January is coming to an end and with it so are people’s New Year’s resolutions. Chances are we’ve stopped waking up at 5 am to hit the gym, have gotten back into the habit of smoking and running three miles a day? Forget it. We’ve settled back into our cozy routine and let’s be honest, old habits die hard. But if the small imperfections are near impossible to break, what about the big ones? There’s an old phrase that claims “A leopard can’t change its spots” and I’m starting to wonder just how true that is. From the little things to the big ones, how much can a person truly change?
As of late, I’ve been working at creating a relationship with my ex-husband’s new wife. That alone has required me to swallow my pride, deal with the situation and commit to being a better ex-wife. Note, I said better, not bitter. That’s the first step. The second step in that process is to stop calling her the “new” wife. She’s been his wife for two years now, I think she’s earned the title. The fact that I am entering into a friendship with her has also made me re-evaluate my relationship with Prinny’s father. To be honest, I’m tired of the tension, the arguing and the stress that has plagued our relationship for the past seven years. Seven years is a long, long time, especially if the relationship is as much of an emotional roller coaster as mine and Prinny’s father has been. Truth be told, I’m over it. I want so badly to just be able to move on and be better parents for Prinny’s sake—and for the sake of my sanity. But there is a little voice inside of me that speaks from years of hurt, anger and disappointment that asks if I can trust him again, if trying to establish some sort of relationship with him is even worth exposing Prinny and myself to what I have come to learn is inevitable heartache whenever he is involved. But then I hear his wife’s voice in my head as she gently reminds me that “People change.” She sees a different man than the man that Prinny and I lived with and I’ve caught myself looking at him, wondering if it’s true. Has he changed? And if he has, did he change for himself? Or for her?
At 26 years old, I’ve been in three serious relationships. The first was with Prinny father. We met when I was 19 and admittedly a wild child. We were married less than two years later and all of a sudden I was living in Florida, playing a role that fit somewhere between June Clever, Betty Crocker and a touch of Betty Ford thrown in for good measure. I would cook five course meals, get up at dawn to tackle to chore of ironing his flight suit and spend my days between playdates and Mommy and Me. I was bored out of my mind. I tried to change who I was because I thought that was what he wanted me to be. When our relationship was over, I vowed that I would never again change who I was for a man. I’m not that 19 year old wild child anymore but I sure as heck am not Susie Homemaker either. While the relationships I’ve been in since may not be deemed “successful”, they have taught me that there is a man out there who will love me for me. If the man in my life doesn’t appreciate the fact that I dance around the house when I’m doing laundry or that I can’t tell a joke to save my life or that more often than not, Papa John’s is going to be delivering dinner then there is another man out there who will appreciate those things about me. I absolutely believe that people can change but dang it, I don’t know if I want to. Call me stubborn, strong willed or destined to be single but I’m pretty happy the way I am. Why would I want to change that?
I was talking with my best friend earlier today and she made a comment that I can’t seem to shake. We were talking about our latest drama with the men in our lives when she said, and I apologize for her bluntness, but she said “I pretty tell people to ‘suck it’. I just do.” I swear, I love that woman. Eloquent she is not, but she’s got a point. There comes a certain time in our lives where we have to realize that in order to be happy with someone, we have to be happy with ourselves first. Granted, there are certain things that I am open to changing about myself but right now, I’m drawing a blank to what those things are. Maybe I am too loud, too opinionated, have an unnatural obsession with yoga pants, would rather have a six dollar bottle of wine and chez whiz out of the can than champagne and foie gras but that’s what makes me me. I think that we as human beings constantly grow and evolve everyday but who we are deep down in our core…you can’t change that. When the chips are down, whether we’re good people, bad people, lie on our taxes or cut in front of the little old lady in line at Wal-Mart, that comes through. There’s a country song that croons, shoes don’t stretch and men don’t change and I thank God for that. From the little flaws to the big ones, I don’t want someone to change who they are to be with me. And I don’t want to change to make myself more appealing to some guy. Whether it’s repairing the relationship with Prinny’s father, finally running that marathon or venturing out and trying a California roll I want those decisions, those changes in my life, to be for me and me alone. From the little changes to the big ones, the changes we make for ourselves, those resolutions if you will, may just be the ones that stick.0