Thursday, September 30, 2010

Brand new start.

I just finished reading “The Zahir” by Paulo Coelho and it talks about an interesting idea… It says how sometimes we have to tell our story over and over until we can let it go, until we don’t need it to define us anymore. We need to get comfortable with it, find the resolution, and let it be. We have to stop allowing our old stories trap us into the characters we used to be; we have to let go of the old storyline and become who we were meant to be (also, I can't seem to stop typing 'to be'). Sounds simple enough, but I know it’s not. It’s about as simple as ripping my own heart from my chest, burying it, and growing a new one.

But all growth is pain, and any major change for the good is hard. I know this, yet I've been living my whole life as if someone guaranteed it was supposed to be easy. Where on earth did I get that idea?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lie to me (honestly).

It's amazing the unspoken societal rules we live by today, especially in regards to relationships. More specifically, I'm referring to the rules we follow in the exquisitely tortuous social construction called DATING. And while there are certainly self-imposed, socially influenced rules within established relationships, I'm going to speak to the dating game that I so often get tangled in (mostly because I'm awkwardness personified, but also because I try to play by the rules that don't make sense, but we follow anyway).

Most of us have played the Dating Game, which is really more of a marathon with rules and uniforms and referees (yeah, I'm mixing sports metaphors, bear with me). You know this game - it's the one that goes, "Well, I want you to know that I like you, but only if you like me back, because if you don't, then I don't want you to know that I like you." And because of this rule, fear, whatever you want to call it, we do things like call and hang up, text and pretend it was on accident, flirt with them, but not too obviously, et cetera. When we like someone, we're consumed with the fear that they'll find us out, and at the same time, consumed with the fear that they won't. And if they do find us out, and don't return the feeling (which happens most of the time), we're completely and totally mortified, as if by our liking them we are issuing a grave and unforgivable insult:

"Oh my gosh, I can't believe I've told you that you're so wonderful you've caught my attention. I'm sorry to have made you feel so special by my innocent, heartfelt confession! You must feel terrible that you're so awesome people like you!" I mean, really?

I was talking to a friend the other day about this, saying to her how frustrating this whole game is. We both shared how foolish we have felt in the past for liking someone that may or may not return the favor. But shouldn't we be proud of our declarations? Are we really so self-loathing that we think it an insult to say we (who are wonderful just as we are) like someone? Shouldn't that person be honored by such a confession? But no, it doesn't work that. We're too scared, self-conscious, defensive or some other paralyzing excuse. Instead of being true to our feelings, we bury them so deep that not even a bit too much alcohol can pry the secret loose. We hold the feelings close to our heart, praying that if the person returns the favor, they will somehow find the courage to be honest with us... in the same way we wish we had the courage to be honest with them. But if our confessions never come out, if that person never pursues us, what then? Then the regret starts to seep in, nice and slow, pulling a couple dozen "What if's" behind it.

So why can't we just be honest with each other? Why can't we tell the truth, get our feelings out, be confident and see what happens? Because that would be breaking the rules. And what happens to rule breakers? They get disqualified. Or more realistically, we have a reeeally awkward moment with the person in question, and if that person happens to be a friend, then there are all kinds of continued awkward scenarios to be had if you stay friends. And so instead, we lie, or at least conceal the truth until we do one of three things:

1. Give up.
2. Find courage and fess up (perhaps motivated by the possibility that the love of a lifetime may be lost if you remain silent).
3. Combine 1 and 2, or create some other personal strategy that somehow gets the two of you to come together naturally.

And those that get to number 3, are truly blessed indeed.

How do relationships even begin? I can't remember. All I know is that they must begin out of awkwardness, nerves and disbelief. All I know is that I will continue to play the game, will continue to play by the rules, and will probably be grateful to all the men who let me down by lying.

"So lie to me once again
And tell me everything will be alright.
It's the same old story."
- 12 Stones

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I suppose everyone has regrets (if we're truly living).
Of course, it's easy to look back and see what you could have done differently (hindsight's 20-20 and all that).
It's not so easy to look at the present and scry all of the outcomes and options (though some of us try anyway).
When we're in the moment we generally don't write up the pro's and con's of every possible move, and then confer with a panel of ethical peers before making a decision (unless you're Donald Trump... Money can buy that kind of surety).
We do what we do and it's not until we've lived through the consequences do we realize how we could have done things differently (read: better).
This is the worst torture because you can't change it; you can't take it back (only in dreams).
All you can do is comb the wreckage for things worth keeping, learn from it, and let your past influence your future (change IS possible).
Besides, what's the point of history if you don't learn from it (and have the courage to try again)?
Regrets, when coupled with hope, can build our future (if we're truly living).

"Wisdom comes with winters." - Oscar Wilde