Pretty much from when I was a toddler until I was about 10, I had the habit of sucking my left index finger. I loved sucking that damn thing until it was slimey and crinkled. My favorite ritual was laying my Care Bears blanket on an air vent until it was cold, holding onto it next to my cheek and sucking said finger. I was in heaven.
My sister made quite a bit of fun of me for it, and eventually I realized I'd probably need to quit STAT. How was I ever going to be able to attend slumber parties with a gnarly habit like that?
I tried putting a Band-Aid on that finger before bed to deter me. Ripped that shit right off in the middle of the night and went to town. My sister told me about some nail polish that tasted horrible even after it dried, and I considered getting that. But being 9 meant I had little resources to buy such petty items. I concocted an idea to hang a string of yarn from my ceiling over my bed and tie my victim finger to it, but I quickly realized losing blood circulation in my whole left hand wouldn't be easy to sleep through.
I made half-hearted attempts to quit finger sucking and failed. There was even one time I'd convinced myself that I'd stopped and told Robyn so, but she later presented photographic evidence of me asleep on our living room floor, finger lodged in mouth. Thanks a lot for buying the Polaroid camera, Dad.
One day I had an epiphany while reading one of my Babysitter's Little Sister books (a spin-off series from the Babysitters' Club about a 2nd grader named Karen). "If Karen is 2 years younger than I am and doesn't suck her finger, then I sure as hell shouldn't!" I thought. I was sick of the habit. I wanted to quit cold turkey, and finally I had mustered up enough annoyance with myself to actually do it. My index finger and I haven't looked back since.
Now, the reason I bring this up is because it's simple analogies like this that transfer into my adult life. I have one major bad habit that I just haven't been able to quit - I continually put my energy, focus and feelings toward guys who don't feel the same way about me.
I'd like to think that maybe I've just had a string of bad luck, but when I look back on the guys I've dated, there is one common denominator - me. And no, this isn't some low self-esteem issue. I'm plenty happy with myself and don't need/want to change who I am. But I do want to stop moping after guys after they've made it more than clear that they don't feel the same way about me.
Plenty of my friends and family are sick of hearing me whine about this, I'm sure. And try as I might, I fail to follow anyone's advice about seeing things for what they are and not what I want them to be. It reminds me of people who buy those patches when they're trying to quit smoking. It works for a short period of time, but you eventually go back to lighting up. This is how I am with boys - I gather up enough strength to delete their number in my phone, ignore them and even go on dates with other people to get my mind off of things. It works for a couple weeks, but I eventually go back to listening to sad songs on my iPod, writing letters to them that I know I'll never send or shedding a tear or two.
I don't want to do it anymore. I want to continue being happy in my single life (because, quite frankly, I'm very content and lucky in all other aspects of my life). I want to hold out for that guy that is going to call me, allow me to act silly even if it embarasses him in public, verbalizes his feelings, actually loves me. I want a guy who doesn't half ass a relationship or lead me along like a stupid puppy dog just to stroke his ego. I deserve to not be taken for granted, and I deserve to be in a mutual relationship. I look forward to that day when I love someone and he actually decides to love me back. What a concept!
I'm optimistic. Just as people are sick of my bad habit, I too am fed up with myself. I don't want to be like this anymore. I've got that same determination as when I was 10, and I think quitting cold turkey might just work this time. Trust me, no one wants to see me stop being pathetic more than I do. Maybe today I've finally seen the light. Hell, if Karen isn't pining over an unrequited love in her books, then I shouldn't either.