high school, I was unstoppable. I thought I could do anything and if I wanted to try, I did. I was up to take on the world and smiled as I did it.
My ex was so much the opposite of me that I learned to reign myself in. As I tried to be polite, and proper, and fit the mold of wife, mother, and Christian, I reigned myself in even more. It became who I was. And I forgot about the Gidget I was and even started to see her traits as a negative, because every time I did anything that felt like me, it didn’t seem to go over well at home.
And when my ex left my spirit was broken. After trying for years to be who he wanted me to be, I had also lost the me I was long ago. Everything in my life came crashing down. The weight was almost unbearable. My ultimate life was a sham.
I had lived trying to do what the needlepoint said on Francine’s wall. “To be a real woman is to bring out the best in a man.” I tried and I failed. Not that I wanted to fix anyone, but instead to be some kind of inspiration for them to be all they are. What I’m really talking about is being a perfect complement to a man. Where my personality is neither too strong, or too weak and we work together to make each other solid, filling in each others gaps.
I’m learning to look for different things in a man. Assertiveness, not aggression and not passivity. Decisiveness, not opinionated beyond reason, or mr. go-with-the-flow. I’m finding, these two things are very important for me to find in a man, because if he doesn’t have them, I will tip the balance my way. In the past, I’ve played it safe, in a sense. I’ve always said I’ve wanted a strong man but then chosen men who end up being weak.
And maybe in this particular time period in my life I’m learning to be the old me again. Not in every sense of the word. Not a mid-life crisis where I want to regain my lost youth. But in my sense of adventure. In my ability to be the core me who I was before I was rejected. Before I felt like a failure. Before I thought I had done everything wrong. I started to believe I was there with you-know who. But his words said in anger and spite brought me back to that feeling of being not good enough. I’ve battled that feeling most of my life. I fight against that feeling every single day.
So with Mercenary Guy, I’ve just been allowing myself to be all of me. Not the reigned in me. There is give and there is take. We are talking a lot at these early stages about what we like and don’t like. Everything’s on the table. I am seeing some things that make me feel uncomfortable and I tell him, and what’s so different, is he’s listening and sometimes says, “Okay, I understand.” And other times he says, “Well that’s how I am, so we’ll be different in that way.” He laughs, he smiles, he says what he thinks. It’s a little disarming. Without knowing it at the time, I’m realizing now that I’ve always had the control of past relationships. It just happened by default. And it’s definitely not happening by default this time.
Maybe he will be a good complement to me? Oh did you hear that! I’ve gone and say that word again…Maybe. You know what that means. That stupid magic love pill is starting to have its effect on me. As Gidget would say, “I feel like I’ve been hit over the head with a sledgehammer.”
Part of me feels like she did sitting on the couch with the Kahuna at the beach house as he closes all the blinds. I’m a little timid wondering if I can handle this man who is all man. What will happen when I give him control? When we share it? It’s a whole new ballgame. But the Kahuna was no more going to take advantage of Gidget than she tried to suck him in. Her mistake was not being true to herself. And I can’t make that mistake. I can’t be brave beyond myself. That is not good for me so I won’t be. But in the end she got to him. He started to believe there was more to this world than only what he’d known. That life and love could be richer. His mask came off.
Maybe I’ll be a good complement to Mercenary Guy too? Who I’m going to have to rename soon because he is much more than that.
We are having an effect on one another. In a positive way. And that is a good thing. And good enough reason to keep moving forward being true to who we are.