Sticks and stones may break bones, but words can kill.

Relationships

I had an epiphany today.  I have my doubts about whether I’ll be able to express my profound thought in a way that sounds profound…but I guess I’m willing to take the risk.  What may be a common sense thought to me may be a ground-breaking realization to you and vice versa.  I know that’s certainly how things tend to be with J and me, anyway.

So, before I tell you my realization, let me give a bit of background information:  I’m very reactionary, and by that I mean I tend to have big reactions to things.  I won’t go so far as to say I’m bipolar, but I do have high highs and low lows.  I feel a wide spectrum of feelings, and it’s downright impossible for me to hide those feelings.  Even if I don’t blurt them out in a flurry of words as I am apt to do, my face tells all.  J says it’s a good thing to be so transparent, but I find it very vulnerable for everyone to know what I feel about something.  For better or for worse — mostly worse — that’s my personality.

And then there’s J who is just about the exact opposite.  He is a man of few words.  He thinks about things before he reacts.  He’s calculating, he’s careful, he’s reserved.  He’s steady and strong and all the things I tend to wish I was.

…but here’s the problem…  In our disagreements, we hurt each other.  A lot.  He takes a risk and expresses a (generally valid) complaint, and I react with my big personality.  My voice gets louder and squeakier with emotion, and he retreats into the safety of his head.  The more I react, the less he communicates, and the less he communicates, the more I try to pull him out…which, of course, causes him to pull back even more.  He hurts me by his failure to engage, and I hurt him by my aggressive approach.

Our counselor urged me to try to not react when he expresses a complaint, but to try to merely say something like “Thank you for telling me how you feel.”  (SHOOT.  I don’t know if I can do it.  I’m going to try, but it’s going to take every ounce of my willpower.)  After the session, I was mulling over the things we had talked about and I arrived at my epiphany.

Both J and I need to learn the same important lesson, but we’ll have to apply it VERY differently.  The lesson?  That our words are powerful.  We must be accountable for the weight of our words.  It’s so very simple, and yet so profound.

I need to recognize how much my reactionary words tear J down on a regular basis.  I need to work on wielding my words with extreme caution so as to not hurt the man I love more than any person on this planet.  And J needs to recognize the power of his words too…  He has the power to encourage and affirm me with his words, but his silence has done tremendous damage to me.  My hope is that he will recognize the weight of his words and use them.  I need to stop speaking death into his life, and my hope is that he will start speaking life into mine.

Words.  Weighty, powerful words.

The Rabbit Hole

Brokenness

I just finished watching the movie Lars and the Real Girl.

Cinema speaks to me in a way no other medium does. Movies draw me in to their stories and out of my own head, like a small, much needed vacation. A break from my own reality. A sabbatical. And often times movies, like books, change me. They expand my horizons, grant me forays into another perspective, and sometimes–on very rare occasions–they teach me something about myself.

I feel like i can relate to the character Lars. Like me, he’s lonely. He’s broken. But as much as I feel compassion for him, I also envy him in a small way, because he can afford to lose himself in his delusion. He has the luxury of going a little crazy. And when he does fall into that rabbit hole, he is so very well supported and loved by his community.

I don’t think I have that luxury. I feel like I have to always be strong, in control, and competent. I don’t feel like I have the option to be weak. I’m not allowed to be needy. But I am. Oh how needy I am! I need companionship. I need love. I need to feel like I have worth, like I’m important, like I matter.

I wonder what would happen if I just let go of it all. …if I let myself fall into my own rabbit hole of mental/emotional illness… Would people surround me in kindness as they did with Lars? Would I ever find my way out?

Step 1: Choose to Like Myself. (I’ve failed already.)

Brokenness

I wonder how other people do it.  Others seem so put-together and strong.  Some people even seem to genuinely not care how others perceive them…Whether other people like them or not.  I’m not strong like that.  It matters to me.  J’s cousin-in-law (if there’s such a thing) has not returned any of my overtures of friendship.  She hasn’t responded to texts.  She hasn’t acknowledged my name change.  She didn’t send me a birthday or Christmas card and she didn’t mention that she received mine.  I wonder if I’m unlikeable and she’s decided not to waste her time on me.  I wonder if I’ve offended her somehow.  Maybe I’ve revealed that I’m too weak and insecure for her liking.  I’m not sure.  I know I should get over it and move on, but I keep returning to it in my mind and it hurts even though I try to pretend it doesn’t.  I don’t know whether to stop making the effort altogether – just let her be and not try to have a relationship, but something inside of me is repulsed by that idea because she’s family.  Maybe I’m over-analyzing everything.  Maybe she doesn’t have a strong negative emotion towards me…  Maybe she’s just too busy to send a text, or to send a card, or to send an email.

How do I let it go?  How can I just choose to accept that she may like me but be too busy to show it, or she may not like me?

I suppose that the first step (the first step to getting over it AND the first step to being likeable) is to like myself.  People like confidence in a person so long as it’s not arrogance.  But the bottom line is I don’t like myself.  I know I have lots of good things to offer the world, but it’s not enough to be useful.  I want to be loved.

I watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie the other day.  Great movie.  One of the things that someone said was that “we accept the love we think we deserve.”  Maybe that’s why I feel like J doesn’t love me even though he earnestly claims he does.  Maybe I don’t feel like I deserve his love so I mentally and emotionally reject the loving things he does and focus instead on the thoughtless things he does.  Maybe I’m filtering out the things that don’t match up with my beliefs.

I’m so broken.  I want to be fixed.  …but it’s become unbearably obvious that I cannot fix myself.  God help me, because I’m so lost.