Posts in category "Thoughts"

can we speak in flowers?

Tiana recent­ly shared this great arti­cle with me. It’s writ­ten as a guide for per­son­al growth with­in one’s rela­tion­ships, but I find myself well famil­iar with the con­cepts it cov­ers; being account­able, empa­thet­ic, grate­ful, intro­spec­tive, and respon­si­ble are all things that tend to come nat­u­ral­ly to me. I’ve also been active­ly work­ing on (or strug­gling with) being more patient, for­giv­ing, resilient, autonomous, and opti­mistic in the last few years1.

Instead, I use this check­list as a reminder of the qual­i­ties I should be seek­ing in oth­ers. If I’m going to invest any of myself into some­one else — whether that’s time, ener­gy, or feel­ings — they should have a gen­er­al com­pre­hen­sion, if not a cer­tain lev­el of com­pe­ten­cy, in all these areas. I’m no longer in a place to teach some­one how to be hon­est about their emo­tions, take respon­si­bil­i­ty for their actions, or lis­ten with intent.

It’s dif­fi­cult to let go of this basic expec­ta­tion when I’ve already done a fair amount of work on myself to under­stand and prac­tice these ideas. Spending time with any­one who reminds me of the per­son I used to be makes me feel like I’m regress­ing, and it does­n’t take long before I lose inter­est in their com­pa­ny. At this point, I’m doing every­thing I can to move for­ward, and that means being involved with peo­ple who are already good at rela­tion­ships2. It’s so much eas­i­er for me to let down my guard and give myself whol­ly to some­one when I have a mutu­al foun­da­tion to work with.

  1. Others may have the abil­i­ty to devel­op such skills by them­selves, while I need the guid­ance of a ther­a­pist, as some of my trau­ma is too severe for me to view cer­tain sit­u­a­tions clear­ly. []
  2. Something that gen­er­al­ly requires a fair amount of intel­li­gence, insight, matu­ri­ty, depth, and ambi­tion. I used to won­der why I felt strong con­nec­tions with cer­tain peo­ple until I real­ized this. []

to drink all damage into love

My three-year anniver­sary with Heather came and went with­out fan­fare or cer­e­mo­ny (or even notice, on my part). Our time togeth­er went by in a blink; being chron­i­cal­ly sin­gle for me, and trapped in an abu­sive rela­tion­ship for her, made the three years pri­or to that feel like an eter­ni­ty by com­par­i­son for each of us. It was only halfway through that I real­ized part of me was keep­ing her at a sig­nif­i­cant dis­tance.

When we first start­ed spend­ing time togeth­er, I was drawn most to her inno­cence. The way she viewed the world with an open mind1 made me feel com­fort­able in a way I imme­di­ate­ly found attrac­tive. I could tell her calm demeanour belied a dark­ness though; she knew a tremen­dous amount of pain in her short life, and that made her the same kind of old soul as me. Still, I nev­er dared imag­ine things may work out between us, cause my pre­vi­ous lover was com­plete­ly unex­pect­ed in both the com­ing and going, and the expe­ri­ence left me raw. Somewhat con­verse­ly, I was also too numb to believe any­thing was real. It was only a cou­ple weeks after Heather entered my life that I tried to hang myself, and sur­viv­ing meant every­thing felt posthu­mous.

Continue read­ing “to drink all dam­age into love”…

  1. I relate it to the con­cept of an “uncar­ved block” or “pu” in Taoism: a state of recep­tive­ness, before the taint of expe­ri­ence, that gives one the poten­tial to see things with­out judg­ment or prej­u­dice. []

whales in the bodies of tiny fish

It’s been months since I had an appoint­ment with my ther­a­pist. I’ve need­ed the time to work on myself before mak­ing fur­ther progress with him; a sign that I’m at a point where there’s a sense of direc­tion, instead of relent­less con­fu­sion and dread. Now it’s a mat­ter of absorb­ing the con­cepts I should know by now, devel­op­ing health­i­er emo­tion­al habits, and let­ting time heal what rea­son can­not. As my body recov­ers from the phys­i­cal reper­cus­sions of depres­sion, find­ing the ener­gy to do these things gets a bit eas­i­er each sea­son1.

As a result, I’ve been pick­ing up new respon­si­bil­i­ties in my pri­ma­ry rela­tion­ship, which I have to care­ful­ly bal­ance with my per­son­al goals. Maybe that’s why my wants have become such sim­ple mat­ters. Some days, I look for­ward to noth­ing more than eat­ing ice cream after din­ner, or play­ing a game until my thumbs are raw. The dis­til­la­tion of my dreams has giv­en me anoth­er child­hood, which I’m deter­mined not to squan­der.

underboob

Part of the rea­son I stopped tak­ing pic­tures is because I need­ed to believe Heather was real. To prove to myself that she would­n’t sud­den­ly dis­ap­pear and only exist as a col­lec­tion of pix­els on my screen, like oth­ers lovers of my past2. Mostly it was because every­thing was ter­ri­ble, and just being con­scious was a bur­den. Some days I was too sad to walk or eat, let alone decide what lens to put on my cam­era or how to frame a shot. The start of any rela­tion­ship tends to be a time of won­der and excite­ment for me, but I don’t remem­ber those years with par­tic­u­lar fond­ness3.

Continue read­ing “whales in the bod­ies of tiny fish”…

  1. There have been many steps back on the jour­ney for­ward, enough for the progress to be indis­cernible from a week-to-week (or even month-by-month) basis. []
  2. It’s strange to real­ize that my dri­ve to pho­to­graph things was par­tial­ly a way of deal­ing with my aban­don­ment issues. []
  3. At least I feel secure in the knowl­edge that Heather stuck by me when I was lit­er­al­ly at my worst. []

escape artist

Suzanne is forty years old and has nev­er had a close rela­tion­ship. She spends most of her spare time read­ing books and brows­ing the web. Suzanne is most com­fort­able with casu­al, friend­ly rela­tion­ships where noth­ing very per­son­al is dis­cussed.

Suzanne is mar­ried to a man who is out of touch with his feel­ings. He’s more inter­est­ed in being mar­ried than in being mar­ried to Suzanne par­tic­u­lar­ly. He has few friends, and does not expect close­ness from Suzanne. He wants a woman just so he can ful­fill the con­ven­tion­al role of hus­band. Their rela­tion­ship is based on tra­di­tion­al roles, not on real inti­ma­cy. They rarely con­fide in each oth­er.

Suzanne has smoked mar­i­jua­na her entire adult life. She insists that she is not addict­ed — she tells her­self she only does it for recre­ation, and that she has con­trol. Besides using drugs on a reg­u­lar basis, she tends to drink in set­tings when she does­n’t feel as social­ly capa­ble as oth­ers.

Suzanne became depressed, but was not in touch with her feel­ings of aban­don­ment and defec­tive­ness. She spent much of her life mak­ing sure she was not in touch, and try­ing to escape her feel­ings.

Continue read­ing “escape artist”…

consider this place

It’s get­ting hard­er to write.

Not that the spir­it is unwill­ing, although that was the case for years, when the things I need­ed to talk about most were the exact things I need­ed dis­tance from. At this point, the flesh isn’t even that weak1, but a lack of cer­tain­ty in which to ground my per­spec­tives has become an obsta­cle. The biggest sign I’m get­ting old­er isn’t the white hair in my mous­tache, but the recog­ni­tion that I’ve shed some youth­ful arro­gance that used to feel like wis­dom.

FTL: Faster Than Light decision

Do I let fate reward my brav­ery with an extra crew mem­ber, or give it the chance to fuck me over by killing one? Or do I avoid the choice com­plete­ly?

It’s eas­i­er for me to accept a bad out­come if I remem­ber that every deci­sion is made with the best inten­tions, and the only goal is sur­vival.

HBO shows2 and games with con­se­quen­tial choic­es based on ran­dom­ized events3 have been a huge influ­ence on my think­ing. Media with mosaics of moral­i­ty, while char­ac­ters grow and evolve across sev­er­al spec­trums (along with my opin­ion of them). Where deci­sions have to be care­ful­ly made with lim­it­ed infor­ma­tion and resources, then bal­anced against com­pet­ing inter­ests from for­eign spheres of influ­ence. Situations where a per­son can make all the right moves, and still fail through cir­cum­stance.

Continue read­ing “con­sid­er this place”…

  1. Thanks to a remis­sion in col­i­tis, and con­sis­tent use of a SAD lamp. []
  2. Game of Thrones, Six Feet Under []
  3. Europa Universalis 4, FTL: Faster Than Light, Moirai []