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Too Many Times I’ve Held On

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I know the mood has been a little… saccharine up in here. One of my biggest fears in starting this blog was knowing my Pollyanna tendencies, and my reticence to explore the darker sides of the world we live in. It’s not that I’m ignorant of it or intend to deceive but that dark side is something I struggle with. I can acknowledge that we all have one; but as an empath, as someone who has suffered a great deal; as someone who has spent her whole life reaching out to others, wanting to help healing, wanting to see the good in people, wanting to breathe life into that… talking about the ugliness around me is hard. I don’t really know what to say. That’s just not my wheelhouse.

I knew from the get-go there’s no authenticity here if I avoid it entirely. But avoid it is exactly what I’ve done.

But the one theme I keep bumping up against, is why do so many people immerse themselves in gossip, small mindedness, and judgmental attitudes, and then complain when those very same things come back to bite them in the ass?

I have a saying: if someone will be ugly with you, eventually they will be ugly to you.

I’ve recognized that for years, it’s as simple as “cheaters gonna cheat, liars gonna lie”, etc. So why do people live like this isn’t a thing?

I get that sometimes people need to be alerted to the fact that a wolf is lingering in their midst (although most actively reject this knowledge, which I’ll save for another post). That’s not gossip though, it’s not being ugly. But unsubstantiated musings? Unfounded hypothesis? Talking about someone else’s dirty laundry without getting their side of the story or attempting to verify actual facts? Or worse, laughing and taking pleasure in someone else’s misery?

I don’t get it. I don’t experience any pleasure at someone else’s misfortune. It pains me greatly. I don’t like to see anyone suffer.

I’m not sure if it’s fear of loneliness, or insecurity? I’m not sure if people feel so bad about themselves that diminishing others is the only way they can feel ok for a moment? Or if they think their unwillingness to participate will leave them marginalized?

I don’t know, but I’m always a little relieved when those people walk out of my life. I don’t really know constructive ways to handle the conflict and on some level there’s a part of me that feels like I’m being judgy. But there are some real world costs for the whole mean girls bit. I’m not okay with that, at all. Ever. So when those people walk out of my life, I’m not in any way diminished.

I’m grateful.

 

 

You’ve Got To Get Up And Try

About a week after my marriage ended, a new singles group sprouted in our community. The timing was in many ways a lifesaver for me, I was barely among the living, and I’ve met so many truly amazing people and had so many wonderful experiences. Some I almost wish I could skip, and yet, I needed them to remember what living even is. What can I say, every cherry has a pit. You just need to pay attention to the reality, not avoid the experience entirely.

Being a romantic at heart/incurable empath, I love watching new couples happen. It fills my heart to see love blossoming, and gives me hope that good things are still real, still possible.

But it’s not an uncomplicated road, not even during the best of circumstances. I remember meeting some friends at a happy hour, being my typically oblivious self, and I happened to notice two friends, who share a passion that completely informs their very clear vision for their future. I noticed him squaring up to her, his arm protectively around the back of her chair, and the unmistakeable look of admiration on his face, and I thought, wow, how often do two people who want so many of the same things in life even meet? Clearly he’s interested.

So I in my one-drink (Denver strong) addled state tried in my never subtle way to throw them together. And she, being badass and perceptive and as blunt as I am ripped me a new one the next morning. I told her what my thinking was. Unbeknownst to me, she had already expressed an interest in him, but she had every reason in the world not to trust love. We talked a bit and a few weeks later I learned they were a couple. My heart soared. Falling in love with someone who is that kind of kindred spirit doesn’t happen every day. Few people get to experience it.

Sometimes I worry that the realities of life and the world around them with destroy something so incredibly precious and beautiful. I hope not. Because love is nothing but growth opportunities interspersed with reality and occasional moments of unspeakable bliss.

This weekend I’ve been helping a new friend of mine navigate the heartache of missed opportunities with an old friend of mine. This new friend knows mistakes were made, and they are sincerely regretted. But sometimes you’ve gone too far and you can’t rebuild what’s lost.

So today I’ve been sobbing my way through one hell of an emotional hangover, because he fills a need for her that ordinary never will, and she inspires him to new heights. But we live in a world where if it doesn’t work we throw it away and move on. And I’m surrounded now by so many people who want love, but chase everything else.

My heart is breaking.

Sometimes I just want to grab people by the shoulders and make them face  what they keep choosing to turn away from.

That’s What People Say

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“Why don’t the beautiful people know they’re beautiful?”

“I don’t know.”

“I want to slap them and tell them to knock that shit off, and then I want to find the people who convinced them they aren’t beautiful and throat punch them.”

“Mmmhmmm”.

One of the hardest things for me to accept in this world is how many of us are so broken; carrying around old words, old scars, old wounds that still somehow bleed a little too much a little too often. Being wounded happens. I get that, but why is it so hard to shake it off? Why does that nonsense linger like old fish?

It’s it a cultural thing? Is it a fear of seeming too narcissistic? Why do we carry the legacy of this pain with us years into the future, in spite of evidence to the contrary?

And why do we not call out the people who do this? Some people do, and those people are the reason I’m not more jaded. There are everyday heroes around every corner. Modern psychology tells us our options are fight, flight or freeze. Most of us  flee or freeze, another lingering remnant of past abuse.

We need to start being kinder to ourselves, we need to be willing to risk it all and just be loving in appropriate ways, and we need to correct the record, wherever it goes astray.

Life is too short to believe all these hurtful, ugly, bullshit lies.

Miss Independent

There’s a woman in our singles group that I can’t quite figure out.

I don’t get why she’s single.

It’s as if a winning Powerball ticket were alive and walking around in the world and nobody stopped to claim it.

It baffles me. It’s confusing as hell. And it’s the surest proof that everything we are told about relationships, desirability, and being loved is bullshit.

I think we’ve all known that woman, right? Unspeakably beautiful, successful, intelligent, fun, caring, truly the total package. And sometimes women will talk about men being intimidated by them and I know a lot of people think that’s just ego talking, but I don’t know how else to explain it.

Are men truly that threatened by a woman who knows her own worth? Who insists on being treated like the Queen she is? And if that’s the case, where have we gone so horribly wrong? Because she’s exactly the perfect embodiment of what every man claims to want. And there she is. Still single, (and not upset about it at all, BTW. Because she is a Queen).

Some part of me wants to shake every man within a certain radius and tell them to wake the hell up, your dreams are waiting; right.over.there! so why aren’t you talking to her? Part of me instinctively knows the futility of this.

I don’t know what else to do so I pray. I hope. I wish. I want to believe. And I wish her to have all the happiness she spreads to others so effortlessly.

But on a fundamental level, this whole phenomenon just challenges my concepts of life and love in some really difficult ways.

I don’t know where to go with that, or how to make peace with it.

I Will Try To Fix You

There are moments when I look at all the incredible women in our group and I feel so confused. I’m not sure why they are single. If I were a man, there really isn’t a one I wouldn’t find remarkable and want to get to know better, so why? Why are there so many men who just sit on the sidelines?

In those more jaded moments I’ve joked that I should create an app called trophy wife rehab. Maybe all we need is a man with the means and a high novelty seeking quotient to get us back on track. We’re badass, cute as hell, maybe a little nip/tuck, a personal trainer and a chef to come in a couple of times a week to shop and prep healthy meals, and we’d be set. And if the guy moves onto the next woman, who cares! We’re already right where we want to be.

Yes, it’s ridiculous and a little sexist and highly offensive. But I’d probably jump at it (or better yet, a marriage proposal from a nice Canadian gentleman, because appropriate health care is really all I’m after). Every woman I’ve mentioned it to laughs and says “sign me up!”.

It lifts my spirits in the moment. It’s always good for a laugh.

But there’s an undercurrent there that I’m very uncomfortable with, and terribly confused by.

I wonder, in a world where all anyone wants is to be loved just for who they are, why do we chase such superficial relationships?

Why do we demand for ourselves what we refuse to offer to others?

Am I the only person flummoxed by this dichotomy?

You’re One Of My Kind

I always joke my type never asks me out.

This is my type (my apologies to his lovely fiancee, and best wishes for their future).

I’m usually asked out by this type.

Which, cool, how someone looks is pretty darn close to the bottom of my list.

But I know there must be the male equivalent of me out there, who’s list of priorities is a lot more about the quality of time we spend together and a lot less about conventional ideals of beauty.

At least in theory.

The thing is, where exactly would one find such a person? Tinder? Right. Pretty much all dating apps are out, and they are a narcissist playground anyway. Speed dating? Probably not, for many of the same reasons. Our singles group has been a great blessing, but Denver has all the image/body consciousness LA gets accused of, and little of the diversity or body positivity. I love watching love blossom all around me, I’m open to finding it for me, and yet it’s highly unlikely in that group.

At least not the kind of relationship I’m holding out for.

I had been caught up in this cycle of dating just to keep honing my “be more social” skills but I just can’t anymore. I don’t think it’s fair and I don’t think the benefits outweigh the costs.

But it begs the question, in a world where so many of us are average, why is it that most resources are directed toward the already extraordinary? Why do the rest of us feel the need to sideline ourselves as if we don’t belong? As if we don’t have just as much right to pursue happiness?

What nonsense.

Be loud and proud, folks. Whatever your quirks.

Everyone has them.

If You’re Ever In A Jam, Here I Am

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Being an introvert and a little too comfortable being an introvert, I don’t make friends easily. The raging case of RBF I’ve had since who knows when doesn’t help.

So I’ve been a little taken aback at how many friends I’ve made in this singles group. I’m just not generally the type to reach out to others. I always look around a room and think everyone is better looking, more entertaining or smarter; so I figure who would want me to send them a friend request? Thankfully this group has decided not to stand on any kind of ridiculous formality, and they’ve reached out to me, or I’d still be hiding in my cozy little hidey hole.

I’ve had to grow and stretch and learn to be a bit more social of a social introvert, and it’s good for me. Not always comfortable, but I have to admit I needed to do some growing and stretching.

There’s one friend I’ve made that has restored me in ways others couldn’t. Probably because we’re alike in many ways. We are both people who deeply care about others, we see the best in them, are nurturing and protective, probably to a fault. We both have a dark side, and neither of us is afraid of it. We just choose not to cultivate it. But it’s there, and can be called upon if the need arises. Since we don’t live in a preschool storybook, sometimes the need arises. But there is a peacefulness to be had when you acknowledge your darkness while choosing the light. You know that you have the tools to do what needs doing, but you also know you needn’t fear getting carried away or taking up permanent residence, because the light truly is where your heart lives.

But we humans tend to fear darkness, for good reason. Not everyone with a dark side chooses the light, or uses it for a greater purpose. There aren’t many Gray Jedi, there are too damn many Sith. So those of us with a dark side tend to hide it. Some for nefarious reasons, but for the two of us, it’s really not representative of who we are, so why go advertising a side of us 99% of people will never see?

But this is the power of those kindred spirit friendships. When the parts of you that are too vulnerable or protected to show, and you recognize that in each other. It’s a heady feeling to let your hair down and just admit the truth. Not with words, but with the things you don’t skirt around. The things you own, unflinchingly. Particularly when that other soul is such a beautiful one.

When you feel lost and you aren’t sure if up is still up or if right has suddenly become left, finding someone to join you in your center is such a relief.

And As The Years Go By

We are the unlikeliest of friends. I’m not the only (or first) person to make that comment. It’s undeniable on the surface.

He’s the classic BMOC, he’s smart (brilliant actually in a Will Hunting sort of way, although it’s not the first thing you notice about him); successful, he has a smile that lights up any room. He’s the center of any crowd; he’s the glue that holds many diverse personalities together. More than that, he’s the secret ingredient that makes them all blend harmoniously. He’s the definition of gracious, in spite of his frequent reminders that he has no filter. He can say things nobody else would ever get away with because you see his heart, it’s right there on his sleeve. He can be a mischievous imp, but he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He’s also the man in our singles group who tends to have many eyes following him. Not that he notices.

I am not the see or be seen type. In fact, if there’s a plant to hide behind, a dog to pet, or a child to chat with, I’m happier than a pig in, well, you know. I’m a social introvert. I’ve been accused of being an ambivert, but that’s not quite true. I love people. I enjoy getting to know them, I love nothing more than talking to someone, and trying in little snippets of time to heal their wounds, to see the things other people miss, I think people are for the most part heartbreakingly beautiful; but I have my peopleing limits and it doesn’t take me long to reach them; and then I need to retreat to a cold, dark room and pretend the outside world doesn’t exist for a while. Kind of an odd trait for a person who loves being a rideshare driver, right? Yeah, I haven’t quite figured that out myself.

So not exactly two people who would seem like they’d become great friends, right?

I’ll sum it up for you in just a handful of letters.

ENFP/INFP

We met on the heels of similar personal disasters. I’m not particularly skilled or gifted or successful at anything, but the one thing I say I do well is love. And I am good, I guess, at reframing things. For helping people connect dots they might not otherwise see. We’ve all been hit by that hurricane relationship that leaves you breathless by the side of the road wondering what the hell just happened; and when you’ve landed in another country and you don’t speak the language, your odds of piecing together where you are and how to get back to where you were (if that’s even possible, which, it isn’t) are slim to none. For months we talked almost every day. In part because I was able to help him figure out where he was, and since going back wasn’t a desirable (or available) option, how to go home again.

He’s courageous in a way few people are. In an odd way, some of that is fear. Who wants to keep hurting when you’ve just been mortally wounded. It’s an evolutionary imperative to stop the bleeding. But few people have the courage to turn in the face of such assaults, draw that line in the sand and stand there saying “cross it one more time…”. So we wandered that path together, both of us unafraid to look pain in the face, because continuing to hurt like this was not an option.

You can’t share that kind of experience and not forge a rare bond. The fact that we’re both a little empathic, both lean towards the live and let live side, the fact that my barely there filter sometimes rivals his nonexistent one. I could go on, but the moral of the story is your mother was right when she told you never to judge a book by it’s cover.

We’ve become friends. Maybe even family. I’m not sure I have a label that can really encompass the place he has in my heart and my life, but can say I have few friendships I cherish as much as this one.

The fact that on the heels of tragedy comes the most beautiful of blessings is one of the reasons I haven’t become hardened. The beauty is always there, if you stay open to seeing it.

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