Bittersweet future with every milestone

I wonder how long I am going to pine for someone who didn’t really exist except in my imagination.  How long am I going to miss a person that doesn’t miss me?

It seems like every milestone brings up this grief and sense of loss.  I took my child to school for the first time.  It went well and there’s no reason to be sad.

Except I am missing someone now.  But not a biological relative who has passed on or lives somewhere we can’t easily reach.  Instead I miss someone who would rather imagine my life than keep in touch to learn the reality.

Of course, it’s my own fault this person isn’t in my life.  It’s my own fault my heart aches so terribly right now.  That is what happens when people date people who not that into them.  The people who don’t care are fine and don’t even have to “move on” so much as just quit.  Even forgetting is easy for them.

I don’t even have a perfectly sound explanation for why I care so much.  I do know this person is more comforting to me than my parents or anyone else I dated.  I felt safe then in a deep sense when he held me in a period were little felt alright.  Perhaps he was the person I was most attached to in my life.  Probably because I met him at an incredibly wounded and vulnerable time in my life and he didn’t regularly criticize me in a judgemental tone as I proceeded to fail at life.

But he didn’t “get” me either.  He didn’t adore me or even prefer me to other pretty women.  He just put up with me because of his own insecurities after his compassion got him in over his head.

I don’t know even how there could be a mutually positive conversation between us now or in the future.  Unless I lie and keep to myself that I miss him and wanted to talk with him.  Certainly impossible if I show any jealousy.

There’s a void and when I miss him, it represents that void.  He somewhat filled up that void, but it wasn’t quite enough and it didn’t last.  Even when I was with him, I felt desperate and depressed daily.  I wanted someone who knew me to deeply love me.  He barely knew me and he didn’t care much for me the better acquainted we became.  He couldn’t give me a steady kind of love but apparently he came the closest experiences I have ever had.

It’s oddly painful to feel grief where before I met him there would have only been dull emptiness.

Perhaps missing him shows a really ugly side of me.

Fucked up dating and life

In terms of dating outside of one’s culture, I think people who really fit in well or have pride in their culture would have a hard time but even then, every family is unique.  Even dating here, a lot of guys drink with their families and my parents never drank hardly at all.  Then I joined a religious cult in college that disparaged drinking.  I still have a hard time with families that drink together.

My mom’s friends are all unmarried.  And one mentioned at NYE that because of her parents, she never thought she could make marriage work.  My mom later said that she thought if her friend had met the right someone, she would have married and I pointed out that if she met a great guy and her response was to run the other way that she’d not marry.  And it got me to thinking why I am single still.  My mom’s encouraging me to be silent and shy sat badly with my generation, when women were expected (correctly) to respond.  And I spent time in groups that I didn’t find belonging in.  All my closest friends while I was an Evangelical had a hard time getting married.  They were too smart, opinionated, and weren’t especially beautiful and took the Bible verses about not putting a lot of effort/money in your looks seriously.  Basically, we weren’t prizes within that culture of women are pretty, happy little helpmates.  One girl got married at 37 because she went to a different church in Ohio (the river is a big division geographically still). The other is talking to some guy and I don’t know about one.  One girl got married before 30 and I don’t know much about their relationship except her husband is quiet.

My old therapist said that anger is a symptom of frustration.  And I find that my family dealt with challenges and conflict by seeing themselves as victims.  So, to this day, I still have trouble realizing that if someone hurts me, I can let go of that pain by knowing I can limit my contact with that painful person in the future.  Or better yet, try to talk openly with them about how I felt in the situation and state I will not be allowing it to continue.  One of my mom’s friends made a comment about my parenting and I realized a) I should not open up and share with them about Jake, b) that I could simply state that it hurt my feelings and ask not to hear more from her, c) avoid her if she says nothing or says she’ll say whatever she likes.  C would be hard because me crying all night over a comment her friend made doesn’t matter to my mom.  My mom has let relatives hit me, let anyone insult me, and values her friends more than me.  So, I would have to hide in my room or go outside with Jake somewhere every other Saturday night to avoid her.  But, at my age, with my medical history, I totally would get upset enough to do that because 30 years of thinking and feeling like a victim, getting dumped on by the world with no recourse has just left me easily frustrated aka angry.

All that being said, I think being healthy emotionally, mentally and communication-wise is super important, no matter what culture or family you have.

My feelings being my responsibility is the hardest part of being healthy in relationships for me because childhood.  I repressed my feelings for decades and figuring out who to trust, how to share, and how to not bully others is hard.

I was a mess when I moved to California.  I met a lot of healthy people and I received wisdom from them but I didn’t become close friends with most of them.  Your roommates and Grace were my healthiest, closest friends and I met them all through Maggie who I think has put appropriate distance enough to me to remain civil with me, which is nice, because if she had demanded her friends not allow me over, I’d have no friends.  But I think healthy people can only visit unhealthy/sick people.  Too much time/too close of a relationship destroys their zen.  Healthy people pointed out things I didn’t know, didn’t want to face, couldn’t understand, or never experienced, but changing took time and required my own effort.  I don’t think anyone who was invested in me getting “better” was satisfied.  Now, I want more reciprocal relationships.  People who talk about how I need to change throw up red signs.  People I feel need to change, I need to give distance and from that distance practice acceptance.

Agency

The difference between being a victim of your life or the hero of it is agency.

The difference between being a victim or the hero of your life is agency.

Agency determines whether you are a victim of your life or the hero.

The difference between being a victim of life or the hero of your own life is agency.

To go from victim to hero, one must grasp agency.

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.

Permanently humbled

Permanently humbled is a concept a friend and I talked about today.  It happens with a tremendous loss of identity and ability.  Becoming disabled or crippled would be an example.

I never realized this happens because sometimes people talk about being humbled as a transitory experience.  But with any transitory experience, it ends. Temporarily humbled by a setback, when you overcome it, you regain your lost pride.  (Isn’t that the definition of humble: lost pride.)

But I don’t think of humbled that way anymore.  I think of being humbled as when circumstances change the way you create your self-esteem, and also that of others.  It is a permanent change in perspective; a shift in worldview.

Humbled is when you can’t change the circumstances surrounding you through your power but the circumstances defining you change you forever.

Scissor Sister Ana Matronic: I kept quiet about Dad being gay | Metro News

I’m very happy my mother was honest about these difficult things. I believe honesty is the best policy. We shouldn’t shield children from the horrors of the world. They aren’t separate from adults, they’re adults-in-training – you need to give them the necessary tools to survive and part of that is understanding the horrific things we go through as human beings and put each other through. There are some hard truths you have to share.

via Scissor Sister Ana Matronic: I kept quiet about Dad being gay | Metro News.

When Do You Start To Live YOUR Dreams?

Life begins with infancy, grows into childhood and then blossoms into youth and finally graduates into adulthood:

“My guess is that before you know it, woomph and it’s done, that was your life.

Kids, however, impose a timeline. There are milestones aplenty: first tooth in and first tooth out: first words and first steps; going to school for the first time and leaving it for the first time.

They get report cards, and they are always momentous — can you imagine being similarly graded on how much more you know now versus last time they checked? Kids’ seasons are clearly marked with the kinds of books they carry or if they carry them at all. There are games and scores and lessons, all of which are recorded, documented, measured.

And then, adulthood. A free fall into a period when, if you’re not careful, nothing much happens at all.

All this struck me from my vantage point in the balcony of the theatre where my niece was graduating high school. It feels like only yesterday she was just a little girl who liked skipping, but, in fact, 18 years have slid by.

She did a lot in those years, but I have not changed a bit. It was a little melancholy on that balcony. The passage of time does that to me.” – 

“I realized that in spite of myself, in spite of the promises I made to myself on my own high school graduation, I am waiting for my life to begin.

I am letting time slip through my hands without grabbing for anything. I listen with wonder to friends who have decided to visit a place they’ve never been simply because they’ve never been there, or to study something that intrigues them, or to perfect a skill. My friend Margie is figuring out why leaves turn red when it’s apparently easier to turn yellow — who knew? And maybe who cares, but she does, and she’s excited about what she’s discovering.

I love my friend Helen in part because she’s always doing something — taking off to Thailand to learn to scuba dive, or learning to fly a plane. And me? Well. I’m living. But I could put more life into the effort.

Without realizing it I’ve become lethargic. I am sitting out my turn.

I am now weary of that lethargy. Afraid of it, in fact.

And so I’m writing things down, making some plans, Stan, and looking into things like courses and groups. I’m getting out there, getting busy, doing the things today that I would love to do someday.

Maybe I’ll eat a cupcake for lunch and see a matinee on a rainy day. I’m learning fluent French this year, not someday. I’m going to ski. Time won’t pass unremarked and unremarkable.

I want to take my turn after all.” – 

Embracing life, believing in dreams, working towards goals and achieving all take effort.  When you grow up and are an adult, you don’t have to just work, raise a family, enjoy ordinary, mundane, easy-to-procure pleasures.  Childhood could be the best time of life to teach small ones how to be adults and adults who still grow, achieve, learn, and experience life with an eye for it’s newness.

What Comforts Us

A list of comforting essentials (inspired by The Art of Comforting by Val Walker)

The Arts to express ourselves

Belief, for a sense of meaning and purpose

Comfort foods and drinks

A safe, relaxing place to restore or rest oneself

Connection, a support system, community, a sense of belonging

Entertainment, media, and games

Gratitude

Humor

Passion, Interests, Hobbies

Love and affection

Nature, experiencing the life on Earth

Pets and animals

Touch, hugs, caresses, massages, foot baths, brushing hair, putting on lotion, putting on nail polish or makeup, sex

Sports

Medication, treatment or therapy