I’m from the Golden Star generation.
We’re the kids who grew up believing that even if you didn’t succeed, there was something to be said for trying. There was a first — but never a last, more just a group of people who didn’t win (thank you, Ricky Bobby). Our parents, the Baby Boomers, raised us to be as self-sufficient as we are dependent. A few have made their way with a few trials, a quarter are still searching and another quarter probably will never figure it out. And honestly, they really don’t care.
We aren’t necessarily dependent on our families for financial support or even emotional support — it’s not even that we’re that dependent on our clan in general. It’s more so, we’re used to our folks reminding us of a simple fact, over and over again, regardless of the outcome of the spelling bee or pageant, the slide into home run or the goal that was kicked in the opponent’s net. No matter what, under any circumstance, if we bombed the test or we soared – our Baby Boomer mom and dads never let us forget that we’re special.
When boys broke our hearts or the popular girls at school were mean to us, they remind us that our hearts will mend, we’ll meet someone new and those silly girls never end up never leaving town, but we will. We’re so special, so unique, so talented, so everything — that surely, everything we ever wanted would come our way.
But then we get that diploma, we pack up our bags and forget all that we knew to move away. As our special-self, we tackle the vast unknown that is a great, big, ‘ol city and we set our heights high. Why? Because we’re special. Because we have what it takes to make it anywhere, even here Blue Eyes, in the city that was made for dreamers, believers, bankers, artists, druggies, waiters who think they’re actors, and all of this-and-that that’s always in between. And if we’re lucky, like I have been — we do actually find a career path that makes us feel important. That makes us feel like we’re part of a team, that we’re getting paid to do something we thoroughly enjoy. And that feeling — well that feeling makes me feel special.
But even if we get the 9-6 duck-in-a-row, we start searching for something else to make us feel like we matter. And for the majority of us, that comes in the form of a sturdy, handsome and strong man who also happens to be kind, generous, selfless and hopefully, bilingual with a fat wallet. Or even if he’s not all of those things, if he sees us as strong, beautiful, kind, generous and hopeful, if he reminds us of how important we are, of how irreplaceable we are — even if he kinda sucks — then we’re smitten. We suddenly feel what we’re been wanting to feel — special…to someone else. Or in someone else’s eyes.
Is that why they call it a special someone? Because we all look for someone who thinks we are special to make us feels special, so therefore they become special? Are relationships more about an ego boost than they are about love and partnership? As much as we’d like to think they aren’t self-serving, are they? When you breakup, is it the man that we miss or is it the constant emotional reinforcement that we’re pretty damn fabulous? And beautiful, even when we wake up with stinky breath and pimply skin?
Because when someone who once made you feel special, was once special in your eyes, isn’t there anymore — somehow you feel less important. I think I’ve used the words disposable, forgettable, unimportant in blogs past. But that’s not really the case. Having a relationship end doesn’t make me any of those things, it doesn’t take away my special-ness that many someones once loved. In fact, in an odd sort of way, it makes me more special.
Because I valued my own…value. I took matters into my own hands. I realized that what I wanted wasn’t possible, who I loved wasn’t an actual person, but an idea I had in my head, that having someone to remind me of what makes me shine isn’t nearly as beautiful as reminding myself. I decided that while I love my gold stars and my business card that goes along with the job of my dreams, and having a partner to fall in love with, the thing that makes me special isn’t how well I did in school or how I am in the office, or really how I am as someone’s girlfriend, it’s the fact that I’m just me.
And as adults, the person to hand out the certificate of merit is ourselves. Not our parents, not our teachers or coaches, our bosses or our supervisors. It’s not our very best friends (who are so special themselves) or the men that we hope will never stop seeing us as incredible, gorgeous creatures. The special-ness stops being told to us all the time by other people, so instead, we have to keep telling ourselves.
When we’re upset or sad feeling disconnected or forgotten about, it’s our own spirit, our own saving grace that comes in and whispers: “You’re still special, you’re still going places, you’re still going to find that love you want. Why? Because you’re really someone special. Because someone, someday will really notice that about you because first, you noticed it about yourself.”