Something profound is going on in my brain. Significant mental shifts have been taking place in the past little while and I've been processing and re-evaluating like crazy. The most recent has come as the result of a $6 book I saw at Chapters and bought on a whim. It's funny because I had actually gone there in search of Gail Vaz Oxlade's It's Your Money (I found Debt Free Forever instead) and Allen Carr's The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. After seeking out those titles and deliberating for far too long whether or not I could afford to buy them both right now (it's incredible how I let myself become so mired in indecision sometimes), I put them both down and was going to leave empty handed when I spied a bright cover on the shelf with an interesting (although - at first glance - unappealing and maybe even offensive) title that jumped out at me: Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough by Lori Gottlieb. It is a hardcover that was regularly priced at $32.50...so I read the back and figured "what the hell?" I could use some new reading material (I subsequently returned to Chapters and bought both of the other titles...which I have yet to read).
Anyway, this bargain buy turned out to be a Godsend. I found myself reaching for it whenever I had free time and was essentially unable to put it down. I'm kind of disappointed to have just finished it. It came at a time when I needed to hear it's contents and suddenly everything made so much more sense to me. Well, OK, not everything...but a whole lot of what I've witnessed and/or experienced in terms of dating, relationships, and marriage was viewed in a new light. It isn't all crystal clear and I do have to sift through some information and concepts, as some of it really conflicts with what I have been conditioned to see and believe, but all of a sudden I am looking at everything with a new perspective and I have this sense of insight and relief. I also have to say...two of the 26 year old guys I have been talking to (one of whom I've sort of been seeing) have really got some things figured out...things that I wish some of my girl friends would be willing to accept and understand, and things that I am still struggling with but coming to realize more fully.
Don't get me wrong, my girl friends and I have already figured out that who/what we are attracted to is not always good for us...we just haven't all found a way to integrate that knowledge into better practice when it comes to potential partners. A lot of that inner conflict stems from what we, as girls (now women), have been taught to use as a relationship gauge: the level of chemistry/fireworks/spark that we feel - often from the beginning in the form of crazy infatuation that drives us to do things we would normally consider to be at the heights of insanity. I am not sure where, exactly, this notion comes from, but it is deeply ingrained into our culture and media and reinforced by our friends. The book, however, is about being practical and realistic and learning to look at more reliable indicators of relationship longevity and happiness. It's about valuing what really matters and learning to let go of what doesn't...things we would all probably claim to do but which, in actuality, most of us don't. I know from personal experience that many women (myself included, at times...despite the fact that I am more likely than any of my friends to be decently open minded and give a wider range of people a chance in theory, in practice I have sometimes found it easier to find reasons/excuses to dismiss men who are not my ideal and forgiven things I should not from men who appeared to meet the ideal - it should be noted that none of them actually did live up to what I am really looking for - and I am determined to change that) are apt to give the guy we find attractive and feel that initial 'wow' factor with much more of a chance than the guy who is more stable and reliable but exudes less 'oomph.' Oddly enough (actually, not oddly at all), this has not been the case in my long term relationships...they started out with guys who I wasn't all that attracted to in the beginning but who won me over in other, more important, ways (admittedly, my choices still weren't good ones and there were big red flags I should have been seeing and heeding, but the point is I have had more stability with guys who I never felt crazy about right away). Interesting, too, is the fact that this book has showed me that although I never thought so, I am prone to pickiness. Who'd've thunk it?
I could go on and on detailing the firing of various synapses in my brain as I read through this book, but suffice it to say that it did give me hope that I am on the right track in some ways and pointed me in a better direction in others. It also replaced the panicky feeling that always accompanied the conundrum of finding Mr. Right with a sense of calm rationality. I actually identify quite a bit with the author's friend 'Erica' (also 31...go figure), who says that she now feels like she "could find the right person because he doesn't have to fit absolutely every one of my criteria" and that she "could be happy and find love if [she] just adjusted [her] attitude, and not if [she] was just supremely lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time...". Yep, I must agree - that does sound a whole lot more empowering! And in case you are wondering, the author does not in any way suggest or imply that anyone should accept deplorable behaviour from a partner, nor even settle for less than would make them happy. Uh huh...while the Bitches books and He's Just Not Into You had their own merit and their own words of wisdom to impart, the advice in Marry Him feels more down to earth, authentic, reasonable, and easier to implement...
Incidentally, this book has caused quite a stir amongst females. I cannot say that I am surprised. The author gets a chance to voice her opinion about those up in arms and defend her work here.
In other news:
I relapsed on the quit for a few days and started over on Sunday night. I will be done Day 3 of this quit in about 3 hours. So far these three days have been easier than the last first three days. I hope it stays that way.
I reconnected with the old friend I had to take a break from a while back. We shall see how that goes.
The weight battle is a bit of a write off at present with the quitting battle taking precedence. However, I am still trying to increase the amount of exercise I've been getting and not give into every food whim in place of a cigarette.
Work has been rather slow. I am currently in central for a few days (I got booked out here for tomorrow and Friday before the holidays) and looking forward to getting back to town already. Next week I plan to go hit some more schools to try and drum up more sub calls.