Stress to Impress…

There’s an article I read suggesting what qualities women should possess that Men should add to their ‘Marriage Material’ list, and within that list something really hit home.

The 4 suggestions were great but it was #3 that really resonated with me and it was called: Love You as You Are Right Now

She loves you for you. You are not a project to her. She is not in love with your potential. There are few things worse than being with a woman who you makes you feel as though you aren’t good enough. For me, it was where I felt that in order to keep her, I needed to earn more money. Get in better shape. Not make silly jokes. Dress better. It was exhausting and demoralizing. It’s easy to spot this dynamic when it’s overt, when she’s actually telling you to make these changes. It’s tougher when it’s more subtle.

I whole heartedly feel this message. I would feel this every day when I would try to talk to women on OkCupid, or women in life who get to know me and are comfortable in telling why they don’t want to go out with me, it’s all the same answer. Not enough money, not financially stable, it makes me see like the “be yourself” line is a crock of shit.

Granted… I’m not remiss on the slight hypocrisy that I’m reading a list created by a man about what a woman should have in order to be marriage material compared to complaining about what a woman wants a man to have in order to be with her… but I believe there is a profound difference.

The attributes suggested (flexibility, self care, love you as you are, good giver/receiver) are qualities that are good for someone to possess and also anybody can harness. They are not pigeon-holed constructs that go to unattainable heights that only very few can reach.

A friend of mine sent me this meme and it goes “set a goal so big that you can’t achieve it until you grow into the person who can.”

It’s cool… I have to become the best version of myself. THAT, I get. I can feel that I’m not there, but once I blow on all cylinders, pssh… it’s gonna be a problem, lol. But then and only then is when I can find someone? That stinks. What ever happened to starting from the bottom? Jennifer has said in the past that we’re too old for that and people want what they want at this age now and I see where she’s coming from. My ex-fiancé met someone, got engaged in 4 months, got married 6 months after that for a total of 10 months of courtship! She wanted it now and she GOT it now. So what happens with me as I try to become the greatest version of myself? Be unattainable and not worthy of love while everyone else gets to get married?

For some reason every time I would talk to a significant other or a potential, I’d remember this feeling. This feeling of needing to impress them to keep their interest in me. “How are you doing today?” soon transitioned to “what did you do today?” as if to say “what are you doing with your life to benefit me in/for the future?” which made it seemed like I had to report in with a progress report. “Oh well I wrote 2 more pages today, looked for work, I have an interview Friday and being positive with all outcomes”. All of a sudden their voice would change back to a cooled state and she’d go “oh okay, that’s great!” but really it was more like “good, you survived another day”

I hated that feeling. It always made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.

Another feeling I loathed was that when every time they would look at other people,  I would mentally drape myself with that person’s attributes to see if it would work on me just to see if I’d be liked more.

“Ooh, she likes that guy’s British accent? I can do an accent!”

“Oh, she likes that guy’s dreads… hmm wonder if I would look good in dreads…”

Always trying to emulate what they wanted in a man because “obviously” they were looking me over so I wasn’t their cup of tea. Surely if I did things they liked then they’d finally like me, right?

I know, I know – “Why would you do that to yourself?” Well because you have to remember there are some women that like to say that men need to get up to their level, or bring yourself to their table. Or I’d see memes like “if you really liked her you’d change for her” or some shit like that like that’s the way to go and that’s “right”. But if it were the other way around, it would be considered emotional abuse to women.

It’s funny, cause I If I told a woman she wasn’t good enough unless she lost that gut, did some squats, be one cup size bigger and get fuller lips, I’d be social media’s Most Wanted. I’d be left there to hang and with good reason. But if a woman says it – “So let it be written, so let it be done” – because you’re supposed to sacrifice yourself for her cause she’s “worth it”. Right.

So instead of “Dress to impress”, it’s more STRESS to impress.

Now don’t get me wrong. I completely understand women wanting their partner (or potential boo) to evolve. No one wants to waste their time with someone who doesn’t have or capitalize on their ambition. But at the same time, you have to love someone in their everyday. You can’t go in thinking that “ooh, once they reach this point it’ll be glorious and we’ll live happily ever after. My ex fiancé wanted to go on missionaries and help people from all villages and help spread the word of God. I could totally see her doing it. That was her ambition and her potential. She wanted that fire and desire in me and passion in me.

So even though she enjoyed “us”, in the back of her mind she always wanted me to meet her up to her level and would push me into things that I didn’t want to be in but I did it for her because of “love” or twisted thinking that “hey… if I do this, I’m going to her level and being a man” or whatever. She would always want me to reach that level of passion.

But she didn’t see it. Over time that waned in our relationship. Granted I did have passion, but just not in that which is one of the reason for our downfalls in our relationship (and one of the triumphs in her new relationship and marriage – congrats btw). I had my own passion and my own goals and end game. It’s not that I didn’t want to help the less fortunate, but I have different goals and mind set. Over time she was more worried about if I would ever reach the potential she wanted me to reach as opposed to being the person that I was. I’m not blaming her or anything, people have a right to want what they want in a partner. She sure did and one of the last things she told me was that she found the man she has always prayed for and then some. So I’m glad.

But it’s true. I didn’t need that pressure. It’s bad enough to combat life and its constant trials, I didn’t need to come home and have someone who I want to confide in and be venerable with to combat me as well and make me feel like I am not good enough.

Love the everyday me because even if I gain the potential you wish me to seek, I could also lose it, then what? You’re gone? I’m going to be me with 50 cents in my pocket or 50 million in the bank. Love THAT guy and I’ll give you the world. The extra stuff is bonus.

“Success is like yourself, liking what you do, and how you do it” – Maya Angelou

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