Love, Real, Let Go

Trying to convince someone to you without putting your best foot forward is tough. Trying to convince someone to love you when you don’t like them is disastrous. Trying to convince someone to love you when you don’t love yourself is impossible.
I try to think of a good match as a checklist. Does this person do this, this, and this? Being vegan is good, although I haven’t been able commit to a vegan diet myself. But you know, I would like to, someday. There’s probably a reason people talk about living your life authentically or living your best life before meeting the person of your dreams. Also people say don’t date someone’s potential for similar reasons.  I might never become a vegan.
But let’s move on. So this person has hit enough on the checklist to be interesting: used to be vegan, traveled, highly educated, wanted to live abroad, and liberal.  Good so far. And let’s talk some more and talk more often. But here’s something that is a big clash. Oh, that was a big no. Doesn’t believe in monogamy in marriage?  Likes pets more than people and finds it hard to connect?
Why not let go?  Honestly, I am too desperate alone to let go first. Maybe there is some chance… one of us will change? I don’t want to be that one. I don’t want to have superficial conversations or be silly. I don’t want to sit in the same room just on our phones or computers instead of being together in more than just proximity? I don’t want to spend Fridays alone because friends come first. But if I won’t change, do I really expect the other person to change? To love me unconditionally while I want them to lose all the undesirable parts.  Or maybe we can compromise. I can try to live with this and expect slack on this. But I have never had this arrangement last for long. Who breaks first? I can’t remember so that’s a good indicator it was me.
But people say you have to let go of what isn’t working to make room in your life for what will. Compromising won’t work long-term without deep commitment to the belief that this particular compromise is the best compromise to be had or there is too much to lose.  But I never feel that assured. I imagine it could be better. I imagine someone more similar to me that doesn’t set off warning bells by telling me things I don’t want to which become accustomed.  I imagine someone that is like a best friend, instead of a boxing partner. Or I think, wouldn’t it be great if I smiled just thinking about this person instead of indifferent?  Or I think, wouldn’t it be great if this person wanted to talk to me or see me first, instead of me feeling like I alone want to connect?  I think, wouldn’t it be great to be with someone else?
But I hang on, waiting for this person to decide. I ruin it. By being my awful self too raw and honest too soon.  Or by becoming distant or cold. Or by demanding so much and so often.  Maybe it could have worked. Maybe it could have never worked. It definitely did not work.
Because love isn’t love until you love yourself by living authentically and letting go of those that don’t bring joy and goodness (more than grief) into your life.

Advertisements

Unwelcome Visitor

My brother came back for his first visit since moving to S. Korea 4 years ago.  He’s been so rude, disrepectful to me and even tried to intimidate me 😟(I forgot or assumed people can grow up).  Then I remember he is a male that really wanted to live in Korea and thoroughly enjoys it there so being an asshole is totally his destiny.

Dumbass

When a man talks about defending his child by having a gun.  The drunk who blacks out every night wants to keep a loaded gun under his bed.  Because that will make his 19-month old safer.

Evan is a dumbass 

Someone like me

Once I was asked, “Why don’t you spend time with people like you?”

To my surprise, there were two answers.  I thought compromise was part of every relationship and no relationship could be smooth-sailing. And secondly, I honestly didn’t believe there were people like me.  I didn’t feel as though I connected with more than a handful (read less than or equal to 5) of people in my life.  Every other relationship has been strained with substantial, almost daily chafing difference.
A similar question of why I was spending my time with people I didn’t even like, was a result of similar reasoning.  I had been trying to accommodate myself to fit school friends, college boyfriends, and later, all sorts of random people.  My mother once asked me why I was trying to get back together with a boyfriend I didn’t even like.  It was a pretty revelatory statement that opened my eyes to the truth: I didn’t want to be rejected, even by someone I otherwise wouldn’t want in my life.

I spent so much time trying to be someone else for others.  While complaining of others’ failings and my attempts to live with these people, I was asked, “Why don’t you just live according to your own standards?”

Again, the answer surprised me. I didn’t think my standards mattered as much as those of the people I was trying to change myself to be accepted by.  I didn’t agree with their standards, so I always felt tension in the relationships. But I didn’t leave, armed in the knowledge I was being true to myself. Instead, I sunk to ‘their level’. I lived my life according to the principles and behavior that I myself disagreed with.  And why, oh god, why? Because I didn’t think there were people with my values and that I had to compromise to have any friends and not be lonely.  I was desperately lonely. I found interpersonal connection hard to create.  I didn’t find people who I felt like I could be myself around.

So now, self-aware of these insights, in a romantic relationship I want to be true to myself and find someone like me. With the same professed values, interests, humor, and lifestyle.  As a friend once said, “After you marry, the relationship will stay the same or might get worse. But it never gets better.”  But combined with a ticking clock, loneliness, and less than stellar self-esteem, I find myself in my same old habit of trying to wriggle into a fit with someone. 

Anecdotally, I often try clothing or shoes once very quickly and decide it fits. I purchase it, cut the tags and then wear it for an entire day, at which by the end of said day I am very uncomfortable or in pain. The item doesn’t fit right.

I find the same in relationships.  I get so excited initially at what I see as a great fit with a glamourous new man (and rarely, a woman).  Then, within weeks, I realize this person is very different from me. I have just jumped in the deep end of infatuation and desperation and now I am drowning, trying to figure out how the relationship can be managed to fit.

Clearly I need to be more patient, discerning, and selective. It would help if I could catch a break and finally meet someone that’s really similar to me.  That’d be lovely.

“I like that you don’t/can’t.”

It’s bothering me that I am thinking about how to explain this to you.  So I am just going to fucking write it.  I want to smoke. I want to be like everyone else. And that’s never come easy to me. So saying you like that I can’t makes me feel like you like that I have struggles that feel insurmountable, that I usually feel like I am a failure, and that I will never ever be like a normal person.  I have always felt strange, apart, and abnormal/defective.  I have never fit in outside a psychiatric setting and that happened when I was thirty years old.  Until then I was never similar to anyone I had ever met.  I was completely alone. I’m socially inept and physically clumsy, estranged from my body because it feels like a foreign entity.  I am only smart. Actually brilliant and I was incredibly precocious. But decades of stress, anxiety, and depression actually deteriorate the brain, causing premature cognitive decline. I can’t remember. I can’t recall the word I want to say or spell it. It’s difficult to focus or concentrate.  I am not creative anymore.  So I have and am losing the only thing positive I possessed in life. You started drinking at 13, but at 13 I decided life was more misery than joy. That nothing in the future of my life is worth staying alive to experience it.  It’s my most steadfast belief, my truth.  So, you don’t understand how frustrated I feel about not being able to connect, find meaning, accomplish goals, and feel happy. I can’t change my reality or alter my truth.  That is my only reliable experience in three decades.  I don’t like that.  So I worry about failing at a physically activity as mundane as breathing in smoke. I find it difficult to accomplish and therefore am humiliated that I can’t do something almost everyone else can.

Love stories with additive love

The typical love story is boy meets girl, they get married, buy a dog or cat, have kids, then grow old.

Now same sex couples can openly be together and have children. Possibly not what barren heterosexual Christian couples embracing reproductive technological advances had in mind.

But shouldn’t children be regarded as a blessing?  Even to unwed mothers, even to homosexual couples, even to couples that divorce.  A person’s personal feeling on a particular child may be complicated or negative, but shouldn’t society as a whole embrace the children of their future continuation?
As Andrew Solomon wrote, “I do not accept competitive models of love, only additive ones. I espouse reproductive libertarianism, because when everyone has the broadest choice, love itself expands. The affection my family have found in one another is not a better love, but it is another love, and just as species diversity is crucial to sustain the planet, this diversity strengthens the ecosphere of kindness.”

Personally as a single mom, I am looking for additive love. Someone that loves me and first baby, and will want to have more children. Someone whose parents and family will love all my children.  That siblings of different blood to all be loved equally.  To be a whole family, even if one child has a different father.  To have an abundance of love, instead of restricting it to mere biology.

I have struggled to keep my baby’s father involved. I know his family wanted only the baby, not me. Definitely not me with another love relationship and definitely not half-blood siblings.

This makes me sad.  Will my son have to go on solo trips to see his father and the rest of their family?  If I get married and have more children, will we go as well and have a separate vacation from my son?  That makes me sad, thinking about separating siblings because of the complicated and proprietary feelings of adults.

I still work very hard to keep my son connected with the other half of his family.  It’d be easier and less painful to cut off contact.  But the idea of my son having more family to love him is important to me.

It’d be wonderful to have all three families together to celebrate life’s special moments.  Right now, it’s hard to imagine.  Because it’s difficult to imagine people genuinely being happy for others, generous, unselfish, and optimistic.  The idea of people believing in an infinite additive love instead of our traditional redactive model.

Just here at home, alone

I get pretty jealous of lovers, friends, and even relatives when I hear about their plans and activites.  They go to dinners, parties, out on the town, day trips, and vacations.  It seems like I am always home alone.

I was lucky to have 3 friends overseas that spent actual time in the same physical space as me.  They had other friends and went to lots of dinners and parties, but they still made time for me.  Friendless and unlikeable me, the woman always sad and complaining.

The first party I was invited to was after I was 30.  Before that, I didn’t have any social interactions except with nerds, geeks, future-librarians and expats. 

Being socially awkward, I have always struggled with small talk, superficial conversation, mean-spirited remarks, and the natural flow of conversation.  If I recount an event, I always have witty or insightful replies observations and replies. But I only thought them rather than saying them.  Sometimes the perfect response comes to me later, after ruminating on the event.  That of course is perfectly useless.

That social ineptitude doesn’t actually get better in closer relationships that have grown over time.  It’s really that I can communicate only with a minority of accommodating human beings.

Additionally, I have a problem being present in the moment.  Life is on the other side of a glass window. I see life. I study life.  I do not experience life.  I overanalyze everything as it’s happening, trying to draw lessons from the past while anticipating other people’s reactions.  So mostly, I am completely lost in the worry and confusion in my head all the time.  It’s a wonder I have noticed the sky is blue, right?

Actually in aloneness, I can notice my physical surroundings.  But that is because I am a simple observer.  There is still the indirectness of all experience of reality being perceived through our limited senses.  But at least complicated human interaction isn’t in my way.

My conclusion is that my inability to act in coordination with the people and immediate environment in front of me makes it impossible to relish the fun times I believe other people to be having.  If even I had the same social opportunities other people seem to enjoy so easily, I can’t connect with truly being a part of it. I feel self-conscious and out of place, barely managing my unabated anxiety. There’s simply a component in me lacking.  And I am very jealous of normal people who have it.