A few years ago, I sat outside at a restaurant with a young woman I cared a lot about. We met at a new job I had started, and we clicked instantly, even though there was more than 10 years between us. And I admitted something to her then that I hadn’t said to anyone else.
“I just want someone to save me,” I told her.
She took a sip of her sangria and reached for the flatbread.
“It’s better to save yourself.”
I narrowed my eyes a bit when she said that. Because I was convinced she didn’t know what she was talking about. Of course it was better, but I didn’t know it was possible, and I was tired. Starting over as a single mom after 11 years of marriage, having had only two boyfriends in my life, working full-time after piecing together small bits of income and raising three kids…. This was all very overwhelming. What was wrong with wanting a handsome, kind, and sexy man to step in and make it all better?
Let me tell you what’s wrong with it.
My friend, despite the fact that she had her own flaws, had her own demons, and ended up taking her life a few months later, was absolutely, without a doubt, right. I wish she was here so I could tell her that.
It is better. To. Save. Yourself.
We have been taught that men make our lives better. We have been taught that when life gets you down, when the chips are against you, just fall into a clump and a man will appear with money and status and kiss you and bring you to fullness, make you alive.
Oh, this is such an impossible and ridiculous assumption! Because these poor men are like, Waa? Me?? I can’t even put my socks in the hamper. And you want me to save you, this vivacious, spectacular, heavenly queen from another realm? I wouldn’t. Know where. To begin.
Can I give ya some money instead?
The only man you’re going to attract when you lack belief in your self-worth is a man who lacks belief in your self-worth. And you don’t want any of that.
It is women who have saved me, time and time again. Over and over. That’s what the universe teaches. That, I discovered, has been Her law.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy and love so many men. And I can’t do everything myself, and I don’t want to. Men are so kind-hearted, they help me when I get lost. (And I get lost a bunch. It’s ridiculous.) They say really intelligent things that help me think a little clearer. They share their experiences, which makes me more compassionate and understanding. They fix my car. (Hallelujah!)) They give me tech-support. (Oh, God, that gets me hot.)
So I am not putting down men. I am just stating, for the record, and because it’s absolutely without a doubt true, that they are not Gods. So let’s move forward with that acknowledgment.
Women are the ones, in my life, who have come to my rescue. My mother, for one. Every. Single. Time. My friend Kerri, who when I was terribly, terribly down, made me dinner on snow days and let me hang out in her quiet, soothing house. Who gave me jade plants that still stand strong on my windowsill. My friend Elizabeth, who gets me jobs and offers me work and even made her husband help me take a ton of books to goodwill when I was moving a few years ago. She gave me an aloe plant. That shit’s thriving.
My friend Susannah, who never judges me, always listens, always makes time to hear me out. And gives the best, most loving advice, without any hint ever of jealousy, or the desire to cut me down. That’s just not in her.
I have more friends. Brilliant ones, lovely ones. David will be pissed if I leave him out, so let me just make sure he gets a mention. David plays basketball with my kids and hangs out with me on my custody-free weekends, and we get along so well because we never have the pressure of sex. He’s like, the best guy friend I could ever hope for. And we’re both just totally flexible about almost everything (except food, because he won’t eat fish, and I won’t eat beats), so aside from arguing about where to eat, everything between us just stays chill.
What I’m trying to tell you is that there is no one person who rescues you, who saves you. You save yourself, with the support of people who are amazing. We all save each other. That’s the way it works. That’s the better way. Because when you walk through life carrying this open, wounded spot in your soul, you end up attracting other wounded souls. And of course we’re all wounded in some way, but two wounded people are bleeding too much to help one another out. They just don’t have the resources to give. So take time to heal your own wounds, and you’ll attract someone who has also healed (hopefully), and by then, you’ll have figured out that, Shit, the realities of life, of love, are different than what you thought. Happiness is different than what you’ve been taught. You are different than who you thought you were, and actually way more amazing. Because your mind is the narrowest part of you, and it tells you silly things. Now that you can get beyond that, into the calls of your spirit, everything is looking up!
Finding who you are, taking time for that person, settling in, learning to love yourself with all your flaws and imperfections, all your beauty and greatness is, just, Wow. There is no greater gift on this earth. And it’s already inside you, all the resources you need, all the power, all the glory. Not out there. In here. Just waiting to be unlocked.
Phew, right? What a relief.