Nuggets of Gold from Chapter Five

No is always an option, even if I’ve already said yes and/or I am halfway
through the agreement. I can always find something else to do. No one forced me to unload and reload that truck for the chili cook-off. I did that out of my own sense of victimhood, so from now on, I am not a victim.  If I am in the middle of something, and it ceases to meet my expectations,I have every right to leave. And if I can’t physically leave, I need to make sure I always have a decent book with me.

If I ask someone to change several times, and they say they will, but they don’t, they are not going to, and I owe it to both of us to leave the relationship. I knew this truth going in; in fact, that was part of the reasoning that I gave Rael about why I wanted to address the issues that bothered me before we got too far into the relationship. And yet, I did not honor my instincts by following up with my side of the deal. I did not say, “Okay, I see that this does not mean that much to you, so I’m out of here.” Instead, I stayed, and by staying, I told him that he did not have to change because I would not insist on it. As my brilliant mother-in-law used to say, “If you tell a kid you are going to chop off their arm if they do that again, you’d better be prepared to get out a hatchet.” If I wasn’t willing to follow through by gathering up my marbles and going home, I should have never brought up the subject.

My voice of truth speaks to me, but I have to be willing to listen to it in order to benefit. My journal entries are tangible proof that I knew more than I was willing to admit to myself. That wise voice was intent,and it was not quiet. Sometimes it woke me up in the middle of the night. Sometimes it kept me from falling asleep. No, this voice was not that subtle, soft-spoken whisper of a demure child. This voice screamed at me – but I drowned it out with my addictive need for my relationship with Rael.

I should never say yes to a proposal of marriage because I think I may not get another offer. If I never got married in the first place, it would not be the end of the world. I can say that because I have experienced marriage, and I have three terrific children as well as grandchildren, so I can be exceedingly cavalier about all that. Nonetheless, no woman needs to get married. We are past the day when a woman is dependent on a man for an identity, financially or culturally. Some of us want the experience of having kids, and I am extremely glad I have been blessed with that joy, but not at the price of my own self-respect and dignity. How much honor is there in marrying someone because I don’t think anyone else would have me – for me or for him? Regretfully, that self-defeating thought motivated me to say yes to Rael’s proposal.

No one can figure out your worth but you. ~Pearl Bailey


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