Naked At Our Age author Joan Price writes on her blog about me, Candida Royalle, herself and other women who are taking a break from sex. I'm so pleased I made this decision; I almost wrote "belated decision," but I was so mired in a certain way of thinking that it didn't even occur to me until there was no other choice, until it was so glaringly obvious that I was looking for love/lust/attention/affection in all the wrong places and had to go all the way back and look for it within myself.
So thanks to the Top Chef and a very crazy November, December and January for leading me to the light! I'm trying very hard to take better care of my health, my home, my finances and resurrect my flagging writing and realized how much all of that energy was being taken away by devoting it to people who I so didn't belong with and vice versa. They didn't take it away, I did, and seeing that so starkly, seeing how I thought I was so empty I should continue to pursue and privilege the most unavailable of people, after a series of extremely unavailable people, well, that was just the kick in the ass I needed.
I repeated those poor choices over and over because they were familiar, easy, because I didn't think I deserved all of someone, so I settled for the tiniest slivers they could offer, for as long as they were interested, which is the subject of another piece I'm working on, but like stopping the sheer wastefulness of time and money I was throwing into In The Flesh with nothing to show for it, I stopped that madness of sex and dating to preserve myself and find out who I want to be. If I ever go back to it, and right now I feel like I'd be perfectly content to not and look into alternative means of procreation, I want to do so as a better person, not as the broken fuckup I was and still, to a large degree, am. I will never be perfect, and I am not striving for that, but I am working on measurable goals so that I can assess how I'm doing, hold myself accountable. I'll be lucky if I'm there in November, but November is where I'm focused, when I can leave 35 behind and hopefully wrap up a year of thoughtfulness and action over things I can be proactive about. Maybe that sounds inarticulate, and the last few weeks have been challenging but I'm 100% positive they'd be way more challenging if I was still engaging in very bad-for-me behavior.
That's why I loved the phrase "crazy girl willing to work on herself" in the Sascha Rothchild Vows profile in The New York Times. As for me, I'm glad it's not too late to save myself, to work on the long and, yes, at times lonely, path to being someone I can be proud of. I was never going to get there by privileging sex and dating over, well, me. In an ideal world, they would complement each other, but I never found that ideal, and maybe I never will. I am okay with that; I'm looking for those ideals within myself, within the things I have the power to change. Other people and their feelings about me are always going to be beyond my power to change, and I finally recognize that. And it doesn't feel like an exaggeration to say that has made all the difference.