When Moving Mountains Means Moving Nothing At All

By Suzanne Wiggins

As far back as I can remember I’ve been a master of self-sufficiency. For most of my life, I took great pride in this and believed it to be one of my best personal attributes. I have come to realize, however, there is a difference between knowing how to be self-reliant and being driven to live it as a lifestyle. It began innocently enough with a single childhood experience. A small seed that once planted, quickly grew into a life-long presumption that I must do everything for myself.

It all started when I was about 10 years old. We were shopping at Kmart and I fell hard for a $2.00 pair of royal blue sneakers. Imagine if you will, a pair of Converse low tops dyed blue, rubber and all. I had to have them. My mother, who worked hard and was extremely careful with money, was having none of it. She very seriously told me that if I wanted the shoes so bad, I should buy them myself. Being 10, I probably cried a little, but as we walked away I could not resign myself to not having those sneakers. The terms had been set. I knew what had to be done. So with focused determination, I set out to find two dollars.

I’m sure I started where we always did back then, searching the deep, crumb-filled crevasses of the living room furniture. No one really wanted to stick their hand in there so it was usually a good spot for finding spare change when things got desperate. Next, my mother kept a plastic container of pennies in her dresser drawer and that was another good source when my siblings and I were in dire need of financial resources. I’m sure a bit of my sneaker fund was “found” there. Some of it came from my resourcefulness and cheerful disposition. As a kid, I discovered that my parents’ friends, particularly those who stopped by to have a few beers with my dad, seemed to enjoy giving money away. I would sit by smiling cheerfully while the adults told stories and laughed until inevitably someone would reach in their pocket, pull out a quarter and hand it to me. Sometimes the quarters were offered as incentive to go away, but that was fine too since it was all for the cause of my sneakers. Finally, I was not above begging. My siblings were old enough to work so I hit them up and agreed to perform demeaning tasks in exchange for a bit of spare change. It took a while, but I bought those amazing royal blue sneakers and wore them until they were full of holes and eventually fell apart.

Fast forward several decades. I was enjoying a beer with a friend one day after work and he asked why I had never been married. It was definitely not the first time I’d been asked. I smiled sweetly and gave him my pat answer, “because no one has asked me.”  He then made the observation, “well usually when a person wants something they find a way to make it happen.” Whoa, wait a minute. This person barely knew me and certainly had never heard the tale of the blue sneakers. His comment bothered me. It bothered me because I couldn’t stop thinking about it and found myself compelled to explore the idea further.

It took over a year and a lot of introspection, but I finally arrived at the ultimate revelation. I had never married because I didn’t know how to need someone. I slowly realized that my self-sufficiency had kept me from experiencing the joy of depending on someone; not because I needed to be taken care of, but because people want to take care of the ones they love. All those years I had mistakenly viewed depending on someone as a sign of weakness rather than an expression of love and caring. That was a painful discovery to make for someone who had viewed self-sufficiency as a virtue.

Recently,  a co-worker who has had major neck surgery asked for help rearranging her office furniture. Being me, I gladly accepted the task. The desk and credenza needed to be moved to the opposite side of the room so I pushed and pulled over and over until the furniture was all in place. We quickly agreed that the new location wasn’t going to work so back to the other side of the office it went. When I gave the final push and the task was complete I proudly exclaimed, ‘Who needs a man?!” to which my co-worker sincerely replied, “I do.” Those two words hit me like a cold splash of water. There it was again, that subconscious belief that doing it myself was in some way superior to accepting help. And at that moment I realized, the biggest mountain I could ever move would be allowing someone to move it for me.

Too Cheap For Love

By Suzanne Wiggins

According to an email I received today, when it comes to finding love, I’m screwed. It’s embarrassing to admit, but about a year into my journey to change my life I signed up for several e-newsletters claiming I could: “Be Irresistible (.com)”, “Catch Him and Keep Him (.com)”, and “Have the Relationship I/You Want (.com)”.  At first I found the tidbits of information they provided to be helpful. After all, I had no clue how to interpret men’s behavior unless of course it was in a work related context. Oh, if only love were as simple as business.

A few months after the emails began to arrive I started feeling an underlying sense of irritation with each newsletter I read. I tried to let it go by telling myself to take what helped and ignore the rest. My growing hostility resulted in moving the emails into a separate Inbox tab so I wouldn’t have to see them until I was emotionally prepared. Well today I was just bored. I opened my email and discovered I had no new messages other than 2 items in my “love advice” tab. I should have shut my laptop and walked away, instead I’m sitting here mad as hell.

It turns out there are a bunch of “secrets” and “tricks” that a person has to know in order to find real love. And the kicker  – these secrets can only be had by buying them. To date, my refusal to pay for information being held captive by a handful of “love experts” has kept me from: “Making Him See Me As the ONE” “Getting Him Literally Addicted to Me”, knowing the “7 Tools Guaranteed to Make Him Mine Forever (30% off)”, “The Shocking Secret of Creating Romance With a Man”, “The #1 Thing that Makes Men Fall In Love”, “One Simple Trick to Cure a Breakup”, “What NOT To Do If He’s Acting Cold and Distant”, “The 30 Second Daily Trick That Makes Him NEED You (Me)”, “The Secret to Getting AND Staying On His Mind” “The Desire Trick Men Can’t Resist”, “The Secret P Word that Determines Who You Will End Up With”, and on and on and on. And if you’re married don’t despair, handing  money over to these “experts” can also help you improve or even save your marriage.

So what’s a person to do when they’re too cheap for love? Well you can buy used copies of books on Amazon. This was my first course of action prior to signing up for the newsletters. Since everyone pays for the book they are more agreeable to giving the secrets away. One of the first books I ordered was “He’s Just Not That Into You.” I still get depressed when I see it sitting in the pile on my closet shelf because it reminds me of how often in “the spirit of optimism” we can excuse bad behavior or interpret it as hopeful signs of possibility. The book did, however, present one of my favorite nuggets of wisdom as provided by Liz Tuccillo.

 “There is something great about knowing that my only job is to be as happy as I can be about my life, and feel as good as I can about myself, and to lead as full and eventful a life as I can, so that it doesn’t ever feel like I’m just waiting around for some guy to ask me out.”

If you’ve read my earlier posts, you won’t be surprised by my next suggestion of looking to Pinterest for inspiration. I avoided Pinterest for years having developed an aversion due to the constant stream of “Pins” clogging up my Facebook news feed (which I seldom check.) I wasn’t interested in knowing what sofa my third grade teacher was thinking of buying or what bridesmaid dress a friend’s daughter was considering given I wouldn’t be invited to the wedding. But once I grudgingly opened an account to search for healthy recipes, the flood gates were opened. The fourth or fifth “board” I created was my Guidebook to Love which currently has 181 pins. Over the past year I’ve moved some pins to other boards and deleted those which just made me feel bad. I don’t reference this board often, but when I do it always reveals some of the “secrets” to finding love:

  • The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others
  • If you find yourself constantly trying to prove your worth you’ve already forgotten your value
  • Don’t look for love. Quietly give it away and let it find you back.
  • If you don’t love yourself you’ll always be chasing people who don’t love you either
  • Just because someone desires you doesn’t mean they value you
  • Nerd girls are the world’s greatest under-utilized romantic resource

Sadly, I’m convinced that women are paying hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each year attempting to discover that ONE secret or trick that will change their luck in love. For anyone reading this post I’ll give you my secret for free ~ No one will ever love us more than we love ourselves.

“The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people neither judge themselves nor others. They are open to gestures of love. They think about love,  and express their love in every action. They know that love is not a mere sentiment, but the ultimate truth at the heart of the Universe.” ~ Deepak Chopra