Friday, 28 December 2012

That Which I Do Not Wish to Be

Day 141
224 Days Remaining

Have you ever heard the saying "Methinks thou dost protest too much"?

How about "That which you do not wish to be, is what you will become", or “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there"?

I'm writing a blog about not dating for a year.  I know where I'm going, and I thought I had a clearly defined road to follow in order to get there.  Yet somehow, in the process, it has become evident to me that I am writing a blog...about dating.  It is the Ironic Process Theory defined.

That which I do not wish to a person who is defined by her relationships.  Yet even in the course of trying to break that mold I put myself in, I have become someone who is still defining herself by the relationships she once had, the ones she is struggling to get past, and the ones yet to come.

I'm not saying that what I have written so far has no value; on the contrary, reflecting on the relationships I had in the past has been incredibly valuable to me and has brought me to the point where I now have a much clearer picture of what I want and what I don't want in a relationship.  The problem is that I still don't stick to it, I still hang on to the past, and I am focusing entirely too much on what I am trying not to do that it has, in a way, become all that I think about.

This blog shouldn't be about "not dating".   It should be about "finding out who I am", about "being the best Me that I can be", about "The Evolution of Lisa".  Lisa is defined by her relationships and by other peoples' perception of her - and why?  This isn't how it should be. 

Back to the Ironic Process Theory.  It's basically a positive feedback loop, illustrated most often by the instruction "Don't think about a pink elephant".  Of course, what results is exactly that: thinking about a pink elephant, and suddenly we're drunk Dumbo watching a parade of pink elephants dancing around our heads.  I'm trying not to think about dating, but instead, I'm thinking more about it.  Or, to be more specific, instead of just NOT DATING, I'm constantly thinking about, obsessing over, mulling through, strategizing about how to not date.  This is what Stringer and I had a very long and thoughtful conversation about a few weeks back, and I've been trying to get it all straight in my head ever since.  He's pointed things out to me gently but has let me come to these conclusions on my own.  I know I've had other friends try to show me the same thing for quite a while - and I already knew it, in a way, at the back of my mind - but I suppose I needed to be able to put it into words before I could start working on it.  I'm still struggling with it, I think; trying to put this blog post together has been difficult.  I've had it floating through my head for quite a while, but it's been hard to get it all down and make sense of it.  It's just a bunch of pink elephants dancing around until I pin them down.
So what should I be thinking about instead?  Stringer pointed out that I need to establish boundaries.  This is very true and is something that I am aware of, but I am very good at stating boundaries that are vague and malleable - probably so that if I am confronted with them, I can shift and manipulate them so that I can still get what I want out of a situation.  Then I feel guilty later.  (The situation with Fig is a prime example - I said I had boundaries, but I didn't fully establish them until after the fact.  In fact, they still aren't firm.)  I need to make sure that rather than say "I'm not dating" I have much more clearly defined boundaries, such as:

- I will not talk with a person of the opposite sex about dating or anything to do with men, other than to state that I am on a 365-day dating hiatus (or maybe not even that - maybe just a "no thanks" would do)
- I will not allow myself to become involved in any intimate conversation with a man (who is not already established as a good friend, has no danger of pushing my boundaries, and knows my history)
- I will not touch any males beyond a handshake

These may seem excessive but they are examples as to how I need to clearly state what I will and won't do.  I will push them otherwise.  I know myself well enough to know that.

My dating hiatus was intended to be a time for me to evolve, to become closer to God, to become more of who I eventually want to be, and to free myself from romantic attachments that have bound me for too long.  Instead, in some ways - though I have had many moments of clarity and I have learned a lot in the process - it has become a time of wallowing.  I am a wallowing pink elephant.

It is time to move on from thinking about men, and how I relate to men, and how men relate to me, and why I don't have a man, and what I can do to keep a man, and - even - what kind of man I want.  Although it is definitely important for me to know what kind of man I need to have in my life, and what dealbreakers I absolutely won't stand for, that's not what I should be focusing on.  It's time for focusing on improving myself and how I relate to the world.

But just before I leap into that, there is one more thing I need to do in order to move forward: I need to get rid of all the ideas that I ever had of HB and I living happily ever after, and I need to purge him from my life.  And I am taking this weekend to do that.  Wish me luck, and wish him good riddance, once and for all.


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