January 20, 2008

Memories...and confidence

Have you ever noticed how odd some memories can be? Well, not the memories themselves, exactly, but the fact that you remember them. I mean, I can remember this one guy, we only had like 5 or 6 dates, but I remember him more clearly than the guy I dated for 5 yrs just before and throughout high school. The 5 or 6 date guy was named Bryan. Bryan took me to see George Carlin live at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville, FL for our first date with a couple of his buddies. He kissed me in my car right after that show. On a later date, he took me to Outback for dinner and proceeded to tip our waiter $16 because he was so focused on me and getting me alone. Yet I can't for the life of me remember exactly how I met the guy I dated for 5 yrs.

I suddenly thought of an old friend from high school the other day. His name was Dylan. I don't even know why I thought of him, his name just suddenly popped into my head one day, and I started wondering how he is doing these days. I've thought about looking him up, but...I don't know. We always had this kind of rocky friendship/half-relationship kind of thing going on, and I don't know that I'd want to rekindle something that unstable at this point in my life. It's been 11 or 12 yrs since I saw him, I know he's changed, but I've found through experience that relationships like that tend to keep the same characteristics no matter how many years pass. Maybe I will look him up, just for the hell of it. Maybe he has a MySpace page or something where I can see what he looks like these days. I recall him being pretty hot, but that's the other funny thing about memories...they tend to dull the sharp edges and make things seem better than they really were. I had another old...friend, and I happened to come across a recent picture of him the other day....the only thing I could think was, what the hell was I thinking? I was in love with that guy, and it's become real clear now that it WASN'T based on his looks. In total honesty, I do remember why I was in love with him, and they were reasons that I am sure still reside behind the oddly unattractive-to-me-now facade, but it was just very weird to have that awakening to him. It was as though all those years of friendship and...other stuff, I was moving around with my eyes closed and never saw him, only heard his voice and felt his touch. Now I've seen him, and it's kind of a shock. I don't know...like I said, weird.

On other things, have you ever looked at where your confidence comes from? I started thinking about this the other day. I'm not sure why (I have a very boring job that allows lots of time to think of the oddest things). I remember, before I had my sons, before I got married, before all this crap that became my life happened, I used to date. A lot. Had tons of boyfriends, a date pretty much every Friday and Saturday night, and occasionally during the week too. My confidence was through the roof. I knew that pretty much all I had to do was crook my little red or pink nail painted finger and I'd have 1 or even 2 guys tripping over themselves to get the door for me. And no, I'm not being overly cocky. That really was my situation.

Now I have 2 kids, I'm overweight and out of shape from having them (but I am working on that), and I don't date. No time. Yet, my confidence level is even higher than before. It no longer comes from my ability to get a man, which I now realize was a pretty shallow and stupid reason to feel such confidence. My confidence these days comes from who I am. I am a single mother. I support my children with no help whatsoever from their father. I am sole financial, physical, and emotional support for my children. My children eat a healthy meal each and every night, because of me. They take a bath and get clean, and go to bed on time, because of me. My confidence now stems from the knowledge that I am taking care of my kids, without anyone's help, and that I'm doing a damn good job of it. My ex-husband once told me when I told him I wanted a divorce that I could never make it without him. I laughed in his face when he said that, but deep down, I wasn't so sure. Although I'd been ready to raise my son by myself if his father hadn't stuck around, now I was a stay at home mom. Could I really take care of him, and the child I was currently carrying, alone? Could I make it without him?

I took that chance anyway, and hoped for the best. And now, everytime I take him to court to be held in contempt for his failure (read that:refusal) to pay child support, I look him in the eye with my chin held high, knowing that I have proven his attempted prophecy wrong. I am making it without him, quite literally. I am taking care of my family, entirely on my own. And yes, it is stressful. It's hard, and it's exhausting, and there are times I feel ready to throw in the towel and cry defeat. But, I don't. I push through and I keep going, because there's nothing else to do BUT keep going. And that is where my confidence comes from now. And that confidence is what helps me push through the day when I'm having a bad day at work, and hating my job, wishing I could quit. It what keeps me from giving up when I can't get my son to understand his homework from the way I explain it to him, and gets me to explain it to him just one more time, in a slightly different way, until it clicks.

Where does your confidence come from?

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