Trying to understand but failing miserably.

I have had a hard time lately, with a variety of things, due to a variety of reasons.  After the immense pressure of the last three weeks, I feel like I should be shining like a diamond.  Rather, I hurt physically, and I am not doing too hot emotionally or mentally, either.  In fact, I feel more akin to a lump of coal.

 

I was given an article that essentially said that writers tend to deal with emotions better than lay people because they are more capable of working through their problems via writing.  They can dissect a situation or emotion, then they attempt to articulate the who, the what, the when, the where, and the why of it, which then provides them with greater insight about what they are feeling and how to move forward.  A situation arises and it creates negativity, but why?  What caused?  How can you move on?  How can I improve the situation or the reaction?  I kind of laughed at the article, not because I didn’t see merit or truth in it, but because every time I get overwhelmed with the immensity of concurring situations, I usually self-combust and explode over everyone around me.  And I wind up hurting those I care most about, even when the ones I care most about might be the ones precipitating the stress and negativity.  When that happens, the molten hot-lava of word vomit spewing everywhere, I rarely feel as if I was able to process anything, let alone learn from it.

 

This weekend I had a meltdown of epic proportions that left me sitting in the door-frame to our office and crying, snot running out of my nose and onto my sweatshirt.  The main thing I came away from this situation thinking is: it’s amazing how much pain someone can inflict and may not even know it.  Callous comments, reactionary words, lack of encouragement and support, no communication, even casual, every-day kind, and often misguided “advice” that does nothing but underline in-abilities to relate and empathize; these seemingly small, and apparently insignificant (to one party) things can really fuck someone up.  Too bad more people are not more conscientious about how their words, or lack-of words, can completely de-rail a relationship.  Or how their actions, or lack-of actions, hold the same power to tear the fabric of a relationship.

 

But that’s the thing, it’s two-sided.  Lately I have contemplated intention.  A lot of times people do not intend to hurt others, yet they do.  I think it says a lot about someone if they are able to listen, accept, and digest the information that, despite intentions, hurt occurred and therefore amends need to be made.  Who is to say that I did not hurt someone, despite well-meaning intentions?  Does that mean they forfeit the right to an apology?  How can someone apologize, though, if discussion ceases to happen?  It made me think about stubbornness, and how it negatively impacts forward movement and understanding.  To willfully believe that only one person is wrong in any given situation is naïve and, quite honestly, ridiculous.  For as many participants in an argument, there are sides and understandings.  Four different people come together to discuss something, they will have four different understandings, histories, knowledge, and reactions.  It is the mark of a solid relationship, and a mark of maturity, if you actively try to understand the why of dissenting views and not to insist in winning and only relaying your views (my fiancé recently reminded me of this).  What about in situations where the other party just fails to comply and ends up blowing off a discussion?

 

In a world full of means to communicate (phones, texts, e-mails, messaging via social media, hell, even good old-fashioned USPS mail delivery), it must say something extremely dire when one party cannot reach the other.  It means someone is actively choosing not to respond.  When that happens, when one party decides to not participate in a discussion aimed at improving rather than perpetuating the negativity, what options are we left with?

 

I am twenty-eight.  I have had a few life-altering relationships, and there has only been one person who has made me want to be better, who has made me want to work on the tough stuff, who has made me self-reflect, and that is Gabriel.  He has this embarrassingly accurate way of showing me my faults.  He doesn’t point them out and shove them in my face; he simply acts how I should act in a situation and promotes understanding, communication, and support rather than being reactionary and shutting down, something I am ace at, something that has long been ingrained in me.  He promotes a calm and collected side, someone who can self-reflect and understand the source of anger and hurt.  But, this is the first-time in our relationship where his influence is failing to produce understanding and communication.  I think the depth and breadth of my emotional pain is making it hard for me to even accept and allow common-sense to enter the picture.  And the unfortunate part is that he has to deal with it when he isn’t even the reason I am angry and hurt.

 

Like I said earlier, there are two-sides to every argument or disagreement.  In fact, there are multiple sides dependent on how many people are involved.  It’s no-good to shut down lines of communication because not only are you effectively telling the other person that they don’t matter (literally, you are denying their existence by ignoring them) but that their feelings are not worth it either.

 

I can, and will, advocate distance in order to align your thoughts, in order to register emotion and react, internally and personally, before moving forward into discussion.  But that’s the key, there has to be a discussion.  Otherwise, you are telling the person you’re ignoring that they do not matter.  And if you do need the space to reflect, alerting the other parties is essential, or else you are perpetuating negativity and hurt feelings.  And right now, I have never felt so abandoned in my life.

Stubborn Love: It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all.

I keep listening to “Stubborn Love” by The Lumineers.  There is something softly poetic about that song.  It is heartbreaking.  And yet I definitely feel it from the soles of my feet to the top of my head, inside and out.  That opening, the fiddle, the guitar, the soft drums, it reaches out putting an ache in your heart before the words even come.  And then you hear the first words which evoke emotions that echo the music.  The puzzle pieces twine together creating  a response  from the listener, a response that can remind even the most jovial person of a pain that touched them.

They say it is no good to dwell on the past, to live in a dark place, to remind oneself of it.  But the beauty of this song is that it brings you to that dark space, and then it offers something encouraging.  The last moments of the song are voices singing, “Keep your head up, my love.  Head up, love.  Head up, love.”  They paint a picture of absolute emotional demolition, of unrequited love, the most painful kind, and then impose a parting message that leaves you looking for a light in that desolate place.  The song advocates living beyond the veil, of taking chances, of moving forward in the face of difficult things (“I can’t be told…it can’t be done.”).

“She’ll lie and steal and cheat, and beg you from her knees, make you think she needs it this time.  She’ll tear a hole in you, the one you can’t repair, but I still love her, I don’t really care.  When we were young, ohhh, we did enough.  When it got cold, ooooh, we bundled up.  I can’t be told, ahhhh, it can’t be done.  It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all.  The opposite of love is indifference.  So pay attention now, I’m standing on your porch screaming out and I won’t leave until you come downstairs.  So keep your head up, keep your love, keep your head up, my love, keep your head up, keep your love, keep your head up, keep your love.  And I don’t blame you for running like you did all these years, I would do the same you best believe.  The highway signs say we’re close, but I don’t read those things anymore, I never trusted my own eyes.  When we were young, ohhh, we did enough.  When it got cold, oooooh, we bundled up.  I can’t be told, ahhh, it can’t be done.  Keep your head up, keep your love.  Keep your head up, my love.  Keep your head up, my love.  Keep your head up, keep your love.  Keep your head up, my love, keep your head up, my love.  Head up, love.  Head up, love.”

 

CONCLUSION: I HATE IT.

I have come to another conclusion:

I hate being alone.  But I am also terrified at the thought of being with someone, in the true sense of the word, or in past definitions as stated on here: in a relationship.  But now being alone hurts.  The hurt is palpable.  Maybe I am not as comfortable being single as I thought.  But being in a relationship creates even more unease.  Also, as mentioned on here in the past, that does not mean I will not act as a girlfriend acts or even lack the wish of that title, it just means that the process will be slow.  I lack the confidence to know what is good for me and what is not.  I just wish there were some answers out there.  But would I be willing and open and smart enough to accept them?

Sitting at a coffee shop.

I am sitting at the Caribou coffee in Iowa City.  Half of me feels this sense of relief, like I am home, because for six years I lived here.  The other half of me is squirming.  This metaphorical itch that I just keep scratching until I’m a bloody (quite literally) mess.  There is a solid sense of pain in my chest.  This is the first time I have been back since Jonathan and I broke up.  This was OUR home.  This is where we met, fell in love, and for me, where the first fractures of our relationship began to happen.  This town encompasses everything about that relationship.  I feel somewhat a masochist for sitting here, for looking around and remembering Burrito Thursdays and how every weekend Jonathan would take me to the mall when he knew boredom was setting in.  I was recently at the Target because the dumbass named I forgot sandals.  As I was leaving I saw a couple walk from the Best Buy to the Target, and it was like a floodgate crumbled beneath the pressure of being here and the tears came swift and steady.  We used to walk like that.  Hand in hand, joking, laughing.  Now when I think of Jonathan, my heart is heavy and I find it hard to smile.  Not because there were not good times (there were so many), but because I still miss him.

I was thinking earlier that there is no romantic interest in him.  I do want to cultivate a relationship, but I want the friendship.  I want to laugh with him again and not have it be tainted by the immense hurt we inflicted on one another.  I know, somewhere deep within these emotional pools, there is the ability, the potential, for a friendship.  I just am not sure I am strong enough to swim against the current yet.  There are still moments where the anger, the pain, the fear, the hurt erupt in me.  But it has gotten better.  So much better.

I was listening to a lot of music on the way out here, and one song in particular has been on repeat, Chris Broach’s “How Well You Know Me.”  There is a moment in the song where he sings, “how can you know me if I don’t even know me, myself?”  I feel that lyric.  I feel it in my heart, in my chest, in the image I see reflected in the mirror.  This experience has allowed me to begin again, to find out who I am and who I will be.  But the pure chaos and fear involved in self-discovery sometimes waylays me.  I am too emotionally and mentally exhausted to move forward, to open up my mind and heart to something new.  A little over a week ago there was the carpe diem/Jonsi weekend.  It was the miraculous event where I followed instinct and not thought and had unbelievably pure moments.  Things, since that weekend, have been moving forward, have been positive.  And I tell myself, every morning, that things will continue to be positive.  The next option, the next motivation, is to merge my relationship with Jonathan into the mix.  I will not give myself up to him again.  I will not lose who I was or who I thought I was for him, but I do want to join him into my life as a friend and close confidant knowing who I am before all else.  And it will happen.  It just make take some time.

Lucy in the sky with puzzles… I mean diamonds.

The last week has been, simply put, amazing.  As I mentioned before, it feels like the puzzle pieces are falling into place.  It’s no longer just the border, but the image I am constructing is the one on the cover.  It feels like my life, not my life in relation to someone else.  Every time I look back I amaze myself at the extent to which I gave up me, my personality, my loves, my passions, for a relationship.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a certain give and take.  That is part of being in a relationship.  But when one person completely re-molds herself to fit, that is just unhealthy.  That is immaturity, as well, I think.  No doubt in my mind that I was one half of whole that made up an immature, naïve duo.  So many years of being part of a relationship behind me, and for the first time in a long time I feel a sense of freedom.

I was talking to a friend of mine and he commented that being single is all fine and dandy, you begin to discover a sense of self, and you become stronger in who you are and what you want, but if you settle too far on that side of the spectrum, the idea of becoming a couple is beyond terrifying.  I am already there, though.  There were so many things involved in the demise of Jonathan and I’s relationship that I have soured on the experience.  I think it would take someone special to convince me otherwise.  I still get hackles when things begin to feel too real.  There is an ever-present fear.  Part of me clings to that fear and I use it as a defense weapon, but then there is a part of me that despises its influence on me.  I want to take the necessary steps, put the left foot in front of the right, but I feel like a drunk trying to walk a straight line.  I feel off-balance, weaving, in my mind, back and forth between the pros and cons of opening up my heart.  I know there are positives, but I feel, all too acutely, the negatives.

Right now my concentration is on my business side.  I am attempting to become a full-fledged entrepeneur and market myself as a writer you want to hire for music reviews, recommendations, and up-to-date news (concert news, not gossip mill fodder, I am NOT Star magazine).  This week there have been leaps and bounds in that area.  I interviewed, and got, an internship with Metro Chicago.  I am in contact with a woman who has done band promotions for 9+ years.  I have interviews for different event planning companies.  And yesterday I received an e-mail from Jet Black Sunrise to do an album review of their LP, Falling.  My interests are taking center stage.  I am relishing in them.

And thanks to my friends, I also have been in a very carpe diem mindset.  No doubt in my mind that if I continue to think positive, and seize the fish, that things will continue down this path.  And now, there isn’t anything more I could ask for.  And I am so happy with that.

Pondering friendship.

I have always been somewhat introverted. I made mention in a previous post that, for the most part, I enjoy my alone time. That does not mean I like loneliness, it means that the moments of solitude that I do have, I relish in. It feels right, comfortable, like I can breathe when the rest of the time I feel tied up in anxiety about what people think about me. Do they like me? Am I coming on too strongly? Should I tone it down? I really like this person, but the fear of rejection is far outweighing a possible connection. Also, in a earlier post, I shared how I relate to “I Am A Rock” by Simon & Garfunkel. How the words reach deep within me and strike some unnamed chord.

This past week I have truly wondered whether I have the potential to make and keep up friendships. It comes so easy for people to stay in contact, but it is a struggle for me. And it’s not because I do not want to talk to people, or set up social outings to see these people, but the more I look at the situations, the more I delve into my psyche and try to discover the ticking time-bombs that are my past relationships and friendships, the more I realize that I tend to approach things with a certain distance. It’s easier for me to not be emotionally involved and step into a situation thinking with a more businesslike manner than that of someone really hoping to make a meaningful connection. And fear drives it. I fear confrontation. I fear rejection. I fear “the dismissal.” Because somehow it always becomes so personal to me. And again, I think that’s because I approach things with distance, and when a person’s feelings are not reciprocated to their liking (because this, in essence, is how my shyness comes across, as this bitchy, proud attitude, though I am anything but proud, and do not intend the bitchy quality) they back away. But then it produces a massive perpetuating circle where they pull away, I get sad, upset, depressed that once again I have lost a potential connection and pull away further, which then causes the other person to simply disappear.

And then the reverse. There are the times when I feel intrigued, fascinated, and determined to make sure the person knows that yes, I do like you, I do want a friendship with you, you are cool and you have made me smile more times in the last twenty-fours than I have in the past twenty-four days, and I come on too strong. I want to make sure that my unavailable vibe does not appear and screw everything up. The vacancy sign is on, there is room for a friendship, if not more, and I would love to work with you to build up that relationship. But then I think I reek of desperation. And then I wonder why I can’t just make a fucking long-term friend? I can never find that middle ground. And apparently I do a piss poor job of every other part of relationships, too.

I am single. And for the first time in years and years and years, I feel freedom in being single. I once tried to explain my fear of definitions (especially now) with an idea mentioned in Sex and the City. Samantha once said, “You can never be someone’s ex-girlfriend if you are never someone’s girlfriend.” And that’s true. But I also do not want to have casual flings. I am a relationship girl. In essence, even if I do not want the title, I will behave as such: support them, nurture their ideas and beliefs and passions, try to make them happy when they are sad, buy them gifts on their birthday, listen to them when they’ve had a bad day, etc. All things girlfriends do and how they behave towards their significant others. And the same goes for friendships (minus the not-wanting-a-defining-title). Sometimes I cannot make it to a birthday, or respond to a phone call or text message with expedited efficiency, but that does not mean I am not going to be there when the times are really bad, or if you need advice. So why do people believe I am being a bitch or distant? Yet, when I do respond or make sure I come to important events and am there, physically, as much as I can, people define me as overbearing and annoying. Or maybe that is how I view how THEY would view me. Either way, I feel like I am in a no-win situation. I feel helpless. And I wonder if it’s all worth it. And the more I think on it, the more I conclude that it’s not worth this emotional upheaval. Seriously self-doubting my ability to keep friendships because no matter which path I take I push people away. Maybe I should continue with my air of bitchiness and the people who deign to pass through my barrier are the only ones worth it. I just know that I cannot continue to feel like I am the annoying kid sister that no one wants around because she spoils the fun.

I know I have a few true friends. They have been my sisters and brothers through this chaotic point in my life. I am finding out that it is well worth it to have a handful, or less, of deep, meaningful relationships than to have a litany of names that will disappear in an instant.