6 Things I Learned About Myself in 6 Months

We learn things all the time. Just last night I learned that Toothless, from How to Train Your Dragon, reminds me 100% of our cat. I learned recently that I like couscous, and that DIY weddings can be exhausting. I’ve learned that I’m cursed–every time I choose the place for a group of friends to go eat, we show up to find that the restaurant or bar has gone out of business. These are simple enough things, of course. But sometimes we learn more about who we are, how we fit into the world, and what we should work on.

The past six months have been a challenge and a blessing. I’ve come out of it married, with greater balance with my husband and a better understanding of myself. If I were to wish for anything at this point I would wish for continued growth, because I’m feeling good, and momentum can only be a good thing. Now, onto the 6 Things!

1. I actually like spending time on my appearance, even though I still need to fight tooth & nail against that ingrained maxim that you can’t be smart AND pretty. Maybe it’s something about women embracing their glorious wholeness, and how that’s kind of threatening to a lot of people. So we raise girls and somehow teach them that they can either be smart or pretty, but never both. Every time I learn more about makeup, or think about exercising for the sake of my health (and by proxy my appearance), I feel like I’m betraying every moment I ever spent cultivating my knowledge–which is a lot of moments, since, you know, grad school.

2. I will always want to move on to the next thing. Wedding’s over? Back from the honeymoon? I gave my husband a matter of hours before I started lamenting to him that I’m sad we aren’t moving straight on to family planning. I always need to know what’s next, and having a plan makes me feel all happy and secure, even if we have to change the plan at a moment’s notice for a new plan. A lot of this is due to my Aries nature, and contrary to popular belief, I think it doesn’t limit the amount I’m able to appreciate the present moment.

3. I’m controlling. Very. Around the holidays we were going through an adjustment period, living four hours away from each other while the clock was ticking on wedding prep. We realized, after a lot of time dealing with imbalance, that I was still trying to control every action and thought process that might affect our future. And trying to control your fiance-now-husband from a distance is just a recipe for discontent. So, as soon as we realized it, I basically said “Step off, girl,” to myself, and tried really hard to not control everything. You know what happened? Husband started feeling more confident in his actions and decisions. I automatically had greater respect for him. With respect came more powerful attraction. Now we’re happier than we’ve ever been. And, surprise surprise, I have more time to focus on myself now that I’m not interfering with his life 24/7.

4. I have so many insecurities about being a woman that I am subconsciously always competing with the women around me. “I always get along better with guys than with girls.” *cringe* Yes, that’s me. Yes, I’m aware and trying to change. Yes, there’s hope, even though society really does a fantastic job with brainwashing young girls and women.

5. I’m a little bit proud of the fact that so many people–long-term, intimate friends included–are intimidated by my passion and drive. When I sound sure of something, there is approximately one person I know who would actually question it, if he thinks it isn’t smart or wise or that I don’t have what it takes. We’re working on it, with husband, but so far the only person who calls me on stuff is my man of honor, a cousin on my dad’s side. He knows me really damn well, and is pretty much the brother I never had. And like any older brother, he sees all of me, flaws and strengths, limitations and potential.

6. I’m also often sad that so few people see through the aforementioned attitude in #5 and challenge me when I need it. I know you shouldn’t “test” people to see if they can crack the code of you. I am open and vulnerable and have very few problems creating connections with people. I’ve never been called “emotionally unavailable.” And it isn’t that I don’t let people see all of me–I just don’t tell them when there’s more digging they can do. Or rather, I have told many of them, but people always seem a little perplexed at hearing that they should “challenge” me more. They don’t really know what to do with that, and since I don’t have a handy guidebook ready on how I challenge the loved ones in my life, I don’t know what else to give them.

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