All Of These Things
Truth be told, I’m dealing with a bruised heart right now. My friends would likely tell you it’s more of a bruised ego, as from May through October they all waited patiently to tell me, “I told you so.” I’m an optimist though, and a consistent giver of second chances. So I hopped on airplanes, put myself out there and ultimately learned my lesson the hard way.
The thing about hopping on airplanes to chase someone, is that you can’t do it in secret. Your friends know you’re leaving town. Your parents drop you off at the airport. When things don’t work out, when radio silence hits, when the feeling isn’t returned, you can’t just play it off like nothing happened. It’s not like a dinner date with someone local, where your friends would never even need to know you went and subsequently, you’d be able to save face if things didn’t work out.
In recent weeks, I’ve faced the question of “What happened with so-and-so?” repeatedly, although often packaged in different ways. Once I give my answer, which generally goes something like, “I really have no idea,” I typically receive a standard response. First, the response was, “I think you intimidate guys.” Sometimes it’s, “Alicia, you have your life together. That freaks guys out.” A favorite of mine was, “Alicia, you are a good girl who’s going to heaven and that’s scary for a lot of dudes.” Another constant gem is, “Guys might be turned off by your professional success.”
I’m not sure how much I believe any of these things factored into my current situation. I think the current situation turned the page that it did just because the timing wasn’t right, and more likely, that it just wasn’t supposed to work out. Yet, when your closest friends say things like those mentioned above, it makes you think. And when you’re mending a bruised heart, these comments swirl around in your head a lot faster and dwell in deeper than they would if you weren’t, say, mending a bruised heart.
Yesterday I had enough of it. Late in the day, I looked at myself in the mirror and literally said, “Why can’t I be all of these things?”
Why can’t I be a lawyer and a lover?
Why can’t I be smart but relaxed?
Why can’t I be sexy yet wholesome?
Sometimes I think society places an unfair precedent upon women. It’s a precedent that largely tells us we can only be one thing. You can be sexy, or you can be smart. You can be a mom, or you can be a career woman. You can be a wife, or you can explore the world.
I’ve never subscribed to any of these notions. From a young age, I always jumped into life with the belief that I could be everything I wanted to be. A driven career woman with lofty goals. A devoted wife who catches her husband’s eye. A caring mother who bakes cupcakes for her kids’ classes. I know I can have and be all of these things.
I think there are a lot of young women like myself who hit roadblocks in dating and have their hearts pounced on more often than they like. As young women do, they might then find themselves in a cocoon, questioning what they could have done differently or what they did wrong. They might then try to shed some of the layers that make them whole. “Well, maybe if I didn’t act intelligent, he’d still be around” “Or, maybe I should try to be more sexy to keep him interested.” “Perhaps I shouldn’t have let on that yes, I do want to start a family and he wouldn’t have bailed.”
You can’t do this. You are all of these things for a reason. These things are your makeup. They are your whole. They are you. And someday, someone will see all of these things and he will become a part of them.