Dear Little Sister

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Dear Little Sister

I’ve been wanting to write this for a while now, because you’re at an age where I had made too many mistakes to keep track of.  I had just moved out of home, moved 1000km south to a big city where I knew 2 people, I was dating my high school boyfriend of 3 almost 4 years.  I went through some dark days, when I was your age and I wish someone had been there to guide me through.

I think I’ll write a series of letters addressing what I was experiencing at your age compared to what I have learnt 8 years down the track, but to start off with, lets talk about love.

When I was 18, love was broken to me.  I had just ended my relationship with my high school sweetheart after only living together for 3 weeks.  I then made a series of mistakes involving his best friend, which to this day, I completely and utterly regret and wish beyond many other things, that I could take my actions back.   I then met an amazing guy on the night of my 18th birthday; he was  musician, he was in corporate banking, he was covered in tattoos and his birthday was 2 days before mine.

I was in love from the moment I met him, or so I thought.  I then persisted by calling him everytime I was drunk and singing to him on the phone and telling him how amazing he was.   Safe to say, he ran away pretty effing quickly.

After that, I loved attention so much because I had only had the same guy in my life for 3/4 years, that I hate to admit I became promiscuous in a bad way.  I drank too much, partied too much, slept with whoever I felt like and treated myself quite poorly.

At the time, I knew it was wrong, what I was doing and how I was treating myself, but I didn’t really understand when to stop or when to call it quits.   I kept spiraling down this horrible path and ended up in hospital for alcohol poisoning or suicide attempts at least 8 times within that year… I wasn’t someone who valued themselves or what I had to offer.

 

I stand now at the age of (almost) 26, and wonder what I have learnt.  I definitely don’t party anywhere near as much as I used to (hell you’ll be lucky if you get me in a club once every 2 months).  I’m not promiscuous in any sense of the word, and more importantly I have learnt to cope with my manic depression so much better than I ever thought I could.

 

But what have I learnt about love?

 

Good question and it’s a question I will always, ALWAYS reflect on with every year or milestone or relationship.

 

I suppose if I had to figure out the three main things I have learnt about love in that time they would be…

 

1. We Accept the Love We Think We Deserve – Until We Realise We Deserve Better

The amount of times I’ve called our stepmum bawling my eyes out because I’ve finally just had enough of accepting the bare minimum in a relationship, is overwhelming.  I sometimes wonder if I have in fact learnt anything from all my previous heartbreak, or if I will continuously make the same mistake, as it seems at the moment.

I have thought about this in depth alot particularly in the past 24 hours, and one thing I can’t shake from my head, is that when women stop putting in the effort they usually do and start putting in the same amount of effort their partner does, thats when you can really see the truth behind a relationship.   Either you are compatible because the amount of effort is agreeable by both parties, or you will realise that you actually need someone who WANTS to date you and who WANTS to spoil you.

If you are dating someone where if you don’t make plans, book dates, schedule time in to spend together, then you would have a pretty effing boring relationship – you need to wake up to yourself and really question whether this person wants you as a ‘friend with benefits’ or a ‘life partner’.

I really have taken a step back lately, because I in fact just realised this myself.  I realised I was bored and had nothing to look forward to in my relationship, because I stopped planning and I took a step back from putting effort in.  I had no dates to look forward to, no travel plans to look forward to, no weekend escapes to look forward to… and you know for once I didn’t want to ‘fix this’ myself.  I wanted my partner… my ‘equal’… to actually put effort in and PROVE he wanted to be with me…

Which brings me to my next point…

2.  Talk Is Cheap

Talking things through with your partner or lover or friend or WHOEVER is so important when you want to ensure you’re on the same page.  BUT and this is a Kim Kardashian but… do not let continuous promises of ‘fixing’ or ‘getting better’ fool you.

If someone values what you have to say, sees that there needs to be improvements and understands that you are a special commodity that might be lost at any moment, they will WORK and let their actions speak more than their words.

When someone continuously over promises and under delivers, if they deliver at all, maybe it’s time to leave.

As much as your heart and your time and your head might be invested in this person, if they can’t prove their integrity to you or keep their word now – what makes you think they ever will change?  Sure give them some chances… but if it’s an issue which CONTINUOUSLY is brought up and you are continuously having to explain why you feel like you’re in a one sided relationship, take a step back and actually analyse if they are in fact changing or sticking to anything they say, or if they are just using words for a quick fix, hoping you’ll forget.

A person who truly values another person, will do what it takes (within means) to keep that person.  A person who places little value in another person, will watch them struggle and get upset and KNOW they can fix it with a bit of effort, but will fail to do so.

Ask yourself, are you a ‘friend’ or a ‘girlfriend’? Because as much as I hate the ‘needy’ girlfriend stereotype, the truth is, it was created by society to make women feel guilty for wanting to be treated with a bit more respect and love and appreciation than the postman.  There is nothing wrong with wanting a man who says he loves you, to prove it.

 

3. Learn From Your Parents Mistakes

This has been the hardest lesson for me to learn and one I still struggle with on a daily basis.  Obviously our mother was not a nice person to our father, that’s not debatable.  BUT moving forward, as much as I love our dad, I acknowledge that the way he has treated his ex girlfriends and even our beautiful stepmum, is not up to scratch.

I am not abusive like our mother and never have been.  But do I expect the man to put in little to no effort in a relationship, because that’s why I’ve learnt from our father – yes… god damn yes.

The amount of times I’ve hugged our beautiful stepmum and wanted to just take her away from our dad because I knew she deserved to be treated better, she deserved someone who put in effort and paid attention to her was overwhelming.  Yet I seem to continuously date men who are just like our father because I have somehow accepted this as the norm.

I realised the extent of this last night, when I was talking to one of my best friends and she has the same issue.  Her mum was always the one cooking and cleaning and catering to her fathers every need.  Her father was non-existant when he was home, not putting any effort in with the family and then never spoilt the mother or showed appreciation for her hard work.  So naturally her first marriage was a spitting image of this – her being the perfect little housewife, without a bar of appreciation.

It is such a shit and hard thing to understand that you don’t have to be the ‘nice girl’ or the ‘always available girl’ or the ‘cool girl’.  Fuck me, I have continuously been ALL of these things in every relationship (besides maybe my first), and you know who always gets hurt in the end – ME!

Why? Because I never EVER expect the man to be the equivalent of what I am.  Society makes out like we have to be these strong independent women, who are great in bed, cool with your man partying with his single friends, leave the house always looking runway ready, keep a clean house and a happy family and earn an income.  What does society expect of the man?  …

Have a job… and don’t cheat…

Literally..

That’s why the term ‘pussy-whipped’ was coined.  Because if a male starts putting in the same amount of effort as a woman, he is clearly dominated by her and is a weakling.

Well no… fuck no… why is there not  a term for when a women is putting every last bit of her energy in for a man, but if a man takes his woman on  date instead of partying with the boys, he is ‘pussywhipped’.

the most important lesson in all of this, is know what you want and don’t let someone give you any less or make you feel like an idiot for having high expectations…. 

Because you know what, regardless of who you are, you deserve an equal, not a lesser being or someone who just doesn’t get what is standing right in front of them.   A man or woman who sees your worth is out there, and they will come along sooner or later… but the person who makes you feel like shit because you want commitment, you want to know what your future together holds, and you want to know they love you beyond just a text message, is not someone you want in your life for the long term.

Remember I love and adore you, always.

 

 

Your ugly big sister xo

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Expectations Will Kill You

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When I was much younger I would look at the future and place great expectations on myself.  I thought that by the age of 25 I would be married and on the way to having kids.

I just turned 24 and as each day goes by I realise more and more of how much of a silly expectation that was.

A couple of years ago, I had a massive break down with one of my exes because I told him I didn’t feel like he was putting enough effort in.  That there was a lack of ‘romance’ and that this was his fault.  At the time, he listened and then promptly left – leaving me shaking in shock, physically ill and in deep regret of what I had said.   Part of me realised that this was my fault, moreso than his.  Within a few days, we had sorted through my insecurities and the relationship lasted for another 2 or so years until it reached it’s natural expiry date when we realised we didn’t have the strength as a couple to move on to the next phase of our relationship.

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When it comes to relationships and life in general, we are all swayed by media, comparisons to other people and Hollywood ideals that set unrealistic expectations. I thought it was only women, but I’m beginning to realise more and more that males are also very much influenced by these outside forces as much as women in some circumstances.

Hollywood and global corporations have manufactured a lot of expectations, particularly in regards to our physical appearance and relationships, to make a few bucks here and there and thrive off our willingness to devour whatever they deliver.

 

Think of engagements, traditionally a diamond wasn’t the ‘rock’ of choice that men bought their fiancées.  Engagement or betrothal dowries stem far back in time, and varied from livestock to pieces of clothing as well as jewellery.  It wasn’t until the 1930s that De Beers used ‘diamond rings’ as the be all and end all when proposing to your future wife.  A very effective advertising campaign and a strong focus in Hollywood movies has led to diamonds being the accepted minimum standard in todays society for proposals.

It seems there is more value placed on the size of the diamond and how pretty the ring is rather than the fact that two people have agreed to make a lifelong commitment together… which to me, holds just a tad more value.

Don’t even get me started on weddings! Couples these days are spending $30k on average on ‘one day’ of their lives before they even have a house deposit saved, because Hollywood and society have manufactured this extroadinarily expensive belief that this ‘one day’ is the most important day of your life and therefore it is ok to spend what could be money on a solid investment, on decorations and making guests ‘jealous’ of what you have conjured up.

I have always preferred the idea of eloping to be honest.

When it comes to relationships, it’s just perfectly normal to place expectations on what you hope to achieve out of it, but sometimes these expectations are completely unhealthy and will leave you more miserable than happy on a constant basis.

Hollywood also tells us there is meant to be ‘a spark’ or that we’re meant to ‘just know when you find the one’.  I’m sorry but I really don’t buy into that bullshit.  The amount of movies where men just fall in love with the woman within a week or two and are ready to have babies is so far from the truth.   Or scenes where men are walking down the street, spot ‘the one’ and it’s true love from that point onwards.

Yes, sometimes this does happen in real life – but these days people on average are dating a lot longer than historically before they even make that decision.  The average time from dating to engagement used to be six to fourteen months; these days the average is 2.8 years.   It’s not like these men just wake up one day and say, ‘hey she’s the one’… It is based on a relationship full of hard work and love, a mutual respect for each other and knowing that the other person’s happiness is just as important if not more important and tied directly to your own happiness.  However, Hollywood would have us believe that their is no value in a long term ‘relationship’ unless you are married or engaged and even then, the longer you take before getting engaged or before getting married, is obviously BAD for the relationship and a sign of weakness in the relationship.

Hollywood would have us believe that unless there is a ‘spark’ there is no  value in the relationship – that it is destined to end badly. There are too many expectations placed on ‘sparks’ or ‘sudden realisations’ rather then the feeling of joy and happiness someone gives you, the strength of your friendship,  the passion in the bedroom, the physical attraction, the willingness of two people to work through difficult tasks,  the respect and love your family and friends have for them,  the laughter you share and the moments that make lifelong memories.  I will always place more value on these important aspects of a relationship than I will on some Hollywood notion that I’m meant to feel ‘a spark’.

Sure when I was a teenager this ‘spark’ was something I believed in, but as I got older and experienced my fair share of heartbreak, I started to realise what I valued more and what actually made a strong relationship work.  A spark was important in the start, but beyond the first couple of dates there are far more important values that you need to look for.  A spark isn’t going to get you through the years, but deep commitment, mutual respect and friendship will.

When looking for a partner, you’re looking for much more than a notion that ‘they may be the one’ because to be honest, there may be more than just ‘one’ out there for you.  It’s a stupid notion to think that there is only one person in the whole world that is made for you – that would be such a tiring task to find them and one that majority of the population would not be able to complete before they died.  Oh, and if Hollywood has taught us anything, it is that everyone falls in love in New York, even though just under 50% of men and women in New York have NEVER been married.

If you base your expectations on what you THINK a relationship, career or your position in life is MEANT to be rather than what  you want it to be, then you are always going to get a gut wrenching feeling of guilt and confusion because what you have, even if it may be great, will never be good enough in comparison to what you think you should have/what society/hollywood tells you, you should have.

Did anyone ever maybe think that divorce statistics are so damn high because we have relied on media for so long to dictate our relationships rather than making our own minds up? Relationships of our grandparents lasted much longer, and I can’t help but feel it is because they didn’t grow up with TV or movies on hand, telling them day in and day out what a successful relationship had to look like.  They made their own minds up.

Trust me, the amount of times I’ve ended relationships or fought with exes because they weren’t putting ‘effort’ in was ridiculous.  My notion of ‘effort’ was romantic dinners every Friday night, random presents during the week, and the most mind blowing sex on a daily basis.  Instead of appreciating what effort the individual put in, in their own way, I was basing my expectation of ‘effort’ on what Hollywood had fed me since I can remember.

I still regret every fight I have had over this notion, and I wish I knew this much earlier because the amount of stress I put on past relationships when they didn’t live up to my Hollywood-ised expectations, was ridiculous.  I have hurt alot of really decent guys based on this.

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Instead, these days I have just learnt to take everyday one step at a time – allow yourself to just enjoy whatever goodness is being made available to you.  You deserve to be happy and deserve to have fun.  You don’t deserve to miss out on amazing opportunities because of some bullshit expectation you have been brainwashed to believe is a societal norm.

 

If you are happy in a relationship… then allow yourself to be happy.