October 13, 2010

it's one of those nights...

...when i should have gone to bed.
...when i wonder why, when i feel morose, it feels like i'm always morose but when i'm happy, it doesn't ever concern me that i'm always happy.
...when i question the meaning of everything.
...when i am debating whether or not to make a pot of coffee. and once i type that out, the answer is always yes, yes i should.

can you say stress ball? that's what i am. a big, giganto ball of stress. on fire, even. i can't even begin to talk about the house situation because we're supposed to close in two weeks and have yet to find a renter. we're close but it's not done until we have a signed lease and deposit in hand. can you say stress? i could be doing something more productive and possibly even more healthy right now, like meditating. or sleeping. but sleep isn't all that refreshing since my attempt to night wean was a big failure. huge.

since my thoughts were racing a mile a minute as i lay in bed after a long, drawn out bedtime session complete with one kid climbing all over me and kicking me repeatedly, while the other kid tried to strike up multiple conversations and wouldn't be quiet until my husband came in the room and told him to take me seriously, i decided to share what basically boils down to this: no matter what, the very core of my being is and always has been and probably always will be lonely.

now that's off my chest, i'm going to go put that pot of coffee on. my excuse is, my husband will have a mason jar full of the stuff to take to work with him in the morning and i can have just half a cup because after this, i have some photo-editing to do.

so why lonely? i thought about this, i really did, for like, a good whole half hour before i got back out of bed. that could be considered meditation. introspective meditation is a thing, right? this might not qualify but i'm not one to label and i got all introspective on one little word.


ten or so years ago that word described me so loudly that i might as well have been walking around with it painted on my forehead. i displayed my desperation in subtle and probably not-so-subtle ways and while i didn't exactly examine that idea in particular, i came to the conclusion that now i might use it to describe how i sometimes feel.

then it defined who i was.

despite not being lonely and not feeling lonely now (most of the time) there is still a void that can never be filled because it is already full of immeasurable loneliness. by definition, maybe it can't be a void but whatever it is, i'm pretty sure it's been there my whole life, it can never be filled with anything else, and it will never go away.

tonight i came to terms with this.

there was a time when i, the one that does not label, may have labeled certain behaviors as pathetic, desperate, & pitiful. i had no tolerance for such behaviors in others or in myself. i couldn't handle weakness in others because i couldn't admit that i was weak. of course, what the universe continuously provided were weak mirrors and of course, now i know, that if the weakness of others was so transparent to me, mine must have been equally as obvious to them and this could explain a multitude of failed friendships and relationships. we repelled each other, confronting one another as a mirror image we didn't want to greet every day.

or something, i think i got off-track - i was thinking about how needy i am, even if not blatantly so. at this point in my life, i will still speak of needy in the present tense because i don't think i'm any less needy, now, i'm just much better at handling my own needs. so i wondered if i am truly better equipped to take care of myself or if i'm completely disillusioned and unwilling to rely on people because they always let me down. then i tell myself that i cannot say that because if i say people have always disappointed me or let me down, not only do i sound like my grandmother, and not only am i putting forth a lot of energy to perpetuate this particular scenario in my life, but it's just not true. people have not disappointed me every time there was an opportunity to delight me or come through for me. maybe most of the time, but not every single time.

thinking about interactions with other people, i inevitably reminisce about how i didn't really have any friends growing up. i get it now.

i was wearing the word L-O-N-E-L-Y across my face but because i refused to look any one of my mirrors in the eye, i was the only one that couldn't see it.

in high school my most favorite-est nirvana songs was "frances farmer will have her revenge on seattle"  just because the first time i heard kurt cobain sing: i miss the comfort of being sad, i felt like someone had just described what i couldn't. i wrote it on my mirror, oddly enough.

i was having fun, i was finding myself, and free to express myself. maybe a decade earlier than most people, but i pierced my nose, dyed my hair and was doing some heavy-duty soul-searching. i was also having fun but still wanted to hold on to the comfort of being sad. then i got pregnant at sixteen. i was under no delusion that a baby would fix anything or love me unconditionally. i had no idea what i was doing and saw my pregnancy and the undertaking of raising a child as nothing more than taking full responsibility for my actions. i also thought my life was over.

despite how much i loved him, the baby must have seen this across my lonely face on the day he was born because he reiterated what i'd feared the most: i was lonely and unlovable. i showered my son with kisses and cuddles and never hesitated to tell him i loved him but as soon as he was old enough to resist or refuse cuddling, he did. almost as quickly as he'd learned to talk and repeat "i love you," he stopped saying it and hasn't said it since.

i have rationalized this by telling myself that if i didn't love myself, i couldn't have expected anyone else to. that in this lifetime, learning to love myself was my cross to bear. i don't know if this is healthy or the very dysfunctional product of being raised to take the blame for everything my mother or younger brother didn't feel like being responsible for but i'm going with the former.

the journey of finding myself, which officially started at age fourteen when my mom told me to get a life, wasn't actually near completion until a decade later. i was twenty four when i embarked upon a healing journey, after admitting that i needed to love myself, i set about learning how to do so.

i was peeling away years of negativity and wanted to stop inviting it into my life. i stopped wearing make-up, developed a look i called "homeless chic," and lived in the same pair of jeans for six months. i changed my diet. i started going to pilates and yoga. i lost 30 pounds. for the sake of whatever, i'll mention here that this was after a break-up. the second of those types of break-ups that you never want to have in your life. i told myself after the first one that it would never happen again but i was twenty and didn't have the willpower to become a nun so i had another. instead of wallowing for a few years, i decided to wallow and simultaneously examine the common denominator that had caused so much misery in my short little life.


i spent the year doing some even more hard-core soul-searching and came out thinking i knew it all. oh how i didn't, but in that time i met my husband and i waited a year knowing that if i pursued him or allowed him to pursue me, it would end up a hot mess right quick. i executed more patience than i knew i possessed because he was worth waiting for and i didn't want to screw it up. i knew this after talking to him for just a few minutes during a party at my aunt's house. drunk, even. i told myself i had to wait until i was capable of loving myself and being in a healthy relationship where i could love and be loved in return. i also told myself that if he wasn't available when i felt ready than it wasn't meant to be.

this, in and of itself, was such a measure of my growth because in addition to walking around with the word lonely on my forehead, i also thought that i had to earnestly make things happen, on my terms, in my timeframe and i am impatient by nature. impatient like whoa. normally, i might have tried to talk some sense into myself but would have justified why it was just better to rush, i wanted everything sooner than later. this time, though, i wanted to be with him more than i'd ever wanted anything in my entire life and i still needed to work on some things. almost a year later i saw him at my aunt's house again, this time it was just a quiet gathering, not a drunken party, and we've been inseparable ever since.

tonight, while brooding over how lonely i've been, even in this relationship at times, i can honestly say that he is the first person that  has truly loved me. aside from those obligatory people like my parents. i could further explain that what i mean is that he's the only person to love me for who i am, despite my flaws, and unconditionally but i don't mean those things because no one has ever loved me for who i was not, ignoring my flaws, or with conditions.

the very lonely core within believes that no has ever loved me before. period.

sidebar: i watched this segment on this american life about this young boy who doesn't believe in love. this short segment hardly touches upon the poignancy of this clip, but it's all i could find. the part of him that couldn't reciprocate his mother's love reminded me of my oldest son, and the part that didn't want to experience love because he didn't think it was worth all the inevitable trouble, reminded me of me when i was younger. the basic psychology behind this screams defense mechanism, and i heard, rather often, from some of my more observant or precocious friends, that i had issues with attachment. well, hell yeah i did - my mother wasn't prone to showing affection, my father called me like twice a year, we moved something like ten times before i was twelve. i hadn't established one single solid relationship with anyone other than my grandmother who was a combination of depressed, angry, or in mourning for most of my life. i love her dearly, and bless her heart, but she wasn't exactly the best role model. more important than my attachment issues, though, was my lack of self-acceptance.

so i am way off track at this point, but it brings me to the concept of faking it 'til you make it...it was sometime when i was working on my bachelor's in psych and we were learning about schemas and how the depressive schema, in particular, is a self-fulfilling prophecy (but aren't they all? isn't this what we now know as the power of intention or the secret which is only a secret to those that won't or can't accept how much weight their thoughts actually carry?...i digress) when i realized that i may have perpetuated my sad, lonely existence as a defense mechanism, i realized there was a way to overcome it! this was the year i met my future husband but knew it better to wait before getting involved and i decided to adopt the mantra: fake it 'til you make it in an effort to change my schema. if i could be sad and brooding and negative so easily and most of my experiences lended to or created these feelings, it was true that i could be less sad and less negative and maybe i could have better experiences.

my first experiment convinced me.

it was simple. i smiled at someone and they smiled back. i hadn't even drastically changed my appearance, it was a gradual transition and on the particular day i had an inch long spike sticking out of my face as i'd just re-pierced my labret in one final revolt after having worked for corporate america for what i was sure would be the last time in my life. who knows now and that's a whole unrelated tangent, so back to trying on a new schema.

someone smiled back. i was amazed. see, i used to have lonely written across my forehead, remember? this prohibited most people from smiling at me, whether i was smiling or not (and most of the time i was not). people used to avoid me or give me funny looks, but i smiled and suddenly the world was smiling back. well, really, it was one person, but it felt like the whole world so i kept it up. before long, it seemed like every single person i came in contact with was the most friendly, kind-hearted person. even though i had a spike in my chin and hot pink hair. some people were still bitches but i learned to laugh it off and not take it personally. afterall, i wasn't just great - i was faking it!

this euphoric transformation took about two years. i was also studying buddhism and taking all sorts of positive psychology classes that discussed innovate cognitive therapies that looked an awful lot like putting buddhist theory to practice. everything just seemed to be coming together as if the answers to the universe were unveiled in my happiness.

of course, seven years later, i'm laying in bed fully aware that you can only fake so much. and you can't be happy all the time. and even though i am a world apart from the girl i used to be, i still think it's easier to wallow and sometimes i don't want to redirect my thoughts to better ones. i don't even have a happy mental place - but i 've been successful, nonetheless. i have battled feelings of inadequacy and i have struggled to become self-reliant and self-confident.

i may always have an inner pit of loneliness but i am complete and whole and wouldn't change a thing.

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