• Jodie May Williams

No Wonder We're Freaking Out!

What I’ve realised recently is that a lot of relationships don’t work out because we are so awfully frightened of things not panning out the way we imagined, or enduring a dreaded repeat of history with past partners, so we just end up self sabotaging because we freak out, or we just unconsciously don’t think we deserve to be loved.

From the amount of cheating scandals we’ve experienced either ourselves or seen constantly from the media and others, whether it be a Royal marriage scandal with the rumours of infidelity, or your own parents separation, we all have our own personal reasons to self-sabotage something that could actually turn out to be great. It's no wonder we're freaking out.

I used to self sabotage all the time when I was in a relationship a couple of years ago, because I was very insecure.

That’s the long and short of it.

And before this relationship, I had only one (in hindsight, not half as bad as more recent times) bad relationship experience, which I held onto with my then-boyfriend because I was so scared he was going to hurt me the same way that I had once been hurt before.

Often, we forget that we are in the cock-pit of our lives, we have complete control. We are the co-creators of our lives, and the paths that we have taken, and paths that we will take, and yet we lay our happiness upon the shoulders of another temporary human being, with the hope that they will distract us from the loud noise of our desperate need for a companion.

I feel that especially as a woman, being in a relationship, is something that is embedded in our minds from a very young age, and even though you may sit and read this and think that this is the "modern age" and this doesn't happen so "much" anymore, I write this a 21 year old woman who has felt her entire lives quest is to find her true love, because of things my family taught me and traditions that have been passed through generations.

It’s all I’ve seen my family do, and talk about, and although as great people as they are, they haven’t really done anything with their lives other than get into relationships, and get married. It seems that my entire childhood was spent going to family weddings, and it led me to think from the example that was shown to me “this is what I should do when I’m older”. It was never a thought I believed to have ever thought by myself, it was something I picked up on and thought it was considered “the norm”.

When I was younger, I wanted to be an author. I loved writing, and always excelled in English classes during my education.

But as soon as I left school, I somehow found myself feeling empty. My Mum would always say to me “One day, Jodie, you will meet the right man”. I think she thought this was the next step for me in the journey of life, as this was the way she, herself, was brought up, she was married at my age.

I had so many hobbies growing up too. One time I thought I was going to be an artist, I’d paint and draw every single day. Then I became obsessed with music and started wanting to become a musician, so I self taught the guitar, drums, piano and even began song writing.

As I got older, I realised that these hobbies weren’t going to be anything more than hobbies, because they weren’t very stable industries to get into. So naturally, I gave them up. Then when I was 15 I started blogging, and it’s the only hobby I have from my past that I’ve actually continued to do. I always knew I wanted more at this age than just “getting a man”.

It came to a time in my late teens when my friends were getting serious boyfriends, and I’d had 2 boyfriends but failed miserably with them both. I set one of my old friends up with one of my then-boyfriends best friends, and with them still together to this day, 5 years later, I realised I’m actually a better match maker than I am as a girlfriend. And that just made me chuckle.

Whenever I start speaking to someone new, it’s always natural I feel for me to start imagining what “life would be like” with them, should anything happen. But when I’m single, (I mean single, like not talking to anyone at all) I find it so hard to imagine myself with someone because I enjoy my independence so much.

But the last time I spoke to someone with seriousness, it became apparent that this guy didn’t want a relationship, and of course, 10 months into seeing each other it naturally became frustrating for me as I had ended up really liking him, so I broke it off because I couldn’t see past the fact he didn’t think I was worthy of his commitment.

A few months passed, and I realised that I probably wasn’t ready for the relationship I thought I wanted either, after dwelling on the situation from an outsider’s perspective. I just thought, after a certain amount of time, it was just “the norm” to put a title on it. I still enjoyed his company regardless of any title. I realised I was forcing something for the future, instead of just enjoying what was right in front of me.

I never thought much of it, until now, in my twenties, I start to wonder why I have this yearning for companionship, when I have my entire life ahead of me. And then I realised, because of dated “traditions” from my great-great grandparents, I have acquired a locked away embedment of desire for companionship, however it is not something I’ve actively decided in my own conscious state of mind. It’s something that has been passed through generations, which I will never pass on to my daughters, (if I ever have any).

In all due respect to my Mum, she was brought up in a very traditional household. My Granddad taking the “head of house” or “top of the dinner table” figure, in which my Mum was brought up to believe that she must be submissive and it was just expected that at a certain age, you begin to search for a marital partner.

Even now, and during separation from my Dad, she remained very dependent on men. I cannot help but feel, even as a young adult, she may have been able to get along without having a male companion, however I can see quite clearly that she doesn’t like being alone an awful lot.

The thing I’ve found recently, in the steps I’ve taken to unlearn the things my parents may have told me, or unknowingly taught me, is to stop treating every new person you speak to like they are “the One”.

I’m not saying stop treating this person with all the love and respect that they deserve, because if that is how you are treating them, then I hope they know they are very lucky and that the world needs more people like you.

Just don’t treat them like they are the One straight away, lower your expectations and enjoy the experience and find excitement in where it could lead.

I feel through a generation of females we all want to live a fairy tale with whom we fall in love with.

You may even idolise relationships you’ve seen in the media but they don’t tell you about all the stuff in between.

I believe the “fairy tale” (whatever that is) comes at the end of hard work. I always disagree with people who say that relationships just happen “naturally”.

Now forgive me, but I’ve never tripped and fell into a relationship.

If you want someone, and want to keep them happy, you need to work.

A lot of my generation these days have adapted the “Marilyn Monroe” mentality (as I call it) - because as the famous quote goes:

“If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best”, a quote I believe has been taken out of context.

We are openly offering the worst versions of ourselves to the people whom we have adoration for, in the hope that they’ll still like us, but never or rarely showing our good sides, and then we all sit and wonder what we did wrong.

In adulthood, I’ve realised everything of what I am, every thought I think, every “trend” I like, every person I admire - are just what I think is expected of me.

In childhood, there were no expectations other than to just simply be a child. However speaking as a female once again, we are expected to be pretty, polite and proper. To be suitable for our “future husbands”.

Still, in relationships, I had to look to my parents for inspiration. My Dad, a sensitive soul, funny, kind and “cuddly” and my Mum, a strong-willed hurricane of passion and opinions.

Two very contrasting characters, in a marriage, that - in my opinion, should’ve never taken place. So, as a product of a failed marriage, I have to say the idea of the same happening to me in the future makes me feel physically sick. Especially if I had children, because I would never want to put them through the same trauma that I had to go through as a young child.

I say this to all of you who have suffered in the debris of parental divorce, good can always come out of bad. If you failed to see past the flaws in your parents, you can always take away something of a lesson to benefit your future relationships, to prevent the same happening to you in your own future.

Sometimes, especially in coming of age adolescence, pre-teen, or young adulthood, we can start to unconsciously begin analysing the causes that may have been at the root of your parents failed relationship, and we unknowingly have a lot of analytical thoughts stored away in our minds from behaviours we may have picked up on, words that may have been argued between our parents, and unconsciously apply them to our own relationships.

One time, I was so obsessed with going the opposite way and not ending up the same way my parents have done in their relationship, I would do research to make sure I could say that I’d done all in my power in the project of prevention. (This was one of my early sign of anxiety that eventually made me go to my therapist, because I was becoming a control freak over things that I would never have the ability to ever control) I later found out that a high percentage of children of divorced parents often have divorces themselves later in life.

When I was younger, a few years after my parents first separated, my Mum got a really horrible boyfriend. My Mum wasn’t happy, as she would never admit whilst in this new relationship, she would insist that she was. Just being in a relationship with someone was enough for her, and although she is blameless for this fact, it is her dated upbringing that taught her this.

To keep the story short, the relationship ended with abuse, and fundamentally he ended up smashing up our family car.

In years to come after they ended their relationship, she still romanticised that relationship to me in conversation, which I deemed crazy. But still, having thought all was well in my own relationship back then, once identifying my then-boyfriends rather toxic behaviour, I put a stop to that ever happening to me, and broke it off. Some things can go too far out of familiarity and convenience, especially long-term relationships, but I felt it was easier to step out than to continue walking into a life of doom.

So, I suppose the moral of the story is to understand you can unlearn the things you don’t want to apply to your life, you do not have to stay in any unhappy relationship even if it is familiar and convenient to you. You are NOT your parents, and just because your parents relationship failed, that is not to say that your relationship will also fail later in life. Remember that you are the co-creator of your life, you get to choose if things work out or not, you get to choose the path your life takes. And if you find a person that is willing to never give up on you, then that will always work out, if you want it enough.

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