Tonight I took a stroll over to one of my favorite blogs, Make It Mad by Max Andrew Dubinsky. He wrote The Gentlemen’s Guide to Surviving the 21st Century and other great things that challenge the way we look at the world, view church, Christianity, life, writing, relationships, connections and more. I stumbled upon an entry there from last year that was a sort of response or partner to his Gentlemen’s Guide called A Good Woman’s Guide to the 21st Century. In it his wife, Lauren, writes:
Why was he really asking me to write this? I’ll tell you. And it’s going to mess up your world. It’s the exact opposite of what you’ve been believing since those five minutes after your first break up, or since the day your father walked out on your mother.
He asked me to write this because good men want good women.
The part that’s going to mess you up in that statement isn’t that good men want good women. It’s that good men exist.
The next part of that statement that’s getting to you, is some of you don’t know if you are a good woman anymore. And in that, lies the worst part.
When we stop believing that good men exist, we lose the desire to be good women.
I admit, my world is messed up after reading that, just like she said it would be.
My first break up was in sixth grade. I had been dating this boy from school for a whole week and half. We were talking on the phone and his call waiting beeped. He asked me to hold on so he could click over, only, when he tried to click over it was still me. “Hello?” he said, “Hey,” I responded. “Oh, hey, one second.” He pushed the button, thinking he was going to return to his first call, but still just got me again, “Hey, that is Danny, I will call you back later.”
It was 6th grade and the boy was a liar. We broke up in a messy, public affair on the playground next to the swings the following day.
A short while later I was walking to school with my cousin. She told me that Danny thought I was cute, but wouldn’t ask me out because he thought I talked too much. Sixth grade was a tough year for dating.
On the spectrum of truth that Lauren shares with us in these few Good Woman sentences, I fall at some point where I believe good men exist, at least a few of them (I know one or two…) I just don’t necessarily believe they want much to do with me. . .
(If I am going to stay this trail, I will need a glass of wine . . . Malbec acquired, we can continue)
If I believe that good men don’t want much to do with me it is similar to believing they don’t exist. They might glance my direction, they might even give me the time of day, but they don’t, as Lauren puts it later in the same entry, “Want [me] with every part of their being.”
Which leads us to this:
Women, when you believe that you will be unhappy until you meet a good man, and simultaneously believe that good men do not exist, you sabotage yourself. You frustrate yourself. You hinder and are hindered. You are defeated. You find that your previous actions – your time, your love, your heart, your passion, your beauty, your hope, your sacrifice, your sex, your gifts – are nullified and devastated. And when this happens, when we throw our hearts and bodies into a man less than the one we dare to hope for, the desire to be an incredible woman is slowly stripped from us.
Second tough admission of this entry: I have slacked on being a good woman in the face of not having anyone to be incredible for – and this isn’t a dig at men, it is a realization of my own filters and life.
Deep, deep, deep in my soul, in the lightless, cold area that gets little attention, but harbors the most beautiful of creatures and life, I know I am a woman of Crazy Love, Van Morrison style Crazy Love. At some points of my life, I may even have attempted to act like this woman, but I quickly put these qualities back into hiding in exchange for some jokes, humor and a smile that makes people believe I rarely have a bad day.
That is the part that gets me – it isn’t that the incredible woman is gone, it is that our desire to be that incredible woman is stripped away. We are a gender of relation, of giving and receiving, of meeting needs and supporting, of loving with determination and strength, but if we do not cultivate these intimate relationships, we have no where to show our true and beautiful colors.
It is so much easier to be a fun girl that can go out with the guys, hold her own, cuss like a sailor, drink dark beer, laugh easily and go with the flow. It requires very little commitment to be these things, but they are not the depths of my soul. There is much more to me and I have reduced myself by not believing in the incredible woman I can be because I do not believe in the good man who would look my direction and never care to look away.
But since this blog series is about new beginnings and admitting to things that shouldn’t pass into the next chapter and season, and grabbing hold of things that should be there, I want to change this. I want to believe. I want to be the good woman I can be regardless of who is looking and I want to do with authenticity.
I have two days before the end of this series and 30 years of lies to shed, but I am sure that it is time.