Saturday, August 20, 2016

"Fucked Up"

I’ve been called that a lot. Sometimes, I’ve even said it to myself. And at this stage of my life, I do believe it to be atleast partly true. But just this morning, I thought about the first time i heard someone call me that. It was my first boyfriend. Have you noticed how the most terrible things that have been said or done to you have been by people who supposedly loved you? 

So, back to my first boyfriend and his usage of the descriptor that I have since learned to accept as truth. And I wonder what he saw in the 19-year-old me that would cause him to say that. Let’s see - he was my first real kiss, my first love, my first time… I was in a new city, among totally new people, no real family to speak of in the country and terrified about this whole new thing called “love”, having had only my parents as an up-close-and-personal example of what it looks like, or is supposed to… And he called me Fucked Up.

Because I didn’t trust him. 

He was right to question that. After all, I was 19! At that age, you’re supposed to be whole and unscarred and trusting and swept away with words such as Forever, Love, Together, Girlfriend, etc from a person you met for the first time 3 days ago and were going to be sitting in class with for the next two years. You’re supposed to believe that love is everything and will conquer all. 

You’re not supposed to be thinking about the Father who loved you for 12 years before he walked out the door without a backward glance, about a Mother who loved you for 19 years and used you as an emotional crutch, Parents who loved each other for 16 years and still couldn’t stop saying venomous shit about each other whenever they got the chance… After all, with Love like that going around, how do you possibly trust someone who showed up yesterday and promised a lifetime together without all that terrible stuff?

And that made me fucked up.

So when he couldn’t browbeat and harangue me into trusting him, I picked the kinder choice and left him. His parting words were, “You’re so fucked up, you don’t deserve anyone who loves you." So now, I had another person who had supposedly ‘loved me’ who believed that I didn’t deserve love. Increase fucked-up-ness to level 2. 

Boyfriend #2 believed that “Life was fucked up” and sex should never be confused with love and so what if he already had a girlfriend, we should fuck or I will just be proving to the world that I was like all those other emotionally needy fucked up women out there. 

We didn’t fuck. But it proved I was “fucked up”.

Enter Father after a 7 year silence. A father who feels bad about having left. A father who’s surprised that I didn’t turn out to be as fucked up as my mother. A father who still ‘loved’ my mother but couldn’t stand to speak to her. A father who believes that him leaving a pre-teen daughter around the time that she would be forming her enduring impressions about men, love, respect and relationships isn’t his problem. That it’s just grown up to Grow Up. That WAS fucked up, even if I do say so myself.

Enter boyfriend #3 who, no matter how many times he said that he loved me, I couldn’t quite believe it. Until one day I returned home to find him packing. 

Boyfriend #4 who was sure he could convince me to love him, and if only I wasn’t so fucked up, I’d see that he’s the best person for me. 

And so on and so forth - every person who loved me because or inspite of me being fucked up. With every damnation, with every bewildering split, with every hurtful thing done because of “fucked up”ness, I became more so, and thus even less inclined to believe the words of reassurance and love and passion spilling out of the next someone’s mouth. With every increasingly passionate appeal to my sense of affection, every reasoned argument that I should love them because after all, I wasn't so amazing, I became just a bit more removed from them, steeling myself for the inevitability of love ending, often dramatically, amidst words of hate and anger...

... and lately, with barely a whisper.

And end, it did. And each time it did, I became just a bit more relieved, cared just a little bit lesser.

 Because I guess I’ve become fucked up like that.

Monday, August 1, 2016

When Break Ups Feel Like... Nothing At All

This is it. I’ve really and truly tipped over to the dark side. I go out with someone. I tell them I love them. One day i decide that I don’t feel loved… or whatever. And I break up with them. And then… nothing. I go back to work. I give my clothes for dry cleaning. I call a few friends. I make plans of travel. And once in a while, I think of him. 

Have I become so good at break ups that they take nothing from me? Or is this me letting my inner sociopath flourish? Or have I actually lost touch with who I am and what I need that I can’t even identify it if it’s right in front of me? Or… and this is the tough one, is what I need so unrealistic that I’m doomed to live an unfulfilled life always craving for something that really doesn’t exist?

Let’s examine that for a second shall we? Need. Why has that become a four-letter word? “To need someone means there’s something missing in you. You shouldn’t need but surely want.” “Is he too needy?” “Don’t operate from a place of need - that just signifies ‘lack’” yada yada yada.

The simple fact of the matter is - I need people. Not just any people but a specific kind of people. I need people who are whip-smart, who can make me laugh in an uncontrollable kind of way, I need someone who makes love to my whole body, from my brain to my toes, whom I can have late night conversations with, to play with, to tell stories with, who’s better at friends than I am (which by the way would be anybody), I need people who know what the fuck they’re talking about when they talk of relationships, I need someone who sees me…. I need… I need someone who needs stuff and can make it okay for me to need stuff as well. And … I guess I need these things to exist within one person who isn’t a huge asshole and, in the context of this rant, preferably someone who thinks I’m awesome.

That’s all. That can’t be an unachievable list, can it?

Recently I read somewhere that intelligent people are lonely the world over. It’s only to be expected because “intelligence” is rare. But then that same person (or similar people) went on to describe intelligence as “the ability to comprehend the environment and make the smartest decisions of survival”. By that logic, I’m among the dumbest critters that exists. 

I take a good, fun guy, turn him into the most boring, serious person out there and then crib and whine about it after the fact. Or, alternatively, I make what I THINK is the smartest move, pick a guy who isn’t too complicated or too much of an overt asshole, hope like hell that he’ll find a way to help me live outside my head, and then am bored by those very qualities… Somewhere I forgot my own game plan of “normal” and that makes me very very dumb.

The tragic part is - in my attempt to find “normal”, I’ve pretty much rejected people with those very qualities I need because of minor issues like them being obnoxious assholes or unreliable assholes or just assholes who broke my heart. But sitting here, nursing my sociopathic heartless self, I feel - assholes are also people right? And who knows, maybe I’m the asshole. (No wait, I KNOW I’m one kind of asshole).

But here’s the thing. All these years I’ve been going on about “Where are the good guys?” right? And I find one. Only to discover that it isn’t a “good guy” I’m looking for, but a guy who can engage my mind and my body and my heart. Someone who makes me want to live outside my head by giving me something more fun than my imaginary friends and revolving cast of characters to think about. Someone who sees my strengths and can teach me to be better, kinder, more loving, more friendly by probably showing me the advantages of being so. Someone who, in a world filled with people telling me that I’m not enough, makes me fall in love with myself.

(Note how I make a distinction between 'loving' oneself - which one does all by oneself and one must - and "falling in love' with oneself - which is generally an other-person thing. I think.)

Ok… that DOES seem like a tall order, maybe one that even I can’t fulfil by myself for another. And yes, it does come from a place of lack, probably. And obviously, despite having spent enough time “working on myself”, it’s not something that my harshly critical Inner child has learned to shut up about. 

And yet… the heart - and an active imagination - wants what it wants. And, until one gets that (or deserves it?), maybe it’s okay for it to always be Netflix and Chill for one.