Weighty Matters

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Vulnerability

on January 6, 2013

I was talking with a friend on the phone today.  She’s in the middle of a divorce.  Another friend of ours was just asked for a divorce.  These are painful, difficult times for them.  All I can do is send up love, virtual hugs, and as much encouragement and positive energy as I can.

In the phone conversation my friend told me that her husband is acting harsh, saying mean and hurtful things.  I said to her, “After so many years of marriage, he knows where to aim.  He knows what to say to emotionally hurt you the most..”

Shortly after the phone call, I logged onto Facebook.  There’s an article making the rounds that gives women solid practical how to act and react if someone comes after you.  The gist of the advice was how not to look vulnerable.

Consequently, vulnerability is much on my mind today.  I’ve lived on my own for so long and I’m pretty practiced at how to protect myself, be aware of my surroundings, look like I’d be more trouble to attack than a potential mugger or rapist would want to deal with.  That’s pretty much all external.  Inside, I’m as vulnerable to being hurt as I ever was.  I’m a curious mix of toughness and sensitivity.  I can shrug off a lot of bull crap from people who don’t mean anything to me, but put me in conflict with a someone I care about and it will hit me hard.

When I’ve been in a relationship for a while, I do my best to be open-hearted, although I know that I guard myself to some extent.  Yet, even with that guardedness, when the relationships have ended, my heart has ached and I’ve cried over the loss.

Maybe it was being around so many good looking men in uniform this weekend, or just a logical progression as my body, weight, and emotional self-esteem about my own attractiveness and body improve, but I’ve been thinking a bit more about the possibility of dipping a toe back into the dating pool.   I’m not ready to walk to the end of the plank diving board, leap off in a beautiful swan dive and plunge in, but I’m considering.

I’m a bit apprehensive.  Part of me thinks, “You’re 55.  Why bother now?”  (Yep, I turn 55 tomorrow.)  Another part of me thinks, “You’re 55.  Why not now?”  Still another part of me thinks, “Is it time for a snack?”

It’s hard to willingly open up the vulnerable parts of ourselves, take a chance and risk getting hurt again.  Then again, faint heart never won anybody anything or anyone.

I don’t have to decide today.  I don’t need to rush to join an online dating service or start going out more often to see what options might be swimming in local waters.  I guess all I need to do, just for today, is be open to thinking about it.

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11 responses to “Vulnerability

  1. Hope says:

    If people date in retirement homes (and they do!), then dating at 55 makes you a spring chicken. Or something like that.

  2. You brought tears to my eyes. I’m just sayin’.

    I think you are a beautiful, amazing woman with more to offer than most people out there. And you have the strength needed to truly be vulnerable. And no age is too old to look for love. My 100 year old Grandmother still has “gentlemen friends”.
    I’m thankful to count you among my friends. I think you’re remarkable!

  3. Hi Mary Stella,

    Happy Birthday! I don’t think age has anything to do with it. If you want to find someone to share your life with, go for it. Personally, I get the hesitation. I have divorced friends and I hear about the crazy out there. If I ever get divorced, I can’t imagine jumping into the dating pool. I wasn’t all that good at it the first time around. BUT… I have friends who did find great guys and are happy they took the plunge.

    Good luck!

  4. Skye says:

    Happy birthday!

    It is a very vulnerable thing to put yourself out there. My therapist would say that vulnerability is strength. So opening yourself up to new people and personal situations shows you being strong enough to be open and vulnerable, which you have proven on this blog to be. Even just thinking about it addresses your vulnerabilities and strengths. I say, go you! And Pink Pelican’s words are very wise. Go at your own pace in your own way, not someone else’s.

  5. Pink Pelican says:

    Your birthday is January 7? So is mine! Happy joint birthday! I’m 48 today.

    I think it’s never too late to find love. But I also think the most important thing about finding love is to live a full life that pleases YOU, doing the things you love doing, being at peace and in love with yourself and who you are. Because first, you want to live as happily as you can by, as and with yourself. And second, I think living your life fully doing the things you love are more likely to bring you in contact with like-mined people, with whom you are compatible, including potential mates (be they temporary or long term).

    I found the path to love with husband to be initially all about indigestion. Falling in love is not necessarily for the faint of heart. BEING in love with the right person, however, is awesome.

    The good thing about it is there aren’t any deadlines. Be open to the possibilities, be smart, and if it feels right to you let it progress. And remember, just because you sign up on a dating site doesn’t mean you have to work on anybody’s timeline but your own.

    Best birthday wishes and best fortune for love, whenever it finds you and in whatever forms, romantic or platonic!

    • Mary Stella says:

      Happy birthday, Pink! Thanks for the great input. How are you and your husband doing?

      • pinkpelican says:

        We celebrate our 15th anniversary (17 years together total) in July, and we are very happy. We had weight loss surgery about a month apart & have discovered joint loves of walking & kayaking – more things we do together. I’m down a total of 210 pounds, & think he’s down about 175. We both continue to grow and be happy, both as ourselves & with each other. Love him more today than when I married him. ;=)

        One nice thing, too, is that we have some separate interests. We do a lot together, but I love horseback riding & he doesn’t; he is learning to do silver smithing, which I have tried but don’t really enjoy (but ask me how I feel about having at my beck & call a creative, budding jeweler who needs somebody to give jewelry to). He likes video games; me not so much. While much of our time is spent in joint pursuits, we also sometimes go our own ways & recharge our batteries in ways unique to us as individuals. I think that’s often a good thing. Being okay with enjoying your own thing as a person & each of us knowing it’s fine to do some stuff apart is important.

  6. merry says:

    Happy Birthday, Mary! And thank you again for all your amazing, inspirational posts.

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