Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Today I am thankful for my independence.
Yeah, I know that sounds crazy because I'm always talking about how I want to be in relationship and all, but I really am happy that I am free and independent. This is the thing... I want to share my free-spirited experiences with my partner. I want to be able to be with someone who loves to just make plans and go whenever and where ever.
But for now, I don't have that person, and I'm ok with that.
What I'm talking about in this post is my independence where I am able to do whatever I want (like last minute plans or big trips), whenever I want. For example, a few friends and I are planning on hiking Half Dome this summer. I love that I can get the invite, not really think too much about it, and just go. The thing I love most about it is that I'm up for any new challenge, pretty much whenever. And I have a group of friends that are willing to do pretty much anything.
But let's talk about this Half Dome trip... A) I've never been to Yosemite, but have always wanted to go. B) This hike is about 16 miles (8-10 hours). I love to hike, but my hikes these days consist of about 5 miles, max. So I'm a bit scared, but I am excited for this challenge (and we know how I love me some challenges).
Just to give you an idea... this is Half Dome (the "half dome" on the right).
We will not be hiking up this particular side of it. We will be hiking up the side that you can't see, which looks like this (below) on the ascent up.
Those are actual cables that help you get up that last part to get to the top. No, you don't have to be harnessed in or anything (though you can), but still. And this is what is looks like from the top.
I can't necessarily guarantee that I'll be the one getting this close to the edge (as I'm pretty afraid of heights), but I will be on the summit, which we've been told is about 700-800 yards across. So I'm sure I'll find plenty of open space to maneuver around on (or perhaps throw a football around on). No need to get close to the edge.
So anyway, this hike will be in the beginning of July and I look forward to the adventure. I am thankful that I am willing and able (hopefully) to do these kinds of things.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Today I am thankful for Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I know, this sounds odd that I am thankful for a book, but I am. If anyone hasn't read this book, it's a memoir about a woman who goes through a horrible divorce and finds herself in a yearlong journey out of the country. She goes to Italy because she loves the language (and the food), then to India to find spirituality, and then in Indonesia she finds love.
I read the book when I was in my last relationship and automatically fell in love with it. There was something about her witty, unapologetic writing that I got me hooked within the first few pages. I remember going to Borders looking for a new read and picking up that book, having no idea what it was about... I just loved the cover. I sat down to read a few pages and literally read almost 100 pages in the store that night. It just hooked me in. I related to the story at that point in my life because she talked about how she fell right into a relationship after she left her husband. This new relationship was a guy that she was obsessed with and the way she was describing it was exactly how I felt with my "1st love."
And then she takes the leap to leave everything she knows and travel for a year by herself. All for a chance at self discovery. Of course at that time in my life, this idea was only a dream for me. Something that women like her did, not girls like me. But how whimsical and brave it would be to fly overseas by myself to explore.
This book was my inspiration to take my trip. THE trip that I took the day after I turned 30. My first time out of the country. By myself. It was the stepping stone to my self discovery back in the day.
So there's an Eat Pray Love movie coming out and I'm soooooo excited. Not only because I adore this book, but because Julia Roberts is playing Elizabeth Gilbert's character. What a great casting choice. And because of this movie, I've decided to read the book again. So much has happened to me since I read the book (before the last relationship ended) and because I read the book. I'm about halfway done, but it's interesting to see it through a new set of eyes, so to speak. I hope to gain something new from it.
So, thank you to Eat Pray Love, and to Elizabeth Gilbert. Your book made me see things about myself that I wanted, but didn't think I was even capable of. Now I know I am.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Today I am thankful for ability to feel, since I seem to feel things more deeply than most; or more deeply than most appear to.
The only way I can describe this is to tell you about when I ran into "love #2," a year after we broke up (a year since we had last spoken to each other) in the middle of a Vegas club (mind you, at that time, we lived 3 miles from each other and I saw him once in an entire year, driving). I was with a group of friends (the main one, who I've recently broken up with), celebrating a divorce.* It was our second night in Vegas, our second night of meeting random guys that would buy our drinks and let us be their arm candy for the night. It's Vegas, that's how it happens.
So anyway, we're all dressed up, having just met up with a group of guys that we had met at the pool earlier in the day (none of which I had the slightest interest in - but I'm a team player). I was wearing a dress that I had spent a day shopping for (I hate short Vegasy type dresses, but knew I had to get one because it was Vegas), and I actually felt like I looked pretty hot. We're on the dance floor and one of the girls in our group walks up with a guy. I look at her and I'm like, "Ummm... where'd you find him and can you introduce me to his friends?" So she obliges and we walk across the club to meet up with her new friend's friends. As soon as I turn the corner, I see 'love #2" and I say, "Oh my god, that's my ex boyfriend," whereupon he spots me and probably has the same "oh shit" thought cross his mind. Instead of running away (like I probably should have done), I walk over to him and we give each other a hug.
I spent the next hour talking to him. The talking started out with an awkward, "Hey, how have you been," and evolved into me telling him everything I had learned about us and me since we had parted and him (I felt like) trying to one-up me on my revelations and experiences. I wasn't bitching, I was just word vomiting. Ok, maybe I was a little sarcastic and patronizing, but I blame that on the alcohol and lack of food. I also blame the apparent anxiety/panic attack that was slowly creeping up on me on the alcohol and lack of food. I was beginning to get fidgety and shaky and dizzy midway into our conversation. In fact, we were standing right next to a pool and I literally had to reach out and grab onto him at one point because I was losing my balance.
I don't know if it's just me, but standing there in front of an ex-boyfriend that has seen you naked numerous times, seen you be the happiest and saddest you've ever been, shared 2+ years with you, had numerous experiences and inside jokes and nicknames, who you once loved and thought you'd spend the rest of your life with ... it's an odd experience. They know you, but they don't really know you now. He didn't know who I was, a year after we had broken up... but he still knew who I was. We shared so many things for such a long period of time, and yet we stood there talking, like we were old friends who hadn't seen each other in a long time and were trying to catch up. It was too much for me to handle, yet it was everything that I had hoped for (to tell him everything that I had learned about us and me), all at the same time.
I finally got to the point where I was becoming increasingly anxious and uncomfortable with the situation. My friends were nowhere in sight and I was not strong enough at that point to just say goodbye and walk away unscathed. So I pulled out my phone and as quickly (and inconspicuously) as possible, texted one of my friends, who was in the club. I think the text said something like, "I need you NOW at the bar by the pool." Within 5 minutes she was there. I wish I could explain the reaction on her face when she saw why I needed her so badly. The save was brief and smooth. She walked up, said hello very coolly and calmly. Within 30 seconds, she asked me if I needed to go to bathroom and we were gone. He told me he'd email me and I said, "I won't hold my breath," and my friend whisked me away.
As soon as I was out of his view, I felt myself slowly falling apart. The tears were streaming and I began shaking uncontrollably. We somehow passed by my other friend (the now broken-up with one; but who had experienced the last year of healing with me) who caught wind of what was going on and literally lost her shit. She somehow found the ex, spit a few choice words at him (that I now think was more because of the fact that her night was possibly ruined and less about the fact that I was having a crisis) and walked away. I managed to get myself to a concrete bench, whereupon I literally fell apart. I spent the night awake, lying in bed with the feeling that I was having a heart attack. I even called my old roommate the next morning (who's a nurse) to describe my symptoms to her, asking if I should see a doctor. Turns out it was just an anxiety attack. I finally calmed down, right after I called my mom and cried it out. (Thank god for my mom... she's the best person in the world and always knows how to calm me down and slap me back into reality.)
It's hard to describe why I was so affected by him more than a year later. I wasn't emotional because I missed him, I was certain of that. But it was the first time I had seen him since the day we broke up, the first time I talked to him since the day after we broke up. I had gone through a lot of shit in that year. A lot of shit that I was proud of and that only he might be able to understand, because he was in the relationship with me. I think I pissed off the friends I was with because I was so affected. We actually had a conversation about it later the next day and one of them said, "It's difficult for me to understand why you are so emotionally affected by this a year later. I think it's because you're just one of those people who love so deeply that it's difficult for you to just bounce back from a long term relationship." Which was true. She was the one whose divorce was being finalized that weekend; the one we were on the trip celebrating. She wasn't devastated, she was actually happy. Maybe she was just a very guarded person. Maybe I was just too emotional and attached. Who's to judge?
But this ability to feel deeply is something that I've always had. When my heart is broken, it affects me very deeply. When I see a sad or moving commercial or event on TV, I cry. I get the fact that some women are affected by these things as well, but I just feel like I have a ton of emotion stored up in me. And I'm ok with that. I've just come to the conclusion that I am a crier and it doesn't mean that I'm a PMSing bitch, it just means that I cry a lot. Whoever I marry will just have to be ok with that because I can't hold that shit in. It's impossible.
So, in summary, I'm an emotional
*Is it odd that nowadays women (and probably men) celebrate the end of a relationship that they, at one time, vowed to be in for the rest of their lives?
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Today I will begin by being thankful for my ability to write.
I remember being in my 10th grade English class and my teacher was going over how to make writing "flow." She was showing examples of writing that "flowed" and to my surprise (and delight), my paper (on who knows what) went up on the overhead. From that moment on, I was convinced that I was a writer. I joined the high school [excuse for a] newspaper and went on to become the sports' editor my senior year. Granted, I didn't do a fantastic job of getting the 'hard stuff' (I didn't even go to games), but the honor was there. I even went into college with Journalism as my major, but soon realized that real, journalistic-style writing was not my thing. I'm all about throwing my opinion in there, and couldn't be confined to just writing about facts. Boring.
So since that day in high school, I've kinda had this "I'm a good writer" mentality, whether it's true or not.
And whether you know me or not, my mind works at a very rapid pace. I'm an over-analyzer and a very deep thinker. I'm always thinking. However, I can't always communicate things verbally very well because my mind is so ADHD and I go off topic a lot. I will literally be telling a story and forget why I was telling the story in the first place. It's a problem. Oftentimes I will have to write out my feelings before talking about a problem with another person so that I can remember to stick to what I wanted to say.
So I write. When I have a pressing issue, I write it out. Most of the time it doesn't make sense on the first round of writing it, but just getting my thoughts out is the release I'm looking for. It's like word vomit. I feel like I'm going to explode before I get in front of a computer, but once it's all out, I feel so much better. And then I edit it.
So when I started this blog, I realized that although it might be entertaining for others to read (if anyone ever read it), it was more of a release for me. And that especially became true when I went through the breakup and therapy. One of the things on my "what do I want to do before I die" list is to write a book about my relationships. I don't for any reason think that my problems are any more "bookworthy" than many other women out there, but I think that if women got to read about other women who have/have had the same problems as them, it might make them feel less like a freak of nature. Some of my favorite books are about women who have had relationship issues or who have found enlightenment through their journey of self discovery. And that will be my purpose when I finally feel it's the right time to write my book. So this blog also serves as an electronic diary of the events to fuel my book in the future. Along with the many pen-and-paper diaries and other things I've written that I've kept. I like to prepare for these things.
So, in summary, today I am thankful for my ability to write clearly and "flowingly," while (hopefully) keeping others entertained/enlightened though my emotional releases.
Then I went to yoga (reluctantly) this morning and was scrutinizing myself over my body and my lack of flexibility in comparison to others in the class. It kills me how I can change so quickly. One of the final poses in yoga is the relaxation part where you just lie there and focus on your breathing or the music... and my mind starting wandering.
I thought of the practice. I thought of religions that might surround this practice. I thought of how we're studying Buddhism in class right now. I started thinking about what the main ideas of Buddhism are and how we suffer because we want. I started thinking about what I wanted. I want my job to be safe. I want more money so that I can travel whenever I want and not be in debt. I thought, yeah, sure these are things that I want, but have trained myself to believe that in the end, I can live without these things and still be content (yes, even without my job).
So I pushed myself to go even further. What is it that I want so badly that I literally make myself suffer because I think I'll be miserable if I ultimately end up not getting it? And then it hit me. A relationship. To be in love again. Someone to ultimately share my life with. I'm struggling with this issue in my life so badly right now. I wake up trying to live my days not being consumed by it. I try to keep an open, patient mind, but literally beat myself up daily because I don't have it. I've even thought about going back to therapy to help me with this overwhelming need. My biggest fear right now is being single and alone for the rest of my life. No one to share my life with; no kids, no husband... nothing. Sure, my family will always be there and I love them dearly, but it's just not the same. I yearn so badly to have someone to share my life with right now.
And it's because of this that I feel like I'm not getting it. I feel like I'm falling back into needing someone else to complete me. It's a different feeling this time around, as I'm more aware that I really don't need it and am, in fact, capable of being alone. But it's still there. This time around it's more of a need for partner to share my life with, rather than a guy to validate how I feel about myself. I'm alone. I'm lonely. I'm not depressed, but I do get sad and frustrated a lot. When everything happened after the last relationship and I learned all of those valuable lessons about myself in therapy, I started to think that this was what I needed to make things happen for me. I needed to find out who I was without a relationship. I'm an independent strong woman that doesn't need a man to make her feel whole. And sure, I feel that way, but just because I know I don't need a man to take care of me doesn't mean that I don't want it.
It's been almost 2 years since my last relationship. Since the last time I was in love. It's odd because in therapy, I discovered that since I was 18, I had been in love with someone. I fell in love with the '1st love' at 18. And I literally didn't stop loving him until I was well into my '2nd love.' Sounds odd, I know. When the 'first love' and I finally stopped our 8+ year torrid off-and-on relationship, I was in a new relationship with my '2nd love' within 3 months. When the 2+ year '2nd love' relationship ended, I was turning 30. What a revelation to make at 30. I had been in love for over 10 years. So this feeling of having no one to love is difficult.
What makes it even more difficult is that because I don't have it, I'm beginning to really scrutinize myself over it. There have been guys in the last 2 years, don't get me wrong. Just no one that's lasted. And I think, why does this one not want me? Am I too picky to not want that one? I'm starting to hate my body. I'm the heaviest I've ever been at this point in my life. I get it, most people look at me and think, but you're not heavy. But I feel like I am. And I'm trying to stay active and either lose the weight or tone up, but I feel like it's just not happening.
So needless to say, I'm focusing on a lot of negatives in my life right now. And I'm sick of it.
It's amazing how things in my life connect at this point. Yoga is part of the Buddhist religion. I'm teaching about early India and Buddhism right now. Maybe I should apply the beliefs of Buddhism (a religion that I find so fascinating) in my own life.
Please excuse the Social Studies religion lesson, but it's so pertinent. These are the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism:
The first truth is that life is suffering. Life includes pain, getting old, disease, and ultimately death. We also endure psychological suffering like loneliness, frustration, boredom, fear, embarrassment, disappointment and anger.
The second truth is that suffering is caused by craving and the needing to control things. It can take many forms: the desire for fame; the desire to avoid unpleasant sensations like fear, anger or jealousy.
The third truth is that suffering can be overcome and happiness can be attained; that true happiness and contentment are possible. If we let go of our craving and learn to live each day at a time (not dwelling in the past or the imagined future) then we can become happy and free. We then have more time and energy to help others. This is Nirvana.The fourth truth is that the Noble 8-fold Path is the path which leads to the end of suffering.
My intention here is to not become a Buddhist. My problem with being confined to a certain religion prohibits that. My intention instead is to internalize this and apply what I need to my life at this present moment.
I need to stop living for the future. I think I've done a much better job (through therapy) to not live in the past. I've let go of a lot of demons and am standing much taller than I was 2 years ago. But I still struggle with living for the future. I am not a fortune teller, I cannot tell the furture. Nor can I dwell on the what ifs of my life, specifically in the future. I need to instead live for today. I need to not take for granted what I have in the here and now. I need to stop complaining about what I don't have yet and start being thankful for what I have now.
So this is my new focus, and I'm going to use this blog for it. I've felt like I've needed a new focus on this blog for a very long time. In the beginning, it was mostly about working through my issues with the breakup and with therapy. And it helped. I felt like what I said mattered and that if it wasn't therapeutic for anyone else reading it, it was at least therapeutic for me. But, as many of those who read this blog frequently may have noticed (whoever you are out there), I haven't had much to say lately. Call it a writer's block, call it not feeling like there was anything important going on in my life at the moment... I was at a standstill. But that is no longer the truth for me. I have things that are going on in my life that are worthwhile, I have just chose to focus on the negatives (what wasn't happening).
So from here on until who knows when, I am going to focus my posts on what I am thankful for; what I have in my life that I have obviously taken for granted in the last year or so. In doing this, I hope to take my focus away from the negativity that my mind's become so accustomed to pushing me toward, and push it toward more positive, appreciate-the-now thoughts. I encourage anyone who reads this to post comments on things you're thankful for or appreciaitve of. Who knows, maybe I'll start a revolution with the 3 followers that I have... (shout-out to those ladies!)
I'm finally feeling like this blog (and I) have a purpose again! Ahhh, the freedom of it all...
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I just need something. I need something soon. I need something I can throw myself into and bathe in the gloriousness of how it's continuing my change of making me into a better person. I need a challenge. And I almost don't want it to be a new guy... because I'm at the point where I feel like I'm so desperate for something exciting, I would throw myself too much into it.
Someone please tell me what this is supposed to be? Someone send me a sign? What is the next chapter of my life supposed to be and when it is going to begin?