Lara Croft, Tomb Raider
(Para leer en Español, haga clic aquí.)
Earlier this week a good friend of mine told me I have “MOXIE”. Pondering that, it occurs to me that I have always been a strong, independent and gutsy chic; always able to hold my own, stand on my own two feet and take care of myself. And in addition to taking care of myself, I have always seemed to find myself in a position to take care of others. Even from the tender years of adolescence I would step up and take on leadership roles. When I was in the first grade I announced to my mother that I would be holding a dance recital in our garage. Ever the consummate event-planner, I rounded up all of my girlfriends, gave them each one of my dance costumes and then with my childhood partner in crime, we proceeded to choreograph each routine. Where on earth did that come from? If that wasn’t enough, we then dragged all of the little boy heart-throbs down to my house to serve as the judges and then we stocked the audience (my driveway) with teachers and parents. That was just the beginning of me taking charge.
This is from the actual dance recital. I’m the one in all blue. : )
At my first ever job working at McDonald’s (yes folks, I really did work there!), I was quickly promoted to Crew Trainer (and gained the whopper of a 25 cent raise- bad burger rivalry pun intended.), and was put in charge of training all new staff. In my extracurricular activities I was made a Colorguard Captain, responsible for a flock of emotional, post-pubescent girls. And apparently I had an uncanny ability to organize, not only things, but people. In fact my Mom just recently shared a story with me that I had started a petition within the colorguard because we didn’t feel it was sanitary that the “band Moms” made us all use the same tube of lipstick. I must admit that I have absolutely no memory of this “rebellion” in my brain, but my mother insists that it happened. She went on to recount that our band director called her concerned that I was being a problem, and when he explained the entire situation to her, my Mom replied, “It seems to me that she is showing leadership qualities.” Did I really do that? Wow! And way to go Mom with the sly response! Is there any wonder from where I get my hutzpa?
Years later into adulthood and now in the “real” working world, I was quickly anointed into leadership roles which eventually led me down the path to a full-fledged management career. While I tried to manage with an even hand, I was tough when I needed to be. I didn’t put up with any crap and whenever I was faced with a healthy dose of bullshit from a boss, you better believe I would speak up and make myself heard. I consistently went to bat for my teams, and fought for what I thought was right, even if it made me unpopular with the management. I was a tough and tenacious broad, not afraid to speak my mind.
So is it any surprise that in my dating life, I found myself in a pair of relationships where, unbeknownst to me, I ended up in the proverbial “leadership” role? I’ve only had two serious adult relationships (and one of them only pseudo-relationship) and while they were both with sweet, lovable, endearing guys that I loved dearly, they were both with guys who didn’t remotely have their shit together. I seemed to have a knack for falling for the struggling artist, the guy who couldn’t hold down a job, or get a “real” job, the guy who had been babied by his mother, the guy who thought it more appropriate to buy a $500 fish tank than pay off his $500 in parking tickets. (Ladies, have you dated this guy?) I had to teach these guys all about finances and how to get a credit card (Really? I’d managed my own credit card since age 15!). I had to convince them to stop smoking cigarettes and wasting their braincells on weed, and in one instance I had to convince a guy that his brain-child to become a drug dealer was not such a good idea afterall! For real? I had to push them in their careers and steer them away from the less than desirable influences with which they had seemed to surround themselves. I was by far and away the breadwinner in both relationships. I was the one with the stable career, the 401K, the regularly-scheduled monthly payments to my car insurance and school loans. I was the one with my shit together. I had unwittingly become the mommy to these little boys.
My Mom used to warn me that this was emasculating to men, and that men wanted to feel like they were the one who could take care of the woman. Well, that’s all well and great, and I would have loved for these guys to have taken care of me, there’s honestly nothing I would have loved more! But that was not the reality of the situations in which I found myself. Given their life circumstances, and how much further ahead I was with “adulthood”, there was just no avoiding the dynamics of each relationship. Of course I did it to myself, by repeating this pattern of choosing the boys instead of the men. While I had loved these guys with all of my heart and soul and had fought tooth and nail to keep the relationships intact, all that ended up happening in the end was that I unwittingly groomed these men perfectly, so that they would go on and be ready for marriage with the NEXT women, not with me. Well done, Jeannie! Ladies, you are welcome!
I have been told by more than one healer that I have too much male energy, Yang, and that I need to work on softening and developing my Yin, the female energy. I was reminded of this yesterday when a friend of mine was telling me about a girlfriend of hers who is 36 (my age) and single, living in Boston, and is having a really hard time with the dating scene. She went on to tell me that she has a successful, high-powered, high-paying career as a commercial real-estate agent. That’s when I knew exactly what the problem was. Of course she was having trouble with men, she was too strong and capable a woman, most men can’t handle her. She simply has too much Yang for many men. And that is when I decided that this argument is utter bullshit. It’s not that MEN can’t handle her. It’s that the BOYS can’t handle her. It takes a real, confident man who is secure in himself to be able to handle a woman who is the same. For some reason, in my own life, I had always seemed to attract the insecure guys, who couldn’t handle me. It wasn’t that I had too much Yang for them. It was that THEY didn’t have enough Yang for ME!
Here’s the thing. I have just presented you with the Yang side of myself for the sake of argument. But what you don’t yet realize is that I have an equally powerful Yin side to go with that Yang. Ask any of my friends who have watched a movie with me and they will tell you that I cry at the drop of a hat. In fact my high school friends used to call me “Maple Syrup”, because I was so sappy! I gush at the sight of any animal, and spent much of my childhood rescuing wounded baby animals (Ask my Mom! She was always terrified of me getting rabies!). I’m the bleeding heart who donates money to every disaster on TV: Haiti, The Gulf Oil spill, Japan, you name it. And I’m the softie who wants to go to India to volunteer in an orphanage and help children.
In my relationships, I can be the sweetest, most lovable girlfriend a guy could ever ask for. Example: For fish tank boy above, on one Valentine’s Day I hid dozens of little paper hearts all around the house, each with a different trait that I loved about him. He found them in his shoes, in the refrigerator, in the shower, etc. Tell me that is not sweet? I was the girl that was always leaving love notes under pillows, making mix tapes (yes, I am aging myself!), showing up to their work with sweet gifts, and whispering sweet nothings. I was the girl who was always passionately and poetically confessing my undying love. Heck, I’m the girl that even moved 3,000 miles across the country to fight for a guy who had already chosen another woman. Admittedly not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but tell me I’m not a hopeless romantic? Read any of my blogs at The Awakened Life and you will see that I am all heart, and that there is plenty of Yin to go with my Yang. I am pretty much as soft and squishy as they come. Ok, maybe not squishy, but definitely soft!
So for myself and other women like this gal in Boston, it’s not that we are too strong, too independent or too Yang for men. It’s simply that we haven’t yet found the right men. We haven’t yet found the strong men who cannot only handle us, but who are also challenged by and lit up by us; the men that love the Lara Crofts of the world, the men who drool over the strong women who kick-ass everyday in life, the men who want women that are fiery and passionate. I am fully confident that those men, albeit rare, do exist. So earlier this week when that friend told me that I have “MOXIE”, I thought to myself “Hell yes, I do! And I’m proud of it!”. The question is, guys, can you handle it?