I Don’t Want to be Your Obligation

I am among many when I tell you that much of my time gets sucked up by watching pointless things on Youtube or scrolling through Facebook. I love to follow a new music artist down the rabbit hole and see what great tunes I end up with after my 14 hour marathon but there is someone who has moved beyond just being an ear-gasm for me. She’s influenced me in ways she will never know and cannot know.

I find Youtube to be such a mythical beast. I can know (seemingly) so much about someone but they do not even know I exist. It’s a paradox and at times can be a dangerous one. Fan girls, you know I’m talking about you. Mobbing people isn’t nice even if you think you might get to touch them as they walk by. Anyway, this woman’s name is Meghan Tonjes and she preaches what lives in my soul and fuels my brain. (Casually and not fan-girling at all!)

She’s said this a few times before and I’ve know it to be fact but I was recently helping someone deal with their life when her words slapped me with their truth. Here’s the light for those of you stuck in the dark: “If someone wants to spend time with you, they will. If someone wants to be with you, they will.”

I have spent so much of my life making excuses for the people who weren’t there, lovers and friends. I questioned my thoughts and my judgement in favor of someone who had tossed me aside without some much as a wave. I would make excuses for their behavior like applying a relationship band-aid. Eventually though I had to stop. It’s hard, I know. But if they wanted to make time for me they would. I wouldn’t be thinking about how I would like to spend time with them because I would be with them.

My least favorite part of relationships like this is the other person usually gets defensive. “Well, you never contacted me.” I hate this for two reasons. One, in the age of technology I can pull up on my phone exactly how many unanswered texts there were. Two, “Bitch the phone works both ways.” Despite the fact that I did call them seven times in the past two months, most of which went unanswered or resulted in a two minute conversazione of them saying, “I’ll call you later.”, it’s not solely my responsibility to be the communicator in this relationship.

It sucks to realize I’ve put effort into a relationship that I now feel alone in. The more effort I put in, the more pain. I would begin to wonder what I did wrong and how to fix it. Or I would think of all the other relationships that have ended and wonder if it’s more than that. I would wonder if it was less about this one relationship and more about my love-ability as it were.

But I learned somewhat along the way to stop doing this to myself. I am proud of who I am and sometimes people just grow apart and even more often people either aren’t who you thought they were or they grow into someone you don’t know anymore. It’s not fair and it’s not right but it’s my truth.

It’s time to let go of the ships that we’re sailing alone. Let them sink on their own and grieve them as the weight tugs at you but release it to the watery depths. Someone who once meant a great deal to you, the person you knew when the relationship was good, would never want you to feel the way you do now. Imagine they weren’t the one letting go. Pretend to tell them about this failing relationship. What would they tell you to do about your sinking ship?

And finally, love yourself like you loved them. Don’t mistreat yourself and don’t second guess yourself. Give yourself the confidence you need to stand up and fight for your feelings. But mostly give yourself the room to feel sad before turning your face to the sun and trying again.

The Stupidity of Love

I met a girl back in high school. I met her before I knew who I was; back when I thought bisexuals were just horny, back before I knew sexuality was a sliding scale, back when I believed in the Christian god.

She made me happy. I wanted to be around her, always. She quickly became one of my best friends. We bonded over poems of teenage angst and a mutual love for a very stupid guy. Yet, in a very short time she became as important to me as he was, if not more so. I wasn’t to realize until years later that I was in love with her. “How can you not know?!” (yes, I can hear you) Love isn’t that easy.  And it sure as hell isn’t that easy when people are shoving their beliefs down your throat. (Good ol’ Bible belt…)

After high school she moved in with a man and slowly started changing. At least that’s the way I saw it, some of my peers say otherwise. She became kind of selfish. I can’t give you a blow by blow because my memory is poor but I continued to be blind to my love of her for a while.  Until one night, full of booze, I convinced her we should make out. I won’t say that’s when I figured it out but it’s when the fire was stoked and any hope I had of forgetting her was gone. Through time I found out that she used to crush on me back when I was stupid about love. She mentioned that the timing was just never right for us to be together. For me, she is the one that got away.

“If you loved her for so long you must have been single for a long time…trying to work through those feelings and all…” muttered random blog reader.  That is not true, aside from the fact that she eventually married the man she moved in with after high school, I do not believe that you can only love one person at a time.  Being polyamorous isn’t a choice I made, it is just something that is true for me.  While I was in love with her I fell for two other people and not necessarily separately.  I believe that you never love the same way twice.  This means that I love my husband with a very different love than that which I gave to said girl.  The love that I gave to her I can never give to anyone else because loving anyone else will inevitably be different than loving her.

She met a very nice man and I finally saw what some had been trying to tell me for so long. She was selfish, and not just a little bit. But to tell you the truth, I didn’t care. I loved her, gigantic flaw and all. But when we would fight or when she would do something awful to me, I found myself talking about it constantly, to anyone that would listen. It began to affect my other relationships, all of them. I went back and forth for a couple of years, talking about how mistreated I felt, while still seeing her when she would call. She moved far away and wouldn’t talk to me for months but when she was home I was there whenever she wanted. The last time I saw her I asked her to be a bridesmaid. She stood me up after accepting.

One point that I want to bring fully into the light, without beating around the bush is that I both loved and hated her.  There are three emotions that are said to be tied to the heart.  Three feelings that can exist simultaneously even though you would think them to be opposites: love, hatred and fear.  This is why people can still love their abusive partners; why people sometimes fall for their worst enemy.  This is also the reason that the opposite of love isn’t hatred, it is indifference.  It is so easy to transfer all of the passion from loving someone to hating them, when it is over.  All that does is switches emotions but both are still very powerful and both can still cause you to loose control of yourself.  It is when you have control over your emotions and your actions around and about a person that you are truly over them.

The problem is that I still love her and it claws at me everyday that I don’t try to contact her. I’m done and it sucks. There is such a very specific part of my set of needs that she fills. (I do not know if this is because she’s a soul mate or if because I’ve loved her since I was young and for so long.) Even my husband, beautiful man that he is, doesn’t fill the same gaps she did.

I pride myself on being someone that people turn to when they are in emotional need. I’m good at helping in that way. I’ve helped women in abusive relationships escape from men who treat them like she does me. But at night, when I should be sleeping for class, I lay awake arguing with myself about putting things into public places hoping she finds them. I am strong enough, to not message her directly but that doesn’t stop the wheels in my head. This post is my insurance to myself that I won’t tell her about my latest adventure in writing.  She comes home again this winter, if you see this post disappear then my will has failed me again.

Other Societal Travesties

There is a prevalent thought in our (American) society that love is supposed to be a magical, breath-taking experience, complete with butterflies and bird song.  I can speak more strongly about the female side of this, but I have been assured that this problem is double sided.  Men trying to live up to impossible standards and failing or possibly not trying at all.  There is this thought that permeates our lives that begins from very young, usually before we can even make sense of it.  My trip through hell began with my very first Disney movie.  Before I could even process more than bright shiny colors I was being conditioned to look for a prince among frogs.  Hollywood (while not completely to blame) takes a large part in this problem.  After Disney had prepped me for a life of searching, I upgraded to Hollywood, that showed me that love cannot be complete without drama and a major conflict.  I needed to force my prospective man to prove his love to me in some sort of grand gesture.  And there had to be sex, lots of passionate sex that made my toes curl and so forth.

The truth is that love and lust are separates entities, they play together very nicely, and for some people, both are required for a truly fulfilling relationship.  However, just because some people require both does not make them the same, so let’s make some qualifications here.  Lust – desire, longing of a sexual nature, kissing, “petting”, sex, foreplay, basically anything that “gets your motor going” belongs in this category.  Love – the desire to be around someone, simple compatibility, concern for the well-being of someone else, just generally caring for someone, mutual respect, trust ect.  The problem with this is that there is no way to quantify love/lust for every person and the categories are not mutually exclusive.

So this beacons the question, “Then how can Hollywood makes movies of what love should be?!”  The truth is that it can’t, Hollywood can feed our society with crazy notions and extreme stories but that is all they are!  Swerving back to my own personal story for just a moment; going from my limited experience in real world dating and my vast knowledge of cartoon love, I started trying to tackle the proverbial wall of love at the ripe old age of 16.  Unprepared and armed to the teeth with animated malarkey, I, shockingly, failed, lots.  I was not prepared for an adult relationship nor did I have any idea of what love should be.  Now, of course you didn’t, I hear you saying.  But you should know that my butterflies and birds theory of love prevailed long after that.  I met a very nice man, on the internet, I met him in person and a week later moved in with him, two states away from the only home I had ever known.  We’ll call that my equivalent of back packing through Europe before college, I was 20.

Now, far from the horror story I see you all imagining in your collective heads, this relationship turned out to be the one for me.  I found a man that allowed me the room to change when I needed to; which when you’re 20 is quite often.  It was during this relationship that I found out what love truly is.  Love does not include bird song and fluffy things on a continual basis.  That part of love is what everyone refers to as the “honeymoon” period.  When everything is great and “omg I love him so much” and you want to wear a princess ball gown at your wedding.  But what comes after that period is the tricky part and that ladies and gents is where you will find love.  The desire to push through the crap of the world after all the birds have gone hoarse.  The want to still be with them after the butterflies have died.  There isn’t a month that goes by that I don’t want to light my husband on fire for one thing or another, but leaving him was never an option for me because I know without him my life would be worse.  That (at least to me) is real love.  I think about how my love life started and all the silly ideas of grandeur that played in my head; I wish I could go back and teach myself that simply sitting next to someone you cared about was enough.

I don’t know if this will make sense to anyone else.  I’ve been editing for coherence and trying to retain my original meaning but this is what I’ve come up with: Love does not equal lust and after your lust has died (which is okay), you need to love the person you’re sitting next to and no one can tell you what that will feel like except that it won’t feel like what you expect.