Ego Planning
It’s Not a Tumor.

I have often tried to explain to others, and understand, myself, what it feels like to lose someone you weren’t married to, but had felt like you were.

People are pretty sympathetic, since he and I had dated for 5 and a half years, and met and dated briefly when we were teens. We were engaged when we broke up.

The way I had best described it to others is that it’s like getting a divorce. It feels that monumental to me. I haven’t been the same since.

I’ve also said that it’s kind of like I am living a second life now: Amanda 2.0. I feel very different in big ways. Everything is just sorta… different.

But, then, this morning, it dawned on me what it is like to go through a change that huge. It’s like living with a benign tumor. A big one. You don’t have to worry about it killing you, but you have this huge lump on the side of your arm… or face… or wherever. And you just adapt to living with it. It’s doable, but it’s ultimately going to be different than before. You always notice it’s there. Every day.

Or maybe it’s like losing a limb. You don’t have a left arm from the elbow down. Everything you do has to compensate for this handicap. Things have become more difficult because of it, but you assimilate; you learn how to use your other arm in ways you hadn’t before, making it more agile, adept, and strong.

It could very well be like going blind. Similar to losing a limb, you need to relearn how to live in your world with this new change. Except there’s something extra about not being able to be visually present in the world, when once you had relied so heavily upon it. Never again will you gaze into beautiful eyes. Never again can you share a gorgeous sunset with a lover. Or navigate with ease throughout your surroundings without the support of others until you learn to adapt.

The thing is, even though this is how it feels to lose something of such immensity, it doesn’t look like that to others. After two and a half years, you no longer get a lot of sympathy from others. You look okay on the outside to others, so even if you are in incredible pain on the inside, no one is going to know.

It’s a silent kind of suffering. Because life goes on, but it will never be the same.

I have fallen in love again since this happened two and a half years ago. And I really love him. I do. He’s gorgeous. He cares about me. He is talented. We giggle together. And our bodies perfectly align, as though it were meant to be, when we snuggle at night. All of this is true, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not human, and that I don’t have days where I don’t feel completely “right” in my mind.

If you lose an arm, you can still do a handstand with one. But it’s much harder. And that handstand might be even better than a two-handed one. The work it takes to accomplish a one-handed handstand is undoubtedly more than it would be with two. You have to relearn balance. You need more strength.

These are things I am trying to find every day. And I am. But it’s a slow process. My one-handed handstand in many ways has surpassed the two-handed, but the training is continual. My new life is becoming the norm more so each day, as I figure out how to live with part of me gone. And one thing I have learned is that if you keep falling over with your one-handed handstand, ask for help. Don’t just bump into walls and furniture, bruising and further injuring yourself. No one makes it through life alone.

It’s been a rough week for me; particularly, the past few days. Nothing really terrible has happened. It’s just been crappy. I have been emotional and easily angered; my feelings have been hurt several times, and I feel a lot of frustration at work. I had a moment the other day, when talking to a friend, where I had said something like, “I think I am a good friend and person to other people, and I constantly get shit on.” Obviously, that was an exaggeration; I’m not constantly being crapped on, but the past few days have been exceptionally odd in the world of “let’s pick on Amanda.” Sometimes, when you do your best to be completely neutral, fair, communicative, loving, and non-manipulative, it is exasperating how some people still will twist your words or make you feel bad. Or just be plain ol’ mean. It makes you not want to try to be good.But, then, I had the realization that how they treat me is their deal. Their issue. Not mine. As long as I always maintain integrity and fairness, how others choose to treat me in return is totally up to them. It sucks that it is that way, but at least I know I did everything in my power to be fair and come from a loving place. So, that should be enough, right? If, once in awhile, something I’ve said or done has a positive impact, then that’s great. As far as being shit on? Well, maybe I’m supposed to learn not to take things so personally all the time. I am insanely sensitive. The most minute thing could send me into a spiral of depression or a storm of tears, because it is that meaningful to me. I kinda like that I’m like this, because it makes me excellent at “people”, but I also despise it. Life can be rough when you hold everyone to ridiculously high standards, because you know how humans SHOULD behave. One thing about me is that I will always cast my “stuff” aside to deal with somebody else’s. I will do this to the point where I am exhausted mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, because I am not being nurtured. Lately, I’ve changed that. It may seem insensitive, but when I need to “check out” and disappear from my friends for awhile, I do. And I don’t feel it necessary to give them an explanation. I have a few friends that will make me feel bad about not responding to texts or hanging out, but I simply don’t care, because that’s manipulation (I have NEVER done that to a friend, EVER), and I need to take care of myself first. Most of my friends think I am happy and well put together, because I am really good at hiding my problems. But guess what? I am kinda messed up, just like the rest of you, and I am my number one priority. I finally hit that point yesterday, when I was probably at my apex of “why are all these bad things happening this week?” questioning. I just did my own thing; what I thought I needed, not what others wanted or needed. I did what would fulfill and satisfy Amanda. Being nice to people happens when you nurture yourself. When you respect yourself. Because you have so much inner love and compassion, you are able to organically extend it, naturally. It takes less effort, because it’s a part of you—who you are. And this is always my goal. To be beautiful within and to give beauty and love to those around me. Yes, I like adoration, I think I look good with a nose ring, I like my boobs, I want people to enjoy when I play music or sing, but mostly, I want to be LISTENED TO. Understood. Loved deeply. I want to be an inspiration to others and to be open-minded enough, always, to learn lessons from those around me every day.

It’s been a rough week for me; particularly, the past few days. Nothing really terrible has happened. It’s just been crappy. I have been emotional and easily angered; my feelings have been hurt several times, and I feel a lot of frustration at work. I had a moment the other day, when talking to a friend, where I had said something like, “I think I am a good friend and person to other people, and I constantly get shit on.” Obviously, that was an exaggeration; I’m not constantly being crapped on, but the past few days have been exceptionally odd in the world of “let’s pick on Amanda.” Sometimes, when you do your best to be completely neutral, fair, communicative, loving, and non-manipulative, it is exasperating how some people still will twist your words or make you feel bad. Or just be plain ol’ mean. It makes you not want to try to be good.

But, then, I had the realization that how they treat me is their deal. Their issue. Not mine. As long as I always maintain integrity and fairness, how others choose to treat me in return is totally up to them. It sucks that it is that way, but at least I know I did everything in my power to be fair and come from a loving place. So, that should be enough, right?

If, once in awhile, something I’ve said or done has a positive impact, then that’s great. As far as being shit on? Well, maybe I’m supposed to learn not to take things so personally all the time. I am insanely sensitive. The most minute thing could send me into a spiral of depression or a storm of tears, because it is that meaningful to me. I kinda like that I’m like this, because it makes me excellent at “people”, but I also despise it.

Life can be rough when you hold everyone to ridiculously high standards, because you know how humans SHOULD behave.

One thing about me is that I will always cast my “stuff” aside to deal with somebody else’s. I will do this to the point where I am exhausted mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, because I am not being nurtured. Lately, I’ve changed that. It may seem insensitive, but when I need to “check out” and disappear from my friends for awhile, I do. And I don’t feel it necessary to give them an explanation. I have a few friends that will make me feel bad about not responding to texts or hanging out, but I simply don’t care, because that’s manipulation (I have NEVER done that to a friend, EVER), and I need to take care of myself first. Most of my friends think I am happy and well put together, because I am really good at hiding my problems. But guess what? I am kinda messed up, just like the rest of you, and I am my number one priority. I finally hit that point yesterday, when I was probably at my apex of “why are all these bad things happening this week?” questioning. I just did my own thing; what I thought I needed, not what others wanted or needed. I did what would fulfill and satisfy Amanda.

Being nice to people happens when you nurture yourself. When you respect yourself. Because you have so much inner love and compassion, you are able to organically extend it, naturally. It takes less effort, because it’s a part of you—who you are. And this is always my goal. To be beautiful within and to give beauty and love to those around me. Yes, I like adoration, I think I look good with a nose ring, I like my boobs, I want people to enjoy when I play music or sing, but mostly, I want to be LISTENED TO. Understood. Loved deeply. I want to be an inspiration to others and to be open-minded enough, always, to learn lessons from those around me every day.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I know the true key to happiness is that it needs to be derived from within… but it also doesn’t hurt when good things are happening. Summertime is here, and I finally feel my body relaxing into its blanket of warmth, while its longer daytime hours prevent me from being indoors or doing anything responsible. I clean about once a week, and I’m okay with that. Now is the time for living.

It’s been quite awhile, unfortunately, since I’ve been able to feel completely relaxed or whole. I’ve had happy moments, but I had gone through quite a stretch where I was “not okay”—I just fooled most people into thinking I was, because my effervescent nature can be deceiving.

You know that feeling when you misplace something that you really want to find? It’s like that constant in-the-back-of-your-mind nagging that doesn’t ruin your life or anything, but it’s always there, and due to that, you are not completely at peace.

There is something that I have wanted for a long time. Probably more than most things I’ve ever wanted, aside from a piano or to be a famous singer or writer. I have wanted this for two years, and for a period of time, I had it, and it was great. But it wasn’t really the right time to have it, and because of that, depression, annoyances, jealousy, and clinginess found their way into my mind. I felt unsettled, because it just wasn’t working well and smoothly. But over time, this thing that I have wanted has not gone away. Always slightly out of reach. I could push it out of my mind for periods of time and find other ways to occupy my time and feel happy, but this thing is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or a favorite book you thought you had lost until it resurfaces.

I finally feel relaxed, now. And it’s not because I need someone else to make me whole. I am whole on my own, but I feel like for the first time in a long time, I am finally home.

If only Jesse had understood this. I hope that the man I end up with understands this, for there is no greater joy in the Universe than to spread love to everyone (non-sluttily) and to enjoy the fuck out of everything. (Read the article.)

I attended my very first FURPA (Farmington River Pirates Association) yesterday. Essentially, everyone grabs floatation devices, dresses as pirates, and sails down the Farmington River. Yes, there’s drinking and pillaging, but we also clean the river of debris while we go, so it’s all for a good cause.

Things I’ve learned from my FURPA experience:

  1. You can get sea-sick on a calm river; All you need are a bunch of drunkards jumping on and off the boat constantly, and it’s just like you’re riding high and mighty waves on the ocean blue.
  2. Banana is not fun coming back up.
  3. Don’t eat a banana if you’re feeling sea-sick.
  4. Girls be crazy! Wow. Lots of girls looking for action.
  5. Being on the winning vessel is a great feeling. I felt like a celebrity!
  6. My friends are crazy and awesome.
  7. Double-bag EVERYTHING, and spend the extra money to buy waterproof cases and bags. Well worth the $15 spent.
  8. You will see a lot of people throwing up and making out.
  9. The entire thing is a lot like the opening scenes of college movies, where 100+ people are partying and going completely nuts—except you’re in boats and on the water.
  10. At least a few people will lose their belongings, and at least one car’s battery will be dead at the end point.
  11. Granny Gumjob was the best figurehead a vessel could ever have.

I learned many things, but one of the most important was that you can be 31 years old and still feel like a kid. I don’t care if it seems irresponsible or childish; I hope I never feel completely grown up. I want to make-believe I’m a hostage sailor upon a pirate ship and shout piratey songs well into my adulthood. The community of people that come together, although you have your share of idiots (there will always be a few) in the mix, is a really neat thing to experience, and I made a bunch of new friends out of the ordeal.

Oh, and number 12: Buy Dramamine for next year!

I was listening to an NPR show podcast (Radiolab) the other day at work, and the idea of Plato’s “soulmates” was posed. I am in the habit of listening to a few of these podcasts a day, because they are so fascinating on multiple levels to listen to (great humor, science, psychology, neurobiology, romanticism, idealism, astrophysics, linguistic, philosophy, sociology, history… the list goes on).
Probably because I am somewhat of a hopeless romantic, whenever I hear the myth of Plato’s androgynous, whole beings who were split and spend their lifetime searching for their other half, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with tinglies and warm fuzzies. It’s a powerful thought. Do I really believe this to be truth? Yes. And no. I don’t think there’s just one. I think there are potentially a few or several others to whom we are tied and connected and sort of destined to cross paths with. For different reasons. I can only say this based on the fact that I think I’ve experienced it myself in a very deep way.
I feel as though I am living the second half of my life now. Not chronologically, because I am aging, but because things are different. There’s been a shift, a change, and a new beginning. I think my whole life in a sense led up to me being with Jesse. My super idealistic, romantic views, the dream wedding, the soulmate connection I had always wanted. I met him when I was sixteen, and by the end of that first day, I had wanted to marry him. I just knew. What I didn’t know was that he would serve as one of the most meaningful and important lessons in my life about love and relationships. We weren’t meant to be, we were simply meant to be united, and what felt, for us, re-united, as if we had known each other before. Once we re-united, we tore each other apart. I think our lesson was in this. Learning about love the hard and extremely painful way.
I write about him as though I am in love still, I think, but I am not. What I am in love with was that time period of my life. I think you can love time periods. There was a length of time when he and I were giddily in love and worked on ourselves as people. It was nice.
And one day, although it had slowly built up over time, it erupted like a rushing volcano, and I knew it had to be done. My anagnorisis, although sometimes faulty, was steadfast, and I knew, I just simply knew, it was the right decision. We were better apart even if it hurt like hell.
That paved the way for the second birth. This second half of my life, which is now. And I am sort of floating around a bit within it, but I am in it. I have been creating it slowly. I am stubbornly refusing to let go of who I am, because being me was the very reason why I couldn’t be with J. It’s been a lovely discovery. Before, my life had been devoid of something charismatic. I was living an achromatic existence for so long I had forgotten what colors were.
Since then, I have felt things in intensity. Both good and bad. But the good stuff has felt so incredible, real, and alive, that I can never go back to the way it was. It’s that ah-ha moment when you realized a part of you had NEVER lived until you felt this feeling. Imagine living out nearly 30 years of your existence having never felt certain things… And it makes me think about Plato’s myth, because as I travel through my days here on Earth, I am reconnecting with something so profound: myself. I have made or refound connections with humans which allow me to feel things I long to feel and I, most importantly, have reconnected with my actual soulmate, which is my true self. You can get lost so easily. It doesn’t take much. And it takes a lot more work to get yourself back on track. But I have been given a second chance at finding that with myself.
We are never going to be satisfied with others if we are focused on their flaws, which is what humans have a tendency to do. Relationships often are more about “What does this person offer me?” rather than, “What do we both bring to the table, and how does that person bring out the best in me?” Plato’s myth suggests that despite a person’s foibles and dark-side, sometimes we are just drawn to them and cannot explain why. Well, Plato’s explanation is that they once were us. I have definitely felt that pull towards other humans as if I were just meant to know them, so I get it…
Those things tend to happen when you aren’t really ready or expecting it, I guess a lot like my own expansion in the universe. I was not ready for the pains of loss, and now it’s been exactly two years since J and I split, and I am a whole woman. I am living. Struggling, sometimes, but living, and pretty happy about it. Finding yourself first, re-uniting with purpose, intention, and vivacity, in my opinion, is the most important step in going out into the world and loving others.

I was listening to an NPR show podcast (Radiolab) the other day at work, and the idea of Plato’s “soulmates” was posed. I am in the habit of listening to a few of these podcasts a day, because they are so fascinating on multiple levels to listen to (great humor, science, psychology, neurobiology, romanticism, idealism, astrophysics, linguistic, philosophy, sociology, history… the list goes on).

Probably because I am somewhat of a hopeless romantic, whenever I hear the myth of Plato’s androgynous, whole beings who were split and spend their lifetime searching for their other half, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with tinglies and warm fuzzies. It’s a powerful thought. Do I really believe this to be truth? Yes. And no. I don’t think there’s just one. I think there are potentially a few or several others to whom we are tied and connected and sort of destined to cross paths with. For different reasons. I can only say this based on the fact that I think I’ve experienced it myself in a very deep way.

I feel as though I am living the second half of my life now. Not chronologically, because I am aging, but because things are different. There’s been a shift, a change, and a new beginning. I think my whole life in a sense led up to me being with Jesse. My super idealistic, romantic views, the dream wedding, the soulmate connection I had always wanted. I met him when I was sixteen, and by the end of that first day, I had wanted to marry him. I just knew. What I didn’t know was that he would serve as one of the most meaningful and important lessons in my life about love and relationships. We weren’t meant to be, we were simply meant to be united, and what felt, for us, re-united, as if we had known each other before. Once we re-united, we tore each other apart. I think our lesson was in this. Learning about love the hard and extremely painful way.

I write about him as though I am in love still, I think, but I am not. What I am in love with was that time period of my life. I think you can love time periods. There was a length of time when he and I were giddily in love and worked on ourselves as people. It was nice.

And one day, although it had slowly built up over time, it erupted like a rushing volcano, and I knew it had to be done. My anagnorisis, although sometimes faulty, was steadfast, and I knew, I just simply knew, it was the right decision. We were better apart even if it hurt like hell.

That paved the way for the second birth. This second half of my life, which is now. And I am sort of floating around a bit within it, but I am in it. I have been creating it slowly. I am stubbornly refusing to let go of who I am, because being me was the very reason why I couldn’t be with J. It’s been a lovely discovery. Before, my life had been devoid of something charismatic. I was living an achromatic existence for so long I had forgotten what colors were.

Since then, I have felt things in intensity. Both good and bad. But the good stuff has felt so incredible, real, and alive, that I can never go back to the way it was. It’s that ah-ha moment when you realized a part of you had NEVER lived until you felt this feeling. Imagine living out nearly 30 years of your existence having never felt certain things… And it makes me think about Plato’s myth, because as I travel through my days here on Earth, I am reconnecting with something so profound: myself. I have made or refound connections with humans which allow me to feel things I long to feel and I, most importantly, have reconnected with my actual soulmate, which is my true self. You can get lost so easily. It doesn’t take much. And it takes a lot more work to get yourself back on track. But I have been given a second chance at finding that with myself.

We are never going to be satisfied with others if we are focused on their flaws, which is what humans have a tendency to do. Relationships often are more about “What does this person offer me?” rather than, “What do we both bring to the table, and how does that person bring out the best in me?” Plato’s myth suggests that despite a person’s foibles and dark-side, sometimes we are just drawn to them and cannot explain why. Well, Plato’s explanation is that they once were us. I have definitely felt that pull towards other humans as if I were just meant to know them, so I get it…

Those things tend to happen when you aren’t really ready or expecting it, I guess a lot like my own expansion in the universe. I was not ready for the pains of loss, and now it’s been exactly two years since J and I split, and I am a whole woman. I am living. Struggling, sometimes, but living, and pretty happy about it. Finding yourself first, re-uniting with purpose, intention, and vivacity, in my opinion, is the most important step in going out into the world and loving others.

Four Days

How long is four days? Well, aside from the smart-ass remark of some equivalent like 96 hours or 57% of a 7-day week, for me, it has been long.

I’m not exactly sure why, except maybe it was the fact that my lungs were stinging or I felt like crap every morning I woke up after drinking, that I decided to take a break from cigarettes and booze. My body has been telling me for awhile now to give it a rest, but I refused to listen, because I needed these things to help me cope with my existence.

Four days may not seem like a lot. And it’s not really, except that since Jesse and I broke up mid-May of 2012, I have not gone more than two consecutive days without alcohol. I have gone more than two consecutive days without cloves or cigarettes, but hardly, and lately, I have been smoking A LOT. I don’t really have an addictive personality, but I was starting to fear that I was becoming dependent on these substances to ease my mental suffering. This is part of why I needed to take a break: to prove that I totally can.

Another part of why is because I’ve gained about 15 pounds (from my healthy weight) since J and I broke up. At first, I lost 15 pounds, which left me at a fairly wraith-like 100lbs. This was too skinny. Then I gained it all back plus almost 15lbs more. I am very unhappy with how I look, and I do not feel like this is the right weight for my height, which is hardly over 5 feet. I still get a lot of positive reinforcement from friends and guys, and I know it’s not that bad, but I think it’s important for a person to feel sexy, healthy, and happy in their skin. I am not. That’s reason number one. Drinking is probably the number one cause of any weight gain that’s occurred.

Reason two, like I said before, was to prove that I could. To show myself that I am strong and not dependent on anything to relieve anxiety, stress, or cope with depression.

Reason three is because I am tired of feeling like crap. Aside from weight gain, I am exhausted and depleted of energy most of the time. I wake up regretting having drank and smoked the night before. I get winded going up stairs, when just a couple of years ago, I could easily run a few miles. I know the longer I continue to do both of these things so habitually, the worse it will be. No one is invincible.

I tend to consume myself with these activities and other social things that pair with them, like going out to the bar, playing darts, staying up late, going to parties, and I have been neglecting a lot of personal things I’ve wanted to attend to like spending more time with my cats, reading, organizing and cleaning my home, collecting/analyzing/processing and surrendering to my thoughts and mind while they are not dimmed or dulled by alcohol. These things are important. The world is still going on around me while I dance in a dark corner, thinking that as long as the lights are out, there’s nothing important to do until tomorrow. Well, tomorrow never comes. I keep putting it off.

Money. I save money if I don’t spend on these things. A great reason.

I do and say things I regret when I consume alcohol, as does anybody, and well, I am tired of acting a fool.

And finally, because I realized I was running away. Not only was I running away, I was running away while getting absolutely nowhere. The only place I was possibly going was deeper into a hole of misery, distraction, and corrupt thoughts. I cannot move on with my life or make good choices when I am not taking care of myself or avoiding my own thoughts.

In four days, my moods have swung high and low. Day one was great. Didn’t miss either things one single bit. Spent the evening (after a nice run on a wooded path) and short visit to my friend’s new apartment, downloading books on my new Kindle.

Day two was a little more difficult. I was thinking about both things more, but was able to push them out of my mind and keep my eyes focused on my goal. I felt more depressed than I did the first day. I went running again and spent the evening reading and doing laundry.

On day three, I had a burst of energy. The thoughts of wanting those things were still there, but I was proud of myself and noticeably feeling better only after three days. I spent the evening cooking myself a nice meal, doing laundry, tearing apart my basement to go through old things and memories, and then ended the night in bed with my cats, reading love letters that were never given to an old ex of mine—the very first time I fell in love. It was beautiful and painful to relive some of those memories. I had forgotten what that felt like—being in love like that. The most recent time has been mostly a horrible struggle, even though I felt like I was falling hard.

Day four was today. I was feeling pretty good all day. Energized. Content. I always slip into whirlwinds of happy/sad thoughts, so that’s normal for me, but overall, I was good. I went for a walk in the woods when I got home today, and set intentions for myself as well as positive thoughts for others in my life. I came home, ate, paid bills, did some chores, and now I am in bed, contemplating how ordinary, boring, and amazing the last four days have been.

I am going to a gathering tomorrow evening and plan on drinking. I do not plan on smoking. My goal is not to quit both of these forever, necessarily, just to cut way the hell back. Cloves, I think I need to stay away from for awhile. Beer, I think, is manageable in smaller doses, but my liver needed a break!

Hopefully, once the weekend is done, I will remember all the positivity I felt during the week when I was relaxing at home, having uninterrupted hours of me-time, and learning to rebuild who I am. I am processing thoughts and emotions that need to be processed, and I am realizing what I am and am not willing to deal with emotionally. I am rediscovering self-worth, and I am doing it in baby steps.

I remember my recent ex saying to me at one point during our relationship that I needed to learn how to be alone with myself. What he did not know about me is that I absolutely love to be with myself! I like the person I am when I am being healthy and good. I love my activities and hobbies, and I like quietude and relaxation. I was very unhappy with myself during the time period I was with him. Not because of him, just because of the circumstances. I was abusing substances just to survive, because my life had been a facade for six years, and I was suffering the repercussions of years of verbal and emotional abuse. As much as I loved Jesse, he was toxic to me and filling my body and mind with incessant pain and increasing numbness to that pain. I brought all that with me to my next relationship, which is why I couldn’t stand to be alone. I needed reassurance continually. I am happy to say that for awhile now, but especially more recently, I am content to be alone.

Everyone has a breaking point. I had been building up to mine for a long, long time. It has been difficult enough for me to watch others I love and care about do this to themselves, but for me to be doing the same? It made me realize that I know I won’t go anywhere until I make some changes. I want nothing more than for the other people in my life who do the same to better themselves, love themselves, and take better care of themselves, because I can see what it is doing to them physically, emotionally, mentally, and so on, but for some reason, I couldn’t see it in myself. More than likely, I was in strong denial of it. Not wanting to own responsibility for my actions. Being a grown up is hard. Being a grown up who is really growing UP is even harder. It comes with a lot of birth pains and a lot of deaths. But hopefully, sooner rather than later, I will re-emerge, fresh and with new skin.

How long is four days? It feels like eternities have slipped past in rolling revelations in the last 96 hours. It also feels like I still don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do. Four days is just the beginning of the rest of my life.

Looking in the Mirror

I just had one of those sobering moments when you realize what you are really like. Why you might be like that, too. I have the best notions of myself, typically. I know all the good things. I also know all the dirty, despicable things that no one else knows. But it’s the other stuff—the sorta mundane but not great things—that has slipped by completely under the radar.

I’m supposed to love myself. Forgive myself. Be my own favorite person, number one priority… all that. How can I when I can totally see myself for what I really am? I was flipping through old texts on my phone and caught a glimpse of a conversation with someone that had me completely aghast. I don’t remember the conversation, really. And in my own mind, it went totally differently than it actually did when I looked over it with sober eyes. Ewww. Who am I?

Is there any amount of time that can pass where those things expire? My thoughts and actions: can they be erased? I’m inclined to lock myself in a room with just me and a mirror. Face my ugliest of demons, sure, but really just to have a chat with myself. “Amanda. Straighten the fuck up. Stop all the silly shit. Now.”

For months, I have been this balancing act. A woman with a basket on her head, but her footing isn’t great. I haven’t dropped the basket, but I’ve spilled the contents a few times. And I feel like my muscles are becoming very weak from constantly holding it up with no help.

It might be time to pick up the phone (soberly) and ask for real help. I always think I can do everything on my own, because I am super strong. I am strong, but like I’ve said before in other entries, after constant wear and tear, I am becoming eroded. You can only go through so much in a short period of time before you realize you aren’t even the same at all as you were a couple of years ago. Some of that is definitely for the better, but I’m afraid, some of it is not.

When I look in the mirror, I see a slightly puffier version of me. I see a girl whose eyes are deep and very sullen. I see a small child wishing she could come out to play, and I see a weathered old woman, because I am losing my vitality. But most of all, I see a joke of a person, because although I have done some “good” in the last couple of years, I have done a lot of damage—not just to others but to myself. I like it better when I am proud. When the girl I see in the mirror smiles back, because she knows she’s happy and she’s doing right in the world and for herself. If I can’t figure this out on my own, I am finally ready to ask someone else to help me sort things out. Everyone has a breaking point.

Dating: Part 2

I received a couple of comments on my facebook thread of my last post and thought that I should elaborate, expound, and potentially defend and/or revise my previous thoughts on “dating”.

My post was whimsical and idyllic, at best. It glossed over a lot of political, socio-economical, and other influential factors.

One friend had used the word “glorified” to describe my view on earlier generations’ dating/courtship. She is without a doubt correct. I did amplify the chivalry and dedication; I certainly neglected to explain how women’s inability to provide for themselves due to inequality in the workforce and in society made it much more of a necessity to stay with their husbands. Not only was that the case, but it was expected as part of a societal rule: you just didn’t commit adultery and you didn’t get divorced. Of course it happened, but when it did, you wore that scarlet letter bigger and brighter than anyone in today’s world does when they decide to end a relationship for such reasons.

My father and I had a really great conversation (one of our best) back in January. As is customary in my household, we went from idea to idea, deeply submerged in a tangental, intellectual thought process. It all began because I was expressing my views about relationships in today’s society. We both discussed how it just seems that boys (20-30 something year-olds) are taking way longer to grow up than they ever had before. That women today far exceed their mates in competence, financial security, and maturity. This is not true in all cases, but it is becoming more prevalent as the years pass. We wondered why this is the case…

We drew a few conclusions, some of which include the following:

  1. Women have more equality today than ever before and are being paid more in the workforce.
  2. Due to this, they do not need to necessarily seek out a man who can “provide”.
  3. Due to THIS, boys continue to dawdle and take their time growing up.
  4. I have talked to guys who specifically have told me that this self-sufficiency of women in some ways is emasculating, because although times have changed, guys still want to be able to provide; the damaged ego takes awhile to repair.
  5. Those being said, the economy today sucks. Even if you go to college, it is really hard to get a good paying job. Thirty-somethings are still living with their parents, because they can’t survive on their own.
  6. Social media and distractions (of the like) make it easier to remain a “kid” far longer than men of earlier generations. There is no draft, men do not now need to marry women and sweep them off their feet in their early twenties, and the pressure for families, procreation, and sustainment is, generally speaking, less than it was in times past.
  7. Women do not base their entire lives around men and marrying them, any longer. We have so much more to accomplish, AND, we can do it on our own, if we want.

And that is just to name a few factors that come into play when idealizing about one generation compared to another. So, I am aware that I over-idealized the relationships and marriages of past generations. I will say this:


Women, when restrained from inequality, wanted equality. In a marriage and in the workforce. Just the same, women, when starved of attention, appreciation, and romanticism, will crave it just as they craved what they were missing in earlier generations. Greener grass syndrome (GGS). We always want what we can’t have. When you have something, although you can feel appreciation for it when you think about it, it’s never quite the same as NOT having it and really wishing you did. So, I can see how women of the past were discontent in their romantic situations, especially if the men mistreated them, and they felt it was difficult to live on their own or ask for a divorce. We do, at least, have relative ease and support with that in today’s generation. I probably would have been ostracized in my grandmother’s generation for breaking off an engagement with Jesse.

Now that I’ve cleared all that, this is what I propose and defend:

The sociology of the world is changing all the time. This has no doubt helped to mold what society views as acceptable for relationships, dating, marriage, and the like. Romance and chivalry cannot die. They are important parts of a relationship. On BOTH sides. I do not think the man (or just one partner) should be the only one doting and giving special treatment; it’s a two-way street. I think this is a huge part of the problem with relationships today. Women expect men to treat them like princesses, all while these princesses step off their thrones, throw on their work pants, and shuttle off to work, only to come home and complain that they go to work AND do everything around the house, and take care of the kids, too. That they deserve to be treated differently. And they do; but so do the men.

Relationships don’t take care of themselves. It’s not like signing a lease or a contract, or putting money in the bank and letting interest grow. It takes work. Work which involves equality between the genders, realistic expectations, and the partnership to work together to communicate weaknesses in the relationship as well as how to grow together as a couple and make each other feel appreciated. I cannot seem to find this, but I know it exists.

Women are doing more in society, around the globe, and within a relationship than any of the previous generations have, and men are left scratching their heads with how to handle this change, since it conflicts with their parents’ and grandparents’ view that men are the providers, chivalrous, and the protectors. Women still need this, though. Men need to understand that they are valued and important. I might make more than my partner does (hypothetically), but I still lean on him for comfort when I am feeling emotional or to help me make big life decisions. I might stereotypically still need his help putting air in my car tires, too. Most of this essay is based on heterosexual relationships and gender differences, but I think my point has been made.

A big part of the problem is that no one wants to put in the effort or realize that chivalry exists for both men and women. I love to rub my man’s sore muscles, write him a poem, or bring him a glass of water. I expect that he wants to do the same for me. Simple as that.