From Less Than to Equal To

It has been a little while since I last wrote anything new here, and I can’t help feeling as though I’m neglecting a good friend. You – my readers, my friends – were here for me during my dark times… the darkest, actually. Yet I’ve been busy living my life and ignoring this site.

I’m sorry for that.

There have been many ups, a few downs, and several challenges in the last few months, and quite honestly, beyond my closest friends, my kids, and of course, S, I just haven’t wanted to share a whole lot. I’ve just been dealing with things in my own way (read: wine and tears. Just kidding… sort of).

The most pressing of my concerns have been health related. Although I am a relatively healthy overweight middle-aged woman, there were a few issues that came up (such as the “left breast mass” that showed up on a routine mammogram and the random menstrual cycle after nearly 3-1/2 years of menopause (?? – they still aren’t sure about this one and are keeping an eye on it, although the doctors said essentially sometimes the female body just decides to open up shop randomly, as it were).

But as I mentioned back in April, I started seeing a therapist for the first time in my life. I’ve been a total of four times since, with my fifth scheduled for next week. Essentially I’ve been seeing her roughly every 4-6 weeks, as if she’s the clinical equivalent of dyeing my hair. She doesn’t seem overly concerned that I need more, and quite frankly, I sometimes feel I see her too often.

But she’s helping me see things from S’s point of view. As it turns out, she and he have similar personalities; each operate from a rather left brain (read: logical and understated) perspective, while I hang out here in the ever-impassioned (read: lunatical and irrational) right-brain side.

When I moaned one day about how S and I had differing concepts of time that were causing me to worry unnecessarily, she shared how she and her husband had similar differences, and explained how they deal with them. She saw it from S’s side of things, and hearing it from a third party who had no dog in the fight, so to speak, made me understand in a way that numerous discussions with S never did.

I still struggle with many of the ways in which S and A are dissimilar, as well. Although they have many of the same base qualities, their personalities are quite unlike one another. These differences aren’t necessarily negative; they’re just different, and I’m having to adjust my interpretation of S’s behaviors.

Thankfully, he loves me enough to allow me my moments of insanity and tries desperately to reassure me. I hate to say it doesn’t always work. Or at least it takes far too long for my rational brain to check in and knock the unreasonable one off the control board for awhile.

And I’m saying “for awhile” in all honesty. Because although I have always struggled with self-esteem, my insecurities right now are off the charts. I’m unsure if this is yet another by-product of widowhood, or if my relationship with A was simply established at a slower pace, so by the time I thought to really stress about things, that part of our relationship was behind us.

Or perhaps I’m simply glossing over the self-doubt I felt. That’s probably the most likely; I  do remember one argument back when I was still in high school and had an 11 p.m. curfew. A few days after we had gone to a party, A took me to the mall. While we were window shopping, a cheerleader from the grade between us strolled up and began a conversation with A, completely ignoring me.

All smiles and sunshine, she gleefully announced how happy she had been to see him at the party, but pouted that she was sad he never said goodbye when he left. A was polite but (thankfully) kept trying to distance himself from her before making his apologies and our escape.

I was practically in tears afterwards because 1. I hadn’t known that he had gone back tothe party, and 2. He was being openly beguiled by someone I thought was more in his league than I. He didn’t see the significance of any of it, because in his mind, he was faithful to me so it didn’t matter. In my mind, it was yet more proof I was “less than”.

Here I am, more than 35 years later and still struggling with that feeling of not measuring up. And although I began seeing a therapist because I was crying too much, most of what we talk about now revolves around me treating myself better, getting my needs met.

That isn’t up to S, it’s up to me. It wasn’t up to A, either, although I think he tried to assume that role. But I’ve always put myself at the bottom of the list, sacrificed so others could have things. So now my “job” is to make myself as important as I make everyone else in my life.

So I bought myself flowers a few weeks ago, and put them in a vase that was given to me years ago by a synagogue for whom I had done some work. The flowers and the vase made me happy, remembering the occasion on which I received the gift, as well as the simple beauty in the blooms.

It will take practice – serious practice – but I intend to make myself as important as everyone else in my little circle. I think I deserve that… I know I deserve that. So I’m working on changing my “less than” to an “equal to”. Wish me luck…

© Many Faces of Cheri G 2019

4 thoughts on “From Less Than to Equal To

  1. I’ve always said ” I’m not better than anyone and no one is better than me ”
    it works… sometimes … but I’m good with it. So keep shining keep writing and keep smiling my friend… I love your guts! …. and flowers xo


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