CANNONBALL! into the water

because sometimes you just have to jump and hope you won't get hurt.

Friday, June 16, 2006

boys always get in the way because i allow it

In high school, boys were my life. My dad used to say that I didn't want a boyfriend; I wanted a pet. To an extent, this was true. I often treated boys like pets. Not that I told them what to do, but I pouted a lot and looked for affirmation in them. It wasn't that I needed them to like me or that I needed a boyfriend, but I needed to know I was cared for and that someone could take care of me should I need it.

I got let down doing this. There's one May '02 night that is clearly stamped in my memory bank as a big huge letdown by the boy who was my best friend, had been my best friend for two years. I pulled away from him for this, and I still miss him four years later. He was the boy to drive me around when I was crying so hard I couldn't see. He was the one who would walk to the pool to see me while I was working. And he walked after a 2-3 hour football practice.

There was a new boy my senior year of high school. And then another when I went off to SFASU.

In fact, there were always boys. It's a common theme in the life of many girls. We look to boys for our self-worth and confidence. How can I love myself if he doesn't love me? What can I change about myself to get him to pay attention to me?

And I changed a lot. I was blonde. I stopped eating. I dumbed down. I got to a point where I claimed I couldn't do anything for myself. All in the name of a boy. That's not worth it because I lost myself in the process. At 16, 17, and 18, I didn't know who I was because everything was wrapped up in the hope of a boy.

Now I try not to allow that to happen. It's not always easy because sometimes it seems life would be much simpler if I reverted to my old ways. To partying and allowing anything to happen and being whatever anyone wants me to be. But I refuse to do that.

I don't claim to be indepent all the time. And I won't lie and say I don't like attention from boys because I do. I like attention a lot. But it's different now. I want positive attention. I want more than a boy who snakes his arm around a girl's waist and hisses into her ear to see if he can buy her a drink. I want more than random make-out sessions at bars. It hurts me to see other girls allowing those sorts of things to happen and taking it as affirmation because I am reminded of how I once was and how much it physically hurt me and made me sick. I learned, the hard way, that boys like that tear you down over and over again. And eventually you come to a breaking point where you can't feel any lower.

Plenty of breaking points exist in life. School and what am I going to do with my life in 10 years and how much farther do I have to run tonight and I can't possibly work any longer or harder than I already am. Added breaking from boys is not unneccessary.
Never make someone your everything 'cause when they leave, you're left with nothing.

That's how I feel about the random drunk boys, the ones whose attention I wanted. I wanted to be the girl who walked into the bar and made every head turn. But I gave bits of my heart away by doing that, almost to the point that I had nothing left to give- not even anything for myself.

And so I am learning to depend more on myself than on boys. I am collecting the pieces of my heart and putting them back together. It won't ever be perfect, and I may never finish the puzzle. But I am making an effort.

I am also allowing myself to grow closer to the girls in my life and to make sure friendships with these girls last. It is so easy to allow petty things to get in the way. And I have done that many more times than I care to admit. But I am fighting for friendships this time.

The only real way to appreciate something is to lose it. At least that is what the cliche statement is. How true can this be? Can we really only love if we have lost it once and then fought to get it back?

I don't want to spend my life fighting. I don't want to always strive to keep my head above water. I want to enjoy. I want to float along and then swim when I need to; I don't want to be constantly treading water.

And I treaded water when I was younger. Sometimes I still do. I revert back to my old self where I put the boy, any boy, first before my friends. I hate it; I deny it. But I do. And I catch myself in the process and feel guilty later. After all what has this boy done for me that is so much better than what my girl friends do for me, other than be born male?

I think it's a girl thing. We crave being taken care of and the thrill of pursuit. How wonderful is it to receive flowers? Or to know that he is going to call you, that you don't have to call him.

Of course as a girl I tend to sometimes think things are more than what they are. Or I used to. Now I just wait. And I enjoy. Moments of pure bliss occur, and sometimes those moments are with boys. But more often they are with my girl friends who make me laugh so hard that my stomach hurts the next day and my eyes are red from the happy tears I cried.

So I guess it comes down to knowing yourself. That's what I am focusing on. I need to know myself, to realize that I am strong and can take care of myself. Yes, I want someone else to do the manual labor, but really I am capable of doing it myself.

I just like to call someone else to change the lightbulbs and paint the walls. And cook. But I do my own laundry and clean my bathroom and occassionally take the trash out.


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