I recently discussed optimism. And grit. Relentless optimism, relentless grit to be specific. Really you cannot, or should not, have one without the other. Because here’s the thing; life is hard and the only way to survive it is with your head up constantly looking on the bright side, while always being capable of kicking ass.
Grit. It’s not easy to acquire. It takes heartbreak and practice. It requires any ego you had to vacate. And it requires a ton, I’m talking boatloads, of self-love. Think about it, at the end of the day it’s just you in your head. You should be saying all the nice things.
Two things come to mind when I think of grit. First, I read this article on some social media site or maybe even in a magazine (it was that long ago) in college. The author said something along the lines of, “you should walk out of your front door every day and think, ‘I’m fucking amazing’, and anyone who doesn’t agree isn’t anyone you need.” At that time that made sense, but I couldn’t practice it. I wasn’t ready.
Second, there’s a line from the movie Juno where her Dad says to her something like, “You should find somebody who thinks the sun shines out of your ass.” At the time, young romantic Carlye thought this was wonderful. And construed this to resemble something along the lines of being rescued. Totally conflicting to that article above. So what does it all really mean? And what does it have to do with grit? It’s actually quite simple. You should wake up every day and think you’re fucking amazing. And you should be with someone who thinks the sun shines out of your ass.
But, here’s where it gets complicated. To find someone who thinks the sun shines out of your ass, you have to allow them to know you. And to allow someone to really know you, you have to wake up every day and think you’re fucking awesome.
Simple. Right? If it was, I wouldn’t be writing about it. Humans wouldn’t be searching for the answers to self-awareness and love and companionship.
So here’s where this all gets really relevant to my life now. As a step-mom. The thing about surviving step-motherhood is you need grit. You need to fucking love yourself and totally think your amazing and be 110% certain of that. AND you need to absolutely find the person who thinks the sun shines out of your ass. Because more than anything else, this shit is hard. Off the fucking hook hard. You have to be damn sure you’re made for it. You have to have grit.
How to Practice Relentless Grit
I’ve already spoken about how you practice relentless optimism. But, how do you practice relentless grit? Optimism is more outward. Grit is more inward. Meaning, it’s all you and your brain and your soul, and you better get real fucking cozy because no one is gonna save you, but you.
If you’re new to this step-mom gig, I hope I didn’t scare you off. Be scared, sure. I was. I am. But don’t let it deter you. If you fell in love with another human who has kids, you already have grit. I promise.
Whether you met that person’s kids immediately or it took months or years. Whether the kids are 2 or 20. It’s all scary. And at the end of the day, you had to be open enough to fall in love with someone knowing you’d never be number 1.
Falling in love with someone who has no offspring is easier by comparison. You can live with the notion that they’ll love you first. But falling in love with someone who reproduced, welp you know you’ll never be first. And that takes a special kind of grit, relentless grit.
Some could look at this and say you have low self-worth, accepting being loved second. Since we’ve discussed movies let’s bring in a favorite book of mine, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, where they say, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” And while I think that’s 100% true, I don’t think that accepting love from a person who already has greater love [for their kids] means we have low self-worth.
It does, however, mean we’re batshit crazy and hopefully have a lot of grit. Don’t have any grit yet? That’s okay. Here’s the good news, it’s a muscle that can be strengthened. With practice and a lot of self-assurance, or relentless optimism if you will.
In the end, or during, or really always, you have to constantly revisit the why. The beginning. There is a reason you’re there. Sure, there will always be toxic relationships or relationships that simply aren’t sustainable, whether blended or not. But for the purposes of this post, remember why you said yes to that first date. Or why you pursued that person, to begin with. Step back to that version of yourself and them.
Remember who they are and who you are. For me, I never ever lose sight of the fact that he and I constantly get better. We do. Sometimes it feels impossible. Impossibly frustrating. Impossibly lonely. But no matter what, at the end of every day or conflict or drop-down/drag-out fight, we get better. I see him trying. And he sees me trying. And in those moments I remember that I’m fucking awesome and if nothing else I’ve got relentless grit. I’m capable of loving a man and his children, who could only ever love me second.