"If you want to be respected by others the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you." --Fyodor Dostoevsky
Today, I took the difficult action of sending a message to X-man telling him the relationship was over. When we parted, there were a few doors left open, and I've been waiting for him to walk back through one--not because I could, with any self-respect, continue with him, but because it downright sucks not to be wanted after having someone celebrating you with buckets full of affection for a time.
Now, I sit in the extreme discomfort of still wanting him to call or write back, saying, "What do you mean it's over? We said, 'Never say never!'" (Or some such scene from a Hollywood movie.)
But I'm saying yes to self-respect. It's like how I used to dress all the time in torn up overalls and bandanas, or wear my sweat pants to bed or the gym, and then, little by little, I started wearing clothes that fit me right and gave the impression that I cared enough about myself to appear presentable to the world. I no longer teach college in cut-off shorts and striped knee-high socks. It's not like I wear suits and heels (well, not yet, but the year is young), but I'm valuing myself enough to dress like a person who cares about her appearance, who wants others to respect her.
If I want to be respected by a lover, I have to stop accepting being treated as if I am not valued. Returning to a relationship littered with inconsistent affection and communication, half truths, and unfulfilled agreements (no matter how connecting the other times were) does not say yes to anything but a repeat of my alcoholic upbringing.
I'm saying yes to new, I'm saying yes to the unknown, I'm saying yes to seeing what might happen if I pull the plug on what I thought I wanted, I'm saying yes to staying curious, to living in the mystery of what's next, of not trying to hold onto broken toys, of clearing away space to make room for new adventures: whitewater rafting, visiting Prague, rock climbing. I'm saying yes to expecting if someone says they will be at my door at 6 PM, they will be at my door at 6 PM. Now that will be a new adventure for me.