A Post About Self Esteem and Husbands
I’ve been reading a lot lately about goal setting, and how important it is to set goals. Not just for now, next week, next month, next year, but also for the bigger picture; where you want to be in 20 years’ time.
I’ve never got around to actually writing down my goals though… by which I mean, I actively resisted doing it. I had the pen and paper in my hands several times, but always found a reason not to actually write anything down.
The other day, I was listening to a CD of a conference, and decided to just get on and write down where I want to be in 20 years. I wrote my list: where I live, what my house is like, what S is like, what I’m doing for a living, blah blah. Each time I finished writing one point, it crossed my mind to mention a man in my life. Then I would just move on to another detail.
I felt a strong resistance against making any mention of a man in my long term plans. But here I am, single and considering joining a dating site in order to meet a man. I complain about being single all the time. I often wish I had a long-term partner in my life… so why did I have such a problem with imagining one in my long term goals?
When I was a teenager, I felt so horrendously ugly, both inside and out, that I honestly thought I would never find anyone who would want to be with me. I told everyone I didn’t want to get married and have children because I thought if I convinced myself and everyone else of this, it wouldn’t hurt so much when it never happened.
I convinced everyone that I didn’t want or like children, that I was scared of them and didn’t want them around. People were surprised when I fell pregnant because they had always believed my constant affirmation that I was fine on my own; and now here I was, suddenly step parent to six children and expecting my own. I don’t think anyone expected me to be particularly good at being a mother because I’d always talked about how much I didn’t want to be one and never wanted to get married. When I was pregnant I remember my mother telling me I was the least maternal person she’d ever met. And yet here I am, doing a pretty damn good job of being a mother to S, and loving it. Like I always secretly knew that I would.
Guess what: I always wanted to get married and have children; I just didn’t believe I was, or would ever be good enough to have either. I believed I was so bad that nobody would ever want to have children with me. This belief was compounded when my relationship with S’s father turned out to be a farce. See, the only person who wanted to have a baby with me was using me and didn’t even want me or the baby so much as more people to control and manipulate. I wasn’t even good enough for him. It’s hard to come through something like that, and not see it that way: that you weren’t even good enough for someone that low and disgusting and nasty.
It seems I’ve done a pretty a good job of convincing myself and everyone around me that I don’t want a husband and children. Since having S I’ve been largely independent; mostly through necessity, often through choice and pig-headed determination I’ve managed to sabotage a fair few relationships in my life because the idea of being a long term relationship didn’t fit in with my view of myself – even though that view was wrong. Because I am good enough. Just as I am, without having to wear more make up or lose a few pounds or dye my roots. When my daughter looks at me she doesn’t see any of that; she doesn’t see that my clothes don’t fit well, or that I’ve not washed my hair today and my nail varnish is chipped. I really don’t think it’s outside the realms of possibility that I could find a man who feels the same.
In the end, after a lot of poking at myself to try and figure out what the problem was, I wrote down at the bottom of my list of goals that I want to be happily married, possibly with more children. It was probably the weirdest and hardest sentence I’ve ever written. But I did it. And now… now I wait for him to turn up! (and maybe join a dating website if I can pluck up the courage)
It sounds like you've been on a real journey and I think it's great that you were able to write that sentence by the end of it. As for dating sites, nothing to lose, everything to gain! Even if you don't find a partner online you might get some fun nights out and some good stories to tell :-)