Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Conversations with My Father (Part One)

I received the below email from my father last week following the aforementioned break up. It made me think. 

While somewhat hard to hear, I thought it was worth considerable reflection and I wanted to post it here, lest it fade into archived obscurity within the bottomless hole that is currently my gmail in-box. 

Frankly, after your wonderful comments on the last bit of fatherly advice, I just couldn't resist the urge to share this honest and heartfelt bit of paternal correspondence.
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It's late and I'm worried about you getting home, so I thought I'd "scratch off a few lines", as they used to say. 
Sorry about your last minute email from [The Chef], but that in itself was revealing enough to know it was for the best.  In that context, I offer these thoughts for whatever they are worth.
Women like you, Scarlett (transparently needful of romantic love), are particularly at risk I think, because there are two ways most men will respond: (1) with reciprocal endearment and love or (2) as an invitation to exploitation.  It's just the way men are.  And, sadly, there are far more of the latter than the former.  Therefore, I think that you should try to be a little more guarded in your interactions with, and reactions to, men.  You have so much to offer the right man, but you cannot sell it too cheaply or offer it too readily.  There is an old saying I heard a long time ago and never forgot: that people tend to disdain what is thrown at them.  And that is all too true.  Moreover, by being too eager you sell yourself short.  The descriptions you have given me of your recent interactions did not convey much respect on his part, nor self-assuredness on yours.  I guess my sense is (and I don't mean to sound cliched) that you need to take ownership of your own 'personhood', for lack of a better word, in such a way as to demand that requisite respect before offering love--not after.  Real respect and love are mutually reinforcing and mutually sustaining. 
You have been through so much for one so young, but you must resist the temptation to think of yourself  as a victim.  Down that road lies immense vulnerability, not to mention cynicism.  You are in need of neither one just now.  You must take stock of your incredible assets and value them commensurately.  The question in your mind should always be whether or not a man measures up to your (preferably astronomical) specifications, not whether you measure up to his.  Meanwhile, concentrate on the requisite self-improvement we all seek.
I'm not so old that I don't understand the need for intimacy with someone, honey.  But this lurching from "candidate to candidate" in this fashion can't be good for you can it?  I mean you are so much more than that.  The mental toll, for one thing, must be considerable.  And disappointment and despair tend to reinforce each other in a cyclic, toxic emotional cocktail.  You really need to rethink your perspective, Scarlett, along with your own self regard, in order to concoct an antidote for it.  And if you do, I think you'll find that the more you redirect that energy and emotional commitment toward self-improvement and self-fulfillment, the sooner fate will take a hand with the romance.  I'm certain of it.
I actually wrote this several days ago but wanted to wait until after New Years eve to send it. 
Our trip home to the 'Promised Land' [Texas] (that really ticks Mom off when I say it) was very enjoyable and uneventful.
Love you.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Fresh Start

2011 greeted me on the tail end of five bottles of bubbly and found me wearing a sparkly crown, tooting a noise maker and embracing two of the best friends I'll ever have. No cliched kisses for me but only the briefest of pangs for my recently severed relationship.

While it would, be typically Scarlett to bitch about the fact that I did not have someone of my very own to kiss at midnight; rant about my endless frustration with the opposite sex; or bemoan the parade of failed relationships steadily lengthening from year to year; its a new year and thus should strive to be a new outlook.

In that newness of spirit, I will simply say that endings, while often sad, are not all together negative. Rather, I suppose they could be seen as opportunities for growth. For the first time in a long while I can truthfully say that looking back at this relationship, I have no regrets. No self flagellating "what was I thinking" monologues play ad nauseum in a tortured psyche through a red wine haze. Quite the opposite.

He helped open my mind and my heart to the unknown, he challenged me intellectually, he awakened me emotionally. I am a better person for it. And there's nothing sad about that. I am not broken. Any wounds will, in fact, heal. And while I will miss his smile and his amazingly kind eyes, it is useless to wage a war on what is simply ill-fated timing. It does no good to curse that which you are unable to change.

And so I will put one foot, however reluctantly, in front of the other, wading into the still serene waters of 2011.

I will continue to make (and most likely break) my resolutions which include making more time for the things that make me happy, have better posture, pay off credit cards, splurge more on nice lingerie, loose weight, be a better friend, make my bed, learn to like dark chocolate, make time for Yoga and, of course, marry Russell Crowe.


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*This new and less indignant approach to life feels a bit unnatural....but good. Kind of like walking in a new pair of Gucci platform wedges.