Wednesday, October 12, 2011

812 Notes for my future boyfriend.

In lieu of recent events, I've been doing a lot of reflecting on the history of my love life.  I've always considered myself to be a pretty good girlfriend - I've had an excellent and successful history of growing and maintaining long term relationships, and I've generally always been the one to terminate things.  So, I always thought that meant I was happy.

I wasn't.

It's hard, I've always had hindsight bias - I've looked at the past and with one exception, I've considered everyone I've dated to have been a good person, and that the difficulties were merely due to differences in values or goals in life, not in irreconcilable differences in personality.  Now that I've grown a spine and decided to respect myself, I'm seeing how much I never did that before, and the toll it's taken on my spirit, my personality, and my life.

So, this blog is going to be egotistical and selfish and all sorts of things that will make me look like a bitch. And I'm not sorry about that.  I'm going over my weaknesses and mistakes so that I can learn not to repeat them.

1. I'm a mediator.  I grew up in a family of strong opinions and learned at an early age that it is better to be agreeable than to be heard. I'm not knocking my family here, don't get me wrong - but it was more important to me to just let everyone else make their decisions and roll with it.  Upside - I can be very easy going and can make due with whatever.  Downside - I can't make my own decisions about little things like what to wear or where to eat and I'm generally afraid to open my mouth about what I want and what would make me happy because I'm afraid it'll upset or anger whomever I'm with.  So, sometimes I need prodding.

2. I am afraid that everybody wants to hurt me. I've spent so long taking the blame for things - even things that aren't my fault - that sometimes I feel like I'm the repository of everyone's ills. I'm afraid to hold the people around me accountable for their actions, particularly how their actions affect me.  Because I don't want to hurt them or make them feel guilty or dislike me.  This festers until I'm so worn down that I'm dead inside.

3. I fight. Somewhere between keeping my mouth shut so people will like me and slowly dying inside, I fight.  So much so that I'm geared up for it and everything someone says or does makes me react suddenly and angrily and all that hurt I've been holding inside comes gushing out.  I'm terrified to trust anyone but because I don't I still have the insatiable urge to BE close to someone.  So it's like that itch, that terrible, horrible itch, that I can never actually scratch.

4. I secretly crave snuggles.  I didn't have a particularly affectionate family.  Not that we were frosty with each other or anything, but we were never particularly touchy.  Physical affection makes me nervous. Doesn't mean I don't love it though, just means I don't know how to ask for it or make it happen.

5. I give.  I give my money, I give my time, I give my effort, I give my heart.  I do everything in my power to make the people close to me happy. And I let them take, and take, and take, until there is nothing left to give and they're still unhappy and I'm miserable.

That, I think, is what this is really about.  I'm tired of giving.  I'm tired of losing myself piece by painful piece. It always starts off small - pretending to like things I don't, pretending things are okay when they aren't.  I cover it all up with the mask of compromise - I'm compromising because I'm in a relationship and that's what you have to do.  But compromise works both ways - I give and give and give but whenever I ask for something in return I get excuses and avoidance and shot down.

Not anymore.

I know I'm probably going to go through a bossy, demanding bitch phase while I'm adjusting and I'm sorry for whomever chooses to deal with me during this.  But I deserve someone in my life that is at least willing to pretend to be interested in my singing, my homemade jewelry, my awesome kitty cat, and my winemaking.  I want someone that I can have a real conversation with - that isn't just about them, isn't just about me, isn't just about work, and doesn't consist of 1 word answers.

812.  I don't want to be that person anymore.  I don't want to be this transient entity that morphs to match the needs and desires of everyone around me.  I want to listen and I want to be heard.  I want to be half of a whole, not Atlas and not the World.  And I need someone that wants that too - who can will stand up to me when I need it and who will give me the free reign to be myself and not just a mirror of who I think they want me to be.

And, whomever you are, I hope that's a journey you and I can travel together.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

812 Reasons I'm not dead yet.

So, I know it's been a while, but I'm not dead yet.

I did, however, implement the new "stop trying to change everything just learn from prior mistakes" method I'd discussed before.  And, other than a few people I'd already established that pattern with that I did have a hard time breaking, it's been extremely successful.

Now, the downside of that has been that people that were accustomed to "doormat Jenn" have had difficulty adjusting to "don't tread on me Jenn".  I've been accused of being a cold, heartless bitch; passive-aggressive and difficult; and selfish.  But, I've also been told that I'm tough but fair and that I push the people around me to be better.  And those closest to me have stated that I have a new brightness, energy, and that I'm just generally happier than I've ever been before.  And they're right.

Since I began casting off all that didn't serve me, cutting ties with ex friends, boyfriends, and acquaintances; I've managed to focus on me for the first time in a very, very long time.  Now, I've been losing weight, making more sales than ever, finding new, awesome friends and reconnecting with old ones; and getting more sleep than I think I ever have that wasn't depression induced.  So, clearly I must be doing something right.

However, I still am having trouble fully letting go of the past.  I've managed to destroy the feelings I had for people that were preventing me from moving forward with my life, but I've yet been unable to retrain my reactions to new situations.  I've been told:

1. It's like I carry around the past with me like a bag of ammunition ready to unleash.

2. That I'm still reacting like an abuse victim and I assume everyone is going to hurt me.

3. That I need to forgive people for the past and accept that people really can change and treat things as new.

So, that's what I'm still working on.  And it's a much bigger issue than I ever expected it would be - to actually trust someone not to let me down, intentionally hurt me, disrespect me, or take me for granted is intensely difficult and I've been a frosty bitch toward everyone in self defense.  So, I'm probably doing a fantastic job of pushing people away right now but the few people that are still in the circle of trust have been goodly enough to tolerate me. 

But, the best part about this entire thing has been that I'm no longer dead inside.  I was so numb for so long - just sick to my stomach of being hurt that I didn't even give a shit anymore about anyone or anything.  And I ended up letting a lot of people in my life I shouldn't have and let them all stomp on what was left of my heart and self esteem.  Through time, effort, and self improvement I've gotten enough duct tape and crazy glue to smoosh everything back together and you know what?  I think it's actually beating again. 

I'll still be very wary of people for a while yet.  I know that.  But I think I'm finally ready to move on to Goal #2:

Goal 2: Be willing to trust people again. Stop being a closed-off ice queen to everybody - I'm smart, successful, and not too painful to look at.  People will like me for me.  If that's not enough for them - too bad for them.

Overall though, I do have to say - cutting ties with the people that had been holding me back has been by far the second best decision of my entire life, with getting Smidgen declawed being the first.  I can look at the people around me right now and feel good - I'm surrounded by people that respect and appreciate me for who and what I am, I'm not lying awake at night trying to figure out how to make them happy, they care about me and in turn are helping me to learn to care for myself. And it's working - I'm happier, healthier, and more successful than I've ever been.  If I'd know how toxic a select few people were to me I'd have shut the door years ago and NOT opened it back up.

They say living well is the best revenge, but I don't even care about revenge.  I don't even care about them, period. That part of my life is over and done with and the new part has been fantastic :-).  So, here's to the future and all the fame, fortune, and good times it holds.