Anxiety Is Real and It Sucks

The first time I was actually “diagnosed” with anxiety was when I was in high school. I was a junior in high school when I started noticing my chest getting tight and my breath becoming short. I thought at first I had asthma or some other serious medical condition. I had never had any issues before with not being able to breath and I wasn’t especially overweight. So it really didn’t make a lot of sense why I suddenly couldn’t seem to catch my breath.

I went to the doctor and described to him what my symptoms were. I told him how unusual it was for me to have those particular sort of symptoms. Especially when I had no prior history of not being able to breathe. He checked my lungs and took a chest x-ray only to tell me, “Your lungs are clear as a bell.”

“Okay then why can’t I breathe, doc?” I thought to myself.

I remember he asked, “Are you worried about anything?”

What an odd question to ask a kid who came in there with her chest tight and her breathe being short. But no, I wasn’t worried about anything that I could have thought of at the time.

“No,” I told him. He scratched his head and replied, “Well there’s nothing wrong with your lungs. I think you have anxiety.”

I remember thinking, how do you “have” anxiety? I thought anxiety was just something you felt every now and then when you were stressed about something. I didn’t know one could be diagnosed with it. But I was.

So I had anxiety. Okay cool. No big deal. I didn’t have something seriously wrong with me so I pushed the diagnosis to the back of my mind and forgot about it.

Recently, however, this anxiety thing seems to have resurfaced.

Almost a year ago I found myself in the midst of an interesting situation. I was depressed constantly. All I wanted to do was sleep and cry. I wasn’t myself. For months I battled panic attacks and severe depression. All the while I was just trying to make sense of all the feelings I was having.

I finally decided to seek professional help and began seeing a therapist. I went into her office once a week to explain to her my irrational dread of getting out of bed in the morning and my uncontrollable crying fits. I told her I didn’t understand what was wrong with me but I felt crazy.

“It sounds like you have anxiety,” she said.

There was that diagnosis again.

I think I sat there a little dumbfounded for a moment because I literally didn’t know how to feel about the fact that I was again diagnosed as having anxiety when something far more serious seemed to be happening. It didn’t make sense that I was being told that I had anxiety when to me anxiety didn’t seem like a big deal. I didn’t even know that a person could be diagnosed with it as if it were a type of cancer.

Nonetheless, I accepted that I indeed had anxiety. I understood I was anxious but I didn’t understand how serious anxiety as an illness and a diagnosis really was.

I decided one day, out of curiosity, to do a little research on this thing called anxiety. Turns out quite a few people actually suffer from this illness. In fact I realized that it’s much more common than I previously thought.

I began to feel a little relief as I read page after page of stories on people who had taken to the internet to share how they suffer from anxiety and what makes them anxious. Surprisingly, many of their symptoms and their anxious ticks were dangerously close to mine.

I felt a little overjoyed at the fact that I wasn’t crazy. I was overjoyed at the fact that other people suffer from this same illness and they understand what goes through my head on a daily basis; even when I don’t understand it myself. I really thought for a while that I was the only one in the world who felt nervous, or scared, or angry over small things. But I’m not the only one who gets worked up over small things or things that haven’t even happened yet.

The point is, anxiety is a real thing. It’s a real illness and it sucks. It takes time, I think, to learn how to control it. Some people have mastered how to control their anxiety. Me, I haven’t yet figured it out. But I’m trying. And that’s really all I can do.

TO BE CONTINUED….

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I’m Sorry I Got Too Comfortable

In my last post I wrote about taking some time apart from my boyfriend while we figure out what we want and if we want the same things. The biggest part of our conversation when we discussed taking this break was that I was putting too much pressure on him to commit and have a family. Now, when this was brought up in the conversation that evening it really took me by surprise and it has been rolling around my head ever since.

When we first talked about getting married, rather when the subject of marriage was first brought up, my boyfriend said that was not something he wanted. I very politely told him that was a problem for me. I said that I did want to get married one day and if he didn’t then we needed to break things off then. His prompt response, “Well I don’t want to get married yet. If the right person came along though….” He stayed. I must have been the right person. The topic has been brought up several times since and each time it has been met with kind words and talk of our future.

The subject of babies has also been brought up more than once. Each time, again, being met with love and kind words and even tossing around parenting skills and names. Mind you these conversations happened just a week prior to us having the conversation of taking some time apart. So imagine my surprise when we were having this conversation and my boyfriend said, “I just feel so much pressure to commit and have a family right now and I’m not ready.”

This really punched me in the gut too because he always seemed to want the same things I did. We wanted to get married, have kiddos, have a house in the country with lots of acreage for the dogs to run. This was talked about more than once and I wasn’t always the one that brought it up. So why all of a sudden did feelings change?

Three days into this time apart, the answers hit me in the face. I have become too comfortable for him and he’s freaking out.

Now, I wrote about my complacency before because recently it has really been on my mind that I get way too comfortable too easily. I thought about all the times that my boyfriend has sent me jobs that would pay better, and have benefits. He sends those job opportunities to me constantly and I always breeze past them because I’m comfortable working at a family owned furniture store where I don’t make great money and I don’t have benefits. How can I help him pay off debts and help him pay bills if I’m not making money? I got comfortable.

He’s also always pushing me to make healthier choices. His argument always is, “We need to take care of our bodies now. We don’t want to be sick when we get old.” He’s right. We do need to take care of our bodies. We need to exercise. We need to put the junk food down. Yet, every time I turn around I have a Dr. Pepper in my hand. Every time I start to lose weight and really get focused about being healthy I have a cheat meal and lose my momentum. I’m okay with being fluffy. I’m okay with putting bad stuff in my body. My boyfriend is looking at our parents and the kind of shape they’re in and he wants us to do better but I fight him every step of the way. Because I’m comfortable.

My boyfriend has also been pushing me to get back to writing for a while now. I have been writing more and more than I used to but he had to prod me along for a while before I started up again. He’s always pushing me to do better. He’s always telling me I can become a novel writer if I’ll just put in the work. The problem is though I don’t put in the work and then I wonder why things aren’t working out for me. I’m comfortable.

All of this hit me the other night like a ton of bricks. It all made sense to me then that it wasn’t that my boyfriend didn’t want to have a future with me. He just doesn’t trust me to kick my own ass into gear to make our future plans happen. In fact, as I was thinking about all of this, I was reminded of a small tif he and I had literally days before we had the infamous “time apart” discussion.

We were talking about things we spend our money on. I suggested that one day when we did have our own place and do the adult thing that it wouldn’t hurt to have our own bank accounts for our play money so we could spend our play money on whatever we wanted to spend it on and then one account for our bill paying. This led to, “What have you been spending your money on, baby? You’re supposed to be saving money. That was the whole plan with living at home.” This conversation was followed by, “This is exactly why we’re not moving in together right now. Because you’re gonna put all your debt on me.”

It all made sense then. I’ve been putting all this pressure on our future, telling him I want our own place, telling him I want to get married, and have kiddos. Yet, I’m not doing anything to help him make those plans happen.

We haven’t talked in a week. I want so badly to pick up the phone and call him and tell him I’m sorry about putting this pressure on him and not pulling my weight. But I want him to take the time and space to figure out how he feels without me influencing him one way or another. I want him to want to be here as much as I want him to be here. If he doesn’t I’ll have to deal with that. But my prayer is that I’m not too late.

Self Reflection Part 2

Recently I received a huge slap in the face. You know those moments when something traumatic happens in your life and it just really sends you into a tailspin? That’s basically what happened.

For the past two years I have been seeing the same guy. The details of our relationship and how we ended up together is a blog post for another day. But, right before this guy came out of nowhere I had experienced another slap in the face. This slap in the face made me sit down and really start thinking about what qualities I wanted in a man. So, I began praying about it. And I prayed and I prayed. Then one day this guy breezed into my life and I knew as time went by and the closer we got that he was the one.

Now, two years later, he and I have had some pretty crazy times in our relationship. Since we have been together, we have been at the bottom of the bottom and the top of the top. Major life events have happened since we’ve been together. One major event that has happened is we started growing up.

When we met, he and I were in the party mode, drinking too much, partying too much, and blowing money left and right. I was in my last semester of college when I met him so I had a goal to get out of college, find a job, and work hard to pay off student loan debts. Life has a funny way of working out though. My first big girl job didn’t work out after ten months, my second big girl job didn’t work out after four months, and now I’m on my third job since graduating from college in May 2017. Still, not using my degree, I might add. I’m also not paying off my student loans because I simply don’t have the money. This is a huge problem for my boyfriend and I.

Lately, we have been talking more and more about saving money, paying off debt, and moving on with our lives. But we always seem like we’re painted in a corner no matter what we do. That being said, we have had quite a bit of strain on us.

This strain has driven a wedge between us over the last six months or so and now we are in the process of “taking some time apart.” I have never taken time apart from anyone. If the idea had ever even been suggested I would have laughed in their face and responded with, “Let’s just break it off then because I’m not going to be kicked to the side until you’re ready.” Except, when you love someone, and you feel like you need a break too, that’s different.

About a week ago now, I noticed a difference in my boyfriend. He and I have been fighting a lot more lately than we have been happy. We both are stretched thin with work, school, saving money, paying bills, basically just being adults. This “taking some time apart” has been on both of our minds for a while now but neither one of us has had the courage to rip off the band aid until now. We left things amicably, not really broken up, not speaking though or seeing each other. It has been hard to say the least.

After drinking myself into a stooper for two days, crying my eyes out, and wallowing in self pity because I miss him, I finally picked myself up the other day, brushed  myself off, and started thinking about things.

The thoughts occurred to me after praying and praying and crying that I need to take a step back and reexamine myself. Here’s what I figured out.

  1. I Get Way Too Complacent Way Too Easily  (Which I’ve already written about once but this is a whole nother ball game)
  2. I’m Naggy
  3. I’ve Been Pushing Him Away

To Be Continued….

Unexpected Blessings

Do you ever just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and no amount of coffee or caffeine in the world can change your mood? Yeah me too. As a matter of fact I woke up in the foulest of moods this morning, and sadly, my mood did not improve all day. But today is Sunday. People are supposed to be happy on Sunday, right? It’s church day. It’s rest day. It’s lazy day. Most folks are relaxed and happy on a Sunday. Not me. I was grumpy all day and if anyone crossed me I snapped at them. But when I went to church this morning I got a blessing in the most unexpected way. It made me take a step back and reevaluate my mood today.

I have not always been a church going gal. The reasons why are so vast and numerous that it would take five or six posts to explain why. But as of late, my family and I have been attending a church in our area that we are very happy with. It’s one of those non-denominational outfits, ya know? Therefore, we have all walks of life that go to church with us. I have never been to a church that is as diverse as this one and I love that. The atmosphere at this church is great. You feel very welcomed and loved when you walk through the doors. This is something that I have not experienced in a very long time.

Typically I am very excited to get to church on Sunday morning. I love the worship service so much! I feel so in the presence of God when I’m there and we’re singing our praise to the Father. On this particular morning however, I would have rather taken a beating than to get out of the bed today, put on my makeup, and go to church. I don’t know what it was that really set me off, I just didn’t want to be bothered this morning.

To add to my not so good mood, we were running late. This really set me off because I feel that if I miss worship service I am missing out on my opportunity to get my mind focused on God so that I can receive His word with an open heart. The last thing on my mind this morning was God’s word when I got there.

So I get to church with my family. We sneak in the back while the rest of the congregation is praising God and lifting His name up in praise. An usher saw us looking for three empty seats and very politely escorted us to the front of the sanctuary. Of course this made my already terrible mood even worse because I felt I was being a hindrance to those around me who were trying to worship.

As I’m standing there, fuming mad at the morning’s chaos, I look over to my left to see a young man speaking sign language to an interpreter in front of him. I was caught completely off guard by this as I have never seen this young man before at church and I have certainly never seen a sign language interpreter at any of the churches I’ve ever attended.

I stood in awe of this young man who was so into the worship service and praising God through his hands that I caught myself staring with tears in my eyes. The love this guy was showing the Father through his praise was breathtaking to me. Of course it’s not like I’ve never seen sign language before, but it hit me in the heart today to see this guy, who can’t hear or speak, praise his God through sign language worship. What really hit me is that even though he can’t speak and he can’t hear and he can’t verbally sing the praise songs, he was lifting up his praise in his hands and he was so happy to be there in that moment with God.

I stopped for a moment and looked at myself. Here I was, completely able to speak and hear the songs and sing the songs and yet I wasn’t praising God at all. I was standing there being mad about getting up so early and not having my morning go the way I wanted it to. I felt terrible for how I was behaving. I thought, “If a person who is deaf can come to church and praise their Father in His house, and not feel sorry for themselves, then I should be able to do the same.” This gave me something to chew on all day.

Seeing this beautiful worship today blessed my heart. I realized in that moment that God had me right where He wanted me. He was blessing my heart today even though I didn’t deserve it and I certainly wasn’t open to it. But it was a blessing nonetheless and I received it completely. Often times, right when I need a slap in the face the most, God does just that, and He makes me revaluate my situation. I’m thankful for this revaluation today. I’m thankful that God showed it to me in such a beautiful exchange between Him and one of His children. I’m thankful for His unexpected blessings.

I Have Become Complacent

It has been brought to my attention lately that I am a quitter. That’s right. Yours truly is a bonafide, “this is too hard” quitter. Unfortunately this truth has really been evident for quite a while now but because I absolutely refuse to see any flaw in myself sometimes, I have not admitted it until just recently. But like an alcoholic, I have admitted to myself that I have a problem and now is the beginning of the process to recovery.

I wrote that dramatic intro to say this, I cannot afford to be a quitter anymore. This term “quitter” hurts my feelings to even think about to be honest. I have never considered myself a quitter, or someone who just didn’t have any fight in her. I have always considered myself a nice mix of all the strong, heroic women who have ever made history because they we were too stubborn to just give up. But the truth is, I don’t have enough want to in me. That’s a big problem too because I want a lot of things in life. For example I want to be a thinner, more healthy, more active individual. Except, I don’t want to put in the work that it takes to go to the gym and pump that iron or push the sweets away. Let’s be honest, my real problem there is I hate to sweat and I love Dr. Pepper too much. Nonetheless, I will never ever be fit and active if I don’t put in the work to become that fit and active person I have always wanted to be.

Another thing, I want to become a writer. That’s right. A real live, actual writer. I have always wanted to become a writer, ever since I was a little girl. To be fair, I also had a ton more time when I was little and my only concern at the time was playing with finger paints. But the point is, instead of binge watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix when I have a spare moment, I should be writing down story ideas or journaling more. My first step in the right direction there is blogging on here as much as I can. When I have an idea or a thought that pops into my head that I need to get out on paper (or computer screen) I fire up the laptop and get to writing on here. So far so good. I have been writing more lately than I have since my mental breakdown in 2016. Meanwhile, stay tuned for that lovely work of “fiction”.

What made me decide that I was a quitter all of a sudden you may ask? Well let me explain.

Today was my off day from work at my quaint, 9 to 5 job at a family owned furniture store close to where I live. It was raining and gray all day today on my little slice of land and instead of being productive today I drank too much wine last night, slept till almost noon today, and then woke up to eat tamales and of course binge watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix. As I was lying in bed in my pj’s I was thinking to myself, “you’re never going to become a writer if all you do is lye in bed all day eating delicious Mexican food and watching Netflix. You’re also never going to lose those pounds you’ve been trying to lose for 10 years now.” Reality hit me in the face.

I decided that I am not okay with working a 9 to 5 job for the rest of my life. I am not okay with lying around the house all day stuffing my face full of food and wishing my life could be different. I am not okay with that because if I want something to change in my life I have to be the one to do it. No one else can do it for me. No one else can make me get out of bed and be productive either. I have to want to. I have to want something more for myself.

And that speech goes on pretty well in my head for a while, then the what ifs set in.

I want to lose this weight and start running again…. but what if I don’t lose the weight?

I want to make my own schedule everyday and not have to answer to anyone…. but what if you don’t have that stable income anymore?

I want write damnit…. but what if no one likes your writing?

I want to run five miles again….. but what if you ruin your knees in the process?

All of these what ifs circle around my head all day and then I talk myself out of being amazing because I get scared and then I get exhausted because I’m scared. So at the end of the day the practical thing to do is just not do anything substantial with my life or be amazing at anything. But rather it is easier to just hop on Pinterest and look at all the motivational quotes and wish I could find the want to to be cool.

But today I gave myself a quick swift kick in the ass. I decided today that if I don’t put in the work then I will never be where I want to be. I told myself today that I cannot give up on myself this time around because if I don’t make a change then I will have to settle for being safe and become complacent. And I’m not okay with how my life is right now. I want so much more for myself and I keep holding myself back. My support system is there. My motivation is there. My want to is sometimes there, but starting today, I will push myself to be amazing. I will push myself outside my comfort zone. I will be amazing. I will be a writer. I will travel. I will be healthy and active. I will lose those pesky pounds. I. Will. Not. Give. Up. More importantly I will not allow myself to be complacent anymore.

I’m Too Scared To Love You

Dear Lover,

The end of this year will be the official two year mark since we have been together. What a crazy ride these two years have been too. When you stumbled into my friend request box on my Facebook page I never dreamed that two years later we would be where we are today, growing together and growing in love. These past two years have been a major learning experience for us both. I think you would agree with that. This all new territory for us and we’re just trying to figure it out day by day. I had a terrible dream last night about you and it has really set my anxiety at an all time high today. I know what I’m about to say is going to sound a little crazy but bare with me as I try to talk about my emotions and how I’m feeling. I think I do better writing this stuff out more than I do trying to talk it out. So here we go.

I had a nightmare last night that you found someone else to love. I dreamed that there was a really beautiful girl in one of your night classes that caught your eye and you fell hard for her. More so than you ever did with me. You were crazy about this girl. You bought her a car, and a puppy, (which sounds obnoxious I know, but that’s what I dreamed), and you were so happy with her. I dreamed that you were slowly pulling away from me day by day. I dreamed that the harder I tried to keep you the more you pulled away. Then I saw the girl. I watched as she cut her eyes at you and I saw how you looked at her. I knew.

In this dream, my whole world was turned upside down. I didn’t know whether to kill you both or slap her and then run you both over. I simply didn’t know what to do but I knew I was heartbroken. And I knew you didn’t love me anymore.

I woke up from this dream with an ever so faint ache in my heart. My anxiety was going crazy at the thought that for just a moment this could be real life. For just a moment I wondered if it was a dream at all or if this really was happening. My first instinct was to call you and to chew you out for this dream I just had because it was somehow your fault, even though it was a dream. Before hitting your name on my phone screen, because of course you had called to tell me that you loved me this morning, I realized I am too afraid to love you.

Let me make this very clear: I am petrified to love you. I am absolutely, 100% scared to death to let anyone too close to me because I am so afraid I will be hurt. You especially scare me because you’re dealing with my heart. Apparently my heart is super fragile too. Who knew. I am so afraid to let you in because I’m afraid that you’ll hurt me. I’m afraid that I won’t be good enough, or pretty enough, or relaxed enough. I feel like I will just never be enough. And that scares me. Because I want to be enough but I have never felt like enough. This isn’t your fault, it’s just how my brain works.

I want to love you and not be scared. I want to be close to you and not worry. I want to be with you and not feel like I’m not good enough. I want to give every single part of myself to you and not worry that I will be damaged. I feel guilty making you pay for what goes on in my head. I feel even worse that you have to pay for someone else’s mistakes. I just can’t get past this wall in my head that is telling me I will get hurt and that I should run far, far away. I can’t get past this dark cloud that hangs over me that says I’m not good enough for you. I can’t get over past hurts. This isn’t fair to you I know. It’s not your fault. But I can’t trust you. And if I can’t trust you what kind of relationship do we have? We’re not even friends if I can’t trust you.

This ever constant fear looms over me all the time and I wish that I could let you in to see it. I wish I could show you how I feel on the inside but I don’t think you understand. I want to be normal but I’m just not. I fear that you’ll hate me in the long run because of this fear that is constantly hanging around in my heart. But I do love you more than you’ll ever know. I do want to be happy with you for many more years to come. I’m just petrified of the what if’s. Does that make sense? I’m so afraid to let you in anymore than I already have because my warning alarms are screaming at me “REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME YOU LET SOMEONE IN?!!!!” Why should this time be any different? I know you’re not those same people who have cracked my armor over the years but I didn’t think they would hurt me then they did. Who’s to say you won’t do the same?

Lover, bare with me as I try to sort through all of this. This is not easy for me and I’m sure it’s not easy for you. But I do love you. I want to be normal one day. I want to be okay. I’ll get there. Just please don’t give up on me just yet.

Yours sincerely,

H.

Serious Self Reflection

The other day I had a terrible, terrible fight with my significant other. For those who don’t know me or my significant other then you probably think this was just some little spat between lovers. A lover’s quarrel if you will. But the thing about my significant other and myself is that we both are high-strung, stubborn, strong-willed individuals. Both of us. We always think we’re right and trying to get the other to see an opposing point of view, it would be just as easy to pull teeth. So the other day we had a two day fight over something that I thought was important but no matter how hard I tried to get him to understand, he simply could not see my point of view. So, he shut me down. My point of view didn’t matter. End of story.

However, I don’t do well with being shut down. I just felt that I wasn’t being heard. My feelings didn’t seem to matter. It seemed that the only thing that was important was his feelings, and what he wanted to do. My thoughts on the matter be damned. That didn’t sit well with me. And I told him.

I behaved in a manner that I am embarrassed to even discuss but I feel like I have to write this down to help myself acknowledge it and get over it. After being shut down constantly, I snapped. I screamed at my partner. I yelled at him. I wanted to hurt him. I through things. I behaved in such an immature, neurotic manner I almost didn’t recognize myself. When I get pushed to my limits of being angry I snap. That’s not healthy. That’s not healthy at all. I just saw red, my heart was pounding in my ears, my chest was tight, and I lost it. The result was unleashing all this frustration on someone that I love but in the moment it seemed that I did not love him at all.

His immediate response to me was that he couldn’t handle me. He couldn’t deal with my anger. He couldn’t deal with feeling suffocated in this relationship. He couldn’t deal with me talking him to the way that I was. I can’t say that I blame him. I wouldn’t have put up with that in his shoes either. My justification though was that I had just had enough. I snapped finally. But then I thought, if I get this angry with him over an argument, then maybe we shouldn’t be together. That seemed to be his response to the situation as well, because he said we were over.

This hit me like a ton of bricks. In the two years that we have been together we have never been so mad at each other that we have said to each other “we’re over.” I couldn’t breathe for a moment. My heart sank to my shoes. I didn’t want to break up with him. I just wanted to feel like my partner was hearing my concerns and listening to me. But he wasn’t. In his mind I was trying to control him. I didn’t know what to say to him. I wanted to un-hear what he had just said. I wanted to talk about this. You can’t just end a two year relationship in the heat of a fight. He didn’t want to talk to me though.

We spent the next two days barely speaking at all. I did a lot of crying and a lot of thinking about the whole situation. I was still angry that he wouldn’t listen to my feelings but I was heartbroken that I talked to him the way I did through my anger and that this sent him so far over the edge he didn’t want to continue this relationship anymore. It made me think about how I acted. Why I acted that way and how to address it.

There was nothing to say but “I’m sorry.” I did. A lot. But he was still angry with me and how I acted. He wasn’t wrong for being upset. I was wrong for talking to him the way I did. I was wrong for yelling at him. I was wrong for acting like a child throwing a temper tantrum. I just didn’t know how else to get the point across because it seems that sometimes that’s the only way to drive the point home. Except, no one has ever been persuaded to do something after being yelled at.

Since this huge fight, I have done a lot thinking. I have thought about how I acted and why I acted the way I did. I have thought about the way I look at things. Why I look at them that way and why he does not see them the same way. It’s difficult to admit that maybe you do need to chill out especially when you feel like you’re right. But in the end, I decided it doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong. In the end I know that I would rather be in this man’s company, laughing with him, being relaxed, and trying to see his point of view even if it’s not mine. I would rather be with him than to be without him, no matter what that means. Because at the end of the day, he does make me happy. He loves me, even if he is stubborn, and I love him, even though he drives me crazy sometimes.

Having this fight has made me think about a lot of things. The most important though is compromise.

Prince Charming + Happily Ever After = Happiness?

We have all become too familiar with this cliche fairy tale scenario of Prince Charming saving a damsel in distress, the two falling madly in love, then riding off into the sunset on a white horse to live happily ever after. This is the story that every female knows and has heard or dreamed about at least once in her life. Cliche or not though, this is the message that our society continues to embed in the minds of our young women. From the time we are little girls we are told there is this Prince Charming just waiting for us out there somewhere. However, as we get older these fairy tale stories told to us as children take the shape of “chick flicks.” We watch as Carrie Bradshaw chases after Mr. Big and we think, “one day my Mr. Big will be standing in my walk-in closet in our penthouse just waiting on me to find him so he can slip a $500 shoe on my foot.” We watch this dramatic love story unfold before us as this neurotic, train wreck of a woman goes on this quest to find her prince charming and we think, “why can’t that be us?” Ultimately the message these fairy tales and unrealistic chick flicks are giving us is this: “Ladies, find prince charming, live happily ever after and you’ll be happy.” There a few flaws in that logic though.

Flaw number one: the fairy tale isn’t real, ladies. Let that cold, hard truth sink in for a minute. The fairy tale is not, nor will it ever be, real. The problem is though, we are told all of our lives that Cinderella and the Prince really do exist and they really will meet one day and live happily ever after. Ironically, we are Cinderella and our Prince is out there, just waiting for the first sign of us breaking down and that is supposed to be his cue to swoop in, scoop us up and fix everything that is wrong with us. We are told to just go out there and find him and he will be the answer to all our problems because he is real. We just haven’t met him yet.

Flaw number two: we keep going out there to look for our prince charming. We search high and low for this perfect guy that society keeps telling us exists. We look for him in the most random of places expecting him to be there. We do everything right by the books to look for him too. We wear the right outfit and we wear just enough makeup so that we don’t scare him off while at the same time trying not to look like we run the street corner either. We coach ourselves on the right things to say and the right things to complement him on. We do everything right, ladies. We even pretend to be someone we’re not. We do absolutely everything that society tells us to do to get our Prince Charming. After we put in all this work and time and effort into this we expect results. Meanwhile, we end up coming home empty handed every time because, big shock, this guy we met at the bar or this guy we met on Tinder is not our Prince Charming at all but rather he’s just an average dude in his twenties trying to live his life and have a good time.

This poor, pitiful guy we are trying to dig our talons into is not thinking about being anybody’s Prince Charming. He is not thinking about filling the hole in our heart. He is not thinking he wants to be the reason for our happiness. Rather he is thinking about living life while he’s young and not settling down right this second. For us though, we think as soon as we spot a guy that may even remotely resemble our prince charming, we have to snatch him up before he gets taken off the market. Society tells us we have to snatch him up because if we don’t then we will be forever alone and no one will ever love us because the clock is ticking. Here we are already twenty-two years old, unwed, childless, and usually still trying to get through school or trying to figure out the game plan for the next year of our lives and we will be forever alone if we don’t find him now. That’s why we need Prince Charming. If we add him to the equation then everything else will fall into place, right? We will base our dreams and goals around his dreams and goals and then see where that takes us because we don’t want to be alone forever.

This brings me to flaw number three in this fairy tale logic. Society has been totally unfair to us. Let me preface this by saying I think we have made huge improvements in our society for the equality of women. There is no doubt about that. However, while I think we have made these major improvements in allowing women the dream to be more than what our grandmothers were allowed to dream about, our society continues to tell us that we have to hurry up and get married to the first decent guy that comes our way. We have to hurry up and get our Prince Charming so we can be “happy”. Finding Prince Charming and living happily ever after is the only thing in our lives that will be worth anything. This is where we will get our happiness from society tells us. Ladies, that is simply untrue.

While getting married and settling down is not a bad thing in the least, and it isn’t, it is my opinion that society keeps telling us that’s all we need to make us happy. The only thing that we are good for in this life is finding a decent man to marry and have children with before we’re 25 and if we don’t then something is wrong with us and we might as well hang up the idea of ever being truly happy. Of course this idea scares us a little. We know in the front of our minds that it simply isn’t true that we will be forever alone and unhappy for the rest of our lives if we don’t find our prince charming before we’re thirty. But in the back of our minds that is the fear that keeps us up at night. That is the fear that leads us into every single dysfunctional relationship we have ever had. That is the fear that keeps us in that dysfunctional relationship. That is the fear that drives every man that comes into our lives far, far, far away.

We allow our society to do us such a disservice, ladies. We let our society tell us what will make us happy and we buy into all that happily ever after nonsense. Sure, there is more than likely a great guy roaming around out there that we will meet one day and wonder how we got along without him so long. We will probably fall head over heels in love with him and be as happy as we could possibly be. But, we simply cannot allow our society to tell us that this is the only thing we need in this life to make us happy. We simply cannot allow our society to make us feel as though we will be forever alone and unloved if we don’t find this Prince Charming, Mr. Big kind of guy. At some point we have to wake up to the fact that there is more to us than being Mrs. Charming or Mrs. Big. Society should be telling us to be smart, successful women with Prince Charming as a bonus, not a necessity to our happily ever after happiness.