… but I don’t think that makes any of my thoughts less valid.
I’m upset. I feel unappreciated, undervalued, feared, patronized and avoided. I admit: I probably deserve all of these things. Certainly in my lifetime I have treated others this same way and in the very least should expect that others make me feel this way now. But right now I feel as if I am losing my grip on reality. When I explain why I am upset, I am looked at as if I am some ticking time bomb that the listener feels is about to explode. Am I? Sure - I am angry about the given situation, and that is certainly exacerbated by generous amounts of tequila, but is what I am saying really that disconnected from the way that people should generally think?
I work hard. I always have. If there was an expectation, I would make it my mission to exceed it. Still do. I also have a perhaps unhealthy reliance on tangible rewards; I LOVE getting my nails done, I thrive on fancy dinners, and I get immeasurable thrill out of being able to gift experiences to other people whom I care about. And I suffer from wanting and needing these measures of validation even when finances are tight.
Anyway. I place a value on these things. Maybe it’s unfair. But I do. And it drives me CRAZY when other people place no value of appreciation or respect on these earned forms of reward. I was not handed these assets. No one bought me my audio equipment, my computer, my instruments, my office supplies, etc. I had to work for them. And even the smallest $40 chord was still paid for through efforts that existed far before you came into the picture.
I know: placing such high value on material objects is unhealthy and is not the way to be living life. But it extends so much further beyond that. What would I and what DO I give up for you? What have I done and what do I continue to do for you? And you don’t have the courtesy to respect, nonetheless express gratitude, for those material possessions of mine that afford you the luxury of your career - your lifestyle. And more importantly - you don’t pay me the respect of listening to and acknowledging my concerns.
And then there are the parts that are in no way anyone’s fault. It’s today. The truth is - I feel unaffected. In past years, it’s been a hard day when I don’t know what to do. This year - I’ve let go and given up. And yet - a small part of me maybe feels guilty. Should I still be trying? Is there any integrity in that still?
No. There isn’t. That ship has sailed. That love is gone. And there is no point in feeling guilty over not feeling the heartache that consumed you for years. And the truth is - I really don’t feel that heartache. Not one bit. So I guess there is a good side to all of this…
… but I don’t think that makes any of my thoughts less valid.
I was asked a question this morning that I haven’t pondered in a while - but it was a question that used to consume me, one that was really torturous to try and answer.
The question is: When you really love someone, when is it okay to give up?
Well, we know all too well how I struggled with this. How I so ardently felt that the answer was “never” - it is never okay to give up when you are in love with someone.
But see - that is the distinction. I WAS in love with someone. SO in love with someone. And I am not anymore. And it took many years, so many more than expected, several tears, countless songs, dozens of impromptu therapy sessions with poor unsuspecting friends - but I am here. I AM moved on. I once thought that it would never be possible. I thought that the only option was for me to hold on forever, to wait forever, because his love was the only thing that I wanted, and the only love worth fighting for. And it was worth sacrificing anything else to attain.
But stab after stab took it’s toll. I did what I could. I constantly reached out to radio silence. Then I wrote letters to him for a year. Letters that I didn’t send. I wrote songs, songs I knew he would never hear - but I really wanted him to. And then, when he wouldn’t give me a chance to talk to him, to get the closure that I needed from him firsthand, I drove down to see him with all of the letters and songs in tow, and our “Paradise Falls” jar that stared me in the face every day - a reminder of the future we were investing in together. And I showed up uninvited at his place of work, a place I had never before been, and waited until he couldn’t refuse but to give me five minutes of his time.
And that hurt. His refusal to look me in the eyes. The fact that I didn’t recognize him anymore. The belief that underneath all those clothes I did not recognize, behind that cold expression I had never seen before, was the same person that I loved for so long, who loved me for so long, who I still loved immeasurably at that moment. And all I wanted was the simple answer to a question. I know what answer I WANTED to hear, but really, any answer would at least provide me with a sense of closure that he had denied me for so long. After over an hour of my pleading and my tears, he finally looked at me, shed a few tears himself, and gave me his answer - “no”. And that was it. That was all I could do. I handed over all the letters, the jar, the unsent cards, the songs - and told him he could do whatever he wanted with them, but I could not have them anymore.
And that was the end of that. And it hurt for a long time after. A LONG time. But that was just me healing after actually getting the closure that I needed. I saw him once after that. Not by either of our choices. And that was more painful - and maybe it was actually that last time I saw him that allowed me to not be in love with him anymore. It was made so very clear to me that he was not the same person I was so deeply in love with. No - he had become someone new. And there was nothing that I liked about this person.
And then there was the last bit of healing. The healing that came when I found out it was his wedding day. Nevermind the fact that my friends knew and didn’t bother to tell me - that day hurt me unexpectedly. And it wasn’t that I was still in love with him. It was that I was still holding on to the idea that we would have some sort of relationship again. I mean, he was more than my first love; he was my best friend for six years - six very impressionable years. And though I know he would never admit it now, I was his. That doesn’t just disappear. And I thought he would eventually come around and at least want me as some small part of his life again. So that day was me letting that part go as well. It was letting go of the fact that I would never see his family again. A family that I loved as my own. I mean - they were very much my family during the time that we were together. And I saw photos of that wedding, and knew that of my friends who were there - none of them meant anywhere near as much to him in his life as I had. None of them knew his family. None of them could know what it meant to him the same way that I could. And that was the last bit of mourning that there was left to do on his behalf. Letting go of ALL of him. And, just like all those wounds from before, I allowed it to hurt, and then let it go.
So yeah - I think that I have finally arrived where I did not think it was possible to. I am free of him. He can’t hurt me anymore. And more importantly, I’m really truly not in love with him anymore. And THAT’S why it’s okay for me to have given up at this point. Because I’m not in love. If I was - I would argue that I should indeed keep fighting. But I guess when your heart gets stomped on in the same way too many times, that same piece of your heart that you gave away that used to mean so much, that used to be everything - well, somehow it doesn’t carry any weight anymore. I’m not trying to get it back - I know that I never will - but it’s no longer a piece that demands any attention. I have the whole rest of my heart to deal with now.
So yes, I still believe that when you are in love, you should not give up. Love is absolutely worth fighting for. But the heart can be ever-changing. And people do fall out of love. Whether easily, or whether through repeated pains. Moreover, being in love with the IDEA of someone - that is a surefire way to be hurt. Differentiating between the idea of someone and the actual someone is just as important.
At the end of the day, though some may call me a wounded duck, I am immensely grateful for the experience. I can say that I have truly loved, I truly fought for it (I also messed up a lot too), I truly hurt, and I now know the capacity of my heart to not only love (because wow, I really did love), but to forgive, and to move on. And maybe I never will feel that way again. Maybe I will. Or maybe it will be an altogether different feeling with someone new. But I am finally open to the finding. And what a beautiful thing it is to be able to say and mean that after so long.
We make time for the things that matter, right? And time is our greatest asset, our most valued possession. You show something is important by investing the time. Isn’t it that simple?
By the same token, why waste any bit of it harboring anger or frustration? Why waste any of it in inaction, in waiting?
Nothing new. Not at all. But there’s a clarity that comes after the storm. Sometimes it takes completely losing it to find fresh perspective again. The way I see it, there are two paths at this point, reflective of two interpretations of the lesson to be learned. Either one will be a massive improvement from the current road. But the funny this is, I’m going to do exactly what I shouldn’t do, and I’m going to wait. I’m going to let the decision be made for me. See what that feels like for a change.
… the way that the world works in mysterious ways to communicate with us. Or, rather, how we find things out in the world to communicate things to ourselves - things that most likely our subconscious fabricates or forces us to perceive for what it thinks is our benefit.
I need a change. I’ve known this for a while. It’s not a big change, but rather the hardest kind - a small change of the heart. I’ve known I’ve needed to flip a switch there for a while, but this week has really excited me because I think I’m finally making it happen. The great thing about hitting rock bottom is there is only one way to go.
And just as I’ve made the decision, it starts to rain. Really rain. And at the same time, I discover a song that I’ve probably heard before, but never really listened to. It comes on a random shuffle as it’s raining, and it states:
I wanna darken in the skies
Open the floodgates up
I want to change my mind
I want to be enough
I want the water in my eyes
I want to cry until the end of time
I want to let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down
Let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down tonight
I hold on to worry so tight
It’s safe in here right next to my heart
Who now shouts at the top of her voice
Let me go, let me out, this is not my choice
And I always felt it before
That the world was filled with much more
Than the drowning soul I’ve learned to be
I just need the rain to remind me…
And it’s been on repeat on my stereo, in my car, on my mind ever since. This is it. This is happening now. I am changing my mind. I am enough.
I am enough.
I am making a brand new ground.
And I’ve never been so in love with the rain.
I’m finding every reason to be gone
There’s nothing here to hold on to…
Every now and then, without realizing it, I’ll sing lyrics over and over in my head. Then when I stop to think about what it is I am singing, it really hits home. Amazing how music can be so deeply lodged that it’s almost subconscious - and it surfaces when that feeling or emotion is present, even if you’re not actively thinking about it.
I’ve been feeling extremely disconnected recently. Grappling and grasping for something - anything - any one solid thing that will make be feel grounded, make me feel at home. I’m tired of feeling lost, feeling like I’m wandering, feeling like I’m searching. I want to be certain for once. And I want people to be certain about me.
How do you flip that switch? I feel as though I’m trying all the wrong things.
There’s nothing here to hold on to…
Could I hold on to you?
Can’t really get away with not doing a New Years post. I’m not going to go and look back at last year’s, even though I probably should.
There are a whole multitude of things that I am thinking right now, that I am reflecting on from the last year and the years before - and really, at the forefront of my mind is only one thought: it’s all in the past. It doesn’t matter if I had the highest of highs or the lowest of lows. There’s only forward. And all I can do is make the most of each day as they come to pass. And make sure that not a single one is wasted.
So with that in mind, I wish everyone a happy new year full of health, happiness, discovery, joy and, most of all, love. Bring it on, 2013!
I’d very much like to not be disappointed anymore, but I realize at the heart of it, the constant disappointment is my own fault. The timing of this passage could not have been better.
One day a philosophy professor brought a large glass jar and some beautiful river rocks to class with him. “Raise your hands when the jar is full,” he instructed his students, and he began putting the big rocks into the jar. Soon the lid would no longer fit, and all the students raised their hands to indicate the jar was full. The professor then pulled out a bag of smaller black and white pebbles and poured them into the jar. As the pebbles rolled down, they filled in the little gaps between the big river rocks. The students smiled and raised their hands. This time the jar was completely full. Then the professor produced a bag of sand and began pouring it into the jar. When the sand had filled the tiny gaps between the rocks and the pebbles he triumphantly placed the lid on the jar and asked his class if the jar was now full. They all clapped and agreed, “Yes, it is full!” At that point, the professor opened the lid and slowly poured two cups of coffee into the jar. The coffee completely filled the tiniest gaps between the rocks, the pebbles, and the grains of sand. “Now, life is very much like this jar,” he said. The river rocks represent the most important things in life, such as your ethics, your family, your loved ones, your health. Even if you lost everything else, your life would still be full with these most important things in it. The pebbles are the things in our lives that are pretty important - but our happiness shouldn’t depend on them. Things like our job, house, car, etc. Finally, the sand represents everything else - the countless small, busy things in our lives. If we fill up our jar with sand first, then we won’t have room for the river rocks or pebbles. If we fill our lives with just the small stuff or the busy stuff, we won’t have any room or time for the things that mean the most to us.” After a brief moment of silence one of the students asked, “Professor, what does the coffee represent?” “Ah, I’m glad you asked,” replied the professor. “It means that no matter how full your life is, there is always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.”
What am I putting first?
What currently occupies the most space in my life?
Which things should be my true river rocks?
Which pebbles or sand am I devoting too much time to?
Who should I take to coffee this week?
WE ALWAYS MAKE TIME FOR THE THINGS WE PUT FIRST.
Maybe this is where I am lacking. I need to really evaluate these questions and make the necessary changes. Perhaps my constant disappointment stems from putting too much energy where it does not belong, and not enough energy where it really matters. Realization is the first step - here’s to taking the next ones.
Three videos in the editing cue, two websites in development, one more video to be conceptualized and shot in the next couple days, two webseries in production - sorry - three webseries in production, graphic work, press releases, screenplays, market research, contracts… rent (which none of the previous list pays at this point)… there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
Oh well. Who needs sleep? =)
A day full of trips down memory lane. Not sure why. But everything just kept self perpetuating and building off of itself to the point where I couldn’t not think about the many things that I have lost.
So when I finally get home, all I want to do is purge. Get rid of things. Move on. So I do. But in going through things to throw away, I find the following (among many other things):
1. The receipt for the pre-order of Peter Pan on DVD I purchased in January 2007 that I thought I lost. I was never able to collect the DVD because I couldn’t find it.
2. Some Regal Cinemas tickets, amongst which was the readmission ticket I received after the botched midnight screening of the last Star Wars movie where the film burned and we had to wait 25 minutes to see the last 5 minutes of the film.
3. The receipts for the jewelry set I purchased for my mom years ago - along with their lifetime guarantee.
4. $65 in gift certificates for my favorite sushi place back home that has closed and is no longer there.
5. Exactly $23 dollars in cash. A number of significance given my pensive day.
6. A post-it that rendered me unable to clean anymore.
This is the perfect summation of my thoughts for the day.
Thank goodness there’s always tomorrow.
… it’s been my mantra this past week. Literally playing in my mind as I go throughout the day. I wouldn’t say that I’m more stressed out than usual, and I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly unhappy or anything, but I guess I am starting to wonder what it’s all for… where it’s all leading. I keep expressing that I am on the verge of being exactly where I want to be… making a comfortable living through my passions and my art… maybe I’m starting to question whether or not that will really be enough for me. And I’m leaning towards no.
Here I am, working overtime, but barely scraping by financially, stubborn in my desire to remain self-employed and just float from project to project, and struggling to keep up as time continues to race past me. And it’s not like I’m not having fun - I’m just wondering when I’ll start caring less about the fun I’m having and more about responsibility. Meanwhile, I lose track of the days, I say yes to everything when there’s no room left on my plate, I’m ecstatic to be working on so many things at once, I ignore my depleted bank account, and I pretend that living for today is better than worrying about tomorrow.
Slow down, you’re doing fine
You can’t be everything you want to be before your time…
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true…
Maybe that’s why. I invest in too many things hoping that at least something will come true. Something will pan out. Or maybe I really do want it all. After all, I do have a wild imagination. =)