“You can take the girl out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the girl.”
That can be translated one of two ways; either it means that the girl will always be a little bit ghetto or the girl will always feel a little bit ghetto. One is a little bit bad ass, and the other is a little bit sad.
When you have grown up with lack or lackluster circumstances, you might always feel a little bit beneath other people–even if you aren’t–even if you “make good” in life. That feeling is always still there, just beneath the surface though you might try to squash it, have forgotten it or pretend it’s not there.
There has been a time or two (or three or four) when I have felt like the lesser person in the pair. It could have been because they had more money than me, or because they actually thought they were better than me, or sometimes because they actually were better than me.
It’s been a little while since I have had that feeling. That cold ball in the pit of the stomach, like fear except different. It was shame. And disappointment. But mostly shame.
I don’t feel like I usually have a shame problem. I have done a lot of work in the area of giving myself a break. If you feel like you want to work on that, I highly recommend Daring Greatly by Brene’ Brown. That book has been an amazing tool and I have gone back to it several times for a refresher on being okay with my level of achievement and accomplishment in life.
But today, I felt the feeling sneak itself right into my rib cage. I shared something with an old friend. Something I felt a little proud about. They took a look around and didn’t say anything negative, but I saw the look flicker across their face. I thought to myself, oh yeah, they are fancy now, they like and expect nice things. The moment passed in real-time but continued simmering in my mind, until I no longer felt proud of my accomplishment. What I considered an accomplishment, they thought an expense. What I considered independence, they considered lacking. Like they had poop on their shoe. My cool thing was poop.
What does this have to do with dating, you might be thinking a you read this. Well, I’ll tell you, it has everything to do with dating. If an encounter with someone leaves you feeling lesser in any way, don’t bother with it. It will lead to shame, heartache and a destruction of your self-esteem. You will find yourself constantly striving to be good enough for them, when you really only need to be good enough for you. The right person will see you as good enough no matter where you are on your journey. If dating them makes you think they are slumming, walk away.
Now if you want to go slumming, that can be fun. Just make sure to be kind.
The Guy With All the Ghosts
Brad* (not his real name)
was is one haunted man. He lives with the Ghost of Relationship Past. It happens to be a ghost of marriage past, turned into ex-wife present, with equals him being chained to her and it’s a big ol’ mess. But he was non-judgmental, and a painter, and truthful to a fault, things I like. So…..I gave it a shot.
I met Brad in the early days of Snatch.com. He was socially awkward, not at all charming, but adorably rumpled, artsy, and weirdly interesting. In my phone, he was listed as Adorably Rumbled Brad, inspired by one of my go-to chick flicks, My Best Friend’s Wedding.
I met ARB at a downtown restaurant one warm, April Sunday. I had tried to lure him out the night before at a very cool author reading, but he was too nervous and was adamant that he was terrible in social situations. In fact, he was so nervous about our pending date that I called him the night before so we could get comfortable with each other. By the end of the call, we were both less nervous.
But next day, I arrived at the restaurant first and called my friend. I was so nervous. The most nervous I have been on almost any date. I saw him drive up and got out to meet him. Ugh I was so nervous, but he clearly was too. We had lunch, the conversation was nice and flowed easily. We walked around downtown for bit afterwards. It went well.
We chatted a for a few weeks or so. He said I was pushy so I backed off. Then he said he didn’t think he should be dating right now, (he was right) but he wanted to be friends. (Friend zoned for $100 Alex!!) I agreed. I wasn’t terribly hurt or upset. I was pretty sure being his friend was the right move. He was interesting and spontaneous and comfortable, but I didn’t dare let my guard down knowing that he was still tangled up in the past, so there was no chemistry. We remained in touch and met up a few more times. Then, he disappeared.
Fast forward a couple of months. I hear from him. He has been going through some stuff (with her, the ex-wife.) It would be cool if we hung out. Okay, I say. We make plans, we hang out, we chat a bit, then he’s gone again.
Fast forward a couple of months. Repeat previous paragraph. Do that a couple more times.
At this point I back all the way off. No Instagram likes, no texts, not anything. Then out of the blue, I hear from him again. It would be cool to hang out, he was wondering how I’ve been. So we work on plans but due to busy schedules they don’t happen right away. Then, within two weeks, she’s back again…… Damn Brad!!
I back off. We’ll see what happens next.
Actual photo of ARB…..
I am a huge fan of vulnerability. I know, I know…..