What I am Learning
In doing our podcast, I am learning a lot about myself, my relationships with men and also I believe relationships in general. I am even learning a lot about rejection and shame.
I can see how I always had this type of inferiority complex due to my own shortcomings such as my health issues and how those allowed me to search for love in the wrong relationships with the wrong people. I can see how through my friend, Cameo and her story I am not the only one.
We all have our baggage. It just comes in different suitcases.
I can see how there have been periods in my life where I have jumped from one relationship to the next in the hopes that I would just forget the trauma of the previous one. Or maybe I chose to believe it was all him and not me. I just had to make sure not to get involved with someone who showed the same red flags as he did.
But the thing with red flags is sometimes they aren’t red. Sometimes they are white. Sometimes a red flag looks like a white flag. The flag of a guy who is surrendering to new ways or a new state of being. He’s a new man! Sure, he’s made mistakes in the past, but now he goes to church. He’s been through therapy! Give him a chance! From now on, I think I will look for any kind of flag, but I also don’t want to be the type of person who sees fault in everyone so she gives no one a chance.
How do I find that balance?
I know there have been men in my life who have presented many flags, but I overlook them not because I am lonely or desperate, but because I become naive and believe we can fight his battles together and with time, he will eventually heal. Luckily for him, he has a strong woman like me in his life. But fighting a battle is one thing...we all fight battles. It’s when someone hasn’t healed from their own wounds that makes them incapable of being involved in a healthy relationship with anyone. Get two people together who are still bleeding and you have a war.
So in doing this podcast, I am wondering more and more what it is that I need to heal. What part of me keeps attracting men into my life who are unhealthy? Toxic, sometimes or maybe just downright cruel. I have asked myself a lot since my last dump, “how did I not see this one coming?”
I think I know what it is...well, some of it. Like most anyone, I enjoy the dating: the dinners, the conversation, the giggling. I enjoy catching someone stealing glances of me. I love feeling like someone adores me. I actually kind of get lost in it. Maybe we all do?
But for me, I think men become my greatest distraction. I got involved with my ex fiancé as I was finishing college. I was nearing the finish line. School was consuming me. I wanted something to take up my mind space. I wanted something to distract me- to keep my mind off the fears I had about graduating and entering a work force in Journalism and growing older alone. I wasn’t the top of my class by any means. I was a B average student. Why would anyone hire me over my peers? Find a relationship filled with drama and I wouldn’t have to think about these things. I could make someone else a priority for awhile and take the focus off my fears of failure and even my fears of success. Of course, after being in a violent relationship for even a short time, any previous fears do not disappear. They are only compounded on or replaced.
I distract myself with men, relationships, and I have distracted myself with substances. I create a brief whirlwind in my life to escape from my present fears. I get caught up in the excitement of something shiny and new or something dramatic. I get caught up working on a new project. I take the focus off myself and my endeavors and willingly put my efforts into something I know deep down will never work. When it is over, I am left alone surrounded by rejection and shame.
Rejection and shame are two of my greatest enemies. When I was younger, I let rejection by other people swallow me up. I let it define me. It would consume me. Somehow one rejection no longer felt like one rejection by one person, but it felt like everyone. I would spiral into self pity and self medicate to distract myself. I would jump from one relationship to the next in the hope that the acceptance by one person would erase or invalidate the rejection from the previous person in my life. I don’t know how I had time in my life to entertain anything other than rejection. It was having a field day with me.
What is interesting to me now is how rejection has evolved over the years for me. The less time I spent on men over the past two years and the more time I spent honing my craft, the less rejection has affected me. Of course, someone saying, “Get out of my car” and essentially kicking me out of his life as well hurt, but it didn’t hurt for long and I didn’t seek out anyone else’s acceptance...or did I? After all, I did start this podcast. Did I take the rejection from someone else and use it to fuel me? Absolutely. I am learning in doing this podcast that rejection and heartache has fueled most of my career.
A guy chooses another girl over me? Fine. I’ll start standup. A guy dumps me? Fine. I’ll move to a big city and pursue standup even harder. I revisit that relationship and decide to leave it after realizing it is holding me back? Perfect. I’ll start a YouTube channel. A guy decides to dump me in his car after I finish a show with a big headliner? Fine. I’ll start a podcast. No one puts baby out the car.
So maybe I am getting better with rejection. I sure believe I am. I can laugh about it now. I know who I am and what I have to offer. If someone doesn’t want me in their life, that’s ok. I like my life just fine the way it is. I wish them well and I hope they understand jokes will be made at their expense. I think anyone involved with a comic should know they could eventually become material and honestly, I think they do know that and they love it. You’re welcome.
So, yeah. Rejection hurts for a little while, but success heals. Success in my own eyes. I don’t want to measure my success by other people’s standards. That’s such a trap-a trap I occasionally fall into. We all have our own paths in life and rarely do two look similar especially considering what the internet can do for an entertainer. We used to believe we had to go to New York and then LA to get any traction as a comic, but the internet and viral videos have now opened different avenues for a comic to find success.
For me, I am learning shame and condemnation is who I am fighting the hardest right now. I look at my choices and I feel shamed that I would make them or that I didn’t know better. I feel ashamed and guilty that I listened to my peers over the still small voice inside me warning me. I think I feel ashamed to have so many failures under my belt and not just in relationships but life in general. I am usually pretty hard on myself when it comes to my onstage presence. I feel guilty that I spent years of my life sick and unable to perform. I perform shows with my peers who haven’t had the hiccups I have had and I feel terrible by comparison. I feel like I have wasted so many years of my life-being so pre occupied with men, my health, or even jobs that didn’t appreciate me. I think that is the biggest thing for me: the shame I feel that I am not better at what I love. Add some wrong people to the mix and the shame just compounds.
It is an everyday battle for me right now. I know it won’t always be like this. I am taking the steps I need to take to be set free from the oppression of shame, guilt and condemnation. It wasn’t something I even realized I was battling until several weeks into our podcast so thank you for listening and joining me on my path of healing. The more I learn, the more I will share with you. Maybe it will help you or someone you love too.