There’s this Tegan and Sara song I really love called “You Wouldn’t Like Me.”
Part of it goes like this:
“There’s a war inside of me
Do I cause new heartbreak to write a new broken song?
Do I push it down or let it run me right in to the ground?
I feel like I wouldn’t like me if I met me.
Sunshine is days away
I won’t be saved
I know all the words
I can’t say that I’ll love you forever
I won’t say that I love you forever”
I relate to it a lot, although maybe not for the very same reasons as the speaker.
I’ve spoken about love and how I’m learning to be better at loving others. I even recently wrote a post about how I’m feeling more confident about undertaking what seems like this goliath task. I spoke about how even if you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing when loving and being there for others, trying your best is half the work so there’s no use sitting there, just go for it. Which is true.
It’s really important to not let hesitation get in your way, or you will just be one more dumbie in the world twiddling their thumbs and being upset that no one will love them properly even though they barely put in any effort themselves.
I find that as I move forward with this philosophy I’m still not perfect. Which is no surprise. I won’t ever be, but never have I felt further from it.
For the most part, instead of stopping before I start, I’m stopped dead in my tracks in the process. Sure, I can push myself to make an attempt, to try my best even, but it’s like I fall short eight times out of ten. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. It’s not necessarily that I fail in the attempt. More like while going about my life relating to people on a mundane level, I seem to spot more and more flaws that will make loving and supporting people on a deeper level impossible.
I’ve stopped saying “I can’t say that I’ll love you forever. I won’t say that I’ll love you forever,” but sometimes it’s still hard to swallow that fear that I won’t be able to.
People say that if you fear you can’t love it’s most likely because you fear you yourself are unlovable. That’s true, but it’s not quite the case with me.
I know I’m lovable. I don’t lack self worth. In fact I’m probably a little stuck up in that regard. I’m confident in most of my abilities. And blessedly, it’s obvious people in my life love me. It’s more along the lines of me just thinking it’s sad that they do, because I’m not sure I can do justice to loving them back.
I was talking to my father the other day about how he needs to be careful how he comes off to people when he talks to them. That while he’s sitting there thinking they’re having a friendly discussion they’re clearly reading it as an unwelcome lecture. He tends to come off as always thinking he’s right, never open to the possibility that others have much to bring to the table. He doesn’t mean to, but he does. I’ve always known he and I are very alike in a lot of ways. Been very wary of it.
I thought I was doing a decent job at not manifesting his worst features. Apparently not. Although I’ve done things like ask my family to let me know any and every time they feel I am being dismissive, to my dismay, the other day my best friend told me the same exact thing I had spent time warning my father of. She might as well have taped recorded my words and fed them back to me on loop.
Do you know how crappy that feels?
Having gone in to prevent a problem before it happens and then be told you were completely ineffectual?
If people can’t trust me to talk to them in a way that makes them feel heard and valued, how the hell am I going to be there for them when they need me? They won’t come to me when they’re feeling fear or sorrow if they’ve already been run over in areas that don’t even matter as much. I’ve almost completely taken myself out of the equation of their emotional support system.
That ish hurts to know. It’s all my fears about lack of ability to love realized.
I guess I should say yet. Lack of ability to effectively love yet, but it’s just really discouraging. Talk about one step forward, six steps back. Although I realize talking about love like it’s a skill is strange.
My best friend also keeps asking me why I don’t let myself cry. I’ve never really been able to articulate it, but I think it’s because of an old fear of the intensity of my emotions. I feel like if I open that door I might not ever stop crying. Or shouting in anger for that matter. I’ve sprinted away from happiness in the past for fear of the possible and very likely sadness it would bring later. I think recently I thought I could run towards happiness without embracing the melancholy and rage as well. I knew in my head that wasn’t possible, but I think my heart needed to believe that for a while in order to start walking. Reality is hitting hard.
There’s this weird thing that my body does where I tear up when I laugh. Whereas most people only do that when they’re having an intense bout of laughter, I do it pretty often. It’s like all my emotions only come in one variety: Intense. There have been a few times when I was laughing especially hard that it’s devolved into tears of grief. Very suddenly and uncontrollably. I’m talking, looking like a madwoman, I’ve started completely balling, unable to keep the saltwater from spilling across my grinning face. Has that ever happened to you? The edges of my happiness come crashing against the jagged corners of my sadness, eager to find a way out in tidal wave fashion.
I should probably not let that ish boil up and over like that…
The answer to the question in the song at the beginning of this post is, I should “let it run me right into the ground.” My emotions, that is. It’s the right thing to do in order to live a life genuinely and worthwhile. It’s just so scary. I think there’s a part of me that whole-bloody-heartedly believes that if I do I will combust into a ball of flame and disappear.
Which maybe wouldn’t be so bad.
There’s another Tegan and Sara song I love in which the speaker promises a loved one:
“I won’t make all of your love so scared to come through our yard
I won’t scream in my head and let it isolate me”
My chant is the same for all the people I love. I just pray I can kick my butt into reaching that goal sooner rather than later. I’m so sick of myself. It feels burdensome to ask you to put up with me too, even if I do have things to offer in unemotional arenas. As usual, it’s not quite enough.