By Ashley Tieperman

The movie "Runaway Bride" just never gets old. The gray stallion, Richard Gere, shrugs at the curious wanderer, Julia Roberts, when she blurts out that he has divorce written all over him. "I'm a work in progress," he says. 

And this is exactly what I want to remember every single day: how to be okay that I am a work in progress.

 

Some days, I want to flag down all the minivans speeding down the highway. The minivans with little people and big people, all packed in together, making the loudest of symphonies. Flailing my arms, I need all these minivans to slow done, the ones with crusty Cheetos and dried boogies hiding in all the crevices where the sun never shines. I'm too far behind. I haven't learned how to love and be loved the healthy way. I've used boyfriends as my great escape, expecting them to rescue me from all the pain. And, obviously, this never works out as I planned.

I have to learn to love myself before I can build a strong relationship. Like one that will last longer than the oil rubbed on that last guy's buff bod. 

Growing up with an addict, sometimes you learn all the wrong ways to love and find escape. It just so happens that Julia Roberts has her own father who drinks too much. When he's too drunk to drive home from the bar, she has to save him. Or at least she feels like she keeps having to save him. She left three grooms from the altar, as in, she fell for the wrong kind of love and then ran away from any kind of commitment. 

The real reason why she always runs from the altar comes at the end. She doesn't love herself. She doesn't even know how to love herself. She doesn't know the kind of love that she deserves. She doesn't even know what kind of eggs she likes. She's always just liked whatever kind of eggs her boyfriend at the time enjoyed. It's not until she takes time and makes space to figure out what kind of eggs she likes that she can learn to love someone else enough to keep her feet planted through the vows. (Lucky for her, this someone else is the gray stallion.)

My question for you is, How do you like your eggs?

I like my eggs over-easy. Not an omelet like my dad likes them. Not scrambled with cheese like my mom always made them. And not a dozen raw eggs like that oily buff guy I mentioned earlier. 

Part of this process in admitting that you're a work in progress means admitting that you're still learning. I'll probably refer to this list quite often, so let me introduce it. The Laundry List is a list of 14 traits of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. Here is #2:

We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
— ACA

Here's the good news: there's a Flip Side of The Laundry List. "We do not depend on others to tell us who we are." We don't try to act stubbornly self-sufficient so that we never have to open the door to loving someone else. We realize that we are not alone, and we don't have to stay alone just because we're afraid of what might happen.

Take baby steps. There's a lot of fear built up over time. There hasn't been a whole lot of space to learn to love yourself. Today, start by figuring out what kind of eggs you like. And when someone asks what you're doing, just admit it: "I'm a work in progress."

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