The lessons I’ve learned from dating in the pandemic are being applied full-time as I navigate navigating the dating game in 2020. I’ve seen many men and women cope, adjust, and progress through the upheaval; some have gained patience, and now find themselves in new stages of their lives.
As a society, we have become more aware, and I feel we are better positioned to deal constructively with the challenges we are facing. We are wiser, more discerning, and I feel our eyes are open wider in understanding the world around us. Everyone is just doing their best, without a tiny bit of help from me… or anyone else.
Many are struggling, and while I will always support the causes that are noble, I can’t help but reflect on the hypocrisy of it all when I see our reluctance to accept help for others, rather than our tendency to offer it to ourselves. The hypocrisy is enough on its own, but when you add in the strain others are exerting on themselves, it only adds up to how much energy and time I’ve had to find myself during these times.
Treating people like crap when they let you down doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t teach people to treat you better, and it certainly doesn’t prepare them for what would happen when you finally get it together. It doesn’t prepare them for relationships, in general, or romantic relationships. It’s absolutely possible to recover from any type of trauma, but it’s an incredible feat for any of us to get to where we want to be in life without unleashing our full potential on to others, sometimes through terrible missteps.
It’s hard work, but it’s never been about me. In the end, my biggest lesson came from being forty-five, rather than from being twenty-one. I learned the values I did and the strengths I did not possess, but most importantly, I learned to look at who I was, and who I wanted to be, and start beating myself up. I started to look at how much of me had been burned away, and how much of me was still available for others to use. I got to a place of letting go of my past, and of how much of me I still needed to carry with me, to feel whole.
Looking back, I can see the initial positive influence of my mother’s death on my growth. I didn’t need to be protected by a father who was never there for me, but at the time, it felt better than being hurt. It felt better than being left by myself, or alone. It felt better than the idea of not being able to be a warrior. I started to become passionate about things I loved, and let go of my past trauma with a clean slate.
I had to learn how to be strong for myself, and release control. I had to learn how to be vulnerable, and let go of my restraint by habit. I had to get to a place of being independent, and decide for myself what I wanted, instead of letting another person decide for me.
I hope that by forty-five, some lessons would be popping up as old memories came to the forefront. I hope they would be distracting me from the bitterness, the anger, and the self-sabotaging habits. I hope they would be teaching me the value of relationships, and the necessity of having a strong male figure in my life.
Though I haven’t seen my mother for several years, I still consider her a friend. I have exchanged messages and emails with Mary Kay since I was a child. She was the first female friend I had when I was going through the initial stages of my feminine crisis. (That was before I discovered R+).
I still see her every now and again, and I’ll most likely catch up with her one of these days. But in the meantime, here are some of the notable things I’ve learned from being friends with Mary Kay.
Some people are good companions, and can distinguish love from friendship.
I’ve known people who, without any intention, fall in love with the people they meet. It’s not uncommon to have a passionate connection built through years of shared interests.
People like Mary Kay focus on the feelings of affection and attraction they see in others. But they don’t approach their work from a rational standpoint. Their guiding principle is having a good time, and they believe that people are much better off when they have a good time.
They don’t see themselves as preventing people from having a good time. Rather, they have a strict policy of letting each person find their own happiness here.
Some people are good friends, and do not need to be in the workplace.
I’ve known people who, regardless of whether they agreed with a particular opinion or not, would defend things at heart.