Friday, January 27, 2006

Listen to Your Mother

I remember sitting in a bar in Milford once, years ago, part of a not-so-happy couple, and thinking "God, how I'd hate to be single in this town." I think I actually turned to another of my paired-off friends and said it out loud, pointing to the less-than-spectacular buffet of men before us for emphasis. "Look what we'd have to choose from." And, during fights with my then-boyfriend, I'd tell my mom through my tears how unhappy I was. And she'd listen softly, offering her support in the form of her ears, and when I was finally done with the details, she'd tell me to leave him. I'd admit that I was scared. And she assured me that someone, someday, would love me just as much as she did. I didn't believe her.

Fast forward to, oh, about a year later, sitting in that same bar, with the same coupled-friend, only this time, I was single in Milford. And now, the not-entirely-appetizing buffet of men there were there for me to feast on; Not for some hypothetical poor single girl who couldn't find and subsequently pin down some guy. For me. I was the girl I pitied only months before. I felt embarrassed for my words of yesteryear. I called my mom after every bombed blind date, after every social event that still left me empty handed. I'd lament that no one person held all the qualities I wanted, that I supposed I'd just have to give up some good traits in exchange for others. And she'd remind me to be patient, that I'd find someone eventually. That, regardless of when it happened, I'd find everything I was looking for in one person.

And, now, fast forward to now, when I'm part of a happy couple. I look back on the two Lauries from before, and I don't know which one I feel sorrier for: The single one with slim pickins, the victim of a handful of bad blind dates...Or the one breathing a sigh of relief because, even though she was dramatically unfulfilled in her relationship, at least she had someone to refer to as her boyfriend.

I think I'm sorriest for the girl in the relationship.

Because, out of the two, she was the one ruled by fear. Fear that she'd never get any better than what she had, fear that she didn't deserve any better. She was happy to take what she was given, because it wasn't horrible and it could easily pass for enough. But it wasn't enough. And even though she knew that, she stuck it out and tried to make it work because, well, it was better than nothing.

I had no idea I could be this happy. I was unaware that I could be part of something that kept me smiling instead of wondering and worrying and crying. I can't believe that I'm satisfied, that I've nothing to ask for or demand or request. I have the compliments, the attention, the love I always wanted. And I had no idea that I'd want to give so much in return. I was always accused of doing, of giving, nothing, which was probably true at the time. But now I want to keep giving, just to show my appreciation for being so fulfilled.

I want to go and shake the Laurie in the bar, the one with the boyfriend and the fear, and tell her that she doesn't have to sacrifice anything to be happy. She doesn't have to be ashamed of who she is or what she thinks or what she needs or what she does, because there's a guy out there who's going to love her because of all of those things, not in spite of them.

Just like mom said.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful Laurie!
I heard a song this morning while driving to work that reminded me of you and Billy. It was "Bad Love" by Ray Charles and some female singer! Awsome, you should listen to's you guys!

portuguesa nova said...

Seriously, don't you think that what you're talking about here should be the absolute, 100%, hands down, no quesitons asked lesson that EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING WITH A VAGINA should be taught from birth??

That if you think there is someone better out there for you, have no doubts that there is!

I've seen soooooooooo many of my girlfriends stay in really bad, sorta bad, and just drag-the-mediocrity-on-for-8-years relationships because they were all afraid they weren't going to find anyone better and were either too scared or just couldn't be bothered to be alone.

One of my friends in particular actually had a two-karat diamond that came in a lovely bluish-greenish box that can only mean one store on her finger when her "anyone better" came along...and if it had been even one or two days later, she would be stuck in a miserable marriage right now. As it is she is married to her "anyone better" pregnant, and still blushes when she says her husband's name.

Do men worry about this??

Bry said...

Your mom is a very wise woman Laurie. I'm so happy that you and Billy found's refreshing and gives me hope :)

tumbleweed said...

what a difference a year makes, eh? you've evolved chica, but I've always been proud to call you my friend ;)

Popeye said...

I keep thinking I'm going to get bored with hearing about how much you love this guy but then you write it all so friggin' well. . .

Lunchy McBox said...

I'm glad you're finally happy. You deserve it. You've come a long way from the sad girl that used to e-stalk me. I don't mean sad as the opposite of happy. I mean it in more of a pathetic way. Joking mostly. Tell Booger I said hi.

Kristi said...

it doesn't happen for everyone.

Actually I guess it does, but then when you find the package. the one that fits. Finally after waiting patiently for years. going thru ones that don't fit. Or have bits of what you're looking for but not all.
The countless blind dates. Bad dates. Hilarious matches that you can't believe you even considered.
Then to your surprise it happens! The one with everything on that list that we as women, as human beings, write in our heads.....
Imagine how dashed and how horrible it is when yet again you are single. The pain and the nightmare that you had it all. the life that you had been waiting for. the dream of the love that you had only ever read about feeling. Everything and everybody surrounding you fitting perfectly into place. You actually found that part of a common dream that rarely comes true. doesn't happen for everyone.......

But when it happens for you, even if its brief. Enjoy it. Hang on to it and love it for all that its worth cause it could be gone at a moments notice. The fears of growing old alone become a scary reality.
its still better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.
some moms are not always right

Laurie said...

I agree with you PN. Everyone should be taught that...I have to admit, though, that I was taught that I deserve the best and that I'd get the best since I was a wee one, but somewhere between growing up and finding a man, I forgot it. I left my fiancee and found my ex boyfriend. I might not have been happy with Tom (the exboyfriend), but if I hadn't found him, I wouldn't have found Billy. I hate to quote a self-help book, but it's true: Every relationship you have is the relationship you need at that time.

Bry...Thanks so much! I'm happy we found eachother, too. At the risk of sounding condescending, I'm glad we give you hope. Who knows how long it'll last, but at least it reminds us girls that good men are out there.

Tumbleweed, I have evolved. And you've been there through the whole ordeal. I think we both have had a pretty amazing (and growth-inducing) year, haven't we? And, for the record, I've always been proud to call you my friend, too.

Popeye, I know how tiring this whole "love" thing can be - I've been worried that people would get sick of me going on and on and on about how great Billy is...But I can't help myself! I'm glad you're still sticking around! :)

Lunchy, I think we both know that you e-stalked me.

Kristi - I agree with you. Regardless of how long it will or will not last, it's best to just enjoy it. You're right - We never do know what the wonderful thing we've found will slip through our fingers. It IS better to have loved and lost...But it's even better to enjoy it while it's with you.