I haven’t written a blog post in a while, guys, and I’ll tell you why: apparently people read this thing.
In the beginning, this was all about a cathartic form of therapy for me. Writing has always represented that, whether it’s an essay or a poem or a blog post. I love to write, to work shit out as I type, and it’s cleansing. A huge part of that was the vulnerability that comes with writing my thoughts and feelings in a public manner. But then I started to realize that people I know actually read this thing and writing became harder. Because as much as I’d like to pour my heart and soul just to feel better, my reputation is more important. I own the choices I make, but that doesn’t mean everyone on the internets needs to know about my life.
So, I found myself at an impasse. How do I accomplish this thing that I need without compromising my privacy? I suppose I’ll just skip all the details and sum up my thoughts without the back story. So, I’ll just mention some of the things I’ve learned over the past few months.
Probably the most startling realization I have made is the definition of dating. Apparently – and I use this word with great sarcasm and something close to disdain – dating is seeing someone until you lose interest and then you don’t see them anymore. What a horrible way to interact with other human beings. Once I made this realization, and accepted that this is clearly true based on the behavior of pretty much everyone in my age group (or the world?), I had to apply that information to my previous behavior. Previously I would meet someone, get emotionally attached WAY too quickly, and then when things got hard just muscle through. Because I’m not a quitter. To me, ending a relationship seemed like a failure, when in actuality it’s a decision. It’s kind of like – hey! I like you. Then a few weeks go by and you’re thinking… actually, I don’t like you that much. Not enough to continue down this path. Walking away from a man is not a failure, it’s a choice. And that realization is empowering. It means that I can expose myself to all different kinds of people, get to know them without jumping in the deep end too quickly, and make an informed and detached decision later. None of this falling in love with a complete stranger crap.
I’ve also learned that however I feel is however I feel. No matter how ridiculous it seems, I feel those feelings, and they are valid. This means that if I don’t want to do something, I don’t do it. When the guilt or the insecurity starts to creep in I do my best to hold my resolve. I really am my own worst enemy. If I am sad, I am sad. I embrace my emotions because they are they only thing I can trust. I am aware of them, I am in control of them, they do not control me, and I do not reject them. It is my brain’s way of telling me something is wrong or right. I think that as a general rule humanity spends entirely too much time ignoring emotions. Yes, we feel them, but we do not take them seriously.
I have learned that people cannot be trusted with the most intimate parts of my soul. We all want to feel loved, we want to feel safe, and we want to feel valued. During the dating process I have found that pretty much everyone wants to lock me in. They meet me and they think I am wonderful and they want to be my boyfriend or whatever. That’s all well and good, except I know they are not making an informed decision. Very few people really know who I am. It takes a long time for me to open up to someone. I can talk to you, have sex with you, go to dinner with you, get drunk with you… but you don’t know what I’m about. You don’t know what I’m thinking about as I fall asleep at night and you don’t see every side that there is to me. The reason you don’t see it is because once you see it, you can use that information against me to serve your own needs. You hear that I am a fundamentally insecure person and the next thing you know you are doing things to exaggerate that part of my personality. So I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve so much anymore. It’s a fine line between being honest and dishonest, in terms of my interactions with other people, but I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on it. In a sense it makes me sad because I would love to have that connection with someone, have someone who I can tell everything to. Be in love. But I have learned that being in love is a false sense of security. And it would not be fair to open myself up to someone when I’m not even sure what they are getting. So I am emotionally detached in certain ways.
A friend of mine asked me recently what word I would use to describe myself, if I could only pick one. The first word that came to mind was warm. I am a warm person. I am kind and generous of spirit and I love people with every fiber of my being. I love many people all at the same time and I give to them whatever I want at any given point. I would say that I give less than I have in the past, but probably more than most. I am just warm. I will listen to you vent, be your shoulder to cry on, hold you when you are sad. I will invest in you emotionally, to a point, and give you frank advice that no one else will say out loud.
I have learned that I am a sensitive person. Learned is not really the right word, because I always knew I was sensitive. But I have accepted that and embraced it. Being so in tune with my emotions I know exactly how someone makes me feel when they say or do something, and I openly admit being sensitive and also speak my mind when someone offends me or hurts my feelings. I have learned, finally, that it is okay to be a sensitive person because I am just too young to be hardened and void of feelings. What is the point in living if we cannot embrace how we feel? Expressing these emotions is a part of the process.
I have also learned that my marriage is still a relevant part of my existence. I think that when I moved back home and got divorced I just wanted to get over it and move on. But there are many days when I still feel love for that man, and grief, and nostalgia. It comes up in conversation and a part of me feels embarrassed to even be talking about it, but then I wonder: what is there to be embarrassed about? And I chewed on it for a while and still hadn’t found an answer until this very moment, and I have to tell you that I am relieved that the last piece of the puzzle finally clicked into place.
I value his existence. I value the memories that I have. I think that we had something really special that was spoiled by one sucker-punch from life after another. I think that I made the right decision by leaving and that we are on better paths because of it. I am in school and heading towards better and brighter things, he has a great job making lots of money and is in school as well. We both appear to be functioning better without each other than we did together. But he will never be that thing that I am ashamed of that I tuck in a closet when company comes over. Nor will he ever be the thing I regret. He mattered to me then and he matters to me now because we were married and that means something to me. I suppose that this is what it feels like to be healed. To think of a person and feel no anger or bitterness, to feel no regret, to feel only hope and happiness and focus all of my positive energy his way. I want him to find everything he ever wanted in his life. I want him to be successful and happy and have everything he ever wanted. Because… he was my husband. And that kind of love… you don’t just get over it. It doesn’t just become something that is a part of your past. I want us to be friends one day, it is too soon for that I am sure, but I want to be able to call him and check up on him without it halting our progress as individuals. I want him to know that I am happy that I got to be a part of his life.
Among the things I have learned, perhaps the most important is that we are never okay. This might sound like I am changing gears from something uplifting to something a little more jaded, but I’m not. It’s the truth. We are born free of scars and emotional trauma. As we grow we are shaped into individuals as a result of our upbringing and our genetic code. We are battered all to hell along the way by strangers and loved ones alike. We are injured, we heal. Emotionally and physically. But we are never “okay” in the sense that we get to hit the reset button and pretend like it never happened. I am a product of everything I have ever done and everything that has ever been done to me. Emotionally, I am a product of every person that has ever put me down or lifted me up. The scars that I wear on my emotional skin are never going to fade away. They are permanent. Over time the wound heals and I hurt less and less, but I can never forget where I come from. This realization, to me, is crucial. It means that feeling broken is normal and a part of the process. It means that I can accept who I am without trying to fix something. I’m not actually broken, I am in perfect working order. In fact, this is how I should feel. I have lived. I have experienced. I have put myself out there and I have learned. I am strong, I am weak, I am anxious, and I am calm. I am all the things I am and that is exactly how I am meant to be. Accepting myself for who I am, and truly loving myself, being my own best friend… these are the best gifts I could give myself.
My parting words are few. Be aware and be forgiving of all things. You will sleep better at night.