After the whole “Hey, I’m gay” conversation with my parents, I had a rather odd conversation with my Dad.
It was – apparently – a night for odd conversations.
Anyway, a little about my Dad. He’s the analytical type. Engineer. A little nerdy. Will talk your ear off (almost literally) about car repair, business theory or electricity. He always means well, but he does go on and on. About some of the most inane topics.
But the other day, I stared at him, all wide-eyed while he gave me his view on me and my relationships. It was thoughtful and well-spoken, and eloquent in its brevity. He essentially equated me to Goldilocks.
He told me that for a long time he’s seen how I’m different from my brother and sister. That from a partner I demanded strength and humor and someone who could keep up with me. That while there were many qualities that I didn’t care one way or another about, there were a few that I refused to lower my standards on, making it difficult to find the right person to be with.
Too weak or insecure or too eager to please and the relationship wouldn’t last. I would push them around until I became a person I didn’t want to be. Mean and sarcastic. Patronizing. And then I would break up with them because I didn’t like the person I was when I was with them.
Too strong or opinionated, or overbearing and unable to compromise or listen and I would buck so hard under the weight of it all, that it wouldn’t last either. My Dad understood my unwillingness to always be the one giving in.
He said that the best fit for me was tricky; someone who was my equal in every way might work, but even better? Someone who was just a little more than just my equal. A challenge. Someone who could walk that fine line between too much and too little. Who could take charge, but relinquish the lead when necessary.
My Dad told me that because I refused to settle for someone who didn’t meet my expectations, I would be a tough match. And while he worried that it would make it hard to find someone — girl or guy — that when I did, I’d be happy because I had set high standards.
I was surprised at his insight; I always felt like my parents really didn’t know the real me. That I had done a good job at keeping my true personality a bit of a secret. Apparently, parents know everything.
And it was like when my Dad would read to me at bedtime when I was a little girl… not too hot, not too cold… I needed things just right.
Just like Goldilocks.