Blindsided

“Don’t you ever for a second get to thinking you’re irreplaceable.” -Beyoncé

Deal breakers – the one, two punch you did or didn’t see coming. By definition, a deal breaker is a factor or issue which, if unresolved during negotiations, would cause one party to withdraw from a deal. By experience, it’s the things you see as fundamentals for your future that you can’t and won’t compromise on. Breaking up is never easy, but on the rare occasion, it’s crystal clear the path you need to take.

When I was in my early twenties, I was insecure and always felt like I needed to mold myself to my partner’s wishes, thoughts, and ideals. I was just happy to be with them and thoughts of longevity weren’t as prevalent. Like many, I was young, carefree, and rather fickle about my partners. As I enter the final sprint of my twenties and see my thirties dawning before me, I only think about longevity. Somewhere around my late twenties, there was a self-actualization that occurred within me. Those things I was insecure about? The love for all things nerdy like Harry Potter and Disney? My desire to constantly please my partner and agree with them? My body image issues? Those are (mostly) gone. I have so much more self-love and self-awareness entering my thirties. Which means that fostering a relationship is so much harder, or it seems so at least. It wasn’t an instant “Ah Ha” moment of acceptance, but an ease and confidence developed alongside my maturity. I guess what they say is sort of right. You get older and you give less fucks about what people think of you.

I’ve been seeing someone for a few months now. We’ve gone out. We have plenty in common and a healthy respect for the things we disagree on. We’ve hit a few bases. We’ve had fun and talking every day is sincerely a pleasure. All the great things that come with the honeymoon stage of a relationship.

Here’s the thing, we somehow missed a very important conversation along the way: deal breakers. What are our deal breakers? The things we see as soft limits and absolute hard limits. We’ve circled this topic several times, but never fully addressed it head on. I thought we were on the same page and any differences like my beliefs, and his lack thereof, were surmountable. What a rude awakening I was in for.

Things like religion and kids are two things I won’t budge on. Both are exceptionally important and not mutually exclusive for the future I visualize. As forthright as I thought I’d been, I guess I wasn’t clear enough, or maybe the honeymoon stage was just feeling a little too good to delve deeply into that aspect. Yet now I have, and we’ve hit a brick wall known as an impasse. Although it’s difficult to say goodbye, I need to do it. The strength of my convictions should be stronger than any potential chemistry I’m experiencing, right? My experiences have taught me that these hard limits, or deal breakers, are not things to be taken lightly. As I worked up the nerve to ask him such a personal question, I primarily worried about his desire for having kids; never did it cross my mind that how the kids are raised would be a deal breaker. As a devout Catholic, the strength of my relationship with God and my faith can’t be easily broken. I don’t seek validation from others nor do I need someone to be have Faith with me. My relationship with God is just that: mine. However, I do need a partner that at least accepts the fundamental pillars that make up who I am.  My guy loves kids and can’t wait to have them. He just never wants them setting foot in a church or being around religious people. The absolute opposite of what my fortune-telling, crystal ball says when I look towards my future. My kids WILL go to church and be surrounded by the loving and generous people that I see on a weekly basis. I’d been honest from the jump: religion is super important to me. How did we end up discussing a topic that I thought was a non-issue? That’s just a small example of the huge conversation we had. It’s the rule, not the exception, that people won’t compromise or change on these details.

In that same vein, investing more of my time seems like a waste. It sounds cold, but I’m merely trying to be realistic. How do we go on from here? The very things that I love and cherish are deal breakers for him. Platitudes and immediate acceptance could lead to resentment, and yield the same result: breaking up. So again, why invest more time? This shiny bauble known as the honeymoon stage is looking rather dull after our very frank conversation.

Deal breakers and breakin’ up. It’s fucking awful, but worse still, is losing something you’ve always wanted in your future. Don’t apologize for what you want, and don’t be afraid to keep searching even when it’s challenging to let go of something.

Until next time,

Girl in this World

Indulgence Today. Downfall Tomorrow.

Do I want to have fun today? Or do I want to be financially responsible? This is my daily struggle. We all have our indulgences: the thing we rationalize are okay to do or have because we work hard and deserve the reward. All the while knowing we sure as hell do not deserve that reward and stress is soon to follow as a result of this decision. The devil on my shoulder constantly whispers in my ear saying “Buy it! You can save money tomorrow. It’s only $10.” Before I know it, the innocuous $10 has turned into $200 and I’m struggling to make rent. It’s a juvenile attitude. I’m not proud of it. But it’s definitely one of my current realities.

For Tory, it’s riding her dirt bike, buying new clothes, and eating delicious food. For me, it’s about buying new books, going out with friends, and buying shit on Apple TV. Inconsequential things that if done sparingly are not egregious, but if done frequently, can be detrimental given that we’re constantly living paycheck to paycheck. I start off each month with a budget for variable expenses, like my social life and sustenance, and somehow by the second week of each month, I’ve already committed some financial error. I then scramble the latter half of the month to save and scrimp so I can survive yet another month without begging my parents for more money. And around, and around, I go.

I hate to paint the picture that we’re not trying to rectify the situation, or that we’re just another set of immature, and irresponsible women looking for instant gratification. We’re not that at all. It’s an ebb and flow that we’re still trying to figure out as we learn to fend for ourselves and grow as people. I’ll repeat, it’s not something I’m proud of, or hope to evangelize. Most people would be surprised to learn these things about me. (at least I’d like to hope so).

Which leads me to my next set of questions: at what age am I, the late-twenty something person, supposed to have these childish actions in check? Do others struggle with this very topic as much as I do? Outside of becoming a recluse, or getting a high-flying job – how do I balance my indulgences with my fixed expenses?

Until next time,
Girl in this World

 

Carrie Bradshaw vs. Oscar the Grouch

Sex and the City fucked me up. I always had this fantasy that the first time I lived on my own I’d have this creative, forward-thinking career, glam friends, and a hot-rod boyfriend to compliment my stylish lifestyle. It was entirely realistic that a newspaper writer could have a lifestyle that afforded her both designer clothes and a swanky night on the town. Essentially, I thought that by the age of 27, I’d be a sexy, boss bitch who was kicking ass and taking names. What a cosmic joke that was!

Living on your own is hard. Really. Fucking. Hard.

Naively, I still had hope in the beginning that everything would work itself out. Can’t cook? That’s fine, I’ll learn. Long distance relationship? That’s fine, I’ll travel back and forth frequently. Underpaid? That’s fine, I’ll work hard and prove myself. So many things I believed only required my will and determination and presto! I’d have the resolution I so desired. And to some degree, I still believe that. (hello! Naïve party of 1), but mostly, things happen, like my promotion, at a much slower pace than I need them to.

Living in California is wonderful, beautiful, and everything Hollywood portrays it to be. It’s also very expensive for a tiny box called an apartment! I live paycheck to paycheck, and unfortunately, I’m still young enough in my career that the big bucks are a few years off. The care-free lifestyle I had while living with my parents isn’t sustainable anymore. The learning curve for being financially responsible, being timely with paying bills, and learning how to cook is much steeper. And holy shit, it’s stressful.

I think every person out there in my position can agree that balancing a social life, or at least what you can afford, and a bank account for bills is the hardest task one can undertake in their twenties. Add to that, a desire to eat healthy and nutritiously, but unable to cook and an emaciated budget for grocery shopping, and the entire thing has turned said fantasy into a nightmare.

Which brings me back to my earlier statement, my fantasy of living like Carrie is looking more like Oscar the Grouch these days. My struggles against the self-actualization and accomplishments of my peers leaves something to be desired. I want to be fab, but at this stage in my life, the challenges are stacked against me. But again, I remain hopeful. Every day is a new day. Right?

Xo,

Girl in this World