Sometimes just when you think you’ve got things figured out life rears its ugly head and decides it doesn’t like the idea of you doing so well. As a very introspective person, I thought I had a lot of, if not most of my inner demons figured out. All it took was one crazy happenstance to throw me for a loop and show me that I don’t have anything figured out. When you struggle with anxiety, and when I say struggle, I mean struggle to maintain sanity, it amplifies your insecurities and makes you fear and worry about things way more than you should. The ugly bastard that bit my leg and pulled me under this time was fear and feelings of inadequacy. When you have a very consistent track record of almost every person you let close enough to you that you become vulnerable hurting you, it’s only a matter of time before you start wondering if you’re the only common denominator. Between family members, friends, ex girlfriends, and even just romantic interests, I have been given the short of the stick more times than should be legal. Please don’t take this as a means to complain, but to potentially help those who don’t live anxiety on their shoulders understand better those who do. And for those of you who do live with it, maybe this will help you feel less alone. When something goes off course and doesn’t happen the way we expect and you feel that immediate sense of “Oh no, what if,” and your mind immediately goes to several worst case scenarios, that’s how anxiety works. It takes that little bit of worry or fear and cranks it to eleven and then asks you why you haven’t ordered a casket yet. This is in no way something I claim to have a hold on. This is one of my largest battles and flaws in life. Then of course there are those times where you finally talk yourself out of the fear and worry but then of course one of those worst case scenarios happens and then you get knocked back several steps. You start to wonder how you’re ever going to be able to talk yourself out of anything like that again. You start to wonder if you should even try. Is the fear of the possibility worse than the let down after hope gained? Anxiety is a cruel and heartless beast. It has no mercy and no sympathy for its victims. I never understood why people self-medicated before anxiety hit me as hard as it has. To all those who deal with this as well, I can’t tell you it for sure gets better, I can’t tell you that I can help, I can’t even tell you I know how to make it any better at all, but I can say that you’re not alone. What I can suggest is to find someone else who knows anxiety personally and talk to them about it. Trying to explain the effects of anxiety to anyone who hasn’t experienced it is like trying to describe colors to a color blind person. You can be as descriptive as you want, but some things can’t be understood without experience. Stay strong my friends. Don’t let it get the best of you and never let it keep you down. Always stand up in defiance.
There’s a song by Bon Iver called “Skinny Love.” If you haven’t listened to it, you should. It’s beautiful. There’s something beautifully tragic about love. When love is lost, the ties cut, and the blood spilled, love is just as overwhelming as when it was alive and well. That’s the danger of love. It’s the most powerful thing known to man but it can be the greatest feeling you’ve experienced or the worst. It can foster life or bring death. It can and will bring you to your knees at some point in your life. Love is an absolute. It doesn’t fade or die off. Love is like a magnet. It requires two poles to pull separates together, otherwise it’s empty and grasping at nothing. Love is a dangerous and blinding force. It can make us do things we never expected and even then look back in disbelief. Love is the most wonderful and terrifying thing in the world. Having experienced it myself, I can’t say it’s always worth the risk, but that’s the thing about love, it doesn’t always give us a that choice.
The cruelest irony of all is that of the love story. The bitter truth is that the people we love the most, have the most potential to hurt us. The people that we give the most to, have the most to take from us. This is a constant and dangerous game we play in our lives. How can one truly love without being vulnerable? Yet, how can one truly love and use that vulnerability against someone? It is my humblest opinion that if one does in fact truly love another, they not only won’t, but can’t use those gifts given to them against their intended. If they at any point do, did they truly love? Were they mistaken? Was it infatuation? What causes the heart to become selfish to a level that it disregards the mental and emotional well being of someone close to it? People can sling blame and point the finger at past experiences, personal shortcomings, or a slew of other excuses but when it comes down to it, it is simply the lack of love that allows or causes pain in another. Many are not self-aware enough to even realize this but the ones who are have a responsibility to not let it happen. The most tragic part of this story is that more often than not it’s the ones who have been hurt the most who perpetuate the pain. They know the pain yet don’t take the required action or responsibility to end the cycle. This is one of the most tragic cycles of the human condition I’ve ever experienced. To the ones who have been hurt and made a decision to end the cycle I salute you. You, my friends are the lights of a world covered in shadow. This story is yet another that though I understand it, I’ll never truly comprehend it. I’m glad I don’t however, because if I found a way to understand it fully I feel like I would have to had justified it in my head. I am in no way advising that anyone should stop getting close to people or allowing themselves to love, but I urge you to be careful, as hard as that may be. I myself I’ve fallen prey to the swift fall into someone’s arms and I, better than most, understand how difficult it can be to take a step back and think when someone offers open arms and a kind heart. Learn from mine and your own experiences, though hard as it may be. Life is a series of ups and downs and then you die. The most important part of life is to make sure that no matter how much you love anyone, you make sure that your happiness is based in yourself. Once you’ve done that no one can ever take it from you. Understand the difference between happiness as a reaction to circumstances and happiness as a state of being. No matter how much anyone can offer, you have to make sure you they do not hold the key to the door that is your happiness. The happiest married couple I know once told me that as much as they loved each other and enjoyed being a part of each other’s lives, if something happened and they found themselves apart or alone, that life would go on. Tough as it may be, life would go on and they would find happiness not in another, but within themselves again. That, I believe, is one of the reasons they are the most happy, successful, and wonderfully married couple I have ever met. They know this one key element that so few others seem to. So to conclude my rant, I urge you to seek out the parts of yourself and things in life that make you happy and surround yourself mentally and physically with them.
We are all born sick. We all suffer. We all struggle. What so few people fail to realize is that it’s not what we’ve been through, or even what we are currently going through that defines us. Some people have gone through hell and back just to survive and yet most of the time you’d never know it because they don’t let it define them. Some people have had most of their life extremely easy with minor problems here and there and yet they try and use every single hardship, no matter how small, as a crutch. They lean on them and say “But you don’t know what I’ve been through,” when confronted about their actions. This difference, this decision, it is what makes us who we are. Do we sit back and try to get pity for the things that have happened to us or do we stand up and say “I’ve been hurt, betrayed, abused, lied to, and dragged through most of my life kicking and screaming but that doesn’t mean I can’t control where I step next.” We are not our problems or even our past. We are who we are, good and bad. We alone decide what is next for us. Every step, another conscious effort to move forward, stand still, or fall back. Those who have been through the most, those that are broken, yet still decide to love and keep moving forward, this are the rare gems. Those are the strongest people around. They usually never even know it, but that’s one of the things that makes them great. They just need someone around to hold their hand and remind them that their future is so much brighter than their past. Life simply isn’t about what has happened. It’s about what will happen. History only repeat itself when no one remembers it.
No one wants to be lonely. No one wants to go through life without someone by their side. People say that when you stop looking for someone, that’s when you find them. People say that it can be difficult to find someone who is compatible with you. The truth is two fold. These days it’s not about finding someone who is compatible, it’s not about someone who you think you can simply get along with anymore. The most important, and often hardest part of finding someone to share your life with is finding someone who won’t hurt you. We have become a selfish and self-seeking people. We will say and do horrible things to the people we supposedly care about in order to spare ourselves even the slightest inconvenience. It’s finding someone who will truly be honest and not discount the feelings and cares of others that is in fact the real rarity these days. Hell, it’s hard to even find friends like this much less a significant other. If all of that wasn’t enough to make you throw your arms in the air in total defeat the second truth to finding someone, which can be equally hard is the chance that they are in fact attracted to you not just for who you are, but yes, what you look like as well. Personality and the things that make us who we are can only go so far in attraction. If there is not a baseline physical attraction there is no way to fabricate it. The sad thing is that most people are not even remotely aware enough of this fact to pay attention to it and therefor only go for people they find extremely attractive, almost fully ignoring their personality and character traits. Who we are is what sticks around and comes out from under the cracks of our conversations and time spent. This is why so many people get together so fast, seem so founded, and then break up so hard. They ignore who each other are and lean solely on the fact that find each other physically attractive, then they find out things a little down the road that should have been obvious and they turn out to be deal breakers. Now there are only two ways to go about this as, like I said, most people don’t pay enough attention or have the awareness to look past physical attraction (or lack of). You can be yourself and hope that’s enough to catch someone’s eye or if in fact you don’t like your odds you can change them. Society tells us this latter is the only way to attain happiness however they also like to elude to the fact that if you aren’t born attractive you aren’t a pure breed for lack of a better term. If you have to work at, or simply try to alter your appearance to become more attractive to your intended they imply that you’re not in the same status as those born that way. I however disagree. I think people who decide they don’t like themselves after looking in the mirror and decide it’s time for a change, one accomplished, are far more entitled than those born that way. It’s the same context as someone who is living off of a trust fund vs someone who actually worked hard and earned their way to the top. They know the value and power of where they are vs where they were. They also know how the people who aren’t there yet feel and provided they aren’t an ass of a person, won’t perpetuate the societal finger pointing. The bottom line is that while people will tell you what they will, you have to watch out for yourself when trying to find a partner in life. It’s become a nasty and dangerous game. If you want to come out alive you have to be smart, cunning, aware, alert, observant, and most of all, willing to do whatever is required. I share this not out of concern for your well being, but for the simple purpose of shedding a little more light on the little pieces of pocket lint that like to peruse the lines of the lonely while portraying themselves as anything but cowardly scavengers. When it comes down to it, who are we?