Monday, November 20

Relationships and Bread

Is it funny that a divorced girl has relationship advice?

I have a friend that recently said that she believes she has a problem. She only manages to get into relationships with a certain type of person. She sent me a link and as I read through it, I can see that she could be right. I have known her for over 12 years, so I can see her point.

As I read, I felt I had so much to say to her, I decided to write a post. Maybe someone else can use this perspective too. Not that I think I’m so problem solving, but perspective is one of my “things”, so maybe I have something useful.

The link she sent me explained what someone who is a “Love Avoidant” is. It said this:
 
“Love Avoidance is an “intimacy disorder”. When people have an intimacy disorder, it means they all share a profound fear of intimacy. (e.g., closeness, being known, vulnerability, sharing thoughts/feelings)

In a Love Avoidant’s mind, intimacy with another person is equivalent to being engulfed, suffocated, and controlled. Too much closeness with another feels literally like losing themselves, and yes, can even feel like dying. (That is how intense their fears can be) Consequently, in romantic relationships they have a heightened focus to make sure their partner keeps from getting too close.

A Love Avoidant does not embrace intimate connection - but embraces ‘defying it’.

The Love Avoidant partner may send just enough mixed messages to keep the fantasy alive— just enough to give you some hint of what “might be” possible, or “could be” possible, or “would be” possible.  Yet the REALITY is: What is possible will NEVER actually be. Any sporadic crumbs of connection you get, is as much as you will ever get with an Avoidant.”

This might not be a long post simply because I don’t think I’m in a place to change anyone, or offer how to change, I simply have something to say that pertains to a successful relationship… and this topic of avoidance actually helps me make the point since what we read in this article is contrary to a successful relationship.

This subject has been on my mind recently, not the avoidance part, but my thoughts on successful relationships and ones ability/inability to change their view on the person they are in a relationship with. You know how the beginning of a relationship is such a great time… you get excited to see one another, you don’t take one another for granted, you don’t annoy each other… So many relationships change after the beginning and don’t recover, while you are left saying, but it was so great in the beginning.

One of the little reasons I DO have an opinion on this is because of what my ex-husband and I DID do in our marriage. (And for the record, it was alcoholism that finally destroyed my marriage. I was really in love with the sober him, and not the drunk him). For some reason throughout our 12 years, every day we said hello like we had just been apart. It was a greeting. A way of saying I’m happy to see you again. A way of showing love and appreciation anew, even though we had only been sleeping or spent the day at work.

One of the things that you notice about relationships that are “old” is how the partners talk to each other. They no longer use intonation that says I love you, I appreciate you, I’m happy to be in your company. Instead, the intonation turns to annoyance, impatience, and even (I have heard many times with married couples), intonation that says “you are annoying and stupid”. If you know me you know intonation is a HUGE deal to me… it’s another level of communication far stronger than language, and actually takes language to another level…There’s proof in how a robot would say “I love you with all of my heart”. Ya, not super effective.

When people do get used to one another, they also seem to find the other embarrassing at times… I have a friend that when she drinks, her boyfriend gets so embarrassed by her, he no longer has fun. Instead of letting her “own” her silliness, which is actually cute-as-all-get-out, he takes it upon himself to be embarrassed FOR her. If only he let her own it, he would put himself in a position of being able to laugh at her cuteness and humor along with the rest of us. His discomfort is totally unnecessary, and just looks like a way for him to be an ass.


What is this thing that happens as relationships get older? It’s perspective. It’s the way we change the way we see one another. And honestly, I don’t think it’s conscious. I think people allow it to fall into existence by NOT paying attention, by NOT listening to themselves, by not consciously caring about their intonation, their perspective, and how they interact. Then they wake up and find themselves in this crappy interaction… they allowed it like they would allow a loaf of bread to sit on a counter and go moldy instead of making awesome sandwiches, or French toast out of it… and then buying MORE bread to do the same with. Go ahead… ignore the bread, let it go moldy, but don’t then go looking for another loaf of bread to make moldy too… covering your soul in loaves of moldy bread is not the path to happiness. What is the path to happiness? Avocado sandwiches, cinnamon toast. Bread dipped in potato soup… Eat that fucking bread and enjoy it. And KEEP eating it. The more moldy bread you pile up on your counter, whether it’s all inside of one relationship or multiples, it doesn’t matter. Moldy bread never made anyone happy.

Never get so used to your partner that you don’t see the mold growing. Because that mold affects you BOTH. There is no one-sidedness to it, you CAN’T succeed if anyone is allowing unconsciousness in the interaction. You must be paying attention. You must listen to yourself. You must give a shit and care about how you are living lives in a connected manner. Find me a happy relationship where one or both partners are unconscious and not actually trying to have success. Being IN a relationship DOES NOT mean happiness follows. The majority of relationships look unhappy. People default to letting the bread just sit on the counter because it is easier than making a sandwich. They don’t say “I’d rather have mold”. No, what happens is mold. It just happens unless you eat the bread.

So… it’s almost like I left the subject of a Love Avoidant. Since I have been talking about people who just don’t try. Avoidant’s are trying. They are trying to make sure no sandwiches get made while hoping no mold grows. They are paying attention on some levels, because they are wishing for no mold instead of just ignoring the bread to the point of mold. But they are also saying “Not going to use it… not going to mess it up, not going to let it mess me up"... and they stare at it, possibly even hoping that keeping a close eye on it will stop the mold.

Wrong.

Mold (the poor relationship) will 100% grow if you do not eat the bread in time. And what IS eating the bread? It’s laughing together, it’s looking each other in the eyes, its letting each other be genuinely themselves and loving their uniqueness and communicating it. It’s saying hello every day because you are happy that person is in your life. It’s paying attention to your tone of voice, it’s cheering them on when they have a dream, and letting them cheer you on too! It’s BEING CONSCIOUS about all aspects of what you are both doing in this thing you call “a relationship” and you are making some fucking delicious sandwiches together… even coming up with new ideas for that boring loaf of bread. It’s watching others grow mold and saying “I’m not going to do that”.


Eat your bread if you’re lucky enough to have bread. And enjoy the fuck out of it!

Thursday, November 2

Tainted/Cynical/Skeptical, Inevitable?

As I approach yet another birthday, and feel this sense of “older” that I both love and hate, I come to write about cynicism. How can one grow older and continue learning that people disappoint, continue learning that life is a ball of hardness wrapped in layers of giggles, smiles, tears, and heartache; while NOT growing cynical? It seems a bit impossible really. (Just like learning there is no Santa, that you are too big to trick-or-treat, and that the Easter bunny is just a pagan symbol that represents energetic breeding.) Getting older comes with getting wiser, and with the wise-ness comes cynicism.

I’ve said before that I don’t want to be the person that allows a broken heart to shut off my heart entirely. Having seen this living example, and not wanting to be like that person, I still find it a conscious choice I have to make as I find myself being faced with emotions and feelings that look, sound, taste, and feel like something that could rip me open again to bleed love and adoration all over my tear-stained bed.
 
But to even open my mind to that memory, I am looking into a possibly non-existent future of pain. What if my current crescendo of what might be love does not peak and rip me open to experience the diminuendo of breaking heart and putting oneself back together with invisible stitches? What if the skeptical and cynical nature of these thoughts are a complete waste of energy and actually a creation of burden for myself I needn’t choose?

Ya, I feel like cynicism is inevitable, but rationally, I have to accept it is still A CHOICE. And really, my choice of feeling it is experience based, so I have to consciously set the experience down making me more cynical and tell it I am not going to carry it like a weight. Better than calling it a weight, would be to call it a gallon of paint. If the experience creates this gallon of cynicism paint that I fill my hands with, I have to then deal with the fact it’s not light, it’s not easy to multitask with it in my hands, and the frequency with which I open that gallon of cynicism, shove in my paintbrush, and paint it onto things around me is MY CHOICE. If I set that gallon down, I don’t forget it just because I set it down, and that too needs to be pointed out. Setting it down isn’t going to make me forget history, it isn’t going to make the cynicism paint disappear, and so there SHOULD be some part of me that can relax a bit without the need to be painting everything and carrying that heavy thing around. It requires being conscious of it!

Can I avoid painting it all over something that currently looks very beautiful and feels very right? Can I also stop the cynicism from becoming skepticism? A quote that fits this subject perfectly:

“Skepticism is as much the result of knowledge, as knowledge is of skepticism. To be content with what we at present know, is, for the most part, to shut our ears against conviction; since, from the very gradual character of our education, we must continually forget, and emancipate ourselves from, knowledge previously acquired; we must set aside old notions and embrace fresh ones; and, as we learn, we must be daily unlearning something which it has cost us no small labour and anxiety to acquire.”  -THEODORE ALOIS BUCKLEY

There is no better way to put it. One becomes tainted, cynical, and skeptical after experience… I’m keen to turn all experience into useable knowledge, and therefore, to say “no small labour…”, That is exactly right. But how capable am I to “…continually forget and emancipate” myself from knowledge previously acquired and allow myself those fresh ones?

CHOICE

CONCIOUSNESS

PRESENCE

Am I someone strong enough to move forward? Am I strong enough to not paint everything and shut all my doors to not be open to what would ultimately equate to happiness? I think I am. The fact I HAVE been through the need for those invisible stitches, the fact I have thicker scar tissue, the fact I even own that can of paint… this all points quite clearly to me being strong enough. If I ever decide I’m not strong enough, that is a choice. See… the nature of decide proves it’s a choice.

If there were a giant “sum up” to this subject, it would be the fact we are ruled by love and fear. We by nature -love, we by experience -fear. Ya that’s the oversimplified version of this subject and it lives in that giant section of the library only labeled LIFE, but if life is what we are doing… how deep do you want to tip the scales to fear? How deep do you want to tip the scales to love? Yes both are painful, but if life is to be lived, where those scales tip, and what paint you are painting, is your call.

I’m going to try and do my best. Maybe somewhere out there is something I’ve heard about. They call it success.