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A Babe In The Woods

I was reading Simone Grant’s article Breathing Self-Doubt and this quote spoke to me:

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”—Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I came from one of those unhappy families. Though they would probably deny their unhappiness. We looked happy from the outside, but I don’t know if any of us were ever happy on the inside as a family unit. We were stuck with each other. I am fond of a popular greeting card expression: friends are the family you choose for yourself. Unfortunately, we don’t always choose wisely. We often pick the wrong relationships—relationships that reflect our familial relationships.

If familiarity breeds contempt, what does it mean that we keep seeking familiarity in our relationships? Is contempt somehow a comfortable safe haven for us? Freud would have a field day with questions like these. I’m sure he’d somehow spin it all back to his favorite theories: the Oedipus complex and the Electra complex.

I had a family that told me I wasn’t good enough. I picked careers that told me I wasn’t good enough. I had friends who thought I wasn’t good enough. When I started dating, I picked men who told me I wasn’t good enough. But, perfect strangers believed I was good enough; they told me I was special. They saw something deep within my eyes. They saw my soul. And it scared me. How could they treat me so well, when the people I cared most about treated me so poorly? It didn’t make any sense, so therefore I dismissed them as being wrong. Obviously the people close to me were better judges of my character.

All I ever wanted was to be was good enough so that the world would be peaceful, so that my family would love me, so that I wouldn’t have to hide in my room the moment I got home from school to avoid being punished or criticized for something. Out of sight, out of mind was my survival mechanism. I did well in school. I did all my chores. I just wanted a little approval. Imagine how hard I worked to seek the approval of the men I dated.

Eventually, I stumbled upon this wonderful little thing called self-esteem. It came to me in the most bizarre way—a very personal way that completely blind-sided me—a way that I unfortunately cannot share with you. But, if I’m ever famous (ha!), I’ll be sure to include it in my memoirs. As a result, I no longer choose the wrong relationships. Like Simone, I would prefer to be single than lie in bed next to someone I fear, loathe, or desperately want to have treat me better. I would prefer Chinese water torture to that.

I don’t beat myself up for my mistakes, for having had weaknesses, or for still having a vulnerable side. I embrace my vulnerability. I am, and forever will be, the deer in the headlights – terrified of what’s ahead, afraid to turn back, frozen by fear. But, I would rather be frozen than be the squirrel that darts forward and back…and, forward…no…wait…back…no, forward…and winds up flattened by a car tire. I’m looking for the driver that sees the beautiful, graceful, frightened little doe, and slows down for her. He allows her to trust. He allows her to live. Until I find that driver, I remain alone and afraid. I remain a babe in the woods.

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Reader Comments (6)

Hey Lennie,

Thanks for stopping by my blog =) Wow, I really admire the level of honesty and courage it must have taken you to write this post. It really was all revealing. And, in your writing I can see a sense of peace and acceptance with your current situation - which is a state of allowing that brings wonderful things to you.

If I could be one of those strangers who has only met you recently, I would say you are an incredibly mature, insightful, and unique woman with much to offer to the world.

Thank you for this post,

Be in touch soon,

Hot Alpha Female

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHot Alpha Female

Hot Alpha, thank you for your appreciation. I have done so much work on myself, but there is always room for more. I hope to inspire younger women to have the courage and strength that I lacked (and now have) and hope I can spare them some of the pain in learning how to become a strong, yet feminine woman. I guess I view all women younger than I as little sisters or daughters and I want only the best for them. If revealing my vulnerability can help, then why not! Best wishes and fondness, lennie Xoxo

May 16, 2011 | Registered CommenterLennie Ross

Lennie. I am so enjoying our new FB friendship. Even though we have not communicated directly that often. Your video blog just blows me away at your candor, authenticity and truth...not-to-mention, contemporary comic relief! LMAO.

Your guest blog post in 'Simply Solo Spotlight' was right on...in fact, I find your counsel to men from a women's perspective (yours I imagine) to be so right-on and accurate as men's, no most male's behavior is so off in today's world that I believe they are being subliminal trained to be what you describe as , shall I say, not men.

Keep at it please and I promise to continue to do my part from this end. 2011 the year for love according to your V.Day commentary....also the year of collaboration, not competition according to mine.

THX for intelligent, yet contemporary engagement and interaction. Have a fabulous week!

Dick Chassé | 【ツ】

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDick Chassé

Dick, It's so nice to know that my work is resonating to people. Thanks so much for your kind words and support.

May 17, 2011 | Registered CommenterLennie Ross

Oh, Lennie. I love this article. It's so honest and real. I love the way you own that your family was not perfect. So many people love to hide behind the facade. It's clear in how you have referenced them in other blogs that you love them and don't have any regrets or resentments. I've been following your blog for some time and I think you're such an inspiration to women. I'm only 29, and I assume you're a bit older than me. What you said above about feeling like you want to be a big sister to other. I really wish I had a big sister like you. Thank you so much for being so real and so inspiring to women. You're biggest fan, Anne

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Lennie, your candor, insight and humor about the dating scene and personal relationships has been a real highlight for me for a long time. You have a real gift for telling stories that reflect the reality of life in a non threatening manner. This blog shows me a level of self awareness you have that only comes from someone who has learned from both their successes and their failures and is capable of keeping everything in perspective. If more people had your self awareness then peaceful co existence would be a reality in the world, not just a dream. Be well and keep writing. Soldier

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersoldier

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