I recently talked to a friend that I’d known for 12 years. We don’t live in the same city, nor in the same country, so we don’t get to see each other much or talk to her much even. In fact, I hadn’t seen her since 2015(!). She’s a talented music composer, and worked her butt off to become one. A lot has changed for us – for both of us – since then, so I’m surprised we can even call each other friends at this point in time. I got married , had a child and went through two career path changes. She became a successful composer who travels all over the world and has a documentary made about her and Netflix including her music.
But here we are…
We began conversing about the reasoning behind why she still wore her engagement ring after she broke off her engagement. She’s got a fairly high following on social media, so of course, people started asking. In short, her ex-fiance proposed to her with HER grandmother’s engagement ring that was passed on to my friend. I personally find it so tacky that he couldn’t even make the effort to get her an engagement ring himself. I’d understand if he proposed with a ring that was passed down to HIM, but to propose to a woman with a ring that was passed down to her is just tacky and cheap. At least he made the proposal an unforgettable experience. It didn’t help much, though, as the engagement ended anyways.
I never met my friend’s ex-fiance, but she mentioned that he was the type that expected her to be a housewife material; someone who’d give up her career ambition to raise a family and let the man, him in their case, be the breadwinner. And again, my friend is a talented musician who’s worked her butt off for over a decade to accomplish her success, and rightfully so. Her success is absolutely deserved. Why in the world would she give it all up for a man? If the roles were reversed, the man wouldn’t give any of his success up for any reason whatsoever.
My friend said she’d never give up her career for a man, which I believe her. And yet, somehow, she keeps attracting men that expect her to. Though I didn’t meet this latest ex-fiance of hers, I did get to meet two former boyfriends of hers, and I got to witness their separate relationship dynamics. The first boyfriend of hers that I met was actually a friend of my husband’s. I actually had nothing nice to say about him. He was, still is, and always will be, the type of person that wanted to be in control of every situation. It was evident right from the moment I met him, and that need for control only became worse and worse each time I saw him. Thankfully, they broke up. My husband’s need of control got out of control, and I couldn’t take it anymore. My husband attempted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but after 10 years of friendship, he told my husband to just give him a call when he, in his own words, divorces his psych-bitch of a wife – me. He’s probably not wrong when he says I’m a psycho-bitch, but I’m also not wrong when I say he’s a controlling manipulative freak.
My friend then moved on to dating a man who was much older than her and much more successful than her. He was a well-known composer. He’s been in the scene for years, has been around celebrities, and, to top it all off, won a Grammy. My friend got a taste for success through his connections. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. That’s just how she got her start. They were together for a few years. She lived in his beautiful home and she aimed to build a life with him. But it wasn’t meant to be. They broke up, and her much older ex-boyfriend married someone even younger than my friend who’s not well-known in the music industry and had a child with her. I’m assuming that because she wasn’t as well-known and successful in the music industry, she was willing to give up her music career for her family. It turned out fine as my friend and her then-fiance attended the wedding, and were even the only guests and witnesses at the COVID-19 event.
My friend gave the best metaphor for her relationship with her ex-fiance, and that was that he wanted t have her the same as how he’d have a butterfly in a jar. But it wasn’t just describing her relationship with her ex-fiance. Rather it described her relationships with all of her exes. Career and lifestyle wise, she’s a butterfly, and that’s no pun intended. She never has a definite day-to-day schedule. She’s always on the go unless she has a scheduled performance and she now travels the world for work. She’s a conservative, but she’s also an intense and a neurotic creative genius who needs someone to take care of HER. It’s not in her nature to be in a relationship with someone traditional and old-school.
My conversation with my friend forced me to re-think about all these bullsh*t traditional views and values that are still around today. I’d understand the older generation having them. I wasn’t surprised that my friend’s older ex-boyfriend had those values and eventually got what he was looking for in a woman. I’m just surprised that he found that in a woman that’s in MY age group. I used to think that it’s rare to see people see have those traditional values. Now, though, I realize it’s rare to see people with non-traditional values instilled into their lives. I most likely thought that because I’m surrounded by people who have non-traditional values themselves.
Of course my parents would have non-traditional values. They raised someone who has cerebral palsy and made her the woman that she is today. For those that haven’t figured it out yet, I’m that someone who has cerebral palsy. Even if they previously did have traditional values before they had me, they certainly changed and became more open-minded once I was born. My friends are all non-traditional. It’s not that I specifically look for non-traditional friends. It’s more of the fact that they get me and we have much more in common. They They’re not even disabled, but they have a more updated views of everything that they’re surrounded by. This specific friend who practically has this entire blog post dedicated to is one of them.
My husband is also a very non-traditional person. He’s with me after all. His father has a traditional view of the world, including of me and anyone like me. His father attempted to instill the same values he has onto my husband, but to no avail. Many years later, his father still has the same old views and he’s not a part of our life nor our son’s life in any shape or form. My husband doesn’t just have non-traditional views on disability. He has non-traditional views on literally everything. He said he was all for me making more money than him and that he’d be all for being a stay-at-home dad if needed be. He only wants me to be as successful as I thrive to be. That’s the type of man I feel my friend needs to build a life with.
More than anything, I want my son to instill non-traditional views of the world, specifically disability and gender roles. Showing him that starts with us, his parents, and those we allow to surround himself with. I want him to see the beauty in disability and the equality in disability. I want him to see women as butterflies; free butterflies; ones that can use their wings and fly with no restrictions. I want the old-school traditional motto to be gone. I can’t control what goes around in the outside world. I can’t control anyone’s lifestyle and ways of thinking. It’s never my job to make them change either. I can only teach my son and show him the traits I hope for him to have as a man in the future. The world isn’t black and white in 2023. It’s filled with colour. I want him to see that colour.