Monthly Archives: May 2008

Tough Self-Love

Yeah, so I had another bout of depression that unfortunately brought the last post that I have since deleted. It was cathartic to write it, but not healthy to keep it alive, I think. I have basically rewritten it here in more cohesive fashion, but have been busy writing and editing a cover letter for a job I really want, so I’m in the mood for being bulleted and curt.

Relationships

Casual dating vs. long-term relationship.

Pros: Casual dating would require more hard and fast rules because protection of dignity would be much more important in a transient dating scene: specifically no sex until you understand someone better. Allow for one month of dating? Two? (would I be considered a prude?) Since you don’t intend on keeping this person around, screw-ups (har har) and mistakes would be easier to handle. Practice in acting casual, not taking everything so seriously. Not worrying if you’re going to be with this person forever because you enter into the relationship knowing that you’re just in it for fun–leads to more self-confidence due to more control over fate of relationship. Cons: More dealing with men who want “quick lay.” (pro: would get better at identifying them) Would be difficult to control feelings of wanting more.

Cons: Long-term relationship thinking intensifies feelings of loneliness and worthlessness. Provides too many illusions and delusions of what will happen with the “future” with said person. Almost entirely eliminates the possibility of getting to know someone in a comfortable and low-pressure setting, especially with today’s men where they even smell the word “commitment” and they run like jack-rabbits. However. Pros: Seeking someone who is interested in a long term relationship shows maturity and foresight; they don’t just want to mess around, supposedly. Someone interested in a long term relationship will have an easier time becoming emotionally close.

Four years since my last boyfriend. Four years since my first boyfriend. Approaching six months since last romantic encounter. Approaching six month since last heartbreak.

Loneliness

Pros: Forces self-exploration. Means I really really really should be focusing on my own life, not on my life with someone else. Career search is exciting, right? Music, great! Living in beautiful place that is not LA. Possible move to east coast! All happening because of me, not because of boyfriend. Trying to focus on self-worth, not on how man gives worth. God is that hard.

Cons: Mostly obvious. Also misplaced jealousy. Wasted time yearning. Self-pity. Desperation for relationships with anyone, even if it would be unhealthy and detrimental. Projecting what I really want on men who don’t actually embody those traits. Easily sucked into old patterns that have caused MISERY!! No boys! No boys who are in love with other girls! No boys with ex-girlfriends who they still live with! No boys who are potentially gay! No online boys! No boys from Wisconsin who have gorgeous Guatemalan ex-girlfriends! Pay attention to what you have done and how it has hurt you! Why do you still want to do this again and again? What is this arrogance in you that you think you can change someone’s heart? Could anyone change yours? No! So why do you try to do it with others? ESPECIALLY BOYS! BAH! STOP IT.

You will find your OWN love story that has no conflicts with someone else’s. Not anyone else’s love story. You are a complex, caring, interesting and worthy enough character to be the protagonist in your own story. Not the fat sidekick. Not the best friend. Not the yearning, pining one. The main character. The main fucking character. You deserve to be the main character in your life. Don’t make someone else’s problems, issues, fuck-ups your problems, issues, fuck-ups. You have a set of your own. Be the main character. Be the last person out for curtain call. Even if no one shows up for the play, you are the main character. The MAIN CHARACTER. Fucking act like it. NOW.

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Afterthoughts and Film

My last post was helpful. But I realize that it’s not everything. I guess I am particularly interested in this aspect of me because I feel like I keep getting close to the root of this issue, but not fully realizing it. My fascination with Scarlett O’Hara has been since I was 10 years old. I was sick one day and stayed home from school and my parents had some anniversary edition of Gone With The Wind on video and I just sat on the couch and watched the whole thing. Then I watched it again. Then that entire summer I watched it every day. I’m serious. I was enthralled. Everything about her I loved. I believed truly that she could get whatever she wanted and that no matter what happened, men still loved her. She always had the love of her life. Did Rhett leave her at the end? Of course. But I knew she’d get him back, she said so. And whatever she set her mind to, she got. Of course he always loved her. She had hurt him so deeply, so horribly, so tragically, but he still loved her and they were perfect for each other. Did they hate each other sometimes? Of course. But they were too much alike. She needed his affection to abate the selfish things she did. He needed her spirited nature to assure him that he wasn’t the only bastard on the planet. I loved their love story.

And I’ve fallen desperately in love with an Ashley Wilkes before.¬† He was everything that my Disney-raising had believed would be the perfect man. But Disney is an illusion, a murderer of reality. And I was punished severely for hanging onto that illusion. But I didn’t have a Rhett to back me up and, frankly, I don’t think that I would even have it in me to lead on a Rhett Butler while I chased someone else. Maybe that’s my problem. Maybe I need to not fall in love so obviously. I have to recognize, as Scarlett did, that my lover isn’t so obvious, but is someone like me who has my same hang-ups and therefore understands me more than some head-in-the-clouds idealist who holds up the theory of humanity above the actual humans who exist in his world.

Next important film/book. Sense and Sensibility. When I first read it, I immediately clicked with Marianne. I agreed with all her passion and her day-dreaming and her rejection of practical love. What was life even worth if you couldn’t be passionately intertwined with someone? I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was disappointed that she didn’t marry Willoughby at the end. Can you believe that? That asshole who toyed with her heart and, yeah, he did kinda like her, but not enough, as Kate Winslet says in the movie. Not enough. Just enough to get his kicks and then went for the 50,000 pounds a year. Bastard. And guess what? I’ve had a Willoughby too.

So what is it about me that wants to live out these archetypes of women who are passionately embroiled with men who don’t really love them? While myself as the reader/viewer truly believes Scarlett gets Rhett back, she still has to lose him, push him away first. Vivien Leigh at her epiphanal moment says, tears coursing down her cheeks, says “Then. . . I’ve loved something that didn’t even exist.” Then she runs to find Rhett, who is packing to leave her. But how many years did she waste on Ashley, dreaming of him, coveting him, fantasizing about a person who could never fully understand or love her? Marianne had to be on the brink of death before she realized that wasting away for a man who is worth less than a room full of hair is idiotic, not romantic. And then she gets Colonel Brandon, who has always adored her, despite her trespasses, her haughtiness, her naivet√© of youth. An older man, a wiser man.

Do I need an older, wiser man, who sees my flaws and finds them charming? Who is willing to wait until I come to my senses? No. I want to come to my senses before I meet that man. Hopefully he will be attracted to me because of what I’ve overcome, rather than what I will have to overcome in the future.

Just more interesting things.

What is Wrong With Me: I’m Actually a Wuss

Alright. I have decided that I should consider my personality and its flaws. Again. My simplified conclusion is that I need to become a Bad Ass Mother Fucker every once and awhile and trust that after I’m done shooting up a bank, my friends and family will still love me. I should do this instead of befriending Bad Ass Mother Fuckers and then secretly envying them while churning butter and buttoning up my turtle-neck so as to protect my honor. Important note: This is not to say that I should not befriend BAMF, but that I should develop my inner BAMF so that I don’t have to live through them anymore. I should not be a by-stander, but a participant in Bad Ass Mother Fuckery.

I have been reading this astrology report that my mother ordered for me many years ago. When I was a teenager and reading it, I didn’t connect with most of what it said about me. To be fair, I wasn’t really reading it, I was skimming it for details of what kind of a man I would marry. Yes. It’s pathetic. Such a report, unfortunately, does not give such details, so I put it to the side and only referred to it every once and awhile looking tearfully for answers, after my heart had been sufficiently crushed by some loser or another. Or many losers, depending on how lucky I was that particular year. But. I am at a crossroads with a lot of different aspects of my life right now. Career vs. job, college vs. adulthood, adult friends vs. childhood friends, grad school vs. ?. Most of the paragraphs I came across, I understood: relationships are the most important to me and I will sacrifice all for those I love, I have a deathly fear of being alone, I must be creative in what I do for a living and I desperately want to be in the limelight and love to be fussed over. All that sounds pretty accurate. Most of these points are better worded, obviously. Also, there’s some stuff about my mom and my dad, but I think I’ve dealt with most of that. . .

But.

What I was MOST interested in were the paragraphs dealing with my hidden issues. The “shadow-side” as it’s called. I will quote the juicy tidbits from this report compiled by a person I have never met, who only took my birth information and made this packet. Read and be awed:

“Despite your apparent adherence to more traditional or conventional values, there is a wild streak of rebelliousness in you which rarely gets enough room for expression. You are more likely to suppress it out of fear of alienating those you need and who need you. . . Thus you are inclined to project this dimension of your shadow-side, and to attract free spirits who do not really like the idea of too much intimacy or commitment; and you may then spend your time wondering why, when you have given so much to the relationship, they are still capable of flying off and leaving you.”

Doesn’t that just nail every single fucking man in my life??? But wait. It gets better.

“There is a curiously cold character inside you which is quite capable of abruptly getting up and walking out if you find yourself too pressured, or have too many emotional demands placed on you; and the detachment and self-will of this character are no doubt disturbing and frightening for you to face within yourself. You are more likely to project it and draw it out of a loved one, who in turn may treat you with quite a lot of emotional brutality because he or she is forced into acting out the need for separation which you yourself have secretly longed for. You have a knack of being left in relationships, but this is largely because you do not have the courage to do the leaving.”

Good God. These two quotes have opened up a really messy can of worms for me. In the last few years, I realized that I have a stiff code of ethics that I not only masochistically enforce on myself, but that I also expect, perhaps unfairly, my friends to live by. This would perhaps explain why I have so few friends. I have a feeling that it has stemmed from the, unfortunately, many times in the past where I have had friends who have ostracized and abused me. Also perhaps from the fact that I was considered the one who will always be “fine” as a child and thus never got as much attention or guidance as perhaps I wanted or needed. This made me a self-regulated kid and maybe I never had anyone to tell me that I didn’t have to be such a fucking bitch to myself. I got good grades, I didn’t smoke, drink or have sex before college and I pretty much always did what I was told. God! There’s something else! I refuse to do hard drugs or drink so much that I can’t remember. Why? Control of myself. I refuse to relinquish control of myself. Also, in sex, it’s hard for me to do certain things because I’m afraid of giving something up. I won’t get too graphic. . . Basically, I have suppressed this aspect of myself because I fear that if I let her out, I will appall and disgust and be shunned by the people I care about. So I make all those jokes about being narcissistic and self-centered, but I envy and am fascinated by others who actually embody these traits. Scarlett O’Hara anyone?

Also, I don’t know at what point my approval became vital or my disapproval became deadly, but I guess I put off that vibe. Why do I inspire such fear? I’m so damn regimented. Except in eating. That, for whatever reason, I can not regiment no matter how much I hate myself or try to stop. Maybe that’s the only way I can even conceive of letting go of control, by eating. God. That sounds so awful.

Here is what the report has to say in conclusion:

“It is possible to make better friends with your shadow-side without becoming a ‘bad’ person, and it is not mutually exclusive with being a loving and loved person. But your understanding of love may be a little too naive, sentimental and one-dimensional, and not broad enough to encompass true tolerance of yourself as you are.”

So I guess I don’t love myself. But that’s not really a surprise. Also, I’m a sentimental idiot. Also not a shocker. I suppose the solution is that I need to allow myself to be a little more selfish, but only a little. Or, to put it another way, that however highly I value selflessness and responsibility to others, I must somehow find a way to acknowledge in myself that I am human and not a saint. That I need and, more importantly, want things that sometimes conflict with the needs and wants of others and that sometimes it is okay for me to take what I want anyway. The idea of that upsets me already. But I think I have to figure out a safe way for me to let this part of me out and still be able to live with myself afterward (this is important). I have no idea how.

I think what worries me, and what this astro report has hinted at, is that if I don’t resolve these issues, I will pass them onto my children. Meaning I will have ungrateful children who will take and take and take from me and do whatever the hell they want and I will sit like a martyr in my own house and allow them, because I somehow think that they will only love me if I let them walk on me. And I will scold them for setting the neighbor’s cat on fire or stealing cars, but I will secretly envy their lawlessness and resent them for destroying my own ability to be reckless and carefree.

I think that’s what I got for now. I need to start brainstorming baby-steps to owning the powerful want inside of me. I also need to figure out what that want is.