My Deep, Dark Secret (for the Last Six Months)
Like so many little girls, one of my favourite childhood games to play was “grown ups.”
Weekly, (sometimes daily) for many years, I remember going up into my bedroom, closing the door, putting on my mom’s expired 80's makeup and acting out my perfect "future life.”
In this perfect adult life of mine, I was always a wife and mom. Just like my own mother, I was always THE most beautiful, happy, perfect wife and mom a young, impressionable girl could aspire to be.
I loved pretending to be a wife and mom. And to this day, I often joke with my parents that they’re to blame for creating this stupid “white picket fence” fantasy that I’ve come to learn in my adult life, doesn’t actually exist. Or at least it doesn’t really exist anymore.
Don't get me wrong-- I LOVE that my parents are now in their 70's and after 45 years of blissful marriage, are STILL in love with each other and share the most beautiful, respectful adoration for one another. I feel both blessed and cursed that their relationship has taught me to believe in "true love" and never settle for anything less.
And for a solid 36 years (for better or for worse) I’ve held out.
But I’ve also learned (now that I'm finally a "grown up") that I'm nowhere near perfect (although much better at applying makeup.) And unlike my own mom (who at 36 was married, owned a house AND conceived four children) I followed a very different path.
Sure, I went to college, got a diploma in Journalism, got "Jacked on the Beanstalk," won a bunch of fitness competitions and created a successful online coaching biz.
I've made my parents proud. And yes, I've made myself proud too. My big sister even says on the regular that she’d love to have just 5% of my ambition. And yet, I’ve always seen her as the one to be admired—she got married and spawned two children after all.
Only twice in my 36 years have I been head-over-heels in love. One lasted four years in my late 20's. It was intense, volatile and died a long, painful, drawn-out death. The other was quite recent and although brief, felt like a fairy tale. It softly fizzled out, rendering me confused and disheartened. Yes, that was the WWE wrestler you might remember me gushing over in THIS POST. ***Note to self: you should probably stop sharing so much about your personal life on the internet.***
Yes, it was only with these two men that I ever felt a glimmer of hope that I might one day become that perfect wife and mother who my 10-year-old self so badly wanted me to be.
After things ended with the wrestler, I decided to enlist the services of a psychotherapist to help me discover why I’m so good at creating success in my work life but suck so bad at creating love in my personal life.
Together, we uncovered a lot about my childhood. For starters, I was the youngest of four kids. And being the newest addition to a very loud & opinionated, smart-assed family, I was forever trying to establish my role and "stand out in the crowd." Not an easy task when every other family member was fighting for a turn to "hold the conch.”
In this quest for attention and recognition, it was only natural that I developed habits and traits that made me seek out relationships and people who helped me to feel “important” and “seen.”
Exhibit A: one of my drawings at eight-years-old.
And it only got worse as I got older. The more immersed I became in the fitness industry, the more I believed that the only men who could help me be seen and heard had to be superhero-like: strong and mighty. No way was anyone stealing the conch from these big, scary dudes!
But alas, my relationships with this type clearly weren't working. So my therapist encouraged me to stop meeting men at the gym and instead, date outside the “meathead” circle and stop believing that this type of man was the only key to unlocking my perfect “white picket fence” life.
Naturally, I joined Tinder.
And like all of my life's greatest pursuits, I gave Tinder 100% effort. I scheduled two dates per week for a solid month. And as I scrolled through hundreds of men who I wasn’t really attracted to, I would try to heed the advice of my therapist and give the instant “no’s” a second glance before swiping left.
Unfortunately, Tinder also proved to be a letdown. And I would often find myself on dates with nice-enough, decent looking-enough, random dudes thinking “I really wish I were at home meal prepping, listening to podcasts right now.”
So after a number of mediocre dates, I made the decision to never again stray from meeting men in the "real world" and delete Tinder.
As I gave it one last "swipe," this one last "match" somehow convinced me to meet him before deleting the app. I guess he won me over with the suggestion of a sports bar that had an ENTIRE vegan menu to eat from! I had never been to this place so I accepted and was pleasantly surprised to see that he was better-looking than his photos. He was tall. He had nice lips and a strong jawline. He was older than the other guys I'd dated and not my usual "jacked meathead" type. But he was nice and kinda charming and seemed to have his shit together.
In comparison to every other Tinder date I’d been on, we had a good time and had several dates over the next few weeks. But deep down, my "spidey sense" was telling me this was not the happily-ever-after I was seeking.
Nevertheless, we continued to hang out and I remained open to whatever the universe had in store. Apparently it had something major to dump on me.
As I write this very-tough-to-share blog post, by some strange stroke of fate, I am now six months pregnant with a little vegan baby boy.
I love blogging and yet I put off writing this post for sooooooo long because I felt so much shame for getting myself into this less-than-ideal situation. I felt like I failed my parents for not following in their footsteps. And I felt like I failed the 10-year-old me by not living up to that fantasy we both wanted so very badly.
It’s been hard looking at all the beautiful, happy, perfect-seeming pregnant women on Instagram who are married and ecstatic about their growing families. As genuinely happy as I am for them, it hurts to feel like you got kicked off that same path and are now going through all of the same physical changes and emotional experiences but without a “soul mate” by your side.
Thankfully my parents have been incredibly supportive and I’m feeling so much love from my family, friends and the clients that I’ve told.
Slowly but surely, I’ve accepted the fact that I’m having a baby and I’m going to give this little guy the best mothering experience I can possibly give him.
It’s not easy letting go of the judgments we have on ourselves and the opinions we’ve made about things that deem our actions “good” or "bad.” But I’ve learned to stop resisting WHAT IS. And I’ve realized that resistance takes up a hell of a lot more energy than acceptance does.
And so, here I am, internet: unmarried and pregnant with an unplanned child.
I might not be living out my perfect "wife and mom" childhood fantasy but maybe I can help be a part of someone else's childhood fantasy and play the role of a "MILF" perfectly. ;)
And instead of time traveling back into the past, being that little girl in the baby blue eye shadow and frosted fuchsia lipstick, I’m embracing every new moment that comes with being pregnant. Like feeling his little kicks and hearing his heartbeat.
And what's pretty amazing is that I already feel a love for this little baby stronger than anything I’ve EVER felt for a man.
And I can now see that the universe had this plan for me all along. And that was to stop searching for my Superman. And start being my son's superhero instead.
- Sam Shorkey, Jacked on the Beanstalk