Friday, March 11, 2016

Guy-free Week

This post has been a long time coming.  Mostly because nursing school sucks the life out of you and when you have free time (which you get maybe 25 minutes of every 2 weeks) all you want to do is sleep.  That being said....I have something important that I want to talk about.  Guys, boys, dudes, bros, men, males.  
All of the above.  More specifically, women's relationships with them.
Being 29 and and unmarried and being surrounded by women who are close to my same age and also unmarried, dating is a huge topic of discussion.  Dates we're going on, guys we want to date, past relationships, possible future relationships, etc.  It dominates conversations.  I don't think there's anything wrong with talking about dating.  It's fun and trust me...we've had more than a few laughs at some unfortunate situations we've been put in as well as some of the unfortunate men we've invited into our lives.  A few weeks ago I was feeling very introspective.  I get that way sometimes when I'm feeling particularly anxious.  I kind of take inventory of what is going on and what could be contributing to some of the anxiety.  I realized that I put a lot of pressure on myself to be dating.  To be honest I am not really dating at all.  I like to say it's because I'm so busy and focused on school work but full disclosure, I am also not being asked on dates.  I don't say that to make myself seem sad or pitiful.  I really am ok because I am incredibly focused on school and work and I have a great group of close friends who I completely adore.  But sometimes, when I'm feeling particularly vulnerable, I start to blame myself for not being asked on dates.  And it's always the same reason: I'm just not enough.  Enough being whatever I'm feeling insecure about that day: pretty enough, smart enough, skinny enough, entertaining enough, fun enough, mature enough, adventurous get the picture.
So I thought to can I take some pressure off and let some of this go?  So I initiated "guy free week".  Guy free week had a few rules- the first rule of guy free week is you don't talk about guy free week (ha ha I'm hilarious).
The real rules of guy free week included:
- No talking about dating
- You could text guys but you could not hang out with them
- No talking about guys or venting about anything frustrating they were doing or not doing
For a week.  Sounds easy right? We are all strong independent women.  We have hopes and dreams and aspirations.  Career goals.  Big personalities.  We had other things to talk about! was easier for some than for others (I won't name names...) and there's nothing wrong with that... but the results for me were incredible.  I was way more focused and driven than I've been in a long time.  I felt less stressed.  I felt physically lighter and like I was enjoying every day of my life more.  Now I can't really say that having guy free week was the only reason.  Maybe I was getting more sleep or maybe I was just feeling more confident- but I do know that I realized that I was being much more affected by the dating obsession than I thought I was.  Which lead me to do some thinking....
We as women have been ingrained with the idea that we live for the attention of men, from a very early age.  So many of the movies I grew up watching centered around the plot line that a woman had to change herself in order to catch that special guys eye.  Magazine covers STILL entice with promises of giving you "13 Amazing Tips to Make Him Want You".  They usually involve flirting demurely, how to dress to slim your body, and wear enough make up to be alluring but not too obvious (guys don't like a lot of make up you know).  I've heard things from people around me: don't cut your hair because guys like long hair, guys like a good butt so make sure to do your squats, wearing high heels will make you more feminine and attractive to men.  Be spontaneous - guys want a girl who will go on adventures with them, but also show that you're reliable because men want a steady woman at home to raise the children.  Be funny, but don't act like the center of attention because men don't want to be with a show off.  Eat hamburgers and pizza because guys like a girl who can eat, but not too much because then you'll seem like a slob.  I know this may seem dramatic to some but it's the reality of the world we live in.  Yes, it's getting better.  Women are being more empowered to be who they are and to not live for the attention of men, but sometimes I feel like it's still this looming expectation (especially in the place I live...). 
I just hope that every woman in my life will understand their real worth.  That they will understand that the attention of men is not defining.  Yes, it's nice.  Don't get me wrong, there is something really nice about having that guy in your life that is different than your other relationships.  But I hope that none of the people I love ever feel like if they don't have that - they are lacking something, or that they need it to function. Find out who you are without it.  Explore by yourself, go on trips, discover a new hobby or talent. Do you!
 I am so proud of the strong women in my life and for the support I've received from others.  My mom (God bless that woman) even said to me the other day "I'm glad you aren't dating.  You are doing more with your life and have more to focus on right now.  I want all your focus to be on school" and my heart burst with gratitude.  My parents have never put pressure on me to date.  For a long time I thought that my parents also didn't think I was pretty enough to be dating (I know guys....I'm  in therapy for a reason)  but hearing them tell me that I am more than dating was relieving.  Dating is fun.  I love dating!  I just don't ever want dating or not dating to define me.  And I hope it won't define any other woman either.  
Also I highly suggest guy free week.  You might be surprised by the results.  
However if this guy ever shows up......

immediately end guy free week.  That is a command.  
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