Once upon a time I went out on dates looking for The One. Then I found someOne, I stayed with him, then I left him, then we were engaged. Some time later things fell apart. Again. But this time for good.
Then a year or so later, I found who I thought was Mr. Right. And it was a beautiful whirl wind. For two weeks. Until I found out I was pregnant. So here I was with a guy I was totally psyched on, but I really didn't know him at all, and scared shitless. Fast forward 24 months....
Here I am, a couple years later and one baby boy born. And I am right back where I started. Single and ready to date. I’ve found myself full of apprehension and insecurity.
And contrary to popular belief, the apprehension is absolutely not about Theo. He is not my baggage. And it’s not the other women out there. The skinny, athletic, child-free ones who have spent the last couple of years staying skinny and fit, traveling, creating and accomplishing things instead of staying home.
My baggage is totally me. That old single version of me. It complicates my "love life" (or lack of) in ways I didn’t expect.
My problem is this: the old me was hotter. She had time to go to the gym. She could pig out on Ben and Jerry's without feeling bad and gaining a pound. She wore small size and owned several super cute vintage bikinis. The old me had body image issues (as most girls do) but now I look back at her and want to laugh at her complaints of "not being able to lose the belly fat".
OH LORD, PUHLEASE.
The new me is dealing with an extra 20 pounds. Breast and nipples that don't feel like my own, and I sure as hell don't recognize them after breast feeding. It just doesn't feel sexy. Getting naked in front of someone is not on my top list of Things To Do. I don't compare myself to the fake woman on a magazine cover of say Shape or Glamour. I am comparing myself to the me I was 2 years ago or even 10 years ago! I am having a hard time getting on board with the idea that I am really gonna be giving someone my best self and not just the second hand version of myself.
Speaking of sex, that can get tricky, too. It is super exciting to take someone new to bed. But that excitement can be lost real quick when I think of how long it has been since I have been with someone, and how much I don't know about my new companion. What do they like? What don't they like? Plus a new person requires SO MUCH ENERGY!
I remember at the end of my relationship when I was hardly having sex at all and it seemed like a chore just to get in 10 minutes! That was nothing. Now if I bring home a new guy, I am going to have a few hours, including foreplay.....ideally. :)
But honestly, some nights I just don't have the energy.
And then there is Theo. My son. He is small enough that he loves having "new friends". But as he get's older, I would prefer not to introduce him to anyone that I am not ridiculously committed to. They are going to be a factor. And if I go out with someone who doesn't have kids I either feel like I am talking about Theo constantly or wonder if I am not mentioning him enough and it seems as if I am hiding him. And if I go out with someone who has kids, well hell, that is gonna be a whole other ball game.
Add one more piece to this puzzle called "my life". My co-parent. Thomas. Amazing Man. Best Friend. Complicated.
The thing is, even though I am self-conscious and scared and vulnerable, despite the fact that some of the guys I have gone out with have been losers or boring....I have actually enjoyed dating and I look forward to doing more of it. Among all the other parts of myself I’m trying to reclaim after breakup, being single, and motherhood, now I am trying to tap back into that confidence in myself I had when I was out there and dating. Damn. I wish it could be easy.
I will not let the younger hotter version of me scare me away. I am smarter than that girl and waaay more comfortable in my own skin. I am no longer scared I will be alone forever (well, mostly), and I am no longer convinced that no one will want me (well, mostly).
I know about commitment. I know about love.
I am a catch. I’m ready to own it.
Now, some gentleman just needs to ask me on a date!