destroying what *must* be destroyed – part II

How do you feel about destroying what must be destroyed in your life? Part II

{Follow up post from destroying what must be destroyed}

This question started me thinking about my life and what is truly not necessary in it. It made me realise something about my relationships with my friends – online and offline. It made me start to evaluate the quality of my relationships and to see if there are any that should be “destroyed”. It got me thinking…

In truth, I live a pretty quiet life and don’t often meet my friends. I’m an introvert of sorts – except when I’m in front of 200 students explaining to them about the struggles and issues that some learners face when they are learning in a second (or third, or fourth) language. Then, I’ll happily stand up and sprout “wisdom”. Aside from that, I’m an introvert and I have the best relationships with my friends online. I mean, excluding the people I live with, I would physically talk with about one or two others in a normal week. However, I have numerous conversations going online – emails, chats, Skypes, all that. I could go on Skype or Facebook and find a random friend to start talking with and nothing would be unusual about that mode of communication for us. It would definitely be weirder to pick up a phone and talk to them. Definitely.

I started looking at my Facebook “friends”; those people that I’ve connected with over the years and still share a connection, albeit sometimes tenuous. I looked at my close friends and my not-so-close friends. I also looked at my used-to-be-close friends who I distanced myself from. Yes, I’m talking about that one friend that I used to do everything with, but we grew apart when I stopped initiating interactions. They didn’t initiate interactions. Mutual decision to grow apart? Maybe. Let’s talk about that friend, “F”.

F and I went to school together – we’ve known each other most of our lives. At school, we either loved each other or hated each other. It was a boarding school; it can breed contempt easily. Aside from that, we went to the same university and when I went overseas to work, I found a job for F and F came over, too. This was F’s first experience overseas and we lived together for a while. Until I couldn’t stand it anymore; I moved out. We were still in the same town – the same group of expat friends (because we were seriously limited for choice) – but we managed to avoid each other for a while. Then F left and I stayed. Through emails (waaaay back before Facebook), we stayed in touch. When I wanted a place to chill in another country, we met again and were friends again. And so it continued – we were travel buddies and our mutual connection was a love of travel (because it has to be more than just going to school together). We continued like this for a long time and we made it a ritual: once a year, we’d travel together to a place we’d never been before. We had amazing travels – we saw many different places and countries. We made great mutual friends that we still have today. It was great.

BUT.

(There’s always a “but”.)

When we were together, I was sacrificing myself so that F could have the best experience that F could; I had to give up on what I wanted and just do what F wanted. This wasn’t good. I started to comprehend what this was doing to me but I thought better of F – I thought I was misreading the situation and F’s responses. Maybe I was weak. I thought that it was just me, not F. So, I tried again. And again. And again. Three times – three different situations – three different countries – two different years. I made an effort to try to see that F cared about me and that we were a travel team together. But, no. No. It was all about F and what F wanted and thought. So, after the third trip, I decided that I’d had enough. I was not going to be F’s friend anymore – or rather, I was not going to go out of my way to maintain our “friendship”. It was hard at first – I wanted to share things with F and to travel more together. I wanted to go back to the “good times”, the “fun times” that we had at points in our travels. I couldn’t go back. I learned that I could do it all myself, though.

As expected, F and I grew apart. Now, when it came to an important celebration for me, I had always told F that they would be the first person invited. In truth, I thought long and hard about inviting F and F’s partner. In the end, I did invite them. And they came. This actually surprised me until I realised why they came. They came to see if my life was real and if my happiness was real. They also came to get ideas for their own celebration. To work out if they could do it “better” than I did. I didn’t care – it was just interesting to see that F was up to F’s old tricks again – comparison, competition, selfishness. I thought I was vindicated in my distance. I was glad that I distanced myself from F.

Nine months later, F invited me to a celebration. It wasn’t an easy invite to accept, but I considered that F and F’s partner came to my celebration, so perhaps it was “fair” and “right” that I go to theirs. It was an ordeal to attend the celebration – extensive travel, expensive accommodation, long delays during the celebration – but it was worth going. I realised that nothing had changed and that everything was the same with F. Including that I wanted out of our “friendship” permanently. I want it destroyed. I want it over. It’s draining me, causing me undue stress and just generally unhealthy.

But underneath, I’m not sure I can be that callous. In reality, our only contact is online and it’s relatively sporadic and passive. F only contacts me when they need me, or when they want to show how much better than me they are. A very selfish, one-way friendship, if I can still use that term. I wish things were different; I wish we could be real friends. But then I remember the pain, the constant competition, the constant bettering. That’s exhausting. I don’t need that. I don’t want that. I want out.

Ergo, I shall destroy. Cut ties, remove from contacts, aim for zero connection online and offline.

DML Graphics v13 130919 Logo Square 151x1511 Desire Map for Life

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Inspired by Danielle Laporte and her post on Your relationship to destruction, Goddess Kali, and Fridays with desire. #DesireMap

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pretending

I found myself surrounded by a group of pretenders. Pretending to be who they thought everyone else wanted them to be. No, these weren’t the social clichés of hipsters or rappers or emos or anything like that. These were a group of women in their late 20s and early 30s – mostly single, professional, “stable” women – and they were pretending to be who they weren’t. They were hiding their own truth in order to fit in with each other. Seeing them interact with each other made me quite uncomfortable because I didn’t want to be like them and just try to “fit in” with their discussions. There was nothing really wrong with their discussions or their topics for discussion, just they weren’t being true to themselves and true to each other. I could feel this, see this, hear this, know this. It was like they were speaking in a false code that helped them identify as a social group that was different. Listening to their words but watching their actions (and hearing about their actions) was difficult – I wanted to scream at them to “be real!”, but it just wouldn’t happen. I felt very outside of conversation and outside of the little group they had created despite having been invited to join them.

Just being there and feeling their lies made me wonder what this world has come to in order for these beautiful young women to distrust themselves so much that they lie to each other just to fit in. I sat there wondering how I could contribute to the discussion and when I realised that I had nothing to contribute because I couldn’t lie like that: I just watched and listened. There were some blatantly obvious lies, as well; not about little things like how much they spent on something or what they ate for lunch (which they were not truthful about), but about big “life” issues – children, marriage, commitment…

For example, one woman was ten weeks pregnant and was telling the others to never get pregnant – it’s the worst thing ever – and that she never wanted to be pregnant. At all. Ever. Five minutes later, she mentioned that she had maternity leave written into her work contract four years ago. Four. It was something that she actively decided to do and that she planned to do because her boss was “impossible at best”, so she had to get it written into the contract. In another discussion a little while later, she talked about how easy it was to give up drinking, smoking, caffeine, processed meat, soft cheeses, long distance travel, and whatever else. She said she had no side effects, no bad moods, no cravings. This was coming from a woman who had been the typical “life of the party” girl who was never seen without a cigarette or a drink in her hand; someone who lived from coffee to coffee and cigarette break to cigarette break. Yet, as soon as she realised she was pregnant, *poof* she’s given up everything. So many people cannot give up just one of these things, let alone all of them. (Even if they really want to; even if they have strong motivation like creating another life inside them; even if it was a life-and-death situation.) If she didn’t care about her unborn child and if she didn’t want to be pregnant, why would she give all of this up? I’ve known others who did everything that they could to end their pregnancy early because they didn’t want to be pregnant. Here, a woman who claims to not want children, to hate being pregnant, to be dreading the next eighteen or twenty years of her life, she is doing her best to provide the safest and healthiest home for her unborn child. Is this not a contradiction between her actions and her words?

The list of blatant lies told in this conversation goes on – it really does. I spent most of those two hours just sitting in shock and wondering how this group of women would react if I told them exactly what I was thinking. Or if I told them that they were basing their friendship and conversations on lies. If they truly looked at themselves and truly allowed themselves to be who they are, then they would be shocked – more shocked than I was when I was listening to them. Really.

I wonder how we have gotten to this place – to a place where being honest with ourselves, and one another, is regarded as being a social taboo.

cravings

Sometimes I get a craving. A craving for things that I know better than to crave. These things offer temporary delight, temporary pleasure. But I know that they will come back to haunt me, that I will come back to berate myself.

A small emotion, a flickering memory, a tantalising smell: these things bring back memories of other times, other places, other versions of me. Times when I was not as much as I am now; times when I was not as whole as I am now.

The small desires, the small cravings, the small things. Things that are not meant to be done, not meant to be had, not meant to be felt. These are the small tortures from my past that I live with in moments of nostalgia, moments of weakness, moments of loss.

A clean slate.

The Question: What would you be more of if you let go of the past?

I’m trying this one. I want to work out what is holding me back from my potential. I know I can do this and I know I can do it well. But something stops me. Continually. There’s moments when I can say “Well, just do it already!” and I will start to do it. Then I get distracted or have to do something else that cannot wait. Then I lose the thread again. I look for it everywhere, but to no avail. So what is really holding me back?

This burning question has been burning in me for a while now. I keep coming back to “…but there’s nothing in my past that’s holding me back! I have no regrets and I love who I am, and how I have come to be!” But something is holding me back. Two weeks ago, I think I found out what it might be. It might be fear of success. That’s right – fear of success, not failure. This realisation made me start to think again. Am I fearful of success? What happened after the last time I was truly successful? Let me tell you. I burned out. I crashed. I couldn’t do what they asked (and expected) of me. I bombed out so hard that it’s taken me at least a year to recover. (Yes, a year is not that long, but in my life, it’s painfully long. Let me digress for a moment. Imagine being separated from your loved one for an entire year because some government official wrote a silly sentence that meant that everything was not “safe” anymore despite the world around them being safer than ever before. It’s like weather forecasters who don’t look out the window to see the sunshiny beautiful day, but would rather imagine the rain and create the sounds of the rain. Being separated because of one person’s introverted, convoluted view on the situation. Frustrating. It’s like that.)

So, if I look back into my past and see that I have a fear of success and this is holding me back, what can I do to make this change? What would I be more of now if I let that go? What would I be more of?

I would be more of:

  • joyfulness in writing
  • happiness in living
  • confidence in understanding
  • security in loving
  • success in being me.

Not a long list; a long list would not be my reality. I am happy with who I am; I have no regrets; my life has shaped me in ways that I don’t always understand or appreciate at the time, but I love it now. If not for my past, then I would not be who I am today. I love who I am and who I am becoming. For now, though, it’s time for me to face my fear of success. And just succeed anyway.

messed up

It’s kind of messed up how the mind can work someone into a blathering glob of blubber and make a mountain out of a molehill. It’s messed up how a tiny spark or suggestion can be the start of a stressful imaginary scenario that blows the facts out of proportion. The power of the mind to transform the most minuscule piece of data into a full-blown tragedy – this is truly amazing. Unless, of course, you are in the middle of the tragedy. That’s when it becomes heart-wrenchingly frustrating: the rational mind is screaming that you need all of the facts first and to wait – the hyperactive imagination is working in overdrive to create the most fantastic (as in fantasy) situation where nothing good can happen – or only good can happen. It’s messed up.

In a world where a more scientific brain exists (more scientific than mine), this messed up situation won’t happen because it will look at the facts and wait for all the facts to arrive before jumping to a conclusion. When only some of the facts present themselves, the irrational mind can arrive at a plausible conclusion; however, this is often a misleading conclusion because all of the facts are not in. Patience is required in order to gather all of the facts (and evidence) before a conclusion can be made. This is the key: patience.

They say that patience is a virtue: a virtue that is difficult to maintain constantly as the pressures of the world around us. Patience seems to be generally lacking in the modern world: everything is designed to make things faster, smoother, easier to do without the need to wait. Even the expectations of response times have been cut dramatically with responses taking more than 24 hours often considered “slow”. When did the world get like this? Is it a legacy of the Internet and the increasingly connected world we live in?

Stop.

Wait.

Think.

Listen.

This is what we forget to do these days – to find ourselves and listen to the sounds of the world around us. Just to “be” and let “be”. At least, that’s the way it should be.

redefining the landscape

The landscape within. Redefining the landscape within.

It’s time – there’s no doubt about it. While my inner landscape has been undergoing renovations over the past few years, I haven’t considered a complete redefinition. Yet. But I think it’s time. The renovations have been moving along quite well, but it still has the same basic landscape – just some different colours or pictures on the walls or hobbies to keep the mind occupied. So, I think it’s time to consider a complete redefintion.

Redefine = give a new or different definition to

I will redefine the landscape within so that I can become more comfortable with what I am becoming; so that I can fit into my new skin more easily. It’s difficult to fit into something that doesn’t fit anymore – it’s time to redefine so it fits more appropriately. This doesn’t mean that I’ll throw away the renovations and start again – some of the renovations have been quite good. Some could use a colour change, but the general gist of them has been positive and worth pursuing. Maybe part of the redefinition can be an adaptation to include the different renovation areas where they sit naturally – an expansion of sorts – perhaps even an unlimited space to grow and be. Perhaps I will focus on the process of redefinition rather than the end result – this might be the way that will best allow a full exploration of what the redefined landscape might enable.

So where do I start with it all? I’ve got the idea – but where to start, where to start… Maybe it’s better if I don’t define where to start and just let it happen organically. Once I put the idea into the universe, I know that it will begin to take shape in the way that it’s meant to be – the way I need it to be – the way that’s right for me. So, here goes…

redefine

A year ago…

…we met. I looked at you and I told myself “NO.” I was quite emphatic with it, too. I told myself that I couldn’t do it – that it wasn’t a good idea – that it was “not an option”. I went against my intuition and resisted my heart. I tried to look away; I tried to remind myself that I was “just visiting”. I told myself that I couldn’t do it – that it was unworkable. I met you and I knew that it was *you*. As much as I tried to deny it, as much as I tried to convince myself that I must be wrong, it didn’t work. I think I lasted about 30 minutes before I knew that I couldn’t keep ignoring what my heart was screaming at me. It was screaming so loud. So very loud. It gave me a headache – not to mention a heartache.

So, we started gently, slowly. We started from the beginning. We started with nothing but long conversations and heartfelt desires. The time was never enough – we were always wanting more time. We found time. We found ways around the obstacles thrown in our path. We talked. We walked. We were able to just “be” with each other. We didn’t need to talk – we could feel. Our minds and souls talked in our silence. They talked with each other in a language that was so complicated that we could only feel it. Our souls connected; our hearts connected; our lives connected, never to be the same again.

We talk constantly; we plan our future; we plan our way. We take it one step at a time. We talk about the next step, not five steps down the track. We focus on building our world; we focus on creating our future. Even though we are separated physically, we are always together: we look at the same moon every night; we breathe the same in this earth; we see the same sun rise every morning. While distance may separate us physically, it cannot separate our hearts, minds, or souls: they are connected in a way that cannot be broken by space or time.

We’ve had tough times; we’ve had amazing times. We’ve played by the rules; we’ve done everything “right”. We’re still doing it right – we’re still going strong. The universe will conspire to bring us together physically. We just need to have a little more patience. A little more time to be where we are. A little more time to be ourselves. A little more time to be.

You’ve been amazing, incredible, unimaginably wonderful. You read my mind and answer my questions without my asking; you see me and you know what I need; you understand my complications, my intricacies, my innermost being. You know me – you’ve known me since you first saw me. Thank you.

I see you. I hear you. I feel you. I understand.

Together we can. We will.

A song that feels right for tonight. For now. For you. For me. ♥