Morning light in view
Bed warm with an empty side, still
Listen for your breath
I find it interesting how things NEVER turn out the way you think they will. I feel like humans spend a lot of time anticipating things and the ease with which they will happen some strange day in the future…
As soon as I get out of school;
As soon as I get into school;
As soon as I get married;
As soon as I get divorced;
Or in my case, as soon as my kids grow up and move out.
I have a relationship history, baggage let’s say. due to the fact that I am apparently old… I have more than the average of marriages/divorces under my belt but that average was from before I was 23, I am a very different person now and like ALL OF US, with what I know now, of course I would make different choices. But then, I made some pretty grown up decisions that have somehow, made my life easier then, and decidedly more complicated now. What vexes me is that I always thought it would be easier now.
What I am finding however, is that most everyone within what I find to be a comfortable dating age range either has very young children or wants to have them. Many who approach me right out the gate make it clear they are looking for a stepmom not a partner per se (mostly the freshly divorced). It is frustrating. Not to mention, the job I have now is less than encouraging when it comes to parenting or co-parenting. I see the worst in people as it relates to parenting and children. So, there is that, too.
I could have more children; if I got a $7,500 surgery or did IVF, I have checked into it, as recently as two years ago. I have been curious about it a long time. I was even going to do surrogacy until I turned 37, which is the magic age that makes it unprofitable. I am at a point in my life, professionally, psychologically, financially, etc. that I would probably be a really good parent (not to say I wasn’t before, but hey money and education really do help.) I envy some of my friends who are just having their first. My family members, too. Meanwhile, I’m expecting grandkids any day, at the ripe old age of 38. But I really don’t think I would want more of my own; that being said…
I’ve never had kids with someone who wanted kids. I’ve never had kids when I wanted kids. I’ve never really co-parented longer than a couple years. It is all very tempting. Truly. I had my tubes tied at 21? 22? because I love kids. I just couldn’t afford more of them and without support, couldn’t parent more than the two I had, alone.
Once upon a time, I thought that would be attractive to someone. No ticking biological clock. No concerns about a pregnancy oops. No reason to use protection in a relationship. You know? Alas.
Instead, I find that really amazing connections and potential connections, are lost because of it. Sigh. Patriarchy wins again. And I didn’t even get to participate in the conversation, it was just a decision they made. (At a point in dating that had I, as a female, brought up having children, I’m sure it would have been weird…)
Men have no real shelf life when it comes to producing children.
*yes, yes, #notallmen are fertile. I know.*
But in general, if a man can find someone to get pregnant, he can until he dies.
We women, we are burdened with the choices that we have to make to raise the kids we have. We bear the main burden and decisions to keep or not keep a child. Yes, men might participate but we bear the brunt privately and publicly. We are burdened with a window of time to procreate.
We are burdened:
Be pretty. Be young. Be fertile. Be smart. Be humble. Be a feminist (but not so much that I can’t open a car door for you or be manly).
Be what I want or need in my idea of how things should be.
I wish people could communicate better, I am very upfront about not looking to have more kids or get married.
Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t, just that I am not looking for that.
There are always ways to make a family. Family isn’t always about marriage or genetic children. And hey! Technology has made all sorts of things possible. People are having children in their 60s. Men are having babies. Nature and technology can find a way.
Meh, I digress. This post wasn’t meant to be about that particular piece. But regardless, of my ability/inability to breed, navigating online dating is much more difficult than I ever imagined.
Maybe I am too hypervigilant. (*Just because I am hypervigilant doesn’t mean I am wrong… Just FYI)
Maybe I am gunshy. Maybe I don’t know the new world rules of what is appropriate now in nonorganic database dating regarding contact, texting, amounts, context. I never really “dated” before. I was married at 16. I have randomly been with other people over the years, but usually it was friends of friends or friends that I became romantically involved with. The first time I online dated, I got lucky. I ended up spending the larger part of 5 years with the first person I dated from okcupid. So, my experiences have been limited. And everyone seems to have a different idea of what “normal” is.
This dating go round, 25% have been amazing, too awesome, probably. 25% have been boring beyond belief. 25% have been aggressive and controlling. And the last 25%? Oh yeah. Sex offender. Woot. Hell of a learning curve there.
Way to go, filters.
So I will just sit here, like the memes say, and wait for mr/mrs right to break into my house, I guess. Huzzah.
*I might have agreed with them in said conversation which never took place. Or maybe I’d have wanted to have a baby. Who knows now.
But you know, I just wanted to know they knew what it felt like to be thirsty. I didn’t want a glass of water.*
Bonus points if you get the reference.
As always, in this non-stop over-analytical brain of mine, I have been pondering a lot of things as of late; mainly the fact that over and over again I am told that I am a narcissist due to my verbal observations that I am the common denominator in all of my failures, from relationships to interoffice communications. I have been reflecting on this a lot, as I was studying for my clinical board exam. (I do not fit the criteria, in case you were wondering).
However I do find that I tend to be a pessimist, I feel paranoid often, and I make trust issues themselves suspicious. It’s a thing. I know it. I have done lots of therapy over the years.
As a teenager, I used to tell people I was bipolar, as if it were a cool thing…something to be proud of that explained how much of a special, creative, and emotional snowflake I was… Not knowing how fucked up that was. Ignorance is bliss right? But I do know that I have occasionally fit the criteria for a variety of personality disorders, namely dependent and/or borderline personality disorder, but they wax and waned over the years to the point that while I may feel it sometimes it is no longer acutely “diagnosable”(sp). I know that is the least professional way to put it but I am not sure how else to word it. Go with me, please.
Many times, I have found that I am jealous of people that are bubbly, happy, ridiculously positive. I have even caught myself assuming that they are less intelligent than I. I mean come on, how can you know what is happening in the world and still be that FUCKING happy? But the world is always fucked up. I have nothing to show that it will ever be anything else. We just have more knowledge of it these days, right? So what is the secret? Mindfulness? Ignorance? “staying present”? How do you get there? I believe that thoughts are things and that aside from being a commercial success, things like “The Secret” have something to them, albeit financially fleecing as they are. That does not mean they are not correct, real, or accurate. If the people getting rich and being successful from sharing this info are doing it, then huzzah, it works? Who knows. But how do you maintain it? How do you stay positive, happy, etc in the life we are given?
It seems to me that there is a common theme throughout all written history of humans, we suck, we are unhappy, and yet, we persist. We run the spectrum, from being capable of the worst things imaginable, to being capable of the most awe inspiring things. I always think of the movie, The Abyss and the part at the end where the distraught aliens decide NOT to annihilate us because of this observation. There is always the question of why, for what, how come, what is the meaning, what is happy, how do you find it, etc etc etc.. I have no illusions of being a special or creative snowflake for thinking about this. I am no narcissist in this regard. But really, how do people do it?
What is THE SECRET?
How do you feel satisfaction and fulfillment in a sustainable way? How do you maintain relationships? Jobs? Sanity?
How do you become a Katie fucking Couric? So maddeningly fucking positive that you can find a direction and impetus in tragedy?
How do you stay in the moment, when everything is distracting you with shiny lights or terrifying depths?
You know, asking for a friend.
I have previously written about loneliness, here. It is interesting to me how loneliness changes and presents itself; and in what situations. I have often lamented in real life and all forms of my “virtual” life that communication is becoming less personal, like AI. No longer are skills like reading people, situations, exchanging energy, gazes that inspired poets, as valued…or learned. There is an entire generation growing up, (socially disadvantaged in my opinion) without making eye contact, without interacting, without the time or distance to be mindful about what they say or how they react to things. We cause ourselves anxiety over not getting likes, not getting responses back, etc. In our effort to feel a part of something, we make ourselves apart. We can be in the same room as someone and not even look at them. Cursory, rote greetings have become a standard. We sit at restaurants with our loved ones and don’t make eye contact… with our lovers, our parents, our kids.
We get some sort of a chemical addiction to the instant gratification… Our Pavlovian response encourages us continue the high… the goddamn blue bubbles of solace. But we may have someone LITERALLY right next to us. And yet, we seek communication from the ether…We have a cognitive dissonance about the links between loneliness and being alone. Because those of us, with the privilege to have technology, have created a culture of slumber parties consisting of a group of adolescents snapchatting each other from the same room, no one looking at the stars unless they can get a pic of them, instagram, pinterest, etc. We are past the point of sexual revolution gratuitous hook ups, online dating, facebooking, pornography, vines, vaguebooking, comparing ourselves to real and imagined foes, stalking, bullying, trolling, sexting, mentally checking out, gaming, hunting, shooting, racing, battling, flying, etc….
It truly makes me very sad. For us all. Now granted, I know #noteveryperson whatever. BUT we are going that way and very fucking fast. I am guilty. You are too. You are reading a goddamn blog that was either in your email, on your twitter, on your facebook, googleplusokcupidpinterestKiKtindergrindrzoosk, whatever the fuck. You didn’t come looking for a blog by Jani B.
I am lonely a lot. And upon a lot of alone and lonely time countered with a lot of around people and still lonely time, I have realized it is not the being alone part that bothers me, it really is the loneliness. When you have an entire manic world in your head to talk to someone about and no one asks. When you spend all day giving and giving to people who are not in a position to give back, and you are spent, lonely. When you have an amazing day and want to share it with ANYONE but all that is available is social media..or yourself… When you are in an office full of people, all day, all week, and unless it is a client or someone needing something, no one talks to you. When you shut off your Facebook and the only people that contact you now are family members wanting to know if you blocked them specifically. I am lonely at times around friends because I am either so up in my own head that I am not really interacting with them or they are so engaged with someone else my introvertedness makes me wilt and seem disinterested.
I have always prided myself on my communication and intuitive skills. Technology however, has made me crazy, made me anxious. I am happy that I grew up in an era where real life communication skills were more important than properly formatted for office politic emails. Back in the good ol’ days when you didn’t abbreviate much and spelling counted, in love letters, gossip notes, poetry, cards, and invitations. When you used words, those oh so important words, combined with physical existence, body language, and observed emotion, not texted emoji.
I think that is why so many elderly couples die so close together or remarry so quickly. The loneliness. So many losses…having someone breathing next to you at night, someone that no matter what is going on out there, you know you have someone to share with here. The loss of that must wreck havoc on the soul, the heart, the immune system. I know what I experience after not having that for a much shorter time than the elderly couple I imagine. I cannot even fathom what it would be like after 30, 40, 50 years.
I fear for the current and future generations. Those with the skinniest thumbs and curviest necks will evolve via natural selection in an unnatural way. Homo Curva. That’s the next evolutionary leap.
Growth is a painful process, this is definitely not a new concept. However, in the course of learning about oneself and how your own behaviors affect those around you, it gives you an opportunity to see the tangible and observable ways that all interactions are cyclical. Energy is an observable phenomenon that can power the light in the darkness, but it can also blow circuits; it just depends on the wattage and capacity.
Ideally in relationships, at least for me, the dyad is a constant give and take. If one person is needing more support, energy, love, whatever, the other person gives it to them with the faith that when the roles reverse, the current receiver will be the giver. When this does not happen repeatedly, resentment builds into all sorts of negative things. Eventually the strain causes a blow out, one you can’t always see, but you can definitely feel. It is at this point that you have to make a decision: increase the size of your breaker or reduce the load on your circuit.
Once you know that things are strained and communicate what the needs are, one would hope that the other half of the circuit would respond in kind to make the adjustments needed so that the cycle continues in a positive way. But often, the other person is simply not capable of giving the energy needed to complete the current cycle. It is what it is.
Love is energy. It is neither positive or negative. It IS an alternating current. When it becomes a direct current, the chance to be shocked increases. Being shocked isn’t always bad, hell, that’s how a defibrillator works on your heart, right?
My power strip is overloaded right now. My heart swells with love and explodes with confusion. It is a very difficult place to be in, this place of understanding and yet, this place of confusion. Process is fucking uncomfortable. Regrets are useless but still valuable tools. “Fear of missing out” is a truly a fear of regret… But if fear is what keeps you from accepting and returning the love that you are actually being given, you have created your own short.
Sometimes you just have to wait for someone to complete your circuit… but first you have to ground yourself.
Rain can bring things back to life…
Rain can also drown them.
All power is an illusion…
Yet energy exchanged freely is tangible.
“Love” can be an adverb, a noun, a verb;
it’s really just like “Fuck.”
Hope can be a welcome gift…
She can and will, also fool you.
One commits to seeing it through,
the other remains righteously based in fear.
A secret can encourage alliances,
concurrently it feeds into concern.
Sunshine is what allows all life,
but the sun can cause also cancer.
Chemo is a curative,
while simultaneously it poisons the body.
Intimacy is not to be forsaken,
dismissed for the idea of “What if..”
Regret can turn to reflection…
Reflection can change your reality.
Emotion influences logic,
logic without emotion is cold.
Opening Pandora’s box gave knowledge and insight,
wisdom not always appreciated.
Patience is a virtue,
but one that can quickly grow sour.
Bitter on the tongue of the confused,
waiting to be swallowed hard by the word…
I am unsure how people repair relationships. I feel like given my path and occupation, I am someone who should know. I can tell people how to do it, via a book and/or my “school learnin” but when it comes to my own, I am not sure. I have always found it relatively easy to remain friends or become friends again with exes; mainly, I believe, because we start out as friends. But I have recently made some decisions that while they have a lot of mitigating circumstances around them, I am feeling regret over most of them. I have written a lot about regret and I work to really not do anything that I will… But, being a human, I fuck up. A lot.
I have been able to reestablish the friendship facet of the relationship in this situation, but after realizing the potential mistake of ending it, understanding the reasons that contributed to the ending of it (I take responsibility for 60+/-% of that ending…), as well as knowing how I feel post-break up and processing, I don’t know how to move forward. I know what I want. I know what I had. I know that it was not how it should have been but it was more than repairable. But of course, me being me, I self-sabotaged. Cause nothing says “Jani” like “Ehhhh this hurts…. RUN AWAY! CUT TIES WITH WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL! DISTRACT! DISTRACT! DESTROY!”
I also find that I make major decisions (that are usually bad in the winter) between December-January. I am not entirely sure this isn’t related to stress at this time of year and/or seasonal depression…perhaps both… but now I sit in a place of limbo and suspended grief. Wanting to fix things but not entirely knowing if I even have the right, to try, to inflict myself upon others…But I also know that couples have gone through much worse and wound up stronger, healthier.
I reflect now on the relationship and see what was missing and how both parties handled it badly, due to both parties not communicating their needs to the other in a timely fashion. It was after the fact that the communication came. And we are in a good place.
But everything else, the future plans, the qualities that we loved about each other, the idiosyncrasies that drove the other crazy but still allowed us to love each other unconditionally, everything else is there, intact. Neither of us are the same, but the core of myself, the core of them, the core of US…the foundation, is there. It’s got a few cracks, but nothing that would be not repairable. We have both forgiven each other. But of course, things are different.
So the question I posit to you, the reader, is when it comes to breakups, if love and abuse are never an issue, can negative things cast positive light on things that need tending? Or is it always an ending? Can you begin again? Not where you left off, because THAT preempted the demise of the relationship, but can a new better relationship be born from the fire and sorrow that was during and post-breakup? Is love enough? Love the verb, not the noun?
I am a very empathetic, intuitive, über feeling, and generally good person. I do my best to understand others and to not cause negative things to happen within them due to my actions or words. This, however, is not always enough it seems. But I am.
I cannot be held to such a standard of knowing all intentions. If you are wanting to talk, tell me. If you are not wanting to talk, tell me. If I am wanting/needing to talk and you don’t want to, I might need to understand why. It is a simple thing. If you simply want the presence of another human, tell me. If I assume you must want to talk and you are not talking, so I talk…Do not assume that I am just telling you about my day or problem or whatever because I need to fill the air with the melodic sound of my voice, give me the benefit of doubt that perhaps I am making an assumption about your intentions and trying to give an opening for you to bring something up. I might base this on nothing or I might base this on what I think is happening or what I feel is happening. I promise I am not “trying to social work you.” I try very diligently to not social work the people I love, but it is kind of difficult to not think in the ways I do now. It is a Pandora’s box situation. I try and I fail. I can ask “Do you want advice or do you want me to commiserate?” but that in itself seems to make people angry. I am more than willing to sit in silence with you, but I need to know that is what you want. I cannot simply know it.
I am an anxious, hyper-vigilant, and sometimes neurotic person. I see things and feel things, KNOW things that may or may not exist in all realities. I have experiences, like us all, that make me jump to conclusions. Granted, sometimes my conclusions go straight to catastrophe planning and risk mitigation. This is an issue, I know. BUT it is also a survival technique. A way that I have learned to survive, emotionally and physically. Maladaptive at times, yes. Controlling at times, yes. But my burden to bear.
When I am given 1000 pieces of a 1500 piece puzzle, I put what I can together and until I know the rest, I use my best judgment to consciously and unconsciously matrix what I see, feel, or hear. I will arrange those 1000 pieces into something that I recognize and understand, until I have the rest of the pieces. I cannot yet handle the missing pieces. My shit, not yours. But what is your piece, your “shit”, is the way that you react to how I proceed. I am only accountable for my own actions, my own words, my intent. I cannot be held accountable for your feelings, your reactions, or how you are impacted. If you assume I am coming at you with ill intent, then you obviously do not know me. I try to anticipate the outcome of all interactions, but alas…
But I am doing my best. And I hope, I assume, I presume, I pray…You are too.