Thoughts

I’ve been meaning to share this article with you, gentle readers, for a while. I guess I was waiting for the appropriate context. It’s an article via thought catalog, called “How I Know I Love You.” No time like the present, since I’m still feeling very depressed and increasingly drained. It feels like I’m running on reserve fumes. I’m exhausted but I can’t sleep. I’m weak but I can’t eat. I didn’t shower for 3 days, until my friend literally stripped me down and practically shoved me under running water, like I was a lab accident.

I was reminded of this today as I made a heartfelt, (last ditch?) effort at reconciliation. I pulled up the article, and I can’t exactly express just how relevant this has been for me today. As I patiently wait for a response, I’m starting to shake, because the stress of this week has almost broken me. The only thing I can think to think is, when you’ve done all you can, all that’s left is to expect the worst but hope for the best.

I know I love you because I can’t abandon you, not even when you’re being a dick. Not even when you’re being ten dicks. Normally I don’t put up with that sort of behavior but I love you and I understand you’re stressed or frustrated or PMS-y so I’ll let it slide for a little bit. But I also love you enough to call you out on it when it gets to be too much. I know I love you because only people who love you care to say something about your bad behavior instead of saying nothing and just calling you an asshole behind your back.

I know I love you because I want to listen, I really do. I don’t have anywhere to be that can’t wait for a while and I’m not checking my phone, in fact turned it off and buried it in the cushions the moment you said you needed me. I’m here for you and that other thing can wait.

Current Jam: “Stand By Me” Ben E. King, cause it reminds me of you.

Own Worst Enemy.

I feel like I’m dying inside. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, I know, but I am unbelievably sad right now. I’ve once again, picked the wrong battle, abused my own rules, and fucked everything up. I overstepped my bounds and made a huge mistake, and I wholeheartedly regret it. I’ve been so stressed the past couple of weeks that, in combination with my expectant period, I lost my goddamn mind. Shit, L’s, way to be an adult. 😦

I can only keep my distance and pray I get an ounce of patience, of compassion, in return. In the mean time, I’m trying to focus on work, and apparently forgetting to eat. Gonna go make myself a salad I guess.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Current Jam: “In spite of ourselves” John Prine and Iris de Menthe

Remember

(anyone else say that word in the voice of Mufasa from Lion King?)

I’ve been pretty sad lately. I’ve felt lonely, under-appreciated, and misunderstood. I’ve been struggling with low self-esteem and trust. Basically, L’s has been a bit of a basket case this month.

Then I remembered, as I slammed through my workout yesterday, a stern determination balancing out the occasional sob: Fuck all this, I am not a bad person. I’m actually pretty great. I’m caring, compassionate, funny, and open minded. I’m accepting, smart in my own way, and a damn decent writer. Even as I wax melancholic about my failure to focus on improving myself, I have to remember: Contrary to popular belief, I actually have been improving myself! I mean, two words: grad school.

But even beyond my educational growth, I’m a person who has had a chronic problem with speaking her mind or expressing herself when she’s upset. In the past I have been prone to manipulative relationships. This is a source of stress, the fear of falling back into that romantic routine where I give too much until I’m so emotionally drained I just can’t do any of it anymore. Still, I have to remember: I have made amazing strides in my communication skills. I used to have this warped idea of needing to be the ‘cool’ girlfriend: laid back, easygoing, never naggy. I thought that those characteristics were required to find (and keep) a boyfriend. Now, I don’t let things continue to bother me without voicing it. Now I try really hard to speak up when something bugs me, whether it’s an inconsiderate comment (usually made unintentionally), or leaving the toilet seat up. The only trouble with that logic is that now I’m facing the inevitable learning curve of long term relationships: when to pick your battles. It’s a ongoing process. Regardless, as a classic, though evolved, introvert, I’m pretty proud of myself. It takes a certain amount of self-respect and maturity to be able to do that.

The other dichotomy to this change is finding that sweet spot between accurately expressing the way you feel, and overselling it. My sister always jokes that it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission, but I don’t subscribe to that logic. When I’m really upset, I can think terrible things that I don’t really mean, and I’m very attuned to keeping those unfair thoughts from escaping in a moment of passionate argument. You can apologize until you’re blue in the face afterwards, and you may be forgiven, but that insult is still in the ether of that bond. You still said it, and they still remember that you said it. Some people I love more than the minute and fleeting satisfaction of causing them pain, even when it feels justified.

So, all that being said, I reiterate. I’m not a bad person. I’m pretty fucking awesome. Self-five.

Current Jam: “Born to Fight” Tracy Chapman

I was born to fight / said I ain’t been knocked down yet / I was born to fight / I tell you I’m the surest bet / Ain’t no man, no woman, no beast alive / that can beat me / ’cause I’m born to fight.

Ritual

So I’m taking a medieval architecture course this spring, but it’s a bit atypical. Instead of breaking down formal architectural progression throughout the middle ages: Romanesque, Byzantine, Gothic etc etc, the professor is more interested in waxing philosophical on the experience and use of space. Such a notion encompasses many aspects of our lives that we don’t normally think about: why do we organize the space the way we do? We, as humans, tend to use space to create order out of cosmic chaos, structure out of disarray. We’ve been reading, not art history, but sociology, anthropology and archaeology. We just finished a book called The Social Logic of Space, by Bill Hillier and Julienne Hanson. The goal of their text is the application of a workable theory in order to understand 2 primary schema: the social logic of space, and the spatial logic of society. They argue that our organization of space, both interior and exterior, is not random, but follows a set of (admittedly bendable) rules. It’s possibly the most complicated way you can investigate simple concepts such as, where is the door, and why is it there and not there? Why is a neighborhood organized the way it is? How does your ability, or hindrance, of access inform your status within your culture? It’s a dense. ass. text, but it’s one of those books that I plan to keep and re-read on occasion, because I’m convinced I’ll get more out of it each time I peruse its pages.

Hillier and Hanson mention another notable figure in anthropology, Victor Turner, and his book The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. His approach is more concerned with a given culture and its design and practice of interpersonal connections, how things like rites of passage and ritual affect these social structures. Our professor assigned this to get us thinking how this theory might inform and influence spatial design choices. The concept of ritual also permeates many aspects of our lives, from profound religious practice, to the more mundane….. like getting ready for a date! Yes, I was in fact performing the latter ritual when the implications of the practice struck me. For me, it’s a simultaneous soothing and exciting preparatory act. It’s when I indulge in a longer, more luxurious shower. I’ll devote the extra time to consider the impression I wish to make via my appearance. What will I wear; what kind of …..image? do I wish to project? I take extra care with my makeup (a full 10 minutes instead of my rushed 5). I use my ‘special’ perfume. I take that extra minute in the mirror, choosing my jewelry.

It seems like a ‘duh’ proclamation, but have you ever asked yourself why you have certain routines? Why you do the things you do? How much are you influenced by outside factors? Go on, complicate it! I find that it’s a thought process that, surprisingly, functions much like self-discovery. And the cool thing about that, is it can eventually provide a window to your inner core, or you aura, or you soul, whatever you wanna call it. It can be upsetting, no one’s infallible, but it can be very helpful and rewarding. It’s not an easy process, don’t get me wrong. When I jump down that rabbit hole I usually find myself with a tissue clutched in one hand, and my biffl on speed dial should things get too intense.  To seriously ponder why you make certain choices can help you define which choices are caustic to your physical and mental health, to your happiness. At the end of the day, I try to force myself through the arduous practice because I, like most people I would wager, just want to be happy. And a big chunk of being happy, is loving your gifts and accepting your faults.

Current Jam: “99 Problems” Jay-Z 

Fear and Self-Loathing in Las Vegas

You ever have a day so bad that all your remaining energy is consumed by the sobering certainty that you are a horrible person?

That, in a nutshell, has been my emotional roller coaster for the past few days. And it sucked as much as it sounds like it sucked. I’m dutifully trying to remind myself that no one’s perfect, including me, a fact that I’ve never actively tried to hide. However, certainty’s weight has been absolutely counterproductive to lifting my spirits.

I find that too often, I just shoot myself in the foot. I care too much, or I put forth too much effort, and it comes off possessive, codependent, or at the very least annoying. It’s really aggravating. Sometimes I feel as though I’ve taken two steps back from where I was a year ago. Or a few years ago. Like, I’ve regressed to be more needy and less secure. Pero, why??? I ask myself. Is it a chemical imbalance yet to be resolved? Maybe it’s a relationship I don’t realize is toxic? Maybe I’m not getting enough fiber? Maybe the feng-shui is alllll wrong in my apartment. Regardless, it’s exhausting.

Just forget about it, L’s! You lovingly reassure me. Ah, friend, I say, were it so easy. No seriously, I would LOVE to just ‘let it go’, ‘sleep on it’, ‘forget about it’. Well, when you’re me, a borderline OCD anxiety ridden mental case, that shit is EASIER SAID THAN DONE. Oh, there I go again, Negative Nancy.

Sorry. I’m ok. I’ve taken my deep breath (read: punched my wall til I cut myself). I’ve meditated (read: drank an entire bottle of wine  by myself). I’ve retired to my bed to calmly drift off to sleep (read: Rilo Kiley pandora and BLOG time, der). I’ve taken the steps (not), to wake anew, fresh and ready to face tomorrow’s challenges.

….So, like, my new year’s resolution…. like every year, is to focus more on improving myself, to my satisfaction, rather than concede to other’s desires and expectations. But in the end, I always bend, practically til I break. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I be selfish all the time, not just when I see that last slice of pizza and decide fuck it, I’m a eat that bitch?

Why can’t I just say screw everyone else, I’m gonna do what I need to do to be happy? Ah, I remember now: because those relationships are what make me happy. Until they don’t…. which usually takes me a couple of months (read: years) to realize. And then I’m back at square one….

Maybe my new year’s resolution should be to stop calling it “square one”…

Current Quote: “Whatever I’m the worst” Britta Perry

Update, 2/24/2014: I just remembered this article I found via pocket: 5 Ways to Do Nothing and be Become More Productive. It spoke to me, and I inexplicably feel that it’s relevant to this post.

Cats are from Salt-Lake City, Dogs are from Topeka

Isn’t that how the saying goes?

Do you ever feel like you speak a completely different language than someone else? I don’t mean literally. I mean like, you both speak English, or French, or Pig Latin, but the way in which you express yourself or your viewpoints are fundamentally polar? You explain the way you feel about The Simpsons, or your preference for bleu cheese over ranch on your wings. Then, and after their reaction you tilt your head and think, are we having the same conversation?

It’s really frustrating to feel misunderstood, said everyone ever. Such an explosive emotive state can turn the most mundane conversation into a heated argument. In the most extreme cases, it leads to sobbing in the corner of the shower stall as you clasp your knees and your mascara glides down your cheeks.

I have such a relationship with a close friend. We love so many of the same things, yet we approach them in completely different ways. We understand and interpret the world askew from each other. While 95% of the time we make an exhilarating, perfectly lovely combination, that other 5% we wanna wring each other’s necks. Unfortunately, I hate fighting, no matter how you manipulate the statistic. I’m left drained, sad despite my residual ember of anger. She can bring out the best and the worst in me, and the sudden switch from one to the other always leaves me with figurative whiplash. What’s most upsetting are the fights when I wonder the next day, will she look back and finally understand? Or is this a fight that’s just on a rotation, it’s eventual resurfacing inevitable?

*Sigh*

Like most of life’s complicated problems, astrology claims to have the answer! I admit, I’m a bit of an astro-nerd. I recognize that there’s substantial evidence supporting the argument that astrology is, to put it eloquently, a bunch of hullabaloo. Contrasting with my pragmatic nagging is an old adage of my grandmother’s, that’s there’s a finite number of personalities out there, and once you’re old enough no one will surprise you. So I prefer to take astrology from that angle. Perhaps there is a way to classify anyone’s behavior, their motivations and inexorable weaknesses. Regardless, it’s a fun little retreat for me into a make-believe world where I understand my place in the universe. All that being said, the site I visit most often is the astrotwins, and wouldn’t ya know it? They have the perfect document for my current troubles! : Astrotwins – How to Get Along with Anyone.

Maybe I can excrete some pearls of wisdom from that bad boy… if not, it’s still more interesting than my current reading assignment…

Current Jam: “Take a Minute” K’naan

Harnessing Self-Worth, In Progress

Oh hai.

I’ve finally found my way back here, after a couple months of not being busy, then being busy, but all the while at a loss for any musings of note (not that my musings are all that enlightening anyway). Grad school is still grad school, Tally is still Tally, G’ville’s still G’ville, and I’m still me, just me. Just being ‘me’ rarely feels like enough; too often I find myself comparing it to a rotating cycle of immense build up followed by crippling disappointment, like when you salivate over that last piece of cake all the way home, only to discover that your roommate ate it for lunch. Although, in a literal version of that scenario, I’m the roommate…

I used to think that if I could be everything I wanted, then I would be happy. I even wrote a list once when I was in high school of all the things that would make me “perfect”: I’d be multi-lingual, I would be able to play 3 instruments, able to draw, and paint in watercolor. I would be coordinated, graceful, a sexy dancer, etc etc. Of course, all I succeeded in doing was making my own accomplishments seem inconsequential and petty. (I’m probably the best bully I’ve ever faced.) While I’m no longer that masochistic, I often worry that if I’m not enough for myself, how can I be enough for anyone else?

Then I think my attention should be focused elsewhere: on school, my career, my future. Then I flip-flop again, and my initial guilt over daydreaming about a coupled life is replaced by an indignant ‘well why should I feel guilty’? Just because I want to be married one day doesn’t make me any less of a feminist, or an intellectual, or a coffee enthusiast. Wanting to share a life with someone is just as valid a pursuit as growing an herb garden or climbing Mount Everest… although I suspect that climbing Everest is actually logistically easier than many a long term relationship.

So, I’m trying to stop comparing myself to other people, because I think that’s where the whole ‘I’m not enough’ obsession originated. You can’t be more than one person L’s, so stop trying. No one can be everything they wanna be…. no one can be Batman and Spiderman and Wolverine simultaneously.

Luckily, I have an amazing boo that puts up with my occasional whining and tries his damnedest to remind me of my immense value. For example, this past weekend we made a new friend. While I’m generally happy about making new connections, I was paranoid that perhaps I came on too strong or had become obnoxious as the Super Bowl waged on. I expressed trepidation as we drifted off to sleep last night, and he sighed a smirk and said I had nothing to worry about, because “to know you is to adore you.”

Those are moments that give me perfect bliss. They remind me that I am enough, and that one of my best accomplishments is to consistently surround myself with amazing people who I just love to love.

Current quote: “A true friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

Current Jam: “cosmic love” Florence + the Machine