How many of you have been in a relationship, whether it’s with a partner, parent, child or friend and been disappointed by something they’ve done or not done, said or not said? Then with being disappointed, we make the choice not to say anything and have the disappointment sneak out in other ways. Perhaps it sneaks out through silently sulking, or through picking a fight about something completely different or by misdirecting your anger toward someone else. When we do this, we are treating ourselves and the other person with disrespect. It is the not so pretty part of being human.
I recently acted this out with Match.com man. It was our one year dating anniversary and we were going back to the place where we had our first date. It’s been an incredible year and I have a blast with him every time we are together. Match.com man is wonderful, makes me feel special and I hope I make him feel the same way. But, because I am who I am, anniversaries and special days are important to me. I had built this day up in my mind to be something spectacular. I bought him two meaningful gifts, one being a picture of him and Don Burgett, a WWII hero and author of four books who just happens to be my son-in-law’s grandfather. The other gift was a heart shaped cookie with Match.com man piped on it. Yep, I was ready to roll with romantic gifts.
When I arrived at his house and excitedly gave him his gifts, I noticed he looked like he felt really bad. Oh no, I thought to myself, maybe I overdid the whole chick sentimental stuff. Then he apologized for not getting me a card or a gift and I suddenly felt like someone gave me a shirt that said – I celebrated an anniversary and this is all I got!
Something snapped in my head and I started talking to myself, “isn’t this just great, I bought him a gift and a BIG cookie, and all I got was an apology. He didn’t get me anything”. Oh yes, I was making him wrong as wrong can be. I was standing in a place of holy righteousness. I didn’t say anything because I was an emotional coward and I didn’t want to make him feel bad. But I still made him wrong.
I know we’ve all done this in a relationship and rather than just saying, “hey, I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get a card” we secretly pout. And, for me, all the blogs, daring greatly, trying to be a better person and a good role model deserted me like a scared friend. My secret sulking only got stronger.
At the bar, I had one drink and it went down so smoothly, I had another which tasted better than the first, then another and another and another AND another. Soon, everyone was my best friend, and I was the prettiest, smartest, funniest girl in the bar and every one wanted to be my friend, or so I thought through my vodka induced haze.
Then, we went home and I suddenly remembered why I was two-drink Teri. Because I can’t handle anymore than two drinks. Shame faced and mortified, the bathroom floor became my bed and the man who I made so wrong earlier in my mind became one of the kindest people I know. He simply took care of me. The man who didn’t get me a card showed how much he felt for me, not by giving me a Hallmark card, but by buying me dinner (and a lot of drinks), taking me home and carefully making me comfortable. And, he didn’t laugh too hard at me. By the time I was able to move without loudly moaning, I realized I had acted out, not been honest with him or myself and was mortified beyond belief at my behavior. I hate making a fool of myself and doing it publicly is even worse. I spent the next day miserable, feeling incredibly hung over and beating myself up for being such an idiot.
What did I learn from this mess? I learned this could have been avoided just by being honest and loving. I learned I was horribly and humbly human. I learned I’m way too old to drink so much vodka. I learned it is so much easier to reach out and just say with love, gosh, I’m disappointed. I learned I was no better than Match.com man for getting him a gift and card. I learned I made him so wrong and didn’t treat him with the respect he deserved by telling him honestly what I felt. I learned to accept someone’s love in the way they give it, perhaps not through a romantic card, but love shown through caring for someone who is not at their best, through loving a drunken chica, even when she is sleeping on the cold bathroom floor. I also learned, once again, how to apologize.
By the way, Match.com man hit it out of the park on Valentine’s Day - flowers, card, dinner and two drinks! And, on Easter he bought me flowers, a card and candy and all I gave him was a chocolate bunny. Trust me, he was able to communicate how disappointed he was!
My drunken chica wishes for you.
I wish you can or learn to communicate speak honestly and lovingly when something is upsetting you.
I wish you know even if people don’t show you love in the way you hope, they love you in the way they can.
I hope you see even when all your goals, roles, and actions fail miserably, you are still awesome and worthy of being loved.
I wish you hangovers that only last one day rather than three (oh yes, three long miserable awful days).
I hope you are loved by someone who loves you when you’re at your worst and is still able to laugh with you about it, later, much, much later.
I wish you know how wonderful you all are, no matter how many times you feel ashamed, no matter how many mistakes you think you make. Remember, you are simply wonderful.
With infinite love and gratitude,