Not sure what caused an Eminem song to pop into my head, but I woke up this morning to these words: “Will the goddess inside please stand up!” And so I knew the time had come to revisit that post from long ago “The Perfect Woman” and Pablo’s quote.
This time, dear Pablo, I must bow and admit you were right.
We all know the definition of madness…doing the same things and expecting different results. Problem is, we often set out to do the same things better and to a greater degree… and so we believe the equation changes.
The only thing that changes when you try even harder to please, be the nicest, most accommodating, loving, and supportive woman on the planet is that you get upgraded from the $9.99 doormat to the $59.99 model. Yes, you’re appreciated at times because you’re so silky and soft…but a doormat is a doormat is a doormat.
I used to think being underestimated was a good thing. And it can be if you’ve got a consistent bite to your growl. But it’s not good when you don’t.
People, and I’m talking about significant others here…by which I mean men, all too often take your being loving and accommodating as signs of neediness and low self-esteem (and stupidity)…which of course means an open invitation to take advantage. They don’t do it because they’re necessarily evil (although some are)…they do it because they can.
And because you put your needs and pride aside…because you overlook a trespassing that one time, since it’s a small thing and you’re bigger than that…and then, before you know it, you’re wearing a sign that says “anything goes”, you’re apologizing for breathing, and running to help your beloved find an even more comfortable spot from where to hurl stuff at you or else ignore you altogether.
Any relationship worth having, I’ve learned, is both a dance and a game. When both partners act honorably, from a place of tenderness and authenticity, it’s a dance. When one or both start to slack off or take advantage, it becomes a game.
And you can’t dance through the game…you gotta play it, and play it well, which simply means you not only know what you’re worth, but act like you know what you’re worth. It’s one thing to be understanding and supportive, quite another to become a lackey. Bending over backwards to meet someone else’s needs while they barely lift a finger to meet yours on a good day will get you not a medal, but a broken back.
I know, I know…we love fiercely and follow our hearts, and it’s so damn hard to put a muzzle on those loving, nurturing tendencies, to look into the eyes of the one you love most in this world and tell him “Maybe call me when you get your s**t together” and walk away.
It’s much easier to believe and forgive, to wait, to hope and trust that everything you give will inspire your partner to rise above all those terrible things that happened to him in his life, and that eventually, because of your love and support, he’ll be able to unpack the toxic baggage he carries, free up his hands so as to be able to embrace you fully, like he swears he wants to if only he wasn’t so traumatized and overwhelmed.
We all have issues and we all have baggage. When you love someone, it means you’re willing to do whatever it takes to dismantle the barriers inside yourself that time or whatever misfortunes built against love and connection. If you can’t fix something on your own, you seek help. If something’s bothering you, you talk about it honestly and constructively. If you’re afraid, you muster up some courage. You don’t set yourself and your life up for failure, you don’t hide landmines on your path, you don’t cling to your selfishness and you don’t friggin pay for what you’re asking your partner to give you with junk bonds.
So…let’s dispel the illusions of well meaning doormats right here and now: Your partner will not miraculously wake up one day and realize how amazing you are. What your partner will do is learn how much he can get away with until either he finds another distraction and throws you in the trash, or else you put your foot down. Either way, not a pleasant outcome.
Don’t get me wrong…there is no point in living if you don’t follow your heart, if you’re not vulnerable, loving, honest, and ready to do pretty much anything for the one you love. People should not live with checklists of expectations, forget about elegant compromise, shy away from worthy sacrifices or turn into supremely demanding bastards.
All I’m saying is that as far as women go, the goddess inside needs to stand up and remain standing. If a man can’t handle a woman who loves, likes and values him so much as to expect him to live up to his potential, to dance beautifully for the most part, and play a good game at times, then he should be left to settle for that colleague with bland benefits, or the cupcake, or some other version of female who matches his own mediocrity.
Because the same rule applies to all of us…if we want something of quality in life, it’s not going to be free or come cheap. Don’t throw stuff at me for stereotyping here, but for a beautiful dance, as a woman you put on your best “heels”…and as a man, you grow some, how to put this elegantly…real balls.
Well then, that’s all I have for today. And what better ending to this post than the words of a woman who may not have succeeded in fully living up to them, but she surely had the right idea:
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” ~ Marilyn Monroe