There was one other thing that helped me be okay with myself, body and spirit combined.
It was a gathering of people from high school. While there were multiple good interactions, the most important one was someone I was in love with through most of high school and my first year of college. I hadn't seen him for about twenty years. He was so happy to see me.
I was just hoping he wouldn't be unhappy to see me. I have been this way with everyone, torn between thinking they wouldn't remember me, they would remember me being annoying, or they would find me annoying now. I have gotten through that many times, but because of my feelings for this one person, it was a lot more pressure. He was so happy to see me.
When people enjoy my company now I can sometimes think it's due to some of the growth and maturation that came over time. The last time he saw me, I was still that immature girl, fat and believing that it ruled out boys ever liking me, disowned by my father and in denial about how badly that was affecting me, sometimes prickly as I tried to shield myself emotionally from all of that, and rather socially awkward. Yes, I was also a kind and smart and supportive back then, but still a bit of a wreck, you know? That's the girl he knew, and he was delighted to see her. A lot of other work has gone into this level of self-acceptance, but that was a huge boost.
I am also pretty sure that it was having this positive experience with the first boy I loved that led me to look up the second.
I have searched at random times before, but this was the first time I had found anything recent; he had made some videos and posted them on Youtube. This was not surprising because he was always a creative person. It was disappointing.
The videos were poorly thought out and executed. That could have worked if they were playful. There was an underlying bitterness, and antipathy toward the audience. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. My heart used to leap when I saw him; here it just sunk.
If he were a stranger and I stumbled across the videos, I would have thought they were stupid and weird and moved on, but I remember when he was different. I remember him as someone goal-oriented and focused who would have put more thought into something he was filming. I remember that focus as also applying to people, where when you were talking to him you felt like there was no one else in the world, but he did that for everyone because he did care about people. I don't remember him ever being very funny, but he was definitely more pleasant. I remember him being charismatic.
It has been a long time for us too, but there were some signs of a growing bitterness back then. I guess the bitterness won, but I think it came from losing. It came from setbacks and trying to make things happen and them not working out. I'm really sorry about that. There is some relief in being sure I am over him, but it shouldn't be because of this.
Society tells women they have to be beautiful, and part of the insidiousness is that the standards keep moving, changing to something less attainable. There is a different pressure on men, but it is still destructive. That is more true as their targets keep moving, and at a time when even the old targets are becoming harder to meet.
We are going to spend more time on toxic masculinity. I don't know if it will be next week. I might have to spend some time on health care.