For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Being the Princess

Dear Fallon,

It happened again yesterday. A well-meaning person commented that perhaps my strong, independent personality is the cause of my being single because really, what man wants a woman who is hard to lead?

I usually try to pick my words carefully so I don't give more ammunition for them to use and say, "That is exactly what I am talking about." However, yesterday, the statement hit the wrong raw nerve, and I said frankly, "I don't mind following a good leader. In fact, I would love a good leader to follow, but I have no patience for weak or unstable leaders, and I will not follow one. I will shoot him in the head, throw his body off the side of the road, and march on before I waste my time and sanity behind another weak leader."

Stop shaking your head. It's not like you are surprised.

And I keep trying to write this, and my tears blur the screen every time because the words hurt me. They always hurt me.

You know why I hate fairy tales? Because I believed them. I dreamed of being the princess the knight in shining armor saw as breathtaking, beautiful, and worth fighting for. I dreamed of being the princess the knight knew was valuable and worth saving. But that didn't happen, and I had two choices: 1. believe the broken knight in narcissistic, self-preserving armor who said I was beautiful but not worth the effort, or 2. believe I am beautiful, amazing, fascinating, intoxicating, and valuable no matter what any knight says.

I chose the latter.

I chose to be strong and fight for my children. I chose to be courageous to get us through the horrible pain and the loss that felt like it was going to swallow us whole. I chose not to let "not being chosen" define me or limit me.

And, yes, I became independent because there was no one to depend on.

There was no knight in shining armor. There is no cavalry. The Marines are not coming in to save the day.

So I gave up that princess waiting to be saved crap and became the princes who is strong, independent, courageous...and criticized for it.

But between you and me, I miss knowing at the end of the day there is a human being who wants to be part of my life and share his life with me. I miss the touch of a man's hand on the small of my back when I walk into somewhere, just that reassuring touch that says I've got your back.

On those days when everything hits hard and failure is not an option and I'm trying to find my footing, I would love to hear a human voice whisper to me, "It's going to be fine."

Last week I met a nice man who opened the door for me as we walked and talked, and after a fumble at a door, I remembered I needed to walk on his left side so he could reach the door and open it. Of course, we only had one more door after that, but it went smoothly. :-) And I was surprised at how nice it felt to step to the other side of the door, to know he had that, to feel covered. Isn't it weird how a man opening a door can make you feel safe? It isn't just a man opening a door, though. Lots of men open doors. Chivalry is alive and well among men. I witness it regularly. It was a few things. The way he carried himself. Where he stood. He allowed himself to be a safe place, and I'm quite sure it is about who he is and not any kind of romantic interest in me, but still, for those few seconds, it was nice to step into that realm where someone else had my back instead of my always covering everyone.

Sometimes I feel like a pansy because of the physical issues I have, but sometimes my body physically aches with the weight of things. I've had female friends tell me how they understand being a single mom because they have to do all the shuttling of the kids and handling schedules. They assure me they get it. And I wonder if they realize how much their husband bringing home dinner means or what a total blessing his making sure all the vehicles have gas and a recent oil change is. I wonder if they realize how much all those "small" things he does adds up to, because I know it's huge.

I have given it a lot of thought, and sometimes, I don't even need marriage. Just a wonderful man who calls and asks if I would like to go to dinner...and then picks the place. I'm so tired of making decisions there are times I simply don't eat because I don't want to decide what to make.

I would love to go to bed at night and be wrapped up in arms that assured me I'm not in this alone and I'm not going to drown because sometimes, it feels like I could, and who do you tell that to anyway? As a friend of mine posted on his Facebook page, "The problem with being strong is no one ever asks how you are?" That's pretty much true. Granted, last week two or three folks asked how I am, and I told them the weeks since my husband's birthday have been a struggle around here, and only one actually responded.

The truth is it really doesn't matter because at the end of the day dealing with the aftershock of the kid's grief after their dad's birthday is still my responsibility. Figuring out whether to invest in the fridge that could be best for WonderBoy if he pursues culinary arts or going cheap (because who needs bells and whistles anyway) is up to me. And I am the only one who can decide to give up the king-size bed and buy a full-size mattress because it is cheaper and more sensible and it is just me anyway...except I had hoped....

But you know, according to all kinds of wise folks who know all about these kinds of things despite not having lived anything like this, even that is wrong. I need to be happy with my life. I need to rebuild. I need to be whole on my own. I need to move on. The people who say such things need to get out of their cliché covered boxes. They are babblers who want to look like they have answers and some kind of wisdom when in fact, they have no clue. I mean, do you really get that is being said? "If your heart just quits wanting what your heart wants and is happy having something that isn't really what you wanted but other people think is a fine substitute, you're good."  Stop reading it over and over again. It won't help, and it doesn't change the fact I have a great life with great kids and great forward motion and great things I get to do and am whole and know I have purpose and value...but still want someone who wants to be part of the adventure.

You know, it isn't that I miss my husband or that I want to be saved by a man. I don't need saving at all. God really does have us, have me, and if a man is the type who needs to save a woman to feel good about himself, he can save both of us time and sanity by looking for some one else. No. I don't need saving. Enjoying feeling safe and needing saving are not the same things.

About a year after my husband died, I was telling a friend of mine how "not girly" I felt. He replied that I was strong and amazing, and he said, "Jerri, not all men like their princesses soft."

Maybe what he was saying is some men understand that some princesses don't want to be saved or need to be saved, but they still want to be safe.

Maybe some men understand there is a difference.

I hope so.

Still choosing to be the strong princess even if it makes me the single one,


copyright 2014 Jerri Kelley Phillips, All Rights Reserved


  1. Oh Jerri, I do love your writing! I always read your posts with a smile in my heart, because there's something about you that reminds me of me... lol! Have you ever read The Paper Bag Princess? It's a little kids' book about a prince and princess who were going to get married, but a dragon carried off the prince... and what happens next. If you haven't read it, I think it might make you smile. You are strong, feisty, beautiful, and scary to weak men. I happen to think that's a good thing! I'm not going to tell you that one day your prince will come. I really, truly hope he does, but unfortunately I can't see into the future, and I don't like saying cliches. Hang in there, gorgeous one!

  2. Donna!!!
    I've missed you! I will have to find that book. Thank you.
    You bless me deep and wide, my dear. Deep and wide.