I learned a lot of skills growing up. I absorbed knowledge like a sponge, ripped through books, devoured encyclopedias and discovered I hammer a nail like the Swedish Chef tosses a salad – shit is going to fly everywhere and someone is going to get hurt – probably me.
Summers were spent caring for animals, cleaning barn, mowing the lawn, gardening, pulling yellow rocket from the hay field, washing dishes, washing laundry and cooking meals – all from a young age. Of course, this was before the USA became such a “nanny state” and goodness forbid that you have children do any sort of work around the house. With two parents who worked full-time, everyone had to pull their weight. I still had plenty of time for being a little heathen-child, riding my pony (and later, horse), running through the woods in my moccasins, finding deer bones and live snakes (and bringing them home) and poking sticks down woodchuck holes just to see if there was something alive down in the depths.
I was twelve when my parents ripped off the back of the house (no, really… hooked a pick-up truck to it and everything) and put on a new addition in its place. I learned about framing walls, installing windows and doors and hanging drywall. After the walls had been mudded and sanded, plastered and painted, I learned to hang wallpaper and install trim and molding. Most of the skills I learned in my life were taught to me by my Mom; everything else came from neighbors, family friends, and my own ingenuity and dogged
stubbornness determination to learn how to do something myself. I was (and still am) smart, full of know-how and was capable of taking care of myself if I had to.
By the time I left for college I knew how to drive an automatic AND manual transmission vehicle (I still prefer manual though I’m terribly frustrated they are so difficult to find), was familiar with all manner of power tools, had a fully-loaded tool box and I could cook, clean and keep myself alive. All rather important skills.
To quote my Mom after relaying to her yet another story of me teaching some guy in the dorms how to wash their laundry, or lending them something from my toolbox, “Sarah, there is nothing wrong with being capable.”
In college I dated. I dated a lot. And for the sake of expediting this post – most of those men didn’t stick around. Why?
You see, I was not a princess waiting around for my prince. I didn’t believe in shining knights on white horses (though my horse, at the time… was white) coming around to “rescue” me from my life. I also didn’t sit around dreaming of my wedding day with a big, frothy dress and an eight-billion tier cake with a rock the size of the Hope Diamond on my hand.
Nope. That kind of fantasy Candy Land wasn’t for me. You know what? It still isn’t.
I was, and still am, an “eye roller” (though I’m much better at doing it surreptitiously) when women would launch into their diatribes of their big day. How they couldn’t wait for a man to come along and take care of them. How everything would be perfect when Prince Charming came into their lives. I give a Dr. Sheldon Cooper scoff of derision, usually with a snort, and tell myself that I need to stop doing that because smashing their cute little fantasy they put on the table with a fist of reality is no way to win friends nor influence people. Besides, it scares people when I do that.
I am proud to say I’m independent, fiercely so. I don’t like being told what to do, don’t like people stepping in to “help” when I don’t need it and while I do enjoy wearing dresses and I look damn good in white (seriously, it makes my Pillsbury Dough Girl skin look tan… it’s pretty awesome) – I prefer jeans, tank tops, flannel shirts and heavy work boots.
I am, and have been, unafraid to state very matter-of-factly to Mr. Muse in private and before our friends, much to their horror, that I don’t NEED him to take care of me or rescue me. I’d say it’s Irish stubbornness, but really I’m more German and English, and ultimately it’s because I wanted someone as a partner in life who had skills on par with my own, or that at least complimented the ones I had. Mr. Muse is one of those people.
3. Be the person you want to fall in love with
I decided this year that instead of dating the men who did things I admired that I would learn to do those things myself. As a good friend of mine and relationship coach Mark says, “Make a list of all the things you want in a partner and then be that list yourself.”
I now live in a log cabin in the woods, wear plaid, smell like smoke and taste like the sea. I learned to chop kindling with my teeth, use a chainsaw, caulk a sink, put a paintbrush to canvas and I went after what I love—writing, hard. Next up on my list is learning, “Ain’t no sunshine” on the guitar, learning Spanish, and buying a beginners motorcycle. I may never grow a beard but I figure I will leave something for my future partner to be good at.
Sweep your own ass off your feet. Be an asset to yourself by showing up in this world doing the things you admire and love.
Be mad about you. You’ll attract an even more badass version of yourself by doing so.
By learning skills, increasing my knowledge, and not being a whiny, needy little princess (incidentally… the name “Sarah”, my name, means “Princess” – how’s that for irony), I attracted an even more badass version of myself. Plus, he has really gorgeous blue eyes and a beard.
He’s told me that the fact that I never needed, but wanted, to be with him is one of the things he loves about me. We work well together. We’ve got each others backs and most importantly – we make each other laugh. Daily.
So, get out there and do what you need to do to make yourself badass!