Once upon a time, not THAT long ago, a professor was born. Her mom was awesome…always there for her, always took care of her, and always made her feel a lot of love. Professor K’s dad was a good man too. But he was raised by a somewhat cold, aloof mother and his father left him at an early age. Subsequently, her dad wasn’t comfortable showing affection or his emotions, and little Professor K felt a neediness in her that just wouldn’t go away. No matter how much she tried to be what she felt her dad wanted her to be, she never got the reward of attention and affection she was so much in need of. Her dad liked an extremely clean house, so little Professor K kept her room tidy and neat. Her dad liked to run, so she ran and ran until she would get so tired she could barely stay awake through dinner. Her dad made it clear that he didn’t like over-weight people, so little Professor K dieted and exercised until she developed an eating disorder that he still has never recognized. In later life, she learned to ride a motorcycle, bought her own bike, and showed her dad just how cool she was. But, none of this mattered. She still didn’t get the attention, affection, and praise she desired.
So…she sought it out with others. Her high school boyfriend broke up with her after 2 years, and she was devastated. But, she was seeing a psychologist who she knew would help her. Unfortunately, he was a predator, and he sexually abused her for years. Professor K’s first husband was a nice man, but weak and unable to give her the amount of attention she required. He was also at a loss as to how to deal with the sexual abuse she endured.
Hubby 2 was a friend…someone she had gone to school with since the 3rd grade. She wanted to remain friends, but a ‘fun’ night together resulted in a pregnancy, so marriage was the solution. It was great though! She had a little family that she loved taking care of. Although hubby 2 was emotionally withdrawn, she got the attention and affection from her precious son. He was (and continues to be) everything to her. And being a mom was the best thing she had ever experienced in her life. But, hubby 2 wasn’t happy witht aging Professor K, so divorce followed after 13 years.
Hubby 3 was a ‘bad boy’…rode motorcycles, had HUGE muscles, long hair, liked leather, and was someone completely different than anyone else she had ever been with. Maybe he would be the one to fill the gaping hole she had in her life. The first couple of years were tough…hubby 3 had been a VERY abused and neglected child and had never been in a mutually loving relationship. But, Professor K is a fixer! So, she withstood some pretty bad times, and after a couple of years, hubby 3 was a good hubby who she was crazy about! But, as we’ve seen with 1 and 2, it just wasn’t meant to be. The 11 years together were more good than bad, and it was hard to let him go. Happily, they have remained the very best of friends…talk daily…and even go on ‘dates’ together. He will always be in her life.
After 3 hubby’s, Professor K started to think her happily ever after would never happen. But Sarge came into her life. And he was freaking awesome! He adored her! He idolized her! He loved her in a way she had never been loved before! And despite their age difference, she believed, with all her heart, she had found her last love. The one that was going to endure. Because, after all, it was perfect, and Sarge was filling the ‘gaps’ she needed filled in her life! Until…his hidden narcissism began to rear it’s ugly head. It was little things at first…and then big things…and then even bigger things. But because Professor K had seen how great it could be, she vowed to do whatever she had to in order to save the relationship. She endured verbal abuse, physical abuse, psychological abuse, and any and everything he dished out because she knew, like she did with hubby 3, that she could fix this man and return him to who he had been. And that’s all she wanted. To get the ‘real’ Sarge back and live her fairy tale dream. She knew he was in there somewhere. Buried under the abuse was the man she knew he could be. The man who could complete her. And, it was her job to make that happen.
But it didn’t. Professor K was discarded once again, and she began to think her ‘happily ever after’ would never happen. Until, an epiphany occurred. And finally, for the first time in her life, Professor K realized that her happily ever after had to come from within herself. SHE had to be the one to fill the gaps. SHE had to be the one to come to peace with what she had endured. SHE had to be the one to love herself unconditionally and be kind to herself, and stop beating herself up for 3 failed marriages, and the shame of humiliating herself in front of a man who really never loved her at all.
She gets really down at times, angry at times, and anxious at times. But, she also gets excited at times when she stops the negative thoughts and realizes just what she has.
Professor K’s son rocks! He is the smartest, funniest, sweetest, kindest, savvy-ist, cutest person she knows and even if she wasn’t his mama, she would want to know him…he’s just that awesome. She also has a kick-ass mom. A woman who has endured years of abuse herself, but came out the other side and built a thriving, happy life on her own. She’s the role model Professor K looks up too…and she’s the anchor that can be counted on. No matter what. Professor K’s best friend is the sweetest, calmest, most unpretentious man she’s ever known, and she’d be lost without him. She also has the most terrific students EVER! She truly loves each and every one of them, and they are her kids too. Seeing her students in her classroom everyday is unparalleled…they fill her with joy.
So…maybe the happily ever after is beginning. Maybe it’s something that isn’t in a fairy tale where a prince rescues the damsel in distress. Maybe the damsel needs to save herself. Maybe every relationship that Professor K has gone through, has given her lessons on how to please herself. And, maybe, just maybe, she’ll find the happiness and fulfillment she desires from within. Just like Dorothy, she’s always had the power. She just had to realize it for herself.
This is what I know: Fairy tales are fun to read. But they aren’t real. Life is real…life is hard…and it comes down to loving and pleasing yourself. It’s not easy. I’m not there yet. But I’ve started the climb, have some awesome people waiting to catch me if I fall, and I know I’m ready to soar.