You know that choking feeling where it’s getting harder to breathe? Life circumstances are starting to feel like that… Good thing I’m kind of a masochist. I get off on this shit. The slight loss of control. The feeling of being slightly dominated. Ultimately, I want control of my life but there’s something about the struggle that I like, that I must feel drawn to, or else “the struggle” wouldn’t still be my story.
I want to change the story yet I feel stuck in the script. The only thing that comforts me is knowing that all things are impermanent and this too shall pass. What universal truths that can frighten me into feeling I will never find a “forever” love also comforts me in knowing I will never ever have a “forever” situation. This hardship I’m going through is temporary. I will come through to the other side. It will get better. In the meantime, this financial noose I have around my neck is getting me into fear-based mindsets that I’m not acting upon, but even thinking as options is giving me internal conflict and a feeling of setback.
I have a confession to make. I’m thinking about my “security” and with dwindling resources, I’m thinking of victim/savior scripts as a viable option. It saddens me to even feel I am considering this option but also know that I will NOT make any hasty decisions and will ultimately choose to weather my own storms. I have to. The Taurus in me knows I am too stubborn, that I MUST choose myself, and that I DO need real stability. That stability is something I need to provide for myself, and need to believe I can provide for myself, instead of conceding to a man who would “own” me. My fear-based mentality is feeling the grip and thinking I need to look to others to provide.
My fear-based mentality is feeling I need a plan that involves finding a man who can provide security and stability for me financially, regardless if love is initially involved. Even though I will never act on this, a part of me feels extremely ashamed that I’m even considering and entertaining the thought. It’s important to note that this ‘confession’ is my processing, and not something I will act upon. I feel too young to start thinking strategically about who to partner with and it makes me sad and frustrated that it’s something I ruminate on.
Life is one big existential crisis that I vacillate in and out of constantly. “What should I do with my life?” Wanting to think strategically about who I end up with is just a part of the crisis, a way to keep me away from feeling more present and connected. A way of keeping me from doing the actual work. The soul work, the career, THE WORK.
Doing the Work
I used to tell myself I wouldn’t marry for love. Not the irrational, fleeting feeling we call love. I would marry on practical levels like taxes and other things, but not in the name of love. In my mind, a part of me wishes that were a given, that of course I’d love the person I’m with but if I’m not going to marry for love, what would happen if love weren’t present?
It’s the settling, “good enough” relationship that hearkens back to antiquated eras where marriage was more about survival and practicalities. You find the practical structure and framework first, and love eventually comes second as you learn to evolve together. Love can develop and grow.
The problem with this view is that sometimes, love was not enough. Women felt confined in their roles as housewives, which Betty Friedan coined “the problem that has no name”; this elephant that people were finally starting to acknowledge and talk about.
Enter in the Feminist movement where women fought to be a part of the workforce. Now woman have to work like men because it’s increasingly harder for families to live on a single household income. While Feminism has paved the way for more freedom, are woman really choosing to work, or are they doing it out of pure survival, with choosing NOT to work becoming an almost impossible scenario in the current economic reality?
Feminism has paved the way for the case of individualism. For “breaking glass ceilings”. For being an engineer. For being self-employed. For starting businesses. Don’t get me wrong, I love that women can take on the more traditionally “masculine”, purpose-driven side of things. The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose. I currently have a freelance business and wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t see myself ever going back to traditional employment. I’ve got masculine-driven Purpose in my veins, and I don’t think the alchemist’s treasure should be strictly a male-driven phenomenon. Women should feel empowered to live a purposeful life, just as much as men, but they should feel empowered to choose what purpose means to them, whether that’s raising a child and being a stay-at-home mom, or growing their career and contributing meaningful work. They shouldn’t feel as if they have to choose one over the other. Where women still do not receive equal pay in the workforce, lack good maternity care or become devalued post-pregnancy after returning to the workforce, there is still room for lots of improvement.
With more options, a greater sense of individualism, and a continued focus on purpose and career, women (and men) are choosing to marry later in life, or not at all. People no longer have to marry out of necessity, practicalities and economic viability. Women are better able to support themselves and with the new shift of purpose and career, more women are choosing to work on their careers first, waiting until financial stability, over marriage and starting a family right away. I’m no exception. I would rather focus on my career than marry young or have a child. I have no burning desire to have a kid, and don’t feel it’s my “calling”. Unless I meet someone that feels ‘right’ and it flowed with the right timing financially, romantically and everything aligned perfectly with unicorns and rainbows, I don’t think I’ll have a kid. I’m willing to miss that boat, rather than strategically plan to find a partner.
For me, doing the work means NOT settling and planning strategically for a lifepartner, because the lifepartner meant for me cannot be planned. No matter how dire my circumstances, how crazy my mental state feels, or how fucking horny I am to succumb to sex without real intimacy, I must NOT settle for anything less.
Doing the work means continuing to live life with presence and connection. Going for heart expansiveness and what feels good. Continuing to better myself through self-care, self-love, a strong social network, community, and friendships. Learning the art and importance of play. Working on my business growth. Taking care of my body, my temple.
Somewhere in this Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a relationship will form in it’s divine time, but first I have to continue to do the work. Sooner or later, it’ll get easier to breathe again.