Most of you know by now that I have a life coach. She’s amazing, she meets with me on Skype once a week from New York and we go through my request for coaching for the week. It is the one hour in every week that I have put into my schedule to think about myself, my wellbeing and my lifestyle. It’s funny what a little bit of consciousness can do!
In the beginning I signed myself up to a project that she would hold me accountable to work toward. It was a goal that if I died tomorrow and hadn’t reached it I would feel I had failed. I took a week to think and LIGHTBULB… my book. A little later in the month she asked about my week and I mentioned meeting a guy I knew in Miami airport for drinks while we waited for our flights to the Bahamas for me and Trinidad for him. She clapped her hands and said I smell a RELATIONSHIP PROJECT!
Ahhh… no. Please don’t make me do it! Oh my goodness I have never rejected something so fiercely in my life! I had so many excuses why this couldn’t work.
- It takes the fun out of meeting people to set goals and timelines. (As if I was having any fun on my couch with my dogs day in and and day out.)
- Making a plan to have a boyfriend by such and such a date makes love artificial and manufactured.
- How on earth can I find one date a week on an island this small and polluted by irresponsibility?
- This is the thinking of a MAN. How unfeminine and against everything I hold to be dear about femininity to turn hunter.
- Who needs relationships anyway?
And so I resisted. And resisted. And ignored it for about two months.
Funny thing about life coaches. They don’t let you get away. So when she came back to me in February and said Bushy, what on earth are you running from? It should be FUN! Go and talk to some of your friends about it and see what they say.
Girlfriend Feedback: Bushy do it! It could be fun. You don’t have to commit to making it happen just commit to the process. You could learn a lot about yourself that way.
Manfriend Feedback: Sheeeit Bushy. That’s what I do! How many people do I need to meet in one week to get a date. How many dates to I need to know if she’s for me. We’ll have to go out on the town together! (ick) You need to get off the couch. You are too young to be a hermit and I have been worried about you for some time.
Six months of silence. This is the first the Singlestream has heard of this because… well… I dunno why. But I STILL HATE IT. Ignoring the ick comments of the man friend (who I in no way wish to emulate) I decided let me try this out without taking it too seriously.
And so the learning began. There have been ups and downs and stops and starts and I am probably as far from my goal as ever but the things I have learned!
Early on I learned that I am terrified of intimacy. A guy who I met through the course of my goal setting became a very dear friend. One day, in the presence of a lot of other people, he asked me to please pull an ingrown hair out of his neck. I fought with myself saying no at first under the guise of not having my glasses and then gave in with a pep-talk-to-self (For goodness sake Bushy he’s asked you to take a needle to his neck, not to give you his hand in freakin marriage!). Head on my lap, needle out, I proceeded to assist my neglected friend with a problem. By the end of it I was shaking. To his credit he said nothing. But the shock of the intimacy of that innocent moment shook me for days. I have my theories around how this particular fear developed but that for another time and he is safely in the hands of some weak woman somewhere.
I learned that I set myself up to fail. I surround myself with unavailable men. They make excellent friends but each of them has a reason why I would never keep him around. He’s married. Or he’s entangled with his recently broken off relationship. Or he’s a business associate. Or he’s four feet tall. Or he’s… you get the picture. It feeds the context that there are no good single men in the country. It serves me by proving me right. But I’ve learned to take responsibility for that; I SURROUND MYSELF with the unavailable. I am a different person with the available – prickly, sharp, intimidating, or simply distant. The ones who don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell I am safe with and am completely at home in myself around. The available meet my fortress of walls.
Conditions of satisfaction are important. In starting this out I was invited to write out my conditions of satisfaction. As I was at the time going through the hiring process at work, it easily took the format of my Job Description and my Person Specification Sheet. The sheet has three main columns – the qualities I cannot do without in a partner in column 1, the qualities I would like but are optional in column 2, and in column 3 the vices I absolutely cannot live with. Smoking for instance. And crazy ex wives. Habitual lateness. Illiteracy. The attributes and vices fall into categories – abilities, circumstances, interests, and so on. It has been an exciting tool to use and minimizes the waste of ones time – if something shows up in column 3 on the first date then NEXT.
In the process I have learned just what my patterns are around relationships and men. I’ve learned that I tend to jump in with both feet and jump quite quickly right back out with both feet (but I might have known that before). I’ve learned that I expect men to run – they always do – and that I have built a context and expectation around men that they will never be able to cope with the power of my personality so at some point they are gonna duck and run (or cheat). I’ve learned that I expect men to be irresponsible and that I have a tendency to look down my nose at them as a member of a superior race. Truth is it is rare that I’m proven wrong. But that is also my fault – I surround myself with men who prove me right!
I have a lot of junk around my own strength. If power could create a complex, I’ve got it. For instance, my man in Iraq. I mean, I know I’m a powerhouse and I know it blows the minds of people who don’t know me well, but deep down I’m a pretty sensitive and insightful person. This is the me that unavailable men get to meet. This is the me that my dogs are glad to see wake up in the morning and scratch their ears before I even get out of bed. This is the me that I am in my comfort zone – my house, my office, my grandmother’s hammock, anywhere but on a date.
I am responsible. For all of it. This is perhaps the biggest thing for me. I am responsible for who I am around people and from there what kind of people I attract to be around me. I am responsible if I don’t meet my quota of meeting five new men this week because how on earth am I supposed to meet five guys sat on my own couch? I am responsible for the me that others get to know and whether or not it is an authentic person. I am responsible to step outside of my comfort zone and to be open to melting away my contexts and my expectations. I am learning through this terrible terrible project that responsibility belongs to me and it is my duty to own it.
But I’m still resisting the hell out of it. This week two of the men I met (on a night out with the ick manfriend) were so OUT THERE in column three that I was like HOT DAMN I’m better off single!
But next week I’m gonna be brought right back to the document and asked to give an account for how well I’ve done to meet my goals. HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!