Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Opposite Of Love's Indifference

The Lumineers - Stubborn Love - SNL 1-19-13 by IdolxMuzic
She'll lie and steal and cheat, and beg you from her knees
Make you thinks she means it this time
She'll tear a hole in you, the one you can't repair
But I still love her, I don't really care

When we were young, oh oh, we did enough
When it got cold, ooh ooh, we bundled up
I can't be told, ah ah it can't be done

It's better to feel pain, than nothing at all
The opposite of love's indifference
Pay attention now, I'm standing on your porch screaming out
And I wont leave until you come downstairs

So keep your head up, keep your love
Keep your head up, my love [x2]
Keep your head up, keep your love

I don't blame ya dear for running like you did, all these years
I would do the same, you best believe
The highway signs say we're close, but I don't read those things anymore
I never trusted my own eyes

When we were young oh oh, we did enough
When it got cold, ooh ooh we bundled up
I can't be told, ah ah, can't be done

So keep your head up, keep your love
Keep your head up, my love [x2]
Keep your head up, keep your love
Head up, love
Head up, love

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"I'm not a 'good man.' But I'm prepared to be an honorable one."

No I can't change my mind. I knew all the time that she'd go. That's a choice that I made long ago.*

Peeking through the blinds, I just wished he would drive away already so I could start my crying. I'm not sure if it's harder on me when he or I leave after we've had a good visit or when we part after we've been fighting. No, actually, I'm sure that it's harder when we've had a good visit, because I'm sad that we can't have that whenever we want. 

In the last two weeks, I had to say goodbye to my two bestfriends after our official holiday visits. It sucks. Of course, anytime I get to see Moneypenny or TyRoy I know that I'm going to going to have to say goodbye to them, not just "see ya later" to your friend who lives across town, but "goodbye" to someone who is hours or half a country away, who you won't see for a month or several months. Yeah, I know that this is part of the package. And, yes, I'd rather have them in my life in some capacity than not at all. But it sucks. 

It sucks especially when there was a time that you spent all your free time with this person. Because they were your significant other. But you fucked it up. There is nothing you can do about that now. No amount of acceptance makes that sting less. Especially when you're finally back in a place where you would like to be in a romantic relationship again. 

I gave in to the loneliness, but I didn't give up nothing else.**

With every step of the therapy process, I have a little mini-meltdown about the changes I'm about to make, what they might mean for me. I always started questioning if I would still be "me" if I changed this thing or if I will be becoming someone I never wanted to be. My latest meltdown was about how uncomfortable I am with each step I take closer to being an adult. I'm finally at a place where I feel I'm ready to start working a full 40 hour work week at this job and I want to so I can start saving up to get a bit more education and so I can get my car repaired or get a new-to-me car when the time comes. But I never wanted to be an adult, at least not like the adults around me, who were all trapped by the things that they did to be adults. Of course, it's silly. Just because many (most, all) adults I've known have been like that doesn't mean I will be. More importantly, my experience has been that, despite my anxiety to the contrary, I always feel better when I make these positive changes and feel like I've become more myself, with fewer encumbrances and obstacles. 

Another thing I'm working on, after months (years?) of letting my actively ignoring how unhappy I was with it or making rationalizations for why I shouldn't even try, it getting my weight and body under more of my control. I've started off by setting a small goal, hoping that when I achieve it, I'll feel more motivated to keep going and set another goal. But that is life, right? You keep setting new goal posts. With any luck, the goal posts are achievable and you are motivated to keep working. Sometimes the area the goal post is in will change. Maybe at first your goal posts will be in your career, then it will be in your personal life. But when you stop having goal posts, I would think life would become really shitty really fast because all you're doing is struggling with no light at the end of the tunnel, even if the thought of working towards something more or changing your current situation scares the crap out of you. 

My reflection, in the window when I ride, could not save us, but I swear to god I tried.**

In my DBT notebook, at the very beginning of the book, which gives the newbie an outline of what the therapy is trying to do, it lists "Assumptions about Clients with BPD and Therapy." Number 1 is that clients are doing the best they can. Number 3 is that clients need to do better, try harder, and be more motivated to change. That these things are both true at the same time, that we are doing the best we can and we need to try harder, exemplifies what this therapy is all about. With each marker I hit, I still have more to go. 

The real thing behind my mini-meltdowns is that the resulting change is in direct conflict with the story I've told myself my whole life about who I am, what I want, what I can do. Though it's getting better daily, I've always believed that I was this really shitty person, so of course I'd do really shitty things. But reading this quote below by Ta-Nehisi Coates really flipped the script for me. Though it is in a follow-up post to one about guns, it is really about who we are versus what we do (emphasis mine): 
I've been with my spouse for almost 15 years. In those years, I've never been with anyone but the mother of my son. But that's not because I am an especially good and true person. In fact, I am wholly in possession of an unimaginably filthy and mongrel mind. But I am also a dude who believes in guard-rails, as a buddy of mine once put it. I don't believe in getting "in the moment" and then exercising will-power. I believe in avoiding "the moment." I believe in being absolutely clear with myself about why I am having a second drink, and why I am not; why I am going to a party, and why I am not. I believe that the battle is lost at Happy Hour, not at the hotel. I am not a "good man." But I am prepared to be an honorable one.
This is not just true of infidelity, it's true of virtually anything I've ever done in my life. I did not lose 70 pounds through strength of character, goodness or willpower. My character and will angles toward cheesecake, fried chicken and beer -- in no particular order. I lost that weight by not fighting the battle on desire's terms, but fighting before desire can take effect.
These are compacts I have made with myself and with my family. There are other compact we make with our country and society. I tend to think those compacts work best when we do not flatter ourselves, when we are fully aware of the animal in us. 
That one line just kills me: "I am not a "good man." But I am prepared to be an honorable one." For a long time, I've told myself that who we are is what we do, that I can ignore or work past my own feeling that I'm a shitty person if I just do good things. I suppose this is in that same vein except that it doesn't say that doing good makes you good. It seems to imply that being good is not the point, in fact we aren't good, but that we rise above not being good by being aware of what we are doing and truthful with ourselves about why we are doing it. 

Of course, that means trying. Maybe I'm not prepared to be honorable quite yet, but I am prepared to keep trying. 

Where there is desire there is gonna be a flame. Where there is a flame someone's bound to get burned, but just because it burns doesn't mean you're gonna die. You've gotta get up and try, try, try***

*Mandolin Rain, Bruce Hornsby and the Range
**Almost Honest, Josh Kelley
***Try, Pink

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

What Christmas Means to Me

My therapist wanted me to write what Christmas means to me, but she wanted me to do it after the holiday. I see her Thursday, so I thought I had better get on it. Of course, I don't really know how to put it in "what Christmas means to me terms," so I'll be doing it my own way. 

First off, fuck this. I fucking hate this because every time I've tried to think about what I might write, since before Christmas and then very much so tonight, I've cried. Quite a bit. Especially tonight. So, just so everyone knows, I fucking hate this. 

Christmas was a lot of fucking work. It was putting up Christmas decorations with my mom, with no help from my step-dad because he's a Scrooge. It was making cookies and food. It was cleaning like crazy because we were having family over and you can't have the least little bit of dirt if family is coming over. It was shopping and wrapping presents and never having enough money. It was final papers and final tests. It was a week of crazy, rapid cycling mood changes. Of having to take breaks from my studying so I could cry for no reason I knew and then of being so hyped up that I couldn't sleep, even when I was done cleaning and studying.

Christmas was always sad. I always felt this sadness, this incompleteness. Even before I had a context, I always knew that "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" was a really sad fucking song. At least half of Christmas tv episodes made me cry. Still do. Christmas is the end, the last holiday of the year. Your last chance to get it right, which I never felt like I did. I got to see so much of my family but it only highlighted that I didn't live with them anymore. But it wasn't all bad.

Christmas was stolen moments. Stealing moments with friends and boyfriends, whenever the two of you could get away from family. It was trying to hang out with my uncle as much as I could. Cold car rides. "We're going out for a soda. Be back in a few minutes," only we were never back in a few minutes because it took us 20 just to find a store that was open. That one year it was searching everywhere for Crystal Pepsi. It was the Saturday Night Live Christmas Special on Comedy Central. It was sneaking a daiquiri or margarita in the kitchen with my grandmas while my mom was in the other room. It was spending the week between Christmas and New Years back in [the suburb of the Moderately Sized Midwestern City] with my grandparents. After Christmas shopping with Grandma. Getting to visit with the other kids I was in daycare with. Staying up until midnight with my grandpa every New Year's Eve. The neighbors shooting off fireworks or just banging pots and pans around in their front yard at midnight.

Now Christmas is, well, shit, I don't really know what it is anymore. It's still decorating, how the lights outside and the tree still make me feel, even if I have to do it alone. It's still making food. It's still buying presents, how it makes me feel when someone opens their presents. It's still Christmas music, even though I tend towards the newer and alternative, instead of the traditional. It's still about the Christmas movies and the Christmas tv shows- Scrooged, Gremlins, Rare Exports, Buffy's "Amends," the House show with "a Jew with antlers," Dr Who's "Christmas Invasion" and each year's new Dr Who Christmas Special. Oh, and the Grinch. It's still a sadness. It's still working over the holiday, this time because we aren't leaving town and Dad is on call, so I might as well. In years to come, it will probably be required of the job.

I don't really know what it means. To me, it is certainly not the celebration of the birth of my Lord and Savior, as I have none. While I try to believe as my uncle did, that it's time off from work to spend with your family and friends, a time to come together and celebrate, even if you're only celebrating for the sake of celebrating, it sometimes seems to fall short of that when I feel like half that family is missing, when the family that remains is so small. I try to keep how he felt about it alive in my heart, however, so it remains something more than just a way to mark the year as it slips by.