I’m Not a Cool Girlfriend

No one I have ever dated will ever call me cool.

The words, “loyal,” “honest,” and “intense,” may come up, but “cool,” despite my very best efforts, has never been a descriptor that fit me very well.

And believe me, I have tried so hard to be cool.

I have shrugged off missed dates, gotten over lies, moved past drunk indiscretions that “meant nothing.”  I’ve laughed off inappropriate requests,  given guys second chances without second guessing them, after seconds turned into hours, and then days without hearing from them.

I have dealt with cell phones smashed in fits of anger, holes punched into walls, and a million, “I’ll do better next times.”

I tried really hard to be cool.

You can ask my therapist how hard I have tried:

During one of our sessions, it was with desperate sincerity that I asked her if it was possible to take medication that could “dumb me down” just a little bit.   Make me feel like less of me.  Make me let things go.  Expect less of people.  Because I was sick of feeling like too much for  the people around me.

I’ve tried really really hard to be cool.

I’ve had people that insist on treating relationships like a game of “would you rather.”  I’d hear things like:

Well, would you rather he tell you about something he did that would upset you or have him lie to you?

Would you rather he get moody and disappear from time to time or have him be super clingy?

I’d play along and choose the lesser of two evils and pretend that it was enough.

I’d let lies slide by, I’d let communication lapse, I’d pretend I didn’t see things that I saw.  I’d let myself feel miserable. I’d bite my tongue when people told me to never settle.  Because all I ever heard about was how I needed to settle, because…well…guys just don’t ever really “get it.”

I really really wanted to be a cool girl.

But I couldn’t.

I have tried to be a cool girlfriend.  I have faked being cool.  I have literally paid in blood, sweat, and tears to be cool.  I’m not.

I cannot be a cool girlfriend for this one reason: I could never find that boundary between making a compromise and being a door mat.

And I finally got sick of being walked all over.  I couldn’t deal with having my faith in men and relationships destroyed all in the name of “keeping my cool.”

I’m not a cool girlfriend.

I’m not a cool girlfriend because I refuse to believe that all men are as basic, and needy, and insensitive as the world at large portrays them to be.    I refuse to believe that in order to be in a partnership with a man, I have to accept a certain amount of “boys will be boys” behavior.

I’m not a cool girlfriend because at the end of the day, I believe that a boyfriend can treat me with the same respect, honesty, and integrity that I treat him with.

I’m not a cool girlfriend because I expect my partner to treat every woman like he treats me.  I expect him to sit out strip clubs, I expect him to stand up for drunk women being creeped on in bars. I expect his adoration for me to reflect in his treatment and respect for every single woman he meets.

I’m not a cool girlfriend because I believe that men can learn to honor, cherish, and fiercely protect the commitments  they make to the people they love.  They can realize that every decision they make either takes them towards their commitments, or away from them.  Without compromise.  Without question. Without ridicule.

I’m not a cool girlfriend because I know I don’t want a boyfriend who is “cool.”  I want a boyfriend who is brutally honest.  Who shows me his edges in moments of panic and says: how do I fix myself without hurting you?

I want a boyfriend who realizes that both of us, in the face of something real, like a relationship that matters, are so drastically uncool, and uncollected, that it’s beautiful.

I want a boyfriend who treats me like my friends do: who returns calls, checks in, invites me out, laughs at my incredibly not funny jokes, and recognizes how horribly overwhelmingly unfair it is for women to always have to be the cool one.  The one who understands. And forgives.  And pretends to forget.

So yeah, I know.  A lot of you out there are thinking: girl, you’re living in a dream world.  That there’s certain realities I have to face.  That “guys will always be guys.”

And all I have to say to you is…yes…most guys will always choose to be guys.

But some will choose to become men for the people they love.

And if you doubt that, if you really think some men’s cluelessness in relationships, and the endless one night stands is what all guys want because it is in their nature…show me your role models.  Show me your men who live their lives lying and deceiving and failing at relationships, who, on their death bed say…man…that was one heck of a life.

Show me those men.

And I’ll show you the slew of men who are happy to step up their game.  Who are relieved to not be reduced to a #notallmen stereotype.  Who want to talk about what they’re feeling.  And how broken they felt when they were crying as kids, and told to hide their emotions and “act cool.”

Cool gets you no where. There are better things to be than a cool girlfriend.

Cool gets you settling for a cool love, a cool relationship, and cool communication that inevitably turns cold, brittle, and breaks. And I’ve had enough of things breaking on me.

I can’t shake off the pain anymore.  Pretend giving more than I got didn’t matter.  I’m just not that cool of a girlfriend.

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Why This “Girl’s Girl” Owes it All To A Nurse

I promised myself when I started this blog (a whole three weeks ago) that I would keep my posts universal, relevant and humorous (when needed).  I’m not sure this post will meet any of these criteria, but this needed to be written.

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Miss Colorado

I needed to write this because  I thought this morning that maybe, miraculously, the nurse/ medical assistant I’m writing about will recognize themselves in this story.  I wish more than anything I knew her name.

But this probably won’t reach her. So, hopefully and more realistically, this will at least be read by a few nurses or medical assistants, that often never get to hear what they so often deserve: thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

For those of you who don’t know, during the Miss America pageant last week,one of the contestants (a nurse)
performed a monologue that she wrote about her profession.  It later came under scrutiny by a talk show host, and has caused quite a few people to share their experiences with the awesomeness that is nursing.

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So here it is: 

To A Nurse,

I’m a doctor’s kid.  In fact, most people in my family are doctors, or surgeons.  I understand the fascination people have with them, the way we tend to glorify them… They are Gods amongst men, the healers of the sick, the fixers of broken bodies.  In TV shows and movies, the doctor is the one who takes the special interest in the patient and makes the breakthrough that changes the course of their patient’s lives.

So I get why people feel that way about doctors, I do.  And honestly, I think we all tend to think that because very few of us know what it’s like to be really really sick.

I know what it’s like.  When I was 18 (so twelve years ago) I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma…a bad…but highly treatable form of cancer.  At 18, I was shuttled from doctor’s office to doctor’s office, out of one scan into another, injected with all sorts of dyes, liquids, chemicals, to see how “bad” my cancer really was.  I met a million doctors, was poked, prodded, asked a thousand questions, and was scheduled to start chemo all within in the span of a week.  My life, as I knew it, had ended.

And then I ended up in a room with you.  In what seemed like the basement of the hospital.  You were supposed to take one of my “baseline” tests (to like make sure my lungs didnt melt or something during treatments, I don’t know really).  You took my blood pressure, listened to my breathing patterns (with your stethoscope!) and gave me a tube I needed to blow into.

You handed it to me, and said, “ok, honey, take a deep breath and just blow sharply into this tube…let it all out.”  So I took a deep breath, held onto the tube, and did exactly what you said…I let it all out.  I cried.  Inconsolably.  It was just so quiet in there and you were just so nice, I needed to let it all go.

You didn’t look away like my friends would do.  You didn’t “give me a minute” and leave the room so I could get myself together.  You sat there, and you listened to me snuffle and sob, and you waited until the hysterical teenager in front of you finally quieted down.  And then you took the tube out of my hand, and put your hand on mine and said:

“Hey…look.  I see people come in here all the time.  I don’t know what your prognosis is, or how long you’re going to have to come to this hospital, or how things are going to go for you.  But I know one thing…

I know that one day, years from now, your doctor is going to say to you that you’re done.  That it’s time to start living your life.  And that’s what you need to do.  Take your time…be sad… but when the doctors tell you it’s time to move on, promise me that you will.  Don’t be one of those people who is constantly looking over your shoulder and thinking about this part of your life…forget about this place, and just promise me, you’ll move on.” 

I nodded my head, wiped my nose, and you handed the tube back to me and said, “Ok…let’s get this done now.”

And that was it.  I went on with the treatments, lost my hair, got my hair back, went to my follow up appointments, finished school, and then five years later, in March, I was done.  My doctor said I didn’t need to worry about coming in anymore, and that it was time to move on.

And that, dear Nurse, was when I remembered what you said…what you said about moving on and not looking back.  And I listened.  I really think you would be proud.

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Life’s been good

People who know me know what I’ve been up to, but I’ll give you the Spark’s Notes version: I live overseas, I work a job I love, I travel and meet more people than I ever imagined, I’ve learned empathy and compassion from the empathy and compassion you and others have shown me, and I almost never think about those days when I was really sick.  I do, however, think a lot about you.

Anyone who ever asks me how I ended up overseas, has heard about you.  You’re nameless in the stories, and I hate it.  I’ve rarely cried about cancer since then, but I’ve often teared up thinking about what you said, and how I would never get to tell you to your face, because what does an 18 year old really understand about the impact our word’s have on others?  So I’m sorry.  I wish more than anything you knew in that 30 minutes you spent with me, you changed the course of my life.

With eternal gratitude,
Sonia

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So, if anyone who worked at, or is still working at Medical City Dallas, remembers an 18 year old girl in 2003 wearing a shirt that was entirely too low cut, and crying all over your equipment…please know that I owe much of who I am today, to what you said to me.

And to the chemo nurses, the medical assistants, the people drawing blood and the guy who operated the PET-CT scans (yes I remember you)..all of you were my angels at Medical City Dallas.  I have innumerable stories from that time I spent in your good graces, and without you all, your jokes, your sincerity, your all around bad-ass-ness, I don’t think I would’ve been able to move on from it like I did.  I mean…one guy saw me run into a bathroom crying, and waited outside just to make sure I was okay…really…he had a job to do, and he did that instead.

And to ALL nurses…if you think you remember the one or two patients who stood out to you, please know that numerous people hold your faces and your words in their hearts, even though they may never know your name.  Keep up the good work, I just wanted to drop you all a line.

And to anyone still reading this, nurse or not…your kind words matter.  Say them.