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I’m Not Sad That You’re Happy, I’m Pissed That I’m Not….

I have spent so much of my life being the auxiliary piece to the lives of other people, I sometimes don’t really know what it’s like to feel loved and valued and as if I’ve ever been the priority in another person’s life. Perhaps I have been a priority, of course, but I’ve never been the first priority.

Growing up, I was incidental and feelings were highly discouraged. I was loved and praised for achievement by a mother who was proud of what I had to offer, what made me special, rather than what I was—which was nothing terribly special in the grand scheme of things. At a very early age, I learned my father had wished I’d never been born, as a devoted narcissist can’t stand the sacrifice of self that comes with having children, much less a child that learned at a very early age to steal the spotlight.

As I matured and set out into the world on my own, I always had no shortage of lovers, of relationships and flings and other amusements. Almost every single person I ended up with was either completely unsuitable for me, or broadcast vibes loud enough for everyone on Earth to hear. Universally, they seemed to say, “Thank you so much for the good times, but you’re never going to be the kind of girl I see myself ending up with in the end.” It didn’t matter if I helped people find themselves, nurtured their creative work, opened their eyes to new ways of living and thinking—in the end, I was never good enough to be anything but disposable. It’s as if I happened to be this thing created to help people transform and grow, and then I conveniently disappear, leaving them with memories and hopefully a feeling that knowing me had been a learning experience or something that made life better. And, as for me, I was just left with a little more emptiness inside than I had before.

Almost every single person with whom I’ve had a serious relationship is now married, and many have or are expecting children. I know I should be happy when this occurs, but I’m selfish by nature, so I’m not. I can’t help but feel somehow cheated by life, by an endless parade of men for whom I wasn’t good enough—not deserving of the love and fidelity they offer their much sweeter, duller, plainer wives. Perhaps it’s because I’d rather drink and dance on a Saturday night than go to church on Sunday morning, and the things that are most memorable about me aren’t qualities a respectable man thinks of when he considers qualities of his future wife. I can’t help but feel a little angry than an ex-boyfriend who cheated on me more times than I can count, lied to me daily, allowed his parents to treat me like a piece of garbage dragged out of the dumpster, and didn’t have a single picture of me around his apartment (despite photos of family and friends all over the walls) is now with a homely little Southern girl, and they’re a happy family that goes to church and is expecting a child, and his entire family dotes on them. It’s hard to reconcile that scenario with the same way this person and his family treated me, and it breaks my heart, because I wondered so many times, “Why am I not good enough?”

I’ve had close friendships in my life with people who have claimed to fall for me, to want to make me a permanent (if secondary) part of their life…but in every instance, when something came up that presented the opportunity for that person to choose between demonstrating any type of actual real emotional connection and loyalty to me, or choosing another road, the other road was always more appealing. And again, I cried, and wondered what about me was so defective that I wasn’t good enough.

Perhaps the answers are simple. The Guy I Am Currently Dating has a mother who told me, in no uncertain terms, I was not good enough for her son and would never be part of her family. She told me he dated me because he had low self-esteem and not enough confidence to approach the pretty girls he really wanted. I do know that The Guy I Am Currently Dating loves me, but we’ve been together for what is rapidly approaching 5 years. That’s a large percentage of my life, invested in one person…and while he invests in me in many other ways, I’m aware that if I said “It’s been long enough, and this relationship needs to move forward or we need to break up”, he’d cry and leave me behind to move on with my life.

It isn’t the first time I’ve heard that my flaw is simply not being pretty enough to be adequate arm candy for someone looking for a successful and high-powered career, and unfortunately, I’m almost always attracted to men who are talented, ambitious, or both. I’ve heard that my scandalous past, my determination to live life on my own terms, my habit of speaking my mind—well, these things are neither sweet nor classy, and nobody wants pictures of the love of their life plastered on the internet doing shots off of a bar.

What I’ve heard, universally, is “I love you, but…”, “You’re amusing, but….”, “We’ve had great times, but….”, “You’re a cool girl, but….”

And I wonder when someone is going to look at me in a way that isn’t always followed by ellipses. As a friend of mine would put it, when is the fact that I might have an asterisk attached to me going to be irrelevant in comparison to the fact that I’m a fucking awesome person that may just deserve to be loved.

Maybe I am not, and I would simply like to be that person. There’s really nowhere in my life I can turn to without being reminded of all the ways in which I am defective. I am not pretty. I am not talented, I am not ambitious. Worse yet, I’m the sort of ordinary girl who has never learned how to be a sweet ordinary girl. If I’d lived my life as a wallflower, perhaps I’d be more likely to be the naive and inexperienced ingenue almost all men seem to be charmed by. (I was reminded recently by a fight I once had with a drunk friend who told me, “I might have fallen for you if you hadn’t slept with so many men in your life.”) And while it was simply an idiotic and drunken statement, there’s some truth behind it. It is perfectly alright not to be stunningly pretty, not to be successful at something, not to have any specific talents, if you’re sweet, optimistic, and have that little “Suzy Homemaker” thing going on for you. It is expected that somehow, girls who are not really extraordinary in any other way, make up for it by being sweet and amiable, and not exactly worldly. (I have a suspicion that men are terrified of “worldly” women because it causes them to fixate on their own inadequacies, which your average ingenue isn’t equipped to notice…but that’s another story for another day.)

I never learned that lesson, because in my mind, I was always extraordinary. I was always meant for bigger and better things.

It’s easy to become self-deluded, and before you know it, you’ve been married and engaged and had all manner of friends and lovers pass through your life, but you still spend every holiday alone. I spent Easter eating chocolate and watching television while The Guy I Am Currently Dating was with his real family, and all the admirers who claim I am one of the most fabulous girls they’ve ever met are with their wives and girlfriends and children.

I don’t even have many close friends, living where I do, without a car and without a social circle to which I might belong. I can see why I might truly be “not good enough” for anyone, a rapidly-middle-aging, chronically ill former actress/singer/mediocre writer who has few skills and a knack for offending people by saying the things most other people think, but never say aloud. It turns out, there’s reason people conceal their emotions. It’s “polite”, and it’s done so people can have friendships…or at least maintain the illusion of belonging.

I suppose I’m a cautionary tale. If you turn down too many opportunities in your life, or make too many mistakes, you’ll find yourself a person that everyone you know will tell amusing stories about at your funeral…and some will cry, and lament your absence from the world…and others will quietly celebrate at home. But, a majority of the time, you’ll find yourself alone, while the rest of the world goes on with the quiet, ordinary business of living.

I watch this show called “Smash”, about a group of Broadway people putting on a musical about Marilyn Monroe.

Somehow, I think Marilyn would understand where I’m coming from, even though she had the excuse of being beautiful and successful. I don’t think she ever felt loved, or understood, or knew how to be ordinary. I think she spent so much time being an inspiration to everyone else—everyone else who inevitably walked away when inspiration was no longer needed—that she might have been the loneliest person on Earth.

Sometimes, when I hear about people in my life getting married and having babies, I think of that and I feel that way. It isn’t because I want those things, but because deep down, I have this sense of anger that says “I deserved better. Why do other people always deserve the best from those I love, while I’m the one who should settle for something less?”

I don’t want to be that bitter, angry person, but sometimes I am. I suppose it’s because I’m tired of being secondary, tired of being an inspiration, a learning experience, the road not taken, the “if only”, the “I wish things were different”, the “I might have loved you if you weren’t who you are”, the “Why can’t things just stay like this forever, because this is good enough?”

I want to be that thing someone is willing to give up everything for. Why? Because I’m good enough, and because I am so fucking worth it. And I’m so frightened that perhaps I’m the only person in my life who will ever, ever see that.

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