I frequently indicate in my writing that I have gained wisdom and insight, but that is a generic statement. Here I want to be specific in sharing more of the fabulously goofy misadventures of Kim.
The same guy was with me from my age of 19 until 30. It was challenging to progress from the year 2000 to 2011 and reenter the dating scene. I attended the crash-course known as the real world. My growing pains were unpleasant but somehow necessary. I learned highly unfortunate phrases (in my eyes) such as “main chick” and “side chick.” After I ended the relationship, I allowed him to live with me for a few more months until he could find a place. I overheard him on the phone one night mentioning these phrases, indicating the side chick always knows more than the main chick.
For me to have been the unabashedly loving and trusting young woman that I was, hearing this made my stomach lurch from his treachery. I did not confront him about it since I had already ended things. It was a heart-rending confirmation that I made the right decision. He remained comfortable in my house. Too comfortable, putting forth no effort to leave. He had to be removed via an eviction notice.
Thankfully, this is not about him.
For a short while, I dated. I had my eyes set on one man in particular. That ended rather poorly (but I am grateful it was much quicker than the 10.5 years that it took with the last fella). In his instance, I had unknowingly become the side chick. This news devastated me to the point of an emotional response so intense I thought I was going to end up in the ER again, having just gone about one month prior. I will spare most details, but there is one in particular that will always be at the forefront of our brief affair.
Some time had passed after I stopped seeing him when I attended the funeral of the father of a former classmate and mutual friend. Many people I went to high school with were also in attendance. The dearly departed was well loved and the church was filled to capacity. After the service began, there were two remaining empty seats. These seats were to the left of me. The man who I had been seeing but was no longer seeing had arrived a little late. With his girlfriend. Who sat next to me. I could hear the echo:
“The side chick always knows more than the main chick…”
I had just recently learned about her. Yet she did not know me from Lilith.
When she sat down, I sensed a collective holding of the breath of those in attendance who knew about her and knew about me. Yet there was no incident. There was no reason for it. I am not the type of woman that would fight over a man. She and I chatted briefly after the service, and I greeted the man, her man, that I used to date. She was none the wiser. He text me after the funeral to tell me how good I looked. I felt bad for her. I did not act on his text.
This incident put me on a path of rewinding in my mind to how many people may have felt bad for me in my other situation-ships.
Thankfully, this is not about him either.
I gave dating a few more tries. My experience with one man was such a comedy of errors it may warrant a podcast episode. I did meet one of my closest friends through him, so there was a golden lining in that regard. The next try at dating took me from the end of 2011 and on into 2012. This man wanted me to change. He liked a woman with bite, with anger issues. My anger issues range anywhere from Mr. Rogers to Kermit the Frog. This emotion missed me somehow (until I started dating, go figure). I could not try to be someone I was not, so I had to cut him loose.
He was verbally cruel to me. He would be rude, mean, sarcastic, and condescending to try and goad me to react. I never did. When I asked him why he was so harsh towards me when I was so kind to him and his family, his response was that his last girlfriend mistreated him, so he wanted to get me before I got him. With his predetermination, we were over before we even began.
It is better to be alone and heal than take the trauma of past relationships into a new one.
Although there are a few more, thankfully, this is not about any of them.
Rather, this is about my reaction to the combination of them. I was subjected to deceit, neglect, games, immaturity, and heartache. The trails of my tears have etched grooves on my face. To see how common it was (and still is) for people to be dishonest and treat others like they are disposable was disheartening. It made me feel like I actually did need to change to keep up, otherwise I would have to bow out of a chance at love and romance.
Around the time of wanting to throw in the towel, I saw a quip that said (paraphrased):
“When girls become women, we trade our angel wings for a broomstick.”
I snickered. Then I pondered: What if I start treating others like they treat me? Cold and heartless and like a dime-a-dozen instead of once-in-a-lifetime? “Do unto others,” some say.
I made up my mind to become a b***h. Since this is not in my nature, I knew it would be a stretch and take plenty of practice.
After making my decision, I went for a walk one day. My mind was swirling as I thought of ways to mistreat others. These thoughts lasted only briefly.
Enter my kryptonite.
Three doors down, one of my neighbors had a puppy. They kept her chained to the small porch with no shelter provided. It made me sad, having 5 canines of my own at the time. That day, she got loose and was hiding under the blue car parked in front of their house. I was concerned she would go into traffic or be attacked by a larger, stray dog. I desperately wanted to bring her home with me, but the neighbor and I were too close in proximity for me to keep that a secret.
After trying to lure her out, I gave in and knocked on the neighbor’s door. A young man, perhaps late teens or early twenties, answered. I informed him of the puppy that had gotten loose. He was cautious but grateful, offering a thank you and a faint, early-morning smile.
I continued my walk. In the street near where the puppy had been, I found something interesting.
It was a pair of wings.
Perhaps made of fired clay, they are small and their grey color almost matched the road. I looked around on the ground to see what they may have been attached to. A toy perhaps? Of this I am uncertain. What I am certain of is the symbolism of these wings and their timing.
The world has an overabundance of negativity. There are so many who would lie, cheat, scheme, and take advantage. Who was I, with a gentle heart, to even think to try and follow in that direction?
I knew I needed to keep my wings. I also knew I wanted to find out what this broomstick was about.
Trying to behave against my nature turns my stomach sour. Yet some parts of me have had to evolve as I have matured. I am not aggressive, but I have become more assertive.
I came to realize that just because I am a decent human being does not exempt me from being mistreated by others. Many of us go through it at some point. It is how I react to that treatment. Do I fight fire with fire? Me? Well I am a Pisces.
Never forget who you are. Never forget why you are who you are.
What happiness could I possibly achieve, either alone or in a relationship, if I became hard, cruel, or deceitful? My dad’s favorite saying was, “To thine own self be true.” I get it now. There is never a need to change for others. It can be wearisome to try and keep up appearances to appease others. There is only a need to change for myself, as I ordain, in order to grow into who I am meant to be. In being true to me, I attract those who are meant to be in my life and (hopefully) repel those who are not.
Do unto others…
The groovy thing about being adaptable is I can now give people two options:
I can wear my wings.
Or I can ride my broomstick.
The choice is up to you.
Thanks for reading!