Cavern Hunting with Pandora

It’s strange. I find that often if I’m quiet enough, and I listen hard enough, there are still echoes of a cavern in my soul. Of dank, cold water that soundlessly seeps into every crevice.

If you were to ask me if I was okay I would undoubtedly say yes. Because I am, and I’m doing so much better than before. But at the same time I am very much aware that there is a darkness that is yet to be lifted.

I sometimes describe myself as slightly suicidal which sounds like an insult to people on the brink of suicide. It seems like a dichotomy. You can’t be in that kind of a headspace only slightly, you’re probably thinking. It’s something that overtakes you completely.

And you’re right.

But you’re also wrong.

I’m at a place where most of the time I’m fine, happy even. The term mildly depressed no longer fits. I feel somewhat back to an equilibrium. And yet, I know I’m not one hundred percent. Like there may be demons I haven’t wrestled yet. Or worse, like because I’ve visited such dark places, I’ll never be able to fully leave them behind in my memories. Like there’s a Pandora’s box that has been opened and the potential for even denser darkness in the midst of light has been unleashed. I sense there is a kinetic reality whispering around the edges of my consciousness.

I fight these fears with, of all the lame techniques I could’ve chosen, positive thinking. Or better stated, no thinking. Distracted thinking. Since the path to the caverns are familiar, I can notice that I’m heading there more quickly and reroute myself, whether it’s with a trivial thought or an important one.

But I guess I worry that if I use this technique too often I might miss a battle that’s better to be had now rather than later. I’ve dealt with a lot of my issues in the last few years and am still dealing with them. It’s part of what contributed to getting to know my dark spaces so up close and personal. I decided it was time to climb out of the cavern, and when I was going to therapy my therapist seemed very intent on helping me put those thoughts and feelings into perspective. My emotions are valid, but they’re not as all encompassing and overwhelming as they feel. Don’t give them more importance than they deserve. If a thought’s not constructive throw it out. Simple as that. 

Only problem is sometimes it’s hard to tell the genuinely destructive ones from the ones that sting, but are building my character.

There are important things I’ve learned about managing my emotions and I know I can still continue to use them while working on my flaws, but I also can’t help wondering what secret things have slinked out of Pandora’s box that I’ve yet to have noticed. It’s hard learning how to exist in this new version of myself when I don’t actually know all my parts. Meanwhile, other parts I can’t forget and they contribute to my tendency to go cavern hunting. Unfortunately, being honest with myself includes admitting that part of me still savors the option of flicking to OFF, on account of all the beasties lurking in the dark.

Good thing hope is a flame and not an off switch.

~LDA

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Unrequited Love

When you’re in a relationship with someone, (be it romantic or platonic), the most comfortable arrangement is to feel like they like you just as much as you like them.  I used to think that most times that’s how it pans out if you’re careful, but I know now that oftentimes feelings in a relationship are uneven regardless. Most times the way the scale is balanced is unclear until key events slap you in the face and make this clearly known.  Like maybe he decided that flirting with the waitress while you sit alone at the bar is an acceptable way to start a date, or you realize on a night out that this girl’s laugh is a little too obnoxious for you and if she mentions the word literally one more time you’re going to literally connect your knuckles to her face.

Well, every now and then you get into a relationship where it is blatantly obvious that this is the case from the beginning, and you’re on the disinterest receiving end.

You want with all your heart for them to be as interested in you as you are in them, but you can tell that the attraction is lopsided, if not one-sided.

You’re sitting there having this intense amount of intrigue in the person, but you can tell that they are only mildly curious about you at best.  You can’t quite figure out what about you is serving as a complete turnoff to the awesomeness that is you and this bothers you.  Eventually, you’re left there ruminating so long about how you can change their level of interest in you that you start thinking things that should never even enter your mind.  You actually begin thinking about what ways you can change yourself to fit the desires of the other person, (which is crazy because you’re you and that’s amazing and no one in the world should make you feel otherwise).

The brainstorming starts turning into crazy talk:  “Why don’t they like me?  Is it my style?  My hairdo?  My love of all things yellow?  Ohmigerd, no.  They figured out my left leg is half a centimeter shorter than my right one didn’t they?  I knew someone would figure it out one day!  What am I supposed to do now?  That’s not exactly fixable.  Well…maybe if I nick a piece of my heel off here…” Then you realize how ridiculous you sound so you start to reassure yourself that you’re lovable the way you are, but then you start to remember things that went wrong in past relationships, and you begin thinking maybe your ex’s dislike of your Disney plushie collection and penchant for singing along with television jingles isn’t all that unreasonable.

That’s when the worst question sets in.

I’m lovable aren’t I?…Pssh, of course I am…

Wait…AREN’T I?!

Now, it’s not always so severe of a case.  You may not question your worth to such an extreme degree, but the self esteem questions come tumbling in nonetheless, if not crashing in.  It really sucks.  My advice to you when you’re faced with the possibility of these obviously lopsided relationships:

Run the other way.

No matter how fantastic the other person really may be, they’re not worth losing your mind over.

And if you’re on the other side of the equation where you’re seeing that some person is latching onto you that you really don’t care to engage with, let them down easily but clearly to spare them some grief.  Or better yet, take the time to genuinely look them in the eye before you do.  It just might turn out they could become one of the people you love most in the world if you just stop holding yourself back and be honest with yourself.   

~LDA