Lately, I’m scaring myself. Lately, the corners of me that saw only the good in people, my optimistic lens is fading fast. My positivity, the inner tidbits that used to make people roll their eyes at what they called naïve now feel foreign to me, as if I can identify with my criticizers quicker than I can identify with myself. A thousand tiny little hurts that I’ve for some reason decided are worthy of space in my heart are starting to take their toll. As much as I love my internship, working with this population is harder than I imagined. People I trusted keep letting me down. I’m impossibly hard on myself. I want to believe in love and commitment, in kindness and humanity, but it’s hard. I’m afraid, lonely, tired and I miss my best friend. I’m jealous, insecure and vulnerable. And I’m admitting all of these things out loud on the internet.
A lot of the people in my real life don’t understand blogging (well let’s say they don’t understand PERSONAL blogging) and a few have even called it quite narcissistic. They don’t understand why I feel the need to post my inner feelings for strangers to read. But for me, blogging isn’t just about me sharing my thoughts, it’s about reading the thoughts from others that make me feel a lot less alone. I’m in a sad place today- shit, I cried before I had my morning coffee. And all these thoughts keep running through my head- “Happiness is a choice!” “Snap out of it!” “Think about Japan right now, you selfish bitch” “I think it’s time to go back to therapy”. And these thoughts and this sadness could have (normally WOULD have) easily taken over my day had it not been for blogging. Had it not been for turning on my computer and finding inspiration from the likes of amazing, strong, awe-worthy women. Words that make it easier to smile and motivate me to genuinely be better.
I have all sorts of pretty pictures of drunken times in Chicago I could post here today. I could gush about macaroni and cheese pizza, my new obsession with Goose Island 312 or how wonderful it was to spend time with MC’s brother and his fiancé. And all of those things truly are gush-worthy, but they aren’t who I am today. So I’ll save that for tomorrow and today just focus on taking each hour at a time, finally bucking up and emailing Molly already, and being thankful for little things, like you know, THE INTERNET.
Big, scary things, vulnerability and why I’ve wanted to bear hug pretty much everyone I’ve encountered since TuesdayPosted: March 10, 2011
Warning: I probably won’t even reread this post after I write it, I just need to express the clusterfuck of emotions that is my brain right now. I apologize that this will not be my best writing, I will probably swear a lot and misspell words. Bear with me. Something happened to MC this week. Let’s call it a health scare. I know my readers are a mix of people who know me in real life and those I’ve met through blogging, and although I’m sure MC wouldn’t mind, I just feel like his news isn’t mine to shout out around the internet. Anyways, this health scare, it scared the fucking shit out of me. You know how you are supposed to be the strong one when your partner needs you? Buck up and swallow shit and not cry, be the shoulder for them to lean on? Well, this week I sucked at that. I did my best to take care of him, but I also cried in the kitchen, in the car, on the couch. I cried in front of him. I was vulnerable and messy and scared and I couldn’t hide it. What it comes down to is that I love this person HUGE, BAT SHIT CRAZY amounts and I am my best self with and because of him. And it fucks with your head when something shitty happens to the person who is your rock when you come home from a 14 hour day, the person who pours you four beers and puts up (and not once stops fucking listening) with you when you gush and/or yell about the obnoxiousness that is your current existence. When you are so dramatic it’s laughable. The person that always ALWAYS encourages you and challenges you and calls you out on your shit so you can be better. When I am with him, I am home. The thought of something happening to him doesn’t register with me, doesn’t make sense to me because it just Cannot. Fucking. Happen. Except, in this silly life, it can. And I am just in the midst of the most humbling, heartbreaking gratitude that this time it didn’t. He is ok. He will be ok. Chicago trip might be cancelled, we will find out today but none of it fucking matters. Not vacations or parties or shitty jobs or the green clothes (so cute!) I’ve packed to wear this weekend. Nothing matters except the people. And MC is my person. I think one of the reasons I am crying at every drop of a fucking hat is that I have never had the beauty of my life slap me in the face quite as hard as it did this week. So many terrible, unexplainable things happen to people every day and I am one of the lucky ones who has this unbelievable support system and all these wonderful people who inspire and love me each day. I have never in my life felt more grateful than I do this week. I am blessed, I am blessed, I am blessed.
Yes, with a capital F.
I’m afraid of lots of things. There’s the ones I’ll say out loud- snakes, heights, death, milk that’s been in the fridge more than a day- and then the ones I’m less proud to claim, the nagging fears that exist mostly just in my head because I’m afraid admitting them makes me weak or alien. The kinds of fears like rejection or being not-good-enough. Aren’t those the ones that are more daunting? The ones we try to deny and make excuses for?
If you are reading this, you may have noticed, I’m back here writing again. (You’re so smart) But wait! Didn’t she write this fluffy post about not having the time, will or drive to blog anymore? I did, and at the time I wrote it, my words were about 60% truthful, but mostly, I was speaking from a place of Fear.
I love writing, I love that it’s a healthy outlet where I can release what I’m feeling and the heavy weight that those feelings can often bear. Unlike exercise and/or sex and/or cocktails, which help me let go and unwind, writing helps me process. It’s therapeutic. It’s why I wanted to start blogging, to have a little space where I am free to get Excited! Or Angry! Or Sentimental! A place where I am free to think and say what I please and maybe find a soul sister or two who understand how I feel and know what the fuck is up. And I can write page after page after page in my Nancy Drew notebook (thanks, Mom) without re-reading or even really stopping and feel proud of it. So how hard could blogging be, right?
Except, wrong. Every time I wrote one single sentence, I turned into this critical demon and gave everything I wrote the stink eye. Instead of my writing helping me to be more self accepting, it was helping me be more self loathing. Why do I continually compare myself to everyone else and decide I’m not good enough? Why is everything pass/fail, win/lose? I’m not trying to be this Great Writer. I’m trying to be a Great Girlfriend, Great Friend, Great Social Worker and if writing will help me become those things, maybe it’s time I work on letting go of my fear.
I am just Garnet and I write run on sentences sometimes and I have no idea how to tweet or take pretty pictures. I’m usually the last person to find out about a new wave of technology and I haven’t seen the majority of movies, classic or brand new. I fall down a lot and tend to leave my laundry on the bedroom floor. I don’t have amazing stories of traveling the world or a baby or a business. What I do have is a heart the size of Texas and I’m not afraid (anymore) to use it.
So, I’m giving this another stab, I’m going to try to tackle this a different way, and not let go even if I’m feeling particularly ugly at some points. Do I feel a little foolish? Hell yes, but I’d rather be an idiot than a coward.
Here I am (again), nice to (re)meet you. Wouldn’t you know? I’ve missed this.
How wonderful it is when you put yourself out there and ask for help and find you receive an enormous amount more support than anticipated. When you realize that sometimes saying “I can’t do this on my own” is the bravest thing one can do.
How frustrating it is when you find yourself feeling ugly emotions like jealousy and anger, emotions that you try to live without. How hypocritical it is to want to devote your life to helping others, but sometimes just want it to be fucking about you.
How sad it is when the people closest to you disappoint you in ways you didn’t think they were capable of. When walls so carefully pieced together and built up get torn down in the wake of a great love, leaving you willingly, blissfully vulnerable and all the more shocked at the indescribable pain when they burn you.
How disheartening it is when you are so close to reaching a goal only to realize that it is only step one of your dream and you don’t feel like you have the money, resources or strength to move onto step two, three and four.
How funny that an email from a stranger can make you feel a little less alone and a lot more understood.
How easy it is to think you know better, to make judgments and assumptions. Easy to forget the way you behaved when you were in that boat, easy to say for certain how you would act presented with a particular circumstance. How easy it is to forget how much it stings when you are the one who’s judged.
How important it is to remember each person has a unique story and struggle, and that at times decision making is effected by circumstances and their environment, that you’ve never walked a mile in their shoes or been dealt the hand they are playing.
How refreshing it is to spend an evening around a dinner table where political banter includes just as much laughter as it does yelling. Where differences and opinions make the wine and warm dinner that much more flavorful; where regardless of whether or not you think someone’s viewpoints make them an imbecile, you still could not love them more.
How incomparable it is to be in love with a person who is not afraid to call you out on your shit, tell you he doesn’t agree with you and here’s why, a person who challenges you. A person who does not complete you, but rather compliments you. A person who reminds you exactly who you are and what you are capable of when you think you’ve lost your way.
How scary it is to think you are making this person too much of your whole world, that you’re invested so deeply that should it fall apart, your heart would be shattered, your soul damaged. How much does it speak to your relationship that the risk is insignificant to you.
How misunderstood do you feel when the people you love don’t love each other.
How helpless does it make you feel when someone you love is in agony and you can’t find the words to say or thing to do to make it better.
How liberating it is to have things that are only yours, to be able to own your choices regarding money, beliefs, sex. How lucky it is to have a home, a safe haven, with heat and food. How fortunate it is to have a car, how blessed to be able to vote.
How ironic it is that an individual can simultaneously be a hero to one person and considered someone of low moral standing to another.
How confusing it is to feel so many of these things at once.
Prompt: Someone who has made your life hell or treated you like shit
There’s this fucking bitch I know who likes to come around from time to time and ruin my day. She verbally abuses me, tells me how incapable I am, makes me doubt everything I’ve worked and am working for. She makes me feel as though if someone or something wants me, it’s not worth having. Nothing prestigious or valuable should ever be trusted in my hands.
She is not my mother, my friend or my co-worker. She is yours truly. I am my own worst critic, my harshest scrutinizer. I have driven myself to eating disorders and anxiety attacks, given up on things I would have succeeded in had I stuck it out. My self doubt, this ugly, ugly side of me, has made me scared to proceed with things I want in my life for fear of failure. For far too long in my life, I would listen to her, let her shape me, stunt me. Not any more.
She’s a bitch, but I don’t think she’s going anywhere. I have learned, and am continually learning, how to deal with her and use her as an asset instead of a source of fear. I’m not sure my self doubt will ever make a smooth transition to confidence and complete feelings of self worth, but I am learning to use my doubt as a challenger. Because let’s face it, there’s nothing more fucking annoying than someone telling you that you can’t do something. I am learning to channel my doubt and turn it into motivation, to dare me to defy myself. The more I rebel against her, the less control she has, the more I accept that she ain’t leaving, the less I will pay attention to her.
She does give me hell, she does treat me like shit. But the big fuck you I get to give her when I prove her wrong is worth all of her bullshit and more.
Topic: Life Goals
Prompt: Something You Hope You Never Have To Do.
I never wanted to work at a job I can’t stand because it pays the bills, but here I am. I’ve never wanted to be a person who judges others, but sometimes I can’t help it. I never wanted to have to feel the indescribable pain of a broken heart, or to cause that type of suffering on another person, but both those things have happened. I never wanted to have to see a psychiatrist, but once upon a time, I had weekly appointments. I never wanted to lie, to myself or anyone else, but at times, I have. I never, ever wanted to put my needs before the needs of someone I love, but I’ve been there. I never wanted to be the girl who overdraws her checking account instead of building her savings, but she comes around from time to time. I never wanted to have the stress that comes along with a shitload of debt, but student loans will do that to you.
I never wanted to do a whole plethora of things. But am I guilty as charged? Absolutely.
There is a difference between what you don’t want to do in life, and what you can’t do. Circumstances can make you feel like you’ve been backed up against a wall, and sometimes you opt for the less than desirable choice. (And sometimes you make an entire slew of poor choices. It’s ok, I promise, you’re only human.) Sometimes you move on effortlessly, sometimes guilt and regret will continue to fuck with you long after the lessons been learned. The way I see it, you almost always, always, always have a choice. The funny (and at times morbidly depressing) thing about growing up, is that you realize that often your selection, preference, habit, decision, WHATEVER, is something you swore to yourself you would never do. Everything from your taste buds, to your idea of a rocking Saturday night, to your life passions are all subject to change. Growing means evolving, and you often find yourself far from where you started and far from where you thought you’d be, sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the greatest.
If I had written about this a year ago, my never-will-I-ever would have been children. I did not want babies, no way no how- pregnancy? Yuck. Maybe it is just me evolving, or it could be because I am tied (both emotionally and geographically) to a man who I know in my heart I will never not love (and who also happens to be fucking adorable with kids) or possibly I’m just a stereotypical broad with one of them built in clocks. Regardless, now I’m starting to see myself in 10 or so years, cause Lord knows I’m not gunna be ready any time remotely soon, wanting a family. I want the swing sets and the siblings bickering, the traditions passed on, goodnight prayers said.
I hope to never have to do lots of things in my life; there are choices I pray to God repeatedly to never have to make. I acknowledge that there are many times where I simply will not have a say in the matter, the only decision I get to make will be how I will react. My pleasures, viewpoints and desires may flourish or digress, I may feel lost if at times the girl I was once is not the woman I became. My never-will-I-EVERS might become items crossed off a life list. And that’s okay, that’s life. My one hope though, the one thing I never want to do is to live a selfish, unexamined life. To not care or acknowledge the repercussions of my actions. If at the end of the day, I haven’t done that, I think I’ll be able to like the woman in the mirror.
“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” Catherine Ponder
Topic: Forgiveness Part 2
Prompt: Something You Have to Forgive Someone For
My mom took this workshop on anger, healing and the power of forgiveness. No, I am not kidding, and I actually wished I was able to take it with her. To be able to openly share ideas, experiences, struggles and fears with active listeners chewing over the same thoughts makes me pee my pants excited. Over wine and sushi one night, ma dukes rehashed the details of the course and how invaluable it was to her because of the lessons and messages she came away with. One analogy she shared sticks out more prominently to me than the others: “Holding on to hurt and anger towards someone is like drinking poison every day, and expecting the other person to get sick.” The focus of your anger has likely moved on, dealt with whatever action hurt you so badly and come to peace with it. Maybe they’ve had the strength to apologize, maybe the two of you will likely never speak again and they’ve used their mistake as a lesson, a model for right versus wrong in the future. Regardless, the only person you are hurting when you harbor all that negativity is yourself.
What makes it easier for some people to forgive than others? Is it an open heart, a positive attitude, self-reflection, a decision? Or is it the circumstances attached to the forgiveness? Does a betrayal hold more weight than another type of let down? Does the motive make a difference? I believe that these factors and so many others can make it difficult or easy to forgive, but ultimately, forgiveness is a choice.
Forgiveness is an act of love, willingness to put aside differences, to acknowledge although actions speak louder than words, single actions do not always define who a person is and genuine apologies from the heart can carry as much weight as words that have hurt you.
I’ve been searching the archives in my brain, digging out old hurts and wounds that have been sewn up by friends and MC and Oreos. I’ve been contemplating and analyzing, mulling over my definitions of forgiveness and the healing process and why humans all handle things so damn differently. And what do I have to show for it? I gotta say, other than some petty shit I need to tackle, my “Need to Forgive” folder is pretty sparse. I don’t blame my parents for my fuck ups or issues, I’m friends with my ex-boyfriends, I find it refreshing and necessary to make peace. I can forgive, it’s the forgetting part that I need to step up my game with.
I cannot tell you my personal story. I know, I know, this project is supposed to be about telling the truth, putting it all out there, but this isn’t just my laundry to air out, only my truth to tell. Sharing the story would do no more than stir up negativity and hurt, effects I don’t wish to come out of my writing. Let’s just say it happened a long time ago and it was dealt with and put to bed. Supposedly.
I’ve forgiven, but I can’t seem to forget. The “what ifs”, the humiliation creep back in every so often and I ponder whether or not it can or will happen again. I am holding myself back, not letting the water truly flow under the bridge, by remembering. I’m not suggesting going all Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or attempting to repress shit, but it isn’t necessary to go back to this series of events or to continue to let them shape my ideas. My personal growth is being stunted because even though I’ve forgiven, I’ve yet to put it out of my mind.
New personal goal: Learn from situations that caused me pain, allow myself a cycle of hurt and healing and then move on, fully. Treat others who have wronged me with the compassion that the people I’ve have wronged have shown me. Come to terms and make peace with others and myself.
“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.” -Elvis Presley
I came across a brilliant writing project on Hope’s blog today, and it was just too delicious not to copy. Thanks dahhling : ) The rules are to tell the truth for 30 days, each day about a different topic. The full list can be found here.
Feel free to contribute, enrich the project. I want to hear your thoughts, how you feel on the subject matter, either pertaining to my life or your own. I would feel blessed to hear your story.
I’ll go in the given order, I think that’s important. I feel that some days will be a lot harder to write than others, therefore I don’t want to pick and choose–that would be cheating. I might not write every day, and I might throw in a post or two in between days, but I’ll pick up right where I started, promise.
So…without further ado…
Hate: a special kind of love given to people who suck. *
Prompt: Write Something You Hate About Yourself
I hate the irony of “hate” being the topic for the first day. I hate that I have been focusing on all the things I hate about myself for months, years now. I hate that I’ll probably have to cut myself off from typing the full list of everything I hate about me, that tomorrow’s “What do you love about yourself?” will be a great deal more difficult to write. I hate that it’s so hard for me to recognize a talent, so easy to spot a flaw. I hate that I am terrible with money. I hate pretty much every single part of my body, from my ears to my thighs to my voice. I obviously hate my anxiety. I hate that I have a problem saying no. I hate that I don’t speak my mind at times for fear of hurting someone else, instead accepting the hurt myself. I hate that I am overly sensitive. I hate that I make the time to volunteer, to sleep in, to get drunk, but don’t make the time to visit my grandma because it makes me sad and uncomfortable. I hate that I get jealous. I hate that I never fold/put away all my laundry. I hate that I slouch. I hate that I talk with my mouth full. I hate how awkward I get first entering a new situation or meeting new people, how ill at ease I am in my own skin. I hate that this is continuing to hold me back.
Vent it if you got it. Anything you hate about yourself?
So, from the outside I look better right? I wear makeup and do my hair, laugh wildly as I sashay across rooms in dresses reserved for the confident girls. Its been years since my period stopped, the depression began and my daily calorie intake was somewhere below 500. Years since I stopped wearing baggy clothes, repeatedly promising myself that if I’m “good” today then tomorrow I can wear a fitted top. Years since my biggest self accomplishment was passing on birthday cake. Years since two-a-day workouts leaving me too exhausted to even make it to the shower.
So when do I start to feel better?
The visits to the therapists are no more, the symptoms are merely haunting memories, but will the plaguing thoughts ever stop? I’ve long ago recovered physically from anorexia, so how long until I recover mentally?
My mind is far too often clouded with heavy layers of insecurity mixed with doubt and fear. I think about other girls. Not even girls, women. Strong, confident women who use their flaws as assets, who broadcast their opinions without abandon, who admit when they are wrong, but refuse to apologize for who they are. Bravery and honesty are found next to their names in the dictionary. I hate that I am not one of those women and I hate that I am not sure if I ever will be.
I have to believe that it will get better; I must convince myself that this is not how I will forever feel. I have to believe it because it’s weighing on my spirit, slowly but surely, little by little. And I can not, I will not, I refuse to be broken, not by this.
“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure” –Peter Marshall