02 June 2005

That being said...

As much as I'd like to be able to look back and say that it all happened differently, I'm too big a believer in things happening for a reason.

Yes, that means the negative consequences, too. Like the belief that drove me to believe that if I was ever going to have sex in a relationship, I'd have to get it out of the way first.

Believing in things happening for a reason means taking the bad with the good. That's not always easy to see when you're in the middle of the bad -- like a painful break-up, or a stressful week at work -- but if you reflect back, and see where you came from, it usually turns out for the long run. I had to date some assholes to learn how to identify them in advance. I had to live with a sociopathic roommate, and hang out with manipulative friends to learn to spot these people in advance and keep them out of my life. I had to hate my parents for years to learn how to appreciate and be friends with them.

This shocks some people (and others wonder why I waited so long): I had sex with the DebtMaster 5 days into our relationship -- one week after I first met him. And I got drunk to do it. At no point in time did anyone ever indicate that I should wait until I was comfortable with myself, or anyone else, before taking the plunge.

Again, that didn't help. And it didn't take long for me to learn to hate sex. That, really, is the saddest part. Sex is something that should be enjoyed by two mutually consenting adults. It was only by eliminating it from my life completely (both voluntarily and involuntarily) that I learned to respect it, and eventually found my way to enjoying it.

But I covered this in my last post.

I guess my concern for others comes in when they can't see their mistakes, or they take ownership in defiance -- "This is my mistake and I'm going to make it if I want to."

How many times I did that before I decided to listen to people who've experienced similar things, I don't know. But all of that taught me to listen to other people; that their experiences have valuable lessons, and that I don't exist in a vacuum, where nothing else applies.

Things happen for a reason, and maybe someone else's reason is to help you avoid the same pain.

My brother had an excellent MSN name recently: "Don't bother to watch what you say. People are endlessly ingenious at being offended."

a) Exactly.

b) It points to people not wanting to listen to others: unless they're saying what we want to hear.

No one is saying that you can't run your own life, but external input isn't a bad thing. Taking advice isn't a bad thing. Some of the wisest people in the world take advice. And if you have the faculty of deduction, you can generally discern good from bad. And if you can't, you have a much bigger problem.

There are those who take it too far and don't blink without consultation (btw, it's a good thing -- if your eyes dry out, you can go blind). But I've learned that there's a balance. And if you pay attention, there are clues that you'll learn to identify when it's time to get off the "bad time" train.

Long story short: I did make some bad choices when it came to sex. I'm lucky that I figured it out before I had a chance to do more harm to myself -- or let someone else harm me. But it's definitely not a route I'd advocate.

A lady on an Oprah show said, "Doubt is your best friend. If you have doubt about what you're doing, then you need to stop and reevaluate whether you're really ready." Wish I'd known that 7 years ago.

So, while I don't have a great story for how it all panned out, it got me where I am. And I'm certainly not disappointed with that.

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