I never expected to learn anything from my little brother or his relentless obsession with the latest Naruto game–besides maybe the correct pronunciation of Japanese names–but I did. As a big sister, I committed the cardinal sin: I turned off his x-box console without saving his progress (insert gasp here!) This left little brother in quite a predicament. He’d managed to duke it out victoriously with his toughest enemy yet just before my mom called and reminded him to go to his piano lesson. But my mishap forced little brother to restart his gaming adventure at a much earlier checkpoint. With a fierce foe once again unconquered, little brother did a very noble thing. Masking his distress, he picked that black controller up and went right back to it. But his determination didn’t stop there. I watched him lose at least 1,035 times (No exaggeration). He adamantly ignored my pleas that he just give up and pop in another game. Frustration never outweighing his resolve, he sat there and played until he won. What looked like a futile and foolish effort to me, eventually garnered him results.
So by now I know you’re wondering “Passion, what the hell does all this have to do with dating?” Well. The ideology behind little brother’s perseverance is one we’re all well-groomed in. Whether it was something cheesy and sing-songy like “winners never quit and quitters never win” or some celebrity’s E True Hollywood Story, life finds a way to drown us with plenty of don’t-give-up-you-can-do-it-isms. Why does life encourage this? Because people who never give up, will eventually know what winning feels like. In fact, at a very young age, we actually learn to despise quitters. It’s kind of like we associate quitting with a lower class group of lowlifes. We might as well round-up all quitters and force them to wear scarlet Qs. Despite our disdain for quitting, for some reason or another, this don’t-give-up-you-can-do-it philosophy doesn’t seem to apply to every facet of our lives.
At many points in my dating life when things turned sour, I simply gave up. Instead of just chalking those men up as isolated bad experiences, I applied rules and principles learned with one man to men in general. For example, I am very attracted to wit and intelligence. So I tend to go for the kind of guys who get good grades and read a bit more than the average joe. For the sake of time, we can call them nerds. So I dated this nerdy guy once who also turned out to be rather timid in situations where I felt threatened. And as if they could smell the fear on him, other men showed him little to no respect. After that catastrophe, I concluded that in most cases nerds will also be timid. With this system, I find myself saying things like “I’ll never date a pretty boy”, “I’ll never date a guy with daddy issues”, and “I just can’t date nice guys, I just can’t!” after each relationship. So after my first true love landed me in the penthouse suite at the heartbreak hotel, it shouldn’t surprise you that I quit men altogether. By then the thought of a real, loving relationship seemed almost laughable. Plus I had a laundry list of dating I can’ts, I won’ts, and nevers. So I folded my hand in the dating game and convinced myself I no longer had an interest in playing it. I just couldn’t handle looking and feeling like a fool again and again. Just the thought of how many more times I might have to lose before I won was enough to keep me benched on the sidelines of life.
(For more on avoiding healthy relationships click here).
By the time my Mr. Right-For-Now came along, I was pretty sure I finished playing the game for good. I’d actaully started to relish the thought of living with cats forever. And nobody spurned me for giving up. The American divorce rate shows I’d joined the ranks of plenty saying “down with Love” these days. But I guess Mr. Right-For-Now saw a star player in me, a winner that I didn’t even see in myself. So he forced me off the bench, made me place a bet. And every minute on the clock has reminded me why I started playing the game in the first place. It never occurred to me back in heartbreak hotel that no matter your game, Love or Naruto, “everybody plays the fool, sometimes. There’s no exception to the rule.” You will not and I repeat WILL NOT win all the time. You’re bound to screw up, date some losers, and choose the wrong ones for the wrong reasons. But you’ll be happy to know winning all the time kind of defeats the purpose. Because your losses are what build character. They make you go home and reflect on how you can improve. And they prepare you for success. Nobody ever explained back then that you have to lose a few times to really appreciate that win. Why? Because then you can compare that high feeling to the low one, that Mr. Do-Dirty to Mr. Perfect-For-You. Add your love life to your list of things never to give up on and I promise you a W.
Check out this adorable oldie that I named the piece after!!! OMG! lol