I Am (Alive)

I don’t want to be alive in a world where our sexuality, gender, religion, race, disABILITY, is a source of division rather than curiosity and acceptance.

Where wars are never ending and threats of war constantly hang over us like the clouds in a dark sky.

I don’t want to be alive in a world where fear and uncertainty, hatred and greed, replace security, belonging, and love.

Where instead of embracing and working in harmony with the natural world, we destroy and turn against it, wondering “why?” when it turns on us too.

But I am.

I am alive in that world.

And it’s hard.

It’s hard to be alive in a world where little makes sense. Where the beauty of a sunset illuminating and colouring the landscape below it, is just as real as the blood of innocent lives tragically taken.

This world is also filled with beauty and grace. With hope and joy.

Focus on this good, they say.

But the good and the bad are equally real.

You can’t have one without the other. That’s the world we live in.

We’re alive. And we have to play our part in helping to make a difference. To being a beacon of light among an endless sea of darkness and despair.

We’re all human. We ultimately all come from the same place.

The difference is what each of us do with our humanity.

Love, You’re Still Here

Slowly making its way into my consciousness
The feelings came first, then the memories
And I saw you everywhere that night
As the old year started fading away
I knew I’d have to face the new year without you
But your shadow wouldn’t let go of me
It felt like just yesterday you were by my side

Remembering the previous December…
The restaurant where we had our last meal
The sandy beach we sat on that night
Welcoming in the new year together
The way you clung to me when you got scared
As if I alone could keep you safe

I’ve tried to forget you, erase you from my life
Removing all traces of you from my world
But the heart has a harder time letting go
I’m not sorry for loving you
But I am sorry that love wasn’t enough
To keep you with me, to keep you close

I had thought you were my whole world
But I realize you were just the center of it
Now, even without that center
The grass still grows, the sun still shines
Everything looks pretty much the same
But the atmosphere has changed somewhat

I loved you like no other, I adored you
I had felt safe and content in your love for a while
When you told me you don’t feel the same anymore
It tore me apart, down to my core
How could love fade so fast?
And I wonder, did you ever really love me?

I avoided talking about you, thinking about you
But I didn’t know I’d have to pay attention soon
I had to feel it, open up to the pain again
In order to finally let go fully and completely
It’s been a few days and you’re fading once more
I’ll always love you, but we were only meant
For a season, for a while, and that’s okay

Contemplating Romantic Relationships

I’ve been single for the vast majority of my life. Part of the reason is because I find social situations challenging and overwhelming, so don’t go out much or meet new people often. Another reason is that I enjoy spending time alone and can quickly become irritated when I don’t spend enough time by myself and can end up feeling claustrophobic.

Even though I enjoy my own company, I get lonely sometimes. I’m human after all and crave intimacy and closeness. That intimacy and closeness isn’t just available in romantic relationships of course. Any type of relationship can have those elements, but for today I just want to focus on the one type.

One question that’s been on my mind lately is whether I want to be in another relationship at some point, or if I’m actually single at heart and would prefer rather staying single? It was a hard question to answer, so I took some time to explore it. Questions like these are also complicated because our answers can change over time. So this is where I am right now…

I’m not planning on actively pursuing a new relationship, but rather just keeping my heart open to new people and experiences and try take more chances that I would normally shy away from. I’m willing to put my heart out there again, knowing that there’s a chance I could get hurt. But my previous experiences have also shown me that I get through that heartache, and come away learning more about myself, others, and relationships in general. I don’t regret any of my previous relationships, because I believe that what I’ve gained was worth far more than what I lost. All the shitty experiences taught me something. Not only that, but I received other things that I wouldn’t have otherwise. An example of this is that my 4 year relationship led me to start work with an amazing therapist, and start the process of changing my life from the inside.

A while ago I told C, my therapist, that I’m happier alone. But I don’t think that was the actual truth. It felt true in the moment, but when I thought about it later, I found that it was more complicated than that. Because I remembered… In the beginning of my relationship with Elizabeth I was happier and more content than I’d ever been in any of my previous relationships, and in life in general in a long time. It wasn’t Elizabeth or the relationship itself that made me happy. It was a combination of that, as well as still having space and time to myself and being content in my inner world.

And that’s what I need in a relationship. There are times where I would prefer doing something, or going somewhere, alone. I have an anxious attachment style, so I’ll also need someone who will be secure enough within themselves to be okay with giving me reassurance when I need it. Anyone, no matter their attachment style, needs reassurance from time to time. I sometimes just need it a bit more often. The strange thing is, in the first couple of months of my relationship with Elizabeth I felt secure with no need to be reassured. The more she started pulling away from me in the last months (as I mentioned in another post, she’s the avoidant type; also nothing much changed in the amount of time we spent together, but somehow it was suddenly too much), the more insecure I became and that anxious style reared its ugly head. A big difference in this relationship is that I learned to communicate when something bothered me. I could confront when needed. Whereas in the past I was a doormat and would keep things inside (essentially a people pleaser and afraid of conflict), I now felt more confident and secure in myself to make my voice heard. The therapeutic relationship was one of the things that helped me develop this.

Before my last relationship, with Elizabeth, I had been aware of the three stages of romantic love, and got to see the first two play out. The first is well-known as the Honeymoon Period. I’m sure most of us have been here before. In this stage, everything is still new and seems perfect. It’s where we present our best selves. I’ll never forget the day Elizabeth told me that she feels like we’ve become just friends. Saying that things were becoming too comfortable between us, and she wanted to go back in time to how things were in the beginning. I of course knew that the Honeymoon Phase doesn’t last, and that the next stage, the Individuation Stage, is a natural progression of a relationship, and that was probably where she was finding herself. The lndividuation Stage is where “the good, bad, and ugly” parts of ourselves starts showing, and more conflict arises as both partners try to balance who they are in the relationship with who they are as an individual. At least that’s how I understand it. Relationships take work, and this is especially evident at this point in a relationship. I’m not willing to be with someone who doesn’t understand or accept this. I should have taken it as a red flag that Elizabeth’s longest relationship was 6 months (ours was as well), and she never spent much time single. I’m only using Elizabeth in this post as an example, not to blame or point fingers. I wasn’t perfect either, and all I can do is learn from that relationship. Thanks to this relationship I’m now a lot more aware of what I’m looking for.

I don’t know if I believe in “the one”. Some people find that one person they’ll be with for the rest of their lives, and in that case, they’ve found “the one”. But for the rest of us there isn’t only one person out there that we need to find. I believe that if we keep our hearts and minds open we’ll meet someone who sets our soul on fire. Most relationships may not last, but to close ourselves off to love is, in my opinion, much more heart breaking.

Do I Really Love?

There are times where I feel nothing for people. Not even those I “claim” to love. This can last from hours to weeks. Sometimes I wonder whether I really do love after all? Then there are moments where I know I love that person/those people and I feel it, but that feeling can come and go so quickly sometimes.

I’m one of those people who almost never cry at funerals. Instead of thinking I’m at the funeral in order to say goodbye to someone and all of that funeral stuff, I’m dreading going due to the social aspect. It’s not about the person who passed away, it’s about my own social anxiety and unease. The exception was at my grandmother’s funeral, where I was in a dissociative bubble and so disconnected from everyone there that it felt I was alone.

When a public figure dies, for example by suicide, I don’t feel a thing. I don’t get why suddenly everyone is talking about it and seeming to genuinely feel sad about it. Sure, I pretend I care, and it’s hard (and shameful) to admit this, but I actually don’t. This always makes me feel like a hard, cruel person. Or not human at all.

I told my therapist this in our session last week. We were talking about my uncle who recently got diagnosed with cancer. She asked me how I feel. My answer? Nothing. I feel uncomfortable, but not sure exactly what that feeling encompasses. Where once I felt so close to my uncle and knew I love him, suddenly I don’t feel anything toward him. My therapist mentioned something about trauma and PTSD symptoms, but I can’t really remember what all she said… My mind and memory have been cloudy lately. Want to bring this up again in tomorrow’s session.

I saw there’s a new X-Men movie coming out in February, and just watched the trailer. When the first film of this movie franchise came out I was obsessed with it. I’ve watched the first 3 movies at least 40 times each, and the later ones about 10 times or so. Which is why when Jennifer Lawrence was cast in one of them a few years after the first 3 I was ecstatic. The point of bringing this up now is because while watching the trailer I got the same feeling I did all those years ago with the first film. These are my people. I’ve always felt like an outcast and “defective”. I would pretend I was one of those characters. My favourite used to be Phoenix (Jean Grey) and I took on that character. I was Phoenix. These days I still feel like a mutant, an alien on this planet. And this questioning whether I truly love is just one of the reasons for that. This new X-Men film is Jean’s journey on the “dark side”. Maybe I’m closer to that version of her.

Sometimes I feel like I have a lump of coal in place of a heart. That’s how I feel right now.

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The End.

I guess I can’t say that I didn’t see this coming. But I didn’t believe that it would actually happen.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Elizabeth and I broke up two weeks ago. She came over the Sunday evening and she asked me whether we could try starting over, and get back to that “honeymoon” stage. I was confused as to how to go about that, since every relationship naturally goes through different stages, but I agreed anyway. She mentioned that we’re too comfortable with one another, and it feels as though we’re just friends. She mentioned things such as not getting changed in front of one another anymore. I didn’t get how that would bring those feelings back, but I was willing to give it a try.

We went for a walk after that, and this time she actually took my hand again as we walked. The way she used to in the beginning. It wasn’t me who had to initiate it (I was still a bit weary of holding her hand in case she didn’t want that). It felt good. We watched a movie when we got back, and she actually let me hold her. I felt hopeful again. That things were going to be okay. But then, when we got into bed, she was distant again, and told me she had taken a sleeping pill, turned around and just said “goodnight”. No hug, no kiss. I suddenly felt very hurt and angry. So I got up and went to go sit outside for a while.

The next morning when I left for work, she also left to go back home. I was about to kiss her goodbye, but she just bypassed it and gave me a hug instead. One that again, felt cold. For the rest of that morning I didn’t allow myself to go down a negative thought process. I tried to hold onto the hope that things would get better. Because, after all, things rarely change overnight.

Elizabeth didn’t tell me when she got home safely, so a few hours later, I decided to send her a message asking whether she was at home, and okay. She told me she was, but that she had a lot on her mind. I asked her what was bothering her. And that’s when it started.

She told me that she doesn’t think she’s attracted to me anymore. That her feelings have changed, and she doesn’t think it will change back by continuing to “try”. She asked me what I thought, what I wanted to do. I told her that I still want to be with her, but I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t really want to be with me. I told her that I’d been feeling as though she’s been pulling away from me. Distancing herself from me, and she admitted that was the case. So it wasn’t all in my head, as I thought it might have been. I had thought that I was just oversensitive, and projecting. But this time, my feelings and intuition had been correct.

While all I wanted to do was beg her to please stay and give us another chance, another part of me knew it was better for the relationship to come to an end. I couldn’t keep living in that state of confusion and walking on eggshells.

Having your heart broken over voice notes is not the best way to have things end. For two entire days that week I was so angry with Elizabeth. I felt rejected, hurt, and betrayed. I had felt so confused, depressed and anxious in the relationship the last couple of months, and she knew she didn’t love me “anymore”, but just continued to let me believe that she still had feelings for me. That we would get through it. I doubt she ever really loved me. Can love really just vanish like that? If it can, I’m not interested in having anything to do with it.

We’ve agreed to stay friends. When Jasmine and I broke up and decided to just be in one another’s lives as friends, I found it pretty easy. But with Elizabeth, it’s not. I haven’t seen her since we’ve broken up, but we’ve spoken over text on occasion. I’ve limited the contact, because I found it too hard. Once I’m out of the clinic, she’s going to come fetch the things she left at my place. I don’t know how I’m going to feel when I see her for the first time again.

Can we be friends? I don’t know yet. She’s already spoken about meeting someone again “like maybe in a month- how will you take that?” (her words). How do you think? It will hurt. I told her that it’s her life and I can’t tell her what to do or what she’s not allowed to do. But of course it will hurt, especially since she said that she can’t sustain a relationship right now, there’s too many other things in her life. If she meets someone else so soon, what does that mean about the relationship we had? That she wants to be with someone, just not me? She told me that she enjoys being single, but it gets boring after a while. So having heard all of this from her, can I have her in my life as a friend and be okay? I’m not ready to cut her out of my life… I don’t even want her to come get her stuff yet. As the psychologist I’m seeing here in the clinic told me (about something unrelated), I don’t have to make any decisions right now.

What makes this breakup so much harder than all the others combined, is the fact that the first couple of months were amazing. It finally felt like I was in a healthy relationship. She was everything I had wanted, and more. I felt content with life, even though the other parts of my life sucked. But she allowed negative outside forces to take up too much space in our relationship. I fucked up as well, but we always managed to sort through things. I guess sometimes things are just bound to fail.

Since I’ve been in the clinic I’ve been somewhat distracted. I haven’t had the time or space to deal with this properly. Today there aren’t any groups, as it’s a Sunday, and both of my roommates and other patients have day passes, so it’s the first time I’ve had a few hours just to myself. So I haven’t been able to “run away” from allowing myself to experience the hard emotions. I feel broken.

If she wanted to get back together, would I? Again, part of me will be overjoyed with that, but the biggest part of me feels like it will just be repeating the same pattern. What if after a few months, this happens again? She loses that feeling again? I can’t go through this again. It hurts too much.

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