Trust

Broken. Maybe it’s a lie here and another lie there. Catching two different stories about the same event. And slowly, no matter how many excuses I make or how much I want to believe and trust someone, it’s gone. There is nothing left. Every story needs confirmation, but is the evidence provided even definite proof? Could it be faked? Digitally altered? Showing something that only appears to be what I am looking for? How much of the story is a lie? All or just part or just the tiniest but most crucial detail? It’s maddening to have to test everything because there’s been enough demonstration that anything can be lied about. There are no boundaries that aren’t crossed by deceit.

Really, the only sane choice is to cut ties with this person. Make sure there’s no access, leverage, anything left that I would not let everyone else see. Nothing with which to attack or blackmail me. Because if the lying is so obvious and brazen, could there be anything this person wouldn’t do?

The web of lies only can grow, entangling me further into betrayal, danger, and most of all hurt. When trust is gone, affection will follow.

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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.

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.

“I really like you,” he said.

He really likes me. That’s what he said.

He said I was beautiful.

He said I was smart and interesting.

He said he wanted to get to know me better.

He said he wanted to see me again.

And I told him I wanted to live in Asia.  And he told me he didn’t want to live in Asia.

So, that’s it.

Great listener, sweet, accommodating, chivalrous, interesting and passionate guy that I don’t want to see anymore.  He was also tall.

But I have dreams to ride the subways and bullet trains, eat food from stalls and food carts, visit the beach, sing karaoke, walk the little alley ways, shop at the street fairs, visit the temples, drink fancy teas and lattes in the eclectic coffee shops, and feel the strangeness of a world apart from ordinary.

It’s like out a movie: drying clothes on the balcony or roof on a line, walking everywhere on paved roads and sidewalks, quietness on the mountainside, clean and clear taste of green tea, the furniture and design of the homes, seeing a rural house of wood in the old design, and a crane on the river.

I miss my adventure.  I miss the excitement of the first six months in an utterly foreign environment that has the same blue sky.

So, do I want to give up the one goal I could accomplish?  Do I let my dream die to not be alone?

Or am I willing to be alone now to not give up on my dream?

I used to want to be with someone no matter how I had to change. I believed in compromise and adjustments.  But I was alone anyway.  Romantic relationships didn’t last.  The person I truly am was not loved.  I wasn’t even considered seriously.

But now, I want to hold onto myself.  I want to value my feelings, hopes, successes, failures, beliefs, and self-respect.  Joan Didion wrote, “However long we post- pone it, we eventually lie down alone in that notoriously un-comfortable bed, the one we make ourselves. Whether or not we sleep in it depends, of course, on whether or not we respect ourselves.”

And so, in the end, we are all alone in ourselves.  I have to sleep by myself at night.

A Period of Grief

I remember, after a religious conversion, seeing the sky.  It was blue.

It was as if the world had suddenly burst into vibrant color.  I was Dorothy and I found myself in Oz when previously I had only known sepia Kansas.

I took this as evidence of the correctness of my new religion.  Years later, upon reflection, I realize that I had found something more powerful, although more vague and mysterious: hope.

My life prior had been fully greedy, violent, resigned, and  indifferent.  My life changed at this time and I gained some freedom. That freedom gave birth to a fragile hope.  And the world bloomed in color as it became more beautiful than I had ever known it could be.

The world was the same, of course,  but I had new eyes.

But the dark world of my past came back to haunt me.  This time it was more menacing, powerful,  and hellish than I had ever felt before.  It was a long time of grief.

Again, the reality we interact within and share remained as it is and I was the change that threw my life into chaos.  Whether stolen, forgotten, or abandoned, the result was the same; my hope was gone.

The bright blue sky, same wherever it is visible-no matter where you are-was fading to some pale gray tinged derivative.  I would still try to find that perfect sky from five years ago: tropical beaches, small boats on the ocean, fields with distant horizons.

But my hopeless was gray.  The weather was brutal winters.  The kind that bite deep into your bones.  Or it was dingy, soaking rain with no umbrella.  Or oppressive heat that sizzles and bakes away energy and time.

The places around me were full of ugliness and cruelty.  Or indifference to me, as I became isolated from life.

I saw joy and love others’ experienced from life as if separated by a thick panel of glass. It was clear. My vision didn’t seem distorted.  And the scene was somewhat familiar.  But even if it had been strange, it would have been radiant still, beautiful still.

My life on the other side of the glass was dark.  Trapped in this small cage, I couldn’t find any way out.And as days, then months, passed, my energy started evaporating.  Trying was harder as hope died.  As it was dying, fear crept in.  After fear made a home named anxiety in my heart, resignation settled in.

Isolated, in pain, hopeless, despairing-that is how I existed.  And the days and months added up to years.  As I moved geographically, my despair and grief packed up and moved along with me.  I was chased across the world, through time zones and countries, by a dark shadow only I felt.

Myself was dead.  Somehow, while I was drowning in intense pain, who I was became less than a memory.  It was as if she had never existed.

The conscious moments were I chose the wrong instead of the right had led me somewhere inescapable.  My mistakes that created despair that radiated outward to everyone in connection to me.  I was only sobbing, messy, dirty, and disgusting.

And because hope had already died, anxiety taken rooted, and resignation crowned, this hell was the only reality possible.   That glass wasn’t one-sided.  Those who looked back at me felt as helpless as I knew I was.  No one could help, many tried, the only ones who survived were the ones who gave free gifts of love over and over to an unchanging, unrescued prisoner.

This grief is called depression.

This was the darkest depression I had ever felt in my short life that had already many times been tainted by darkness.

Something Broken

My heart might be broken.

I cry sometimes.   I have been sad for a long time.  More than a year, more than two or three.  For a very long time, I have been very sad.

So there are times when kindness I witness or experience causes me to cry.  Friendly words, strangers’ smiles, and much needed hugs from acquaintances all bring tears to my eyes that spill down the cheeks of my face and drop off of my jawline.

Wondering why unwarranted kindness makes me cry.  The most beautiful thing: generous love, kindness to strangers, undeserved and unreserved affection – the world made better by people giving their best to someone else merely crossing their path by chance.

And it hurts me enough to make me cry.  It aches.  Worst than bruises or a swollen head, this kindness -this thing called love – makes some crack in me that gushes out pain and the symptom is a torrent of tears.

Maybe I have a stone heart.  It would make sense.  I don’t have hope, don’t want a reason to keep breathing for more than a few tomorrows.  I want to give up on futures, let go of hope.  Let go of myself because I can’t stand the hurt I endured by refusing to let go until now.

If kindness reaches in, it will make cracks in this stone heart of mine.  But even with a stone heart, I can still feel the pain.  Wondering why there is this queer pain, perhaps there is still a heart of flesh and blood underneath.   Maybe my heart’s hardness is just an exterior of stone.  And if kindness comes inside and the stone is broken apart, my heart will begin to pump hope and love into my life once more.

Love Letter 4

Tender-hearted.  Compassionate.  Sensitive.  Present.  Heart-felt.

Eye See You by tida bradshaw

Empathetic rather than sympathetic.  Close rather than distant.  Connected rather than unengaged.  Even your ability to hurt with and for another is a beautiful gift when it causes compassion and comfort to follow.

Re-examining the Past

I probably should spend some time looking at the past …

Seeing what has changed since then.

Seeing what hasn’t changed since then.

Seeing the themes of my life played out over time.

And perhaps seeing solutions too.

While reading this, I was stuck by the line: “Did I pick this?”

I see there the same question I ask myself now.

I see a rejection of responsibility.  I see dissatisfaction with consequences.  I see pain and heartache.

I see indecision and I see lack of confidence.

I see myself.

Celebrating with You?

I don’t want to celebrate with you.  I don’t want to laugh and smile for you while my heart is deeply torn.

While you enjoy happiness and cheer, I cry.  And cry and cry and cry and cry and cry.  Then I cry some more.  I will cry until I can’t breathe.  My chest will hurt.  I will gasp for air.  I won’t be able to speak at all.  My throat will burn.  My face will grow hot.  I won’t have any more tears but I will still gasp for air while crying.  I will cry until I can’t manage anything more than stillness.  Still, my heart will be broken.  Everything will look dark.  I will still be in tremendous pain.  And I will lie in that stillness and pain, unable to change anything.

So, I don’t want to celebrate the weddings of people too young to have had a broken heart (although I console myself knowing their parents will die … or their friends will die … or their spouse will die … or their children will die – someday, their heart will be wounded at least a little).  I really would rather not see newborns held by their tired, but elated parents – parents seeing the world as newness through the experiences of their infant’s daily growth.

I don’t want to celebrate your birthdays or your successes or your fun times.  Because I have a broken heart.  Partnering with you in your joy is too hard while I live alone in my misery.  Misery that only grows with each passing month.  Misery that doesn’t dissipate with tears.  Misery coming from a broken heart that may never heal.  Misery from pain and loneliness so potent it knocks my breath and reason away.

I have a broken heart.  I might die from my broken heart.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe next month.  Maybe five or ten years from now.  Since the hole only seems to be growing, healing is impossible.  Medicine doesn’t seem to help.  Time hasn’t started to work.  Sympathy seems feigned and spiteful.  Advice and direction are condescending.  And presence and love are very rare, but so painful when they appear.

So, I won’t celebrate with you.  Seeing you is painful, dressed up in your joy.

And clearly you can’t see me, in my overwhelming sorrow.  Otherwise, wouldn’t you react differently?

Isn’t what people say during times like these, “Goodbye”?