You Wouldn’t Like Me

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 yetLack 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. 

~LDA

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Knowing That You Know

I’ve been on this weird journey of learning how to interact with others on a meaningful level.

At first, I thought it was a problem of not knowing how to trust people.Which wasn’t wrong,since the reason I’ve never really had close relationships with people outside my family is because from a young age I didn’t trust humans to be genuine enough to be bothered with. The vast majority of people are busy putting on masks, worn with the simple goal of not feeling silly for being naked in a world full of masqueraders.

Being open and honest about your thoughts and feelings in this world is like being caught with your pants down. 

“GASP. You actually say what you think and express genuine committed emotion for others? What do you think this is?! A burlesque show?”

In reality everyone is jealous of anyone who dares exist in such a way. They wish they would be so bold. Absolutely long for a moment in which they could shed the mask and feel the sunshine of an honest existence on their pallid faces. But they’re too busy protecting themselves from pain, and as long as they do, they will never feel such warmth. Just like in the business world, opportunities are created and not found in the realm of love and relationship. As long as you’re unwilling to risk harm to yourself, chances are, you will only receive as much shadowed, flimsy and lukewarm affection as you give.

There are instances in which one is blessed to receive the open devotion of another without even trying. For example with a parent, or as is depicted over and over again in romance or the very rare friendship-focused films. And so a lot of people choose to wait around for such miracles in which they won’t have to take off their mask to get what they want. Or at least get to wait until it’s safe to take the risk.

Myself included. 

I was really good at the intellectual side of honest living.

After becoming very quickly emotionally jaded, I decided I couldn’t stand myself if I were to transform into a completely tepid person, the very thing I held most contempt and anger for in the world, so I devised a plan in which I would be truthful but safe. I donned a Phantom of the Opera half-disguise, if you will. I’d unleash my logical and intellectual honesty on the world, while still shielding my fragile emotions. 

Those I would hide away. After all, only a fool would remove their beating heart from the safety of the rib cage in a world swarming with vultures. Sure, there are a few idiots wandering around willing to trade pieces. It was not an impossibility to find someone as equally as daring, but why risk it? I’d be more likely to have the life clawed from my bloody hand.

I lived like that for a long time. Miserable, but safe. 

But because I still had half my face revealed, I’d damned myself to a lonely, bitter life. I’d never find comfort in the massive groupthink that poses as genuinely thoughtful expression, or the sweet nothings of a mutually agreed upon lukewarm love arrangement.

It was only because I was blessed enough to have run into one of those gems walking around disguised as idiots, that I pulled myself out of the muck of such a dour life. It took an egregious amount of time, but I learned that it was worth trusting people, even if it doomed you to a lot of pain over your lifetime. 

So it wasn’t untrue. Part of the problem was my trust in others.

But even after getting over that hump, there was still a lot wrong. It wasn’t enough. Even though I had made a decision to start trusting people again, even when no tangible reason for trust is presented, I was still having a lot of trouble putting that into practice and connecting. 

Why was it I still found myself hesitating even though I had made a serious decision to open my heart again?

It took a long time to realize, but it was because I still didn’t trust myself. If just a moment ago in the timeline of my life I had been so steeped in bad decisions to close off my heart, what made me think I was pure enough or had the strength enough to become a person worthy of trust myself? Just like that? Was my decision really enough? Was all it took just a stable resolve?

I’m great at stability. Once I commit to something you can count on it, so I kept telling myself over and over that it was enough. But deep down, I still felt disgusting. Icky. Absolutely unworthy of returning to the loving and open state of being we’re all born in.

I felt unregenerate.

So although my resolve was perhaps admirable, and even solid enough to swear by, I was still crippled by the guilt of my past life. And this manifested itself as hesitation. Even though I was completely willing to share any and all, I felt like I shouldn’t. Not in fear of getting hurt, but in fear of being sniffed out as unsure of myself emotionally. 

I didn’t trust myself to know how to love, even if I knew for sure who I loved. I hadn’t walked the road of emotionality in a long time. Whether it was people I cared for deeply or people I’d just met that I knew were in need of some love, it was extremely difficult for me to wrap my head around what love looked like.

No, that’s not true.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know what it looked like. I knew very well. I just didn’t know if mine was enough, if it would measure up. I still felt tainted. 

These days I’ve reached a point where I know. I know that I know it’s enough. Or at the very least I’ll die trying, and that’ll just have to be enough because there won’t be anything else left to give and that’s all I can do. I’ve finally gotten enough out of my head to take better action, to start banishing the hesitation.

I’m still not that great at it though.

I’m still figuring out how to love people. Especially those who start out as strangers who I have to let in while still maintaining boundaries. I think that’s what I’m worst at going about at this point. Half of the reason is just because I’m a crappy conversationalist. I’m still not that out of my head, so I miss opportunities, with strangers and loved ones alike. Although I’m perceptive in some ways, I’m still pretty dense in a lot of ways.

But I’m working on it.

And out of this will come more stories of my cringe-worthy social existence,

so lucky you.

~LDA

That Familiar Crack

I don’t know why I even hesitate to pick up a pen or set my fingers upon a keyboard.

I never regret it when I’m finished.  Even if what I’ve written is total crap, there’s satisfaction in having put words on a page.  A certain kind of alignment of the spirit in having successfully transformed the firing of neurons in my brain into something someone else can read.  There’s a thrill in the possibility of setting off fireworks in someone else’s brain.  Even if in the end what I’ve written is so terrible and unworthy of reading that I want to burn it, bury it and have a cow poop on it just so no one ever gets their hands on it, I’m still happy to have sat down and written.

And still.

There is always this arresting hesitation born of angst that takes hold when I’m about to sit down and write.  Like if I pick up this pen the world might be set on fire, but not in a good way.  Or if I click that first letter on the keyboard I might never be able to stop.  Which in my opinion is not a bad way to die.  In fact, it would be sort of awesome to be able to say I died whilst on a literary tirade, but also kind of a stumbling block to the other goals in my life if I died so prematurely.  So there’s this hesitation to begin writing.

Of course,

I do it anyway.

On good days.

On you’re going to sit your butt in this chair and write even if it is literally the last thing you do, days.  On the world is a mystical place and you have to hurry up and get it down on paper, days.  On the you’ve set this deadline for yourself and you’re going to meet it or you basically deserve to be dead, days.  Notice how those days that smell like death came twice.  They come a lot more often than the mystical ones.

But still, I write.

Once, I thought I could let the angst win out and watch my writing life evaporate on the pavement in front of me, like so much catapulted saliva.  Slowly it swirled into the sky.  I watched it with both eager anticipation and terror.  Was this really happening?  Was it working?  Is all it takes some patient laziness?  My small pond became a puddle, and it soon was small enough to fit in the palm of one hand.

Then,

it was gone.

Or so I thought.

I turned around and began walking away, ready to throw a party or surrender myself to the nearest volcano.  To this day I don’t know which.  Maybe both.  In any case, something made me stop, turn around, and stoop real close to the ground.  There on the pavement was a crack.  And from that crack trembled a solitary drop of moisture, stubborn and hopeful.  I crouched there squinting at it for a long time.  Days, weeks, months.  I was watching to see if it too would eventually join it’s brothers in the unforgiving sky, but it didn’t.

Or it wouldn’t.

I’m not sure which of these either.

All I know is that no matter how long I stared at it, that droplet did not fade away.  And it was then that I knew in my gut that no matter how I long I watched, it would never go away.  There was something deep beneath the ground ensuring its existence.  Something annoying, and sure ,and as stubborn as me.  It let me know that there was no amount of running or hiding or overwhelming ray of angst that would burn that droplet away.

Ever since then, I pick up the pen and set my fingers on the keyboard because I have to.  Or at least I might as well.  Anytime I get too anxious about what I’m doing with this writing thing or why, I just squint down at that familiar crack.  Even if it’s too deep down at the bottom of the spring for me to see.

~LDA

Too Cowardly to Love

There’s this really insane part of us that longs to love so deeply that we don’t care whether or not we receive love in return.  It’s a part of us we try to bury for fear of ourselves.  The day we are born our instinct is self preservation so this illogical part of us that is so willing to be vulnerable in exchange for nothing is terrifying. We tuck it away in a file cabinet of our brain labeled “Do not open at all costs.”

 

But it’s there.

 

And every now and then we remember that we were born selfish but programmed selfless. 

 

 

Whether it be a pang of loneliness in the night or a relationship gone awry, we are reminded that a part of us wants to trust and give affection so much that we are willing to take the risk of complete rejection. 

 

There are some of us who in a rush of panic or a wave of unconditional love peek into that file cabinet and glance into the forbidden file.  Some of us survive, and walk into a healthy relationship.  But others of us are destroyed.  Having taken the risk on the wrong person, we are pulled into a cycle of pain and betrayal during which we hope against hope that things will change for the better despite being torn down again and again in exchange for our love and compassion.

 

Those of us who get stuck in that bitter cycle tend to be looked down upon by society, by both the happy couples and those of us who lack the courage to peek.

 

“How pitiful,” we scoff.  “Can’t they see it’s so obviously hopeless?  Only a person who lacks self respect would continue to put themselves in that situation.”

 

Suddenly we’ve forgotten that love is blind and keeps no record of wrongs.  Or worse, we never knew.

 

The people who get stuck in abusive relationships are most often those of us who have gotten in touch with the side of us who seeks to give affection so much that we don’t care whether the subject of our affection is worthy of it or not.  That beautiful and twisted side that only sees human beings as creatures worthy of love despite our nasty underbellies.  That callused and forgotten side that was simply created to love.  Having been disappointed again and again, surely the persistence of this side is not an attempt to receive love, but to give it. 

 

Those broken people should not be spit down upon, but looked up to, for the courage it took to wind their inner workings back to start. 

 

What if all we broken people did the same?  We could put away our shame and function in all our wonderful capacity.

 

Only guilty people scoff at the innocent in hopes the world will forget the shame of their cowardice.  They are the ones who were to afraid to brave a glance into the file cabinet.  Only guilty people have to run away from themselves in order to avoid running into the arms of another. 

 

All it would take is a little bit of faith on each person’s part to heal the world, but there will always be that one who in fear of betrayal lashes out and continues the horrific cycle of hurting and being hurt.  And so, we will always be full of mistrust.  Our souls forever lost to the fear of abandonment, even though love is just around the file tab.

 

 

 

~LDA