I was afraid I might disappear like dandelion seeds in the breeze since this was the first Valentines' Day that I didn't have a boyfriend in 34 years.
I know, intellectually, that Valentines' Day is a Hallmark Holiday. Years ago, when I was working in public relations, one of my accounts was the Chocolate Manufacturers of America. I learned exactly how much candy was purchased per cubic inch of shelf space in America's grocery, variety and convenience stores during this annual sales bonanza.
I also know, intellectually, that I don't need other people to prove I exist. Validation is too small of a word for the phenomenon because in order for something to have value, it must first exist. I'm pretty sure this trouble can be traced back to my emotional gestalt being fucked up. Throw in societal conditioning and marketing trends and voila! The damage is done.
We can throw in media images of beauty if you want to really seal the coffin - but you still have to exist before you need a coffin. If I'm not mistaken, you can exist without being beautiful but it sucks. Ask Carole King.
This existential dilemma cannot be purely a feminine phenomenon given that Dean Martin sang, "You're nobody til somebody loves you," and he is certainly a man. Some man can explore that territory, however, because I'm celebrating my own existential victory here.
Recently, it's become clear that I'm single by choice. I'd still be hanging out with That Narcissist if he weren't such an unpleasant individual. Since I needed someone to authorize my existence, being a narcissistic supply source was a perfect gig except that once Narcissists know you care about them, they start treating you like shit. He may have spent a lot of time with me which he says showed how much he enjoyed my company, but his attitude was so tacky that being around him got to be a drag -- especially in Austin. That Narcissist gave advice to a comic at The Velveeta Room as if watching Seinfeld made him an expert on comedy. It was mortifying. Somehow it's more socially acceptable to be a complete asshole in New York City.
Since my identity has been defined all these years by being in one relationship or another - needing your mother's approval is another example of the external validation - and since The Universe sends us harsher teachers when we won't learn our lessons, a narcissist was necessary to my process. What set That Narcissist apart from other boyfriends is that he is such a cartoon in real life that I could finally say, "hold on a dang minute," to the entire process and break the pattern.
What good is having your existence authenticated by another person if that person is a complete asshole? I don't need some asshole to tell me I exist. In fact, I never really needed anyone to confirm my existence - none of us do. But plenty of people rely on external sources to quantify their worth.
As my fiftieth birthday approaches, I'm enjoying a bit of solitary peace and quiet for a change. With Velvet leaving the nest soon, I can finally discover what it means to exist outside of a relationship. I'll always be a daughter and a mother, a friend, a teacher and even an ex-wife. I want to exist independently too. I suppose I already do. When he's describing Sowelu in The Book of Runes, Ralph Blum says, ". . .what you are striving to become in actuality is what, by nature, you already are."
Some rune masters think Ralph Blum is full of shit, but I always liked this idea.
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