I had a really interesting conversation at work today about my past relationships. Normally these conversations centre around the ridiculous and horrible memories most of my dating record consists of. What can I say? I don’t have a great track record for choosing them, keeping them, or understanding love in the least. Today, however, the conversation veered towards what the worst of the worst in my dating life taught me in a positive light. I often look at these guys as the embodiment of sadness, pain, and the lowest point of my self esteem. But today I remembered that one of them ordered me a sunny side up egg when I told him that I hated runny eggs and I ended up loving it, forever changing my breakfast game in the most positive way.
And then it hit me: they weren’t all bad. You stick around for something and while the worst memories tend to be the ones that stay with you the longest, there were moments of happiness in there, too.
One man I was involved with on and off for about three years was so selfish and awful that my friends and I call him Mean Nick. There really isn’t a better way to describe him; he really was mean. And maybe (definitely?) a sociopath. Yet between the moments where he was ignoring me and making me feel awful for asking if I could come see one of his gigs (no, but seriously), he could be quite kind. And he never once made me feel ashamed of my body or who I was. It seems to be contradictory to say he was a sociopath who treated me like shit but also made me feel great, but it’s true. It took me a good five minutes to think of what was good about him at all, I realized that while he never appreciated me for many things, he did try in his extremely fucked up way to show me that I was pretty. While it doesn’t make up for a lot of what he did, I learned in that moment that you can find good in most things if you look for it.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that life will sometimes drag you through the mud, whether at the hands of others or simply because a decision that seemed right was actually very wrong and you’re paying the consequences of it. It gets really easy to look at the bad and be swallowed up by it, unable to get yourself out of the mire and muck. I urge you, though, to try to look at the positive side (I know, I know, this really isn’t what anyone wants to hear but it’s so important!) because it exists and it will change everything.
If it weren’t for the bad men in my life I wouldn’t know how to recognize the good one I have now. If it weren’t for the moments I was a bad woman to a good man I wouldn’t have learned how to deal with things in an acceptable way (okay, I’m still learning but I’ve gotten way better). And if I hadn’t had bad experiences in my life I wouldn’t be anywhere near who I am now, wouldn’t be as strong, self-sufficient, and capable.
And I would still be scrambling my eggs until they were rubber, wondering why they never tasted that great.