I went on a first date for Valentine’s Day. I’ve never done that before. We set up the date around my travel schedule, and, I didn’t realize it was Valentine’s Day. When I realized it, I told him that if he wanted to do it on another night when things were less busy, we could do it on Friday. To my surprise, he was totally stoked that our first date would be on the single biggest holiday of the year for lovers.
First dates, making new friends and building relationships trigger my insecurities. I’ve had an irrational belief about myself that I am unloveable for most of my life. I kept committing to men that were unavailable throughout my life, and that just further cemented that belief. They didn’t, couldn’t, or wouldn’t accept me as I was, so I was unloveable. A belief is very powerful in that it drives all of your actions and the way you filter the world. I don’t have that belief anymore because I’ve learned that I am loveable but just not loved by everyone. It still gets triggered in early relationship building……with either gender.
I had a conversation with my friend Karen yesterday, and she asked what I was wearing on my Valentine’s outing. I described the black dress and lace jacket I was going to wear. She was silent for a minute, and then she told me very kindly that she just didn’t envision me in black. She thought I just really popped in color. OMG……I was already doing it on the first date. I was already trying to stay “safe” in black. I do have a very bold sense of style, and I have to say that sometimes I dampen it because I don’t want to appear weird or out of place. And, sometimes that’s appropriate. But, I did wear the outfit I had described to a funeral. I thought I looked like a hooker at a funeral, but I still wore it at a funeral, nonetheless. It has taken me a long time to step into my colorful personality and life, and, this guy….we’ll call him Adonis…..was going to see me.….. not some watered down version of me. If there was going to be rejection, let’s get it over with.
So, I showed up as my colorful self. We’re, of course, in the process of getting to know each other so it’ll take a little while for him to get the whole wacky picture of me. He was easy to talk to and seems to be attracted to me. He reads this blog, so he can’t be too squeamish. So, I let my guard down as much as I could. In the spirit of stepping into who I am, I even found myself asking him if he knew what 12 Step Programs were all about. I was really nervous about saying it, but I know that it is foundational to the way I live my life, so, if he likes me, he’s going to have to deal with his feelings about it. Our program is anonymous. There are stigmas out there about addictions and addicts, recovering or not. I believe that addiction is a disease not unlike diabetes, cancer or any other health condition. I see recovery as a perk, and I wanted to present it as such. It shows that I am committed to taking care of myself and dealing with issues as they come up. And we all have issues. It’s the people that aren’t aware of their issues that are the unsafe and undesirable candidates for a relationship. So, I see it as a perk that I know what mine are, and I have a committed path and value system that makes me a transparent and trustworthy human being.
So, Adonis didn’t seem to flinch at the discussion of the 12 Steps and how the program has taught me the value system that drives my life. That was a perk for me. But, I can’t say that I didn’t feel nervous bringing it up. And, I felt a little odd when the waiter asked us if we wanted wine with dinner. Those old feelings of being somewhat inferior or unloveable surfaced. But, I remembered my lesson from earlier that day. I want to show up as who I am, in living color, and let the chips fall where they may. I’ve made a commitment to myself that I will be who I am for the rest of my walk on this planet. That’s a daily walk, and today I’ll show up in my corporate office in my Lucchese cowboy boots with a royal blue top and my boot cut Levi’s. And they can love it or leave it.