9/19/15

I struggle assimilating into female culture. I struggle assimilating with people my age. So far there’s a lot of struggle with friends. I do have friends, don’t be confused but I’m not sure how to make new ones without a common interest.

There are girls who have no trouble

As soon as I find someone on the same maturity level, I find out they’re w

Rumi always taught me to break things down

Do I pick male relationships and friendships because I know they will end? Is it some form of self destruction? Is it to punish myself, ensuring that eventually they either fade away or destroy me, so that I’m stuck in a constant cycle of grieving? Is it that I am obsessed with feeling pain or going totally numb?

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I have lately been trying to cultivate my female friendships. This sorority has opened up doors for me in a way I never knew or thought possible. Everyday that I talk to a sister, I realize I’m missing the guidebook that most girls learn throughout their lives. I think that scares me. I always keep everyone at arms length. I do my best to be authentic and genuine but sometimes its necessary to smile and nod with everyone else because their nuances I don’t understand yet.

I find that when I choose a male friend, I already know what kind of personality they have from the moment I decide to invest energy in that relationship. When I find a female friend, I stand guarded, as if preparing for battle. I can feel this rustle of dragon armor, alerted by any possible action out of place.

I think that’s why I’ve avoided them for so long.

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It only just dawned on me that it’s not that women aren’t good friends and I’m saving myself from inevitable pain. Female friendships are potentially lifelong in a way that scares me. I’ve only ever had lifelong friends in family members. Except for the occasional boyfriend, I’ve only ever left myself raw with my sister.

I had one best friend in high school that was a girl. We were so close it was like family. I never worried about judgement or anything like that because we were so open with each other, we had no fear. And then something changed, I think it was just a natural progression of growing up, and I never really got over the idea that every future girlfriend would be some sort of backstabber or painful enemy. Weirder still as that even that specific best friend and I never really stabbed each other in the back, we just went our separate ways.

I know how to deal with break ups on some level. I’ve never dealt with any intensely long term ones but the few men I’ve loved, I’ve loved more deeply than I think I’ve let myself feel for my friends. It’s like wild abandon when I fall in love, both freeing and unbelievably merciless. It may be cheesy but it’s totally like the buildup before a roller coaster. My heart unfolds like a lotus releasing water and slowly builds up to a strong exterior.

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It’s like I decide to let all the men I love be the ones with the power to heal me. In the end they’re the only ones I let in. And for the longest time I had always chalked it up to mommy issues and even though that may be true, is that the whole truth? Have I been slowly convincing myself that I should live alone quietly just to avoid peace and happiness? I definitely hesitate more when I think about going out with girlfriends one on one. My first thought is always, what will we have to talk about? What if they don’t like me? What if I say something stupid or there’s a lull in the conversation? What joke will I make then?

My last relationship was a doozy. But it also taught me a lot about dealing with manipulative people and so for that, I am grateful to have felt the pain. But what about with women? I’ve had girlfriends in most of my life and while we weren’t exactly sisters, we got pretty close. And then something would happen, so and so talked crap about this or blah blah hooked up with this guy and people would disappear and it felt petty but I’m realizing slowly, that stuff does matter. It’s important to know where your loyalties should lie and it’s important to also build up those kinds of skills in yourself. I thought they were petty because I’ve always been a fiercely loyal person, except I’ve made mistakes in the past too and people learn at different paces.

So then I realize that my role in most relationships has been “the mother”. Which is definitely something I’ve been working on. I do not wish to mother anymore. So if I can’t mother, what the hell do I do? What other role is there?

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I don’t even know what positions to apply for. I think back on qualities of friends I’ve observed and I get most of my information from books and movies. I observe as much as I can in real life situations but it doesn’t always apply because I haven’t memorized the moves yet.

I have a friend I want to let in. She’s the most terrifying adventure on the horizon. It’s so silly but I can feel it, we could be friends for a ridiculously long time. Like really, really good friends. So why does that scare me so much?

It’s taken me several months of dipping my feet in the pool to prepare myself to jump in. I’ve set it up next semester so that I’m hugely involved in all of the events and I’ve joined this suicide prevention organization that will be working on campus too to help remove the stigma associated with depression. This means lots of working one on one with feelings and listening and lots of sisterhood commitments. I’m taking Tai Chi right afterwards and I feel like that’s going to be my favorite class. I know that all of this will work its way out and I can feel time slowly peeling off layers on my exterior. I always thought you had to heal something from the inside out for it to feel better. I think I really needed to do that for a while. Now, I’m going to try something different.

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Weird places to find blessings

It’s been a while since I posted anything. Largely because school has completely taken over my life as it has for a long time. I never thought I would ever tire of learning and I haven’t really but I have tired of the bureaucracy of trying to get a diploma. Had you told me that it would take me this long to finish school even a couple years ago, I would’ve laughed. I’m not a patient person by nature (as much as I constantly attempt to hone this particular art form) and I don’t think I’ll be done with school until I’m well into my late 20s. Hurrah for education!

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I write because of something semi related but also completely unrelated. I decided when I started school that I wouldn’t become involved with anyone seeing as I really need to spend these next few years developing my skills as both an artist and as an individual. But of course, hormones have their own way of overpowering the spirit.

I found this guy in ceramics class who I’m not really sure why I became so intrigued by him, but I did. And this was definitely reciprocated. He walked me home after classes, texted me everyday, made plans for the days we didn’t see each other. He invited me camping post-election to escape the craziness of the whole debacle. I couldn’t go but I really wanted to. My sorority duties and friendship ones had taken up my entire weekend and I didn’t want to disappoint the three separate birthday girls I’d promised to celebrate with. Rightly so if you ask me. I’m learning how to be a reliable friend even if my every fiber wants to take a spontaneous camping trip to go shoot off rockets somewhere in the desert. Because yes, that was the event: amateur rocket launching in the desert whilst also camping with my crush to escape a republican dominated election. How much better does it get than that?

Suffice to say, I began developing feelings for this genuinely good man. He would spontaneously invite me over to make me dinner or try a new bottle of wine (which I knew he only bought for me because there’s always a ton of beer in the fridge). He picked romantic comedies when I suggested comedies or action movies (which I love so it wasn’t some sort of sacrifice or anything). We really only fooled around and kissed and I slept over a couple times just to be in his arms.

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It was really sweet and felt totally right.

But then he started getting distant, using distancing language and responding less and I couldn’t really understand what was going on. Yes, things had moved quickly in that short span of time where we started getting close but it also seemed like we were just kind of getting to know each other in a truly exciting and authentic way.

I started feeling like I was missing a big chunk of the picture and that’s when he called me his “friend”.

Nope.

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I’ve done the whole being strung-along for forever thing, I’ve done the unrequited thing, I’ve done the I-don’t-want-to-press-the-issue thing. I’ve done a lot of those and I discovered no matter the ending, they all fucking suck. My feelings are always hurt in the end and I’m not a doormat anymore. I have evolved.

So I built myself up and I totally asked him directly: “hey, so what is this?” I explained all the mixed signals and all the feelings and things I’d developed and I knew it was really early to ask these things but fuck the waiting bullshit and I sort of just became a I-press-the-issue sort of girl in that moment.

And then he told me he was emotionally unavailable and I should date someone else if they ever came around and were awesome and he apologized. I felt like a bag of crap and I definitely cried a little bit as I walked home, totally confused.

Being the gentleman that he is, he texted me when I got home (we’re neighbors by the way) and explained how he never meant to lead me on and that I wasn’t imagining things, we really did have a connection. He said we could still be friends and get to know each other better without all the intimacy because he’s still “finding himself” and all that crap.

What’s weird is I woke up the next morning, post-semi-break-up hangover and felt infinitely better. It was such a weird blessing to have that anxiety off my chest. I hadn’t realized how heavily it had begun to weigh on me. I felt all the little tendrils sort of disconnecting from my heart and even though it still stings, even today, I realized that I had taken back all the power and shoved the ball straight into his court. He wants to be friends? Fuck that noise. You want to be my friend? Prove it.

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Thus far, he’s still pursuing me on and off and it’s annoying because the second I stop thinking about him and refocusing on myself, he texts me or hits me up or snapchats or whatever bullshit friends do to let them know they haven’t forgotten about you. And everyday I think about him less and remember that my original goal had been to avoid this kind of heart hurt in the first place.


So this is my metaphorical pat on the back for standing up bravely against potential hurt and I implore you, if this ever happens to you, remember that it made me feel SO MUCH BETTER to lay all the cards on the table. Nothing can hurt you if you do everything you can. I hate reading between lines and playing bullshit games just to find out I could’ve saved myself so much energy had I spoken up sooner. Have courage! It totally pays off.

Questions of confidence

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I went through a long period of bitterness when I turned sixteen. It was probably around the same time I began to realize that it would be another ten years before I got to go get ice cream or go shopping or eat a meal with my mother. I think that’s about the time I stopped doing drugs and getting into trouble. There were phases after that where I still did a little e and went to raves or got too drunk at a party; I tried shrooms and dropped acid in the desert, dancing in the light of campfires.

But I stopped needing to feed that empty feeling in my stomach, that part of me that felt like it could never be made whole. That piece that made me angry all the time and made me want to cry or fight or pretty much anything to get the space filled. I know people talk about the emptiness, I know it’s there.

And then a couple years ago, I got over it. I really got over it in the past year or so but I don’t think I blame myself for taking that long. I used to feel guilty when I processed my emotions and I still do sometimes but it gets easier as I grow older, laying down new foundations, brick by brick.

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There have been a lot of shitty guys and friends and even family that have helped pave my existence. Those lessons are very important to me. But even now, I worry that I’ve gotten so obsessed with trying to find good people in the world that I’ve almost chosen to ignore the questionable qualities that crop up just to support my theory. It’s like I’ve collected evidence to support it and I’ve unwittingly botched the results.

Because I can’t figure out why I keep getting involved with the same kinds of people that leave me with the same conclusions in the end. My friends aren’t very compassionate people. They enjoy conflict and harsh words said behind closed doors. They come to me when they need things, never to share. There’s an exclusivity amongst our group that many people outside of it recognize and address. I detest selfish, needy, exclusive people. That’s why I was so grateful to move from Hollywood to Santa Monica, people weren’t as vapid and skin deep.

Am I so wrong to believe that there might be people out there without a constant hidden agenda? Am I so naïve?

I’ve been seeing someone for around two months and I really do enjoy his company. We’ve moved slowly and for that I am grateful. Because today, I see this clearer picture of what the future would look like if we actually dated. And in my gut I know it wouldn’t work out. We are fundamentally different people. I like work, he likes play. I like quiet, he likes to go out. I like sleep, he could care less. And although I can agree that opposites attract, I know that he’d get bored at some point. My gut usually doesn’t lie to me when it finally kicks back hard enough for me to feel it.

To be fair, the last four guys I spent time to get to know were not worthy of my affections. The first attacked my sister and used me for all I was worth and the later three all left me for girls they had been seeing longer than me. So my track record kind of sucks.

And this guy is great, he’s sweet and smart and funny and I genuinely like him but I know he wouldn’t be happy in the end. I can see him wishing I was somebody different, someone who had more friends and enjoyed being out all the time but really I couldn’t think of a better end to an evening than a good book or a favorite tv series marathon. I may be a free spirit but I’m not the wild kind that he craves. And the crazy part is, I fear we’re both stupid enough to see this through, as I watch all the walls I’ve built be burned down and ravaged by tears and disagreements, simple miscommunications that escalate into pointless fighting. And I see resentment and bitterness and hurt words and maybe this is fear talking but I really think it’s just simple common sense.

Do I stay and ride it out, or do I leave before all of these things come into fruition? Because I know they will.

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Slow

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So I’ve been working on taking things slowly with this new guy. Which is pretty much completely new to me and to be honest I feel like a giddy middle schooler who’s dealing with her first crush. We’ve been hanging out for about a month and a half now and last night was the first kiss showdown.

I can’t even believe how fast my heart was beating just because he was holding me on the couch. Normally, I’m the one who isn’t nervous and the guy is the one with the hammering chest. I can always tell because I roll my eyes when I feel it pounding and now It was strangely my turn.

It didn’t feel awkward and I didn’t want to push it because I thought he would do it when he felt like he should and I’m not in a rush because I’m enjoying this exploration regardless of the outcome. I asked him if he’d get weird after this and he kind of laughed it off and we’re still talking regularly and I’ve never had a guy act this genuine. He’s already told his friends about me and I’m even tagged in a photo on his instagram. He’s met my friends which made me oddly nervous and they all really like him too.

And today this guy in the gynecologist’s office asked me for my number which I thought was really odd and all I could say was that was that I was already getting kind of serious with someone and didn’t really think I’d end up out on a date with him. Which is really remarkable to me considering I haven’t done more than get a little frisky with this new guy.

I might’ve been flattered or even kind of inclined to go on this random date (forgetting the strangeness of the circumstances) but really I’m beginning to see all the little steps I used to miss out on unfolding and even if I just get a taste of a real relationship with someone, that’s more important to me than some random guy’s validation. That was really cool for me and I’m thinking about making a mix tape and giving it to him which would be kind of a big deal.

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Take a step back

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           Due to my unconventional upbringing, I’ve had to overcome a lot of emotions on my own. I’ve had to learn how to talk to my feelings to find out what I’m experiencing and how to handle them. I’ve had to make myself feel better by myself. When my sister or my dad tried to help me out when I was younger, I brushed them off. I couldn’t have them near me or help me. I had to be able to do it myself.

            Which I can’t say is a good or a bad thing because I know it worked for me. And over time, I’ve found it easier to reach out and embrace someone when I feel like I need a hug to feel better. But in the end, I know how to bring the peace out from within.

            So it’s hard for me to have patience with people sometimes. There are people in my life that I care for dearly because I have compassion for their oddities, the parts of their personalities that other people cross off as weird or unacceptable. I find those parts endearing. But there are times when those same people I’ve defended so much in the past just push me over the edge. They try and use the times that people have written them off as excuses to never have to change or adapt. They prey on my sympathies and compassion.

            I can’t handle when people don’t want to help themselves. There’s nothing wrong with feeling out of control. There’s nothing wrong with feeling like the walls are crushing you. There’s nothing wrong with the bad feelings because I’ve learned that those are the feelings that let me know when I’m about to come out on the other end a little bit stronger, a little more prepared to handle something worse in the future. And soon enough those little troubles are squashed against my stronger armor. They don’t bother me anymore and that’s the kind of feeling I can’t live without. Knowing I can control myself and my emotions is really important to me even when I feel like I’m spiraling out of control.

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            I had a friend today who was rude to me. When I called him out on it, he reacted defensively and immediately said I was overreacting. Apologies aren’t meant to be debates over the validity of emotion. I’m entitled to feel however I feel. I wasn’t rude, I wasn’t mean, I said nothing out of turn. But he went on to say he was going through an antidepressant withdrawal and he was now experiencing a full-blown panic attack and all that jazz, that he was crying in the parking lot because of me.

            I snapped a little. And I feel kind of bad about it but he quite literally said he had no control over what he’d said to me or how he’d reacted because of something I should have been more sympathetic about. And sure, that’s all fine and dandy and I acknowledge that but I also know he turned a very simple apology into a conversation about his feelings and his reactions to my words. Which ironically enough, was quite the overreaction. If someone offends me, I need to be able to say that without worrying if they’re going to go hurt themselves because of it. I shouldn’t have to apologize for being honest. I shouldn’t feel trapped by my words.

            When it’s time to own up to something, there’s no excuse or justification. It’s just time to be real and accepting of others. And as accepting as I am of him, I’m pretty upset that he keyed a car last time we hung out and was able to chalk it up to his own rationalizations. My sympathies can only be stretched so far before I look at you and want nothing more than to walk away from the anger and find my peace somewhere at the beach or in a great song I blast as I drive along the highway. Because that’s what I have to do when I get angry or sad or just feel out of control, I deal with it in the only ways I know how.

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Impersonalities

        It’s taken me quite some time to understand that I have no personal relationships. Which is really sad considering. The ones I have with family are different. I have about a dozen of my cousins living in my neighborhood, two of which have been sleeping on my couch for the past three weeks. We all played in each other’s yards and houses since birth.

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         I live in my grandma’s old house. It used to be the family hub, all holiday dinners and special events went down in my dining room. When she died there was a lull and quite a bit of drama over family central. The only times we ever saw each other was at funerals which we had a lot of for a while. You could find us gathered around the graves picnicking and taking photos.

         When it comes to relationships and romantic partners, I’m a frigid bitch. And I really didn’t want to think that but honestly if I deny it, I’m a big fat liar too. I sleep with people when I don’t even really know them and it always turns into this awkward and unexplainable kind of relationship. I never know where I stand, what’s acceptable in public, or how they feel about me. I never wait to find out who they are because we either part ways long before that or we spend our time together as strangers. I heard about a couple who’ve been together for twelve years, got married, had kids and yet they still don’t know each other. And that kind of scares the crap out of me.

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         The last guy I was with for an extended period of time, I thought I knew him. Until about a year after things ended my younger sister broke down and told me he touched her. Right under my nose. In my house. On the pullout couch we shared.

         That fucked me up a little bit. She’s pressing charges but only because I kind of coerced her into doing so, which is really messed up considering the circumstances. But there’s no way she’s going to let this hide in the closet like all the other women in my family who never spoke up for themselves. It’s happened to me, my sister, my mother, my aunt, etc. For whatever reason, it doesn’t skip a generation like one would really hope it might.        

         With these new dating apps and websites, social media, texting, all that jazz, come new rules for communication. These strange regulations for expressing yourself, emojis and emoticons that are supposed to do part of the work for you. But there’s just so much deception and miscommunication that I honestly don’t understand. I follow the code but it still has no meaning to me. It’s empty, a lot like the relationships I find myself in.

         Where do you find love in a world where everyone just wants to keep on walking, straight through to the next person? I was in love with my best friend for a long time and I had no idea. I was that girl, so oblivious. And it’s so bittersweet to think about. We talk every now and again but we don’t get to know each other anymore. We’d been friends for a couple years before this but it took me overhearing he and his girlfriend talking about me from the other room that I actually understood what all the late night talks and sleepovers were about. It was my eighteenth birthday.

         Thinking about it now, I’m really stupid. I’m just so stupid. But to be honest I’m really grateful too that I understand this lesson. It’s saved me from making a couple more mistakes in the meantime. He’s got a new girlfriend now and I think he’s pretty much the same.

         So now, I flit from one sexual partner to the next, searching for a guy who sees me how I see myself. And part of me knows that most guys in their early twenties are douche bags and not worth a damn but there’s a part of me that still has hope in the male population. Even after all the burns and bumps.

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