I wanted to start this blog with something angry. Something that exemplified my determination and independence. Something that would illustrate just how strong and badass I am.
I wanted to say things like-

-I will not allow myself to feel second to anything.. to your kids, your job, your friends, your hobbies, your habits, your lifestyle. To anything.
-I will not allow toxic things/people/circumstances in my life.
-I will walk away without hesitation if my principles are compromised.
-I will swiftly cut it out of my life if it does not provide a good example to my son.
-I will. not. settle.

But none of that is really true.

I've settled for relationships that were less than extraordinary.
I've tolerated circumstances that were FAR from ideal.
I've overlooked actions that I would otherwise consider unacceptable.
I've been hurt by people, and allowed them re-access to my heart, over, and over, and over.
I've handed out more undeserved pardons in my lifetime than any person should.

Truth is, I have condoned and accepted shitty circumstances, my entire.. fucking.. life.

Where do we learn this kind of behavior?
Do we disregard things that we normally never would, tolerate less than ideal relationships, and forgive repetitive hurts, all for the sake of love? What is this thing, this "love", that is powerful enough to make us condone, accept, tolerate, and forgive all things deplorable?

(And please don't misunderstand me... I don't speak of trivial things... By "things", I don't mean- Oh, he has stinky feet, and I accept that. Or- she's a lousy housekeeper, and I accept that).

Maybe I learned it from my parents.
I watched my father choose alcohol over his wife and family, from as far back as I remember, right into adulthood. And I watched my mother accept and condone, and forgive him, every time he made the choice.
And we all know how that turned out...
My mother became positively miserable. But she could never bring herself to leave him; she loved him too much. Towards the end, she just kind of checked out. Spent less and less time at home. Weekend getaways, hobbies that kept her away every night. Trying to escape the life that it had become. And my father just kept choosing the bottle.
It killed my mother. It killed us.
And then it killed him.

I can't remember exactly when, but sometime during my youth, I swore to myself that I would never allow that to happen to me. That I would NEVER partner with anyone who had any kind of addiction. ANY. KIND. (Not alcohol, not pot, and certainly not anything worse). That I would never settle for someone who refused to put me first. And that I would never give someone the power to hurt me over and over.

And yet, that is all I have done...

My daughter's father was crazy. My first husband was/is an addict. My second husband was also crazy. My next fiance was emotionally unavailable. My third husband suffered from fight or flight syndrome (and always flew). My most recent boyfriend is... well, on the list too.

I have a very long history of settling for shitty circumstances, all for the sake of love.

But you know what?
I'm not with any of them now. I am alone. And as terrible and lonely as it is, perhaps that's the testament of determination and independence I was looking for at the start of this blog.
But it doesn't feel strong and liberating. And I sure don't feel like a badass.
It just feels sad.