moving on

There are many stories and thoughts I have to share about my past relationship. But I’ve decided I shouldn’t and won’t tell them. At least not yet.

 

I cannot sacrifice peace of mind for a good story. I have let myself live in that time of my life for long enough. But in these past few months, I’ve completely forgotten about that part of my life and left it alone and I have found myself far happier than before – I’ve found myself radiantly happy, in fact, and completely filled with peace, contentment and excitement for my life and everything in it.

 

This isn’t to say I have been repressing these memories. Not at all. It’s simply the case that I haven’t been actively recalling them very much. I feel a sense of peace around this subject rather than denial that it happened, because I’ve come to a place where I recognize it is the past and the present and future hold better things. Do I still have some processing to do? Probably. But I find writing these posts reliving events that happened isn’t helpful right now. It becomes instead an exercise in wallowing in negativity. I become stuck in the past. And every time I reconstruct the memory, it becomes more and more a caricature of reality. That’s not healthy.

 

So I’m moving on from that chapter of my life. I’m choosing to let go of the feelings of anger and regret and focus instead on love and joy.

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love love love

Love is a jealous soul
Love is bleeding hearts spilling onto pages
Love is a candlelight that fills up a room
Love is the scar that greets you in the morning and follows you to the ends of your deathbed
Love is a black hole

Identity is never less than a mystery
But in this place I can scarcely grasp a sense of
This me I’ve built up over tears and troubled coffees
An illicit journey into a graveyard of rotting truths, burdened with past but gleaming with present
So I could learn to dress my naked self

Now I’m naked once more
My heart may overflow and I
Have never felt so much freedom
To be

When I sit down to write, I find most of the words that come out are about love. Always love. I could try to write about something else, but my soul isn’t in it. You have to be excited to complete a piece on something and love excites me extraordinarily.

Love, love, love. I want to bathe in love. I want to sing its praises. I wrote this poem about how when you are in love, it seeps into everything you do. It’s all you want to breathe, think, speak, sing, and write. You end up writing about only love. You sing love songs. You look at couples and smile and gush because you can relate so much. Love doesn’t like to share brain space. It also has the effect of making every thought that much happier and more beautiful and more positive. Everything becomes clothed in a new rose gold light.

I also wrote this poem about how love changes you. I am often a sad and depressed person. I am lonely. I am anxious. But when I’m with my love, I am not. I am happy and I feel connection and I don’t worry about my purpose or where I should be headed next or whether I am doing enough or how to make the pain stop … because … I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else or do anything else. I’d like time to stop and leave me in this bliss. It feels right. It feels like the only place I could be and that is meaning to me. There is no pain.

When I’m apart from my love, I still feel this happiness following me. The sad and depressed parts of me appear sometimes but they are not adequate descriptors of me. Not anymore. I spend so much time obsessed over identity. I want to know who I am and I build up an idea in my head. Identity is so important that even if it isn’t an identity to be proud of, I’m relieved to know I at least am someone and know who I am. But love comes along and sweeps that all away. Love shows me that this identity isn’t me anymore. Love makes me a new person and I’m left wondering who I am now that I am happy and now that love is the only thing I want to talk about.

Do I become someone who loses their identity in a relationship? Do I become merely a girlfriend, and not a person in my own right?

The fact is, I don’t care. Without my old identity, I feel naked. But nakedness makes me free. I realize that there is no comfort in knowing who you are when you hate yourself. And there is freedom in being able to live in the moment – to be able to breathe and feel the joy of being alive. And, yes, loving. There is so much freedom in love.

respect

i never thought i would be writing this post but here i am

i think this is mostly catharsis but a small part of me hopes that someone in this situation may somehow stumble on this post and realize what i didnt.

but i feel like i must write it because i am so so angry still. and i hope this brings healing

so i used to date a boy. we were together for five to six months officially and involved for seven. ive written about the break up on this blog. cried about it. gotten over it.

looking back, im amazed by how unhealthy the relationship was.

to begin with, i did not want a relationship with him. we started off as friends with benefits but i realized that he wanted to be more.

however, i became pretty dependent on him, having become more distant from high school friends and failing to make new ones in uni, so i convinced myself that i did want a relationship and we would work out, even though my brain knew well before that

  • i was not ready for a relationship and wanted to be single for a while longer
  • if i did get in a relationship, it wouldn’t be with him. i wasn’t physically attracted to him and i knew our personalities did not match too well

but we got into a relationship that became increasingly codependent. im not 100 percent sure on his emotions, but i know that for mine, the relationship was incredibly intense. i would miss him intensely even when i had just seen him and he would tell me the same.

i became dependent on him for happiness because i was very depressed and lonely. however, after a while even he couldn’t make me happy anymore. i was extremely down, and every time he would socialize, i would feel so very inadequate, comparing myself to him. then when i was depressed, he would feel inadequate for not being able to cure my depression. he wasnt able to handle my mental illness. i cannot blame him for that at all. in this narrative, it is very much on me that i got into this relationship (my first serious one) knowing that it was not right for me and would inevitably end.

however, there were things that were not my fault and i cannot believe did not signal huge red flags in my head.

things such as him telling his friends about my depression which was insensitive.

things such as him telling both his friends and mutuals many details about our sex life even after i asked him not to do this

things such as him lying to friends about me.

things such as lying to me about his number of past sexual partners.

things like slut shaming a coworker

things like blatantly disregarding my sexual boundaries after i told him of them many many times

this is what gets to me

i cannot believe that i stayed in a relationship for as long as i did with someone who disrespected my wishes as much and as plainly as he did. i guess in my head i thought it was my fault for not being clear enough. it’s not that he wouldnt stop if i screamed no, stop! when he did and it’s not that he wouldnt stop if i struggled. it’s just that i’d say no and then two minutes later he would do it again. it’s just that id later message him, please dont do this, it really upsets and bothers me, and he’d agree, then the next time we met, it was like our conversation didnt happen.

i wanted to make him happy and i was so tired of telling him to stop, over and over again.

it was only after being with two other partners that i discovered the radical idea that there are men who will only do things with you that you explicitly and enthusiastically consent to, and you can have boundaries without losing a man, and there are people who will wholeheartedly and lovingly care and respect for you. in all aspects of life – not just outside the bedroom.

it still makes me so angry thinking about it. i know it is in the past and i need to forgive. i dont consider myself to have been molested or abused. but i would say i was taken advantage of and definitely disrespected and i feel awful thinking about it – thinking of how i let this happen and how horrible and dirty and violated i felt when and after it did. it shouldn’t have been like that. i still feel horrible thinking about it and affects me still with my comfort with aspects of sex, my trust, and my mental health

so again, i just want to say to anyone who may be reading this … if anything in your relationship seems wrong, if there is more pain and tears than happiness, and if you are only staying because you cannot bear leaving, then please please reevaluate. And if your partner ever disregards your boundaries even after you’ve made them clear, do not let codependency keep you there. you will be ok and someday you will feel so much better after you’ve left the unhealthy situation.

meaningful connections

I follow my university’s “confessions” page and I’ve noticed a common recurrent theme in these confessions. There is an overwhelming amount of students struggling to make friends at university and in life in general. They are lonely, shy, afraid of rejection, tired of trying, depressed, and suffering from low self esteem.

They are, in other words, my kindred souls.

The number of posts and comments suggest that loneliness is an epidemic, but that’s good for us, isn’t it? It means that there are plenty of other people out there who have NOT established friend groups yet and are looking for human connection.

For what do we mean when we say “friends”?

We don’t mean the girl you wave to when you pass each other in the hall or the boy you’re paired up with for a group assignment. I hate small talk and although I know that I’m further isolating myself and causing my own loneliness, sometimes I’m too tired by small talk so I just don’t bother. And it’s not only that I’m tired and anxious. I don’t see the point. I don’t enjoy it and who’s to say it will lead to anything more? And maybe it’s because I try to make small talk with people and go nowhere, while I see a girl who spends one week with the people I have known for a year already become integrated into the group in a way I know I never will.

But, as evidence seems to show, again, I am not alone. Yet, if there are so many of us pining for friendships, why are we not able to find each other and make these connections?

Obviously, it’s not as easy as it sounds. From personal experience, I can vouch for anxiety being a huge huge factor in isolation. Everyone will tell you to join clubs and to talk to the person sitting beside you in the lecture. They don’t seem to understand how much courage it takes to merely show up at one of those club meetings and to merely NOT leave a seat in between you and the next person. We’re not even talking about going up and introducing yourself. Just to put yourself in a position where that could happen is terrifying. But say it does happen. You do end up in a club meeting. You find that half the people already have friends and are laughing and chatting at a high decibel. The other half are already in engaged conversation with the person they met 15 minutes ago. You sit in silence hoping someone will come up to you and make the first move. If someone does, you talk for two minutes about both of your majors and they give a fake laugh at your lame joke, then they announce their friend has arrived and leave.

But here’s the rub. If by some miracle of nature and humankind, you manage to put yourself in a social situation and start talking to another person, that doesn’t mean you are going to become friends. I’m not sure what percentage the likelihood of friendship developing is but I know it is not high.

I’m beginning to think I might understand something of why so many of us are struggling with this thing they call friendship. Friendship is connection. But how are connections formed? Maybe connection is formed through shared experiences and conversations – through a growing mutual understanding of each other and spending enough time together to grow comfortable and able to open up and perhaps most importantly, it means becoming attached to another person so that you care for each other and form an interest in each other’s lives.

Time forms bonds.

But before I’m comfortable with someone, it’s so hard to keep conversations going (small talk) and they don’t care about my life yet because they don’t know me and it’s so hard to have the strength and courage to start that conversation in the first place. And yet that could be the foundation of forming a friendship.

So I am stuck in a depressing circle.

And then there are people who can be immediately comfortable with strangers and OF COURSE they are going to be chosen as a friend over someone who is awkward and nervous and not quite herself yet.

The only area of connection with which I’ve seemed to have had fairly consistent success is when sex is involved. This makes me wonder if the prospect of sex encourages a person to participate in an emotional and psychological exchange and this in turn causes connection. I can’t say the idea doesn’t depress me. Do I need sex to convince people to give me a chance?

I guess some evidence goes against this theory. Some people do seem to make friends very rapidly. Then I fall into a rabbit hole of wondering if I am simply an excruciatingly boring person; hence, why I end up alone. The flip side is that the conversations I have managed to sustain haven’t succeeded in bringing me friendships. So why expend time and effort for something that is so unlikely to bear fruit?

Maybe it is a self fulfilling prophecy. I always return to this and wonder if I am the enemy of my own life. If I believed that everyone wanted to be friends with me, would this turn into reality?

Seems like a fantasy.

At the end of the day, I know it is not a question that I am my own enemy. I’m the one who is anxious, too tired to make an effort, too quiet, too intimidated by everyone talking over me to pitch in a word and unable to make myself heard when I try.

I’m still longing for connection and I’m not ready to give up trying just yet. But I’m well aware that what I call “trying” falls short of everything I could be doing and I’ve been trying and trying to change my personality and neuroses enough to make real “trying” possible.

But it never happens.

i want it all

sometimes i wonder if i want more than life can give me

i am wary of expecting too much and taking what i do have for granted

i am well aware that what i have now is far far more than many people do.

yet i have a vision for what i want and it is a concrete and real vision so this makes me think it is not simply another case of my Type 4 personality. it is something that theoretically could be satisfied.

but practically? do i ask for too much when i want to have a “perfect” relationship – a relationship with someone who fascinates me, who is a kind, caring, and nonjudgmental person, who i am attracted to, and who fulfills me both emotionally and physically? do i ask for too much when i want a job that i will enjoy and that will intellectually challenge me and that will also pay me well?

do i seek a perfection that is unrealistic?

yet the problem with this idea is that i believe that even if everyone around me was telling me that my desires are unrealistic, that wouldn’t make me satisfied with something less. in the back of my mind, i would know that that was not what i really wanted and i would either in the back of my mind be holding out with the hope that what i want is still out there or i would end up disappointed and upset.

i don’t want to settle.

i do want it all and i can only hope that this is not an impossible wish

i can’t help falling in love

yes, i am someone who has fallen into this pit they call love. now contrary to popular opinion, love is not the opposite of rationality. definitely not, or surely love would have stopped my constant thinking. but yet i find myself basking in love while at the back of my mind, there is still a voice telling me, “well, what is love really and how do you know you have found it, oh, you impostor?”

it has got me wondering, what do i mean when i say “i love you”? when we get into a beautiful relationship, do we love them for who they are? or do we love how they treat us? is there a difference?

perhaps you are how you treat others?

this is something that never fails to confuse me. i feel a feeling in my heart and from everything ive learned thus far in my life, the word that best corresponds to it is “love”. it feels like a ball of intense ache, squeezing your heart with its tenderness and beauty and joy.

but how long does it take to love? am i a liar for saying “i love you” too soon? is a month enough? is three months enough? is one year enough? some people will say, at least more than a year, because then you’ve passed the infatuation stage and you know that this is real. because you know that we are bodies so clouded by our hormones and sexual instincts to know the truth.

does this mean we avoid saying i love you for a year .. because we cannot bring ourselves to trust our feelings?

for our feelings do tell us that it couldn’t be any other way. that we DO love with heart and soul.

is it so wrong to trust our intuition? people say love is a choice. but what if you aren’t making an effort to choose because you just love like it is breathing? it seems like a very strange thing to say that love is only love when it is a choice made. parents (most parents at least) do not say they choose to love their children. they just do. loving rather than making the choice to love does not mean this love is not unconditional – on the contrary.

who decides what it means to love? who really decides?

the word is so ambiguous that it could mean something different to everybody and perhaps it does. do we have a right to say that our version of love is more accurate than another person’s? and what gives us that right, when language is ever changing, evolving, and fluid – ever dependent on the context: the speaker and the listener and the time and the place?

maybe, then, love isn’t a single unambiguous word that can be written into a dictionary of stone. and doesn’t that ring true to what we know about love? love is about people and love is about the amazing capacity of the human spirit that cares for another like itself and love is about feelings and smiling kisses and the fluttering of butterflies and love is about crying and making up and love is about comfort and comfortable silence and peace and love can be about all of these things.

love is about people and the word people is awfully general to describe seven billion.

they say you are afraid of the things you do not know, and maybe it is true then that i wonder if i do not really know love so i am afraid to say it.

but i do. i can’t tell myself i haven’t for in my heart i know this to be true. i have felt the magic of love and …

now that i have, how could i bear to let fear stop me from sharing it?

careers crisis

it’s a fun and funny moment when you realise halfway through your degree that you actually kinda want to work in marketing or publishing or teaching and you should have done an English and media degree … because it’s not like you had an entire 18 years to figure that out

English was my first love and has always been my comfort zone. i suppose i have tried to stretch outside my comfort zone and ive definitely had to do that with these logic and maths papers but its also made me realise that i dont think my brain, stress levels, and gpa can survive any more of this. so now it’s time for a last change and while i still have my first major psychology to rely on, im wary of putting all my eggs in one basket.

ive always been quite interested in publishing(whether as a writer, editor, or marketer) and i could conceivably see myself in digital marketing or copywriting. definitely more than i could imagine myself in tech. it would also definitely be good for teaching. so perhaps that is the right path for me then. turning back to my first love. stories. how to write them, how to analyse them, how to make other people want to read them.

my other goal is academia (which granted has always been my ultimate goal). i suppose im scared that psychology may not work out for me with all the competition – so wouldn’t it be nice to have 2 or 3 subjects i could pursue in research?

i suppose these kinds of careers have always seemed inaccessible to me. people talk about them like only the lucky privileged few get to work in such industries. and maybe that is the case after all. and yet i cannot imagine myself working in something other than academia or perhaps publishing. perhaps this is a case where i should simply accept nothing but what i want and try try try.

an #amcurrently post

its nearing the end of february and i am excited

im in a good head space right now. ive just finished my summer school course and felt more confident about this paper than perhaps ive felt about any other so we will hope that means amazing things. either way, im excited to begin semester 1 and fully dive into my major (moving one step closer to being the badass nerdy research scientist i hope to be whenever i have a good mental health day and stumble upon some interesting piece of cognitive psychology)

i want to join the glee club at my university and get into musical theatre. my high school did not have a glee club so ill be new to this but its an absolute dream of mine to perform again. i do so love to perform, especially if it involves singing. and it has been far too long.

speaking of singing, ive been obsessively listening to walkthemoon, dermot kennedy, and hayley kiyoko (i need the new album. now. please.) recently. throw in a few the 1975 favorites for good measure and you have my recently played. tonight ive also been re-appreciating the beauty of mika’s voice in “happy ending”. that last chorus gives me chills … that note, the little waver in his voice. i. cant.

still, im a bit dry on new music so please recommend stuff to me.

ive booked an appointment to get my hair dyed (finally) and im going for green, blue, and purple so i can finally be a mermaid. let me tell you, i am BEYOND EXCITED. i cannot wait.

now. in other news. ya girl really wants to buy a polaroid so she can take cute pictures but she cant decide if its worth the price (in between getting my hair done and bills). id also dearly like some scented candles for my room so perhaps i should begin with those. it would be lovely to finish reading the brothers karamazov by candlelight before uni starts (fingers crossed on that).

wait. you didnt think i would possibly make a post here without mentioning something about boys, did you?……………………….no, i didnt think so. theres no way i could practice that much self control. but, in a sweet sentence, ill let you know that its been a lovely two months with my boy now and i couldnt be more grateful and in love. truth be told, though, it hasnt been all smooth going. however i think it pretty much comes down to two problems. two problems that we can fix with time and effort. so i still have my hope.

this month is showing me again that beautiful things can and do happen in between everything else.

so. i am looking at the stars.

strengths

i took this quiz a few days ago that finds your top strengths. i admit, i was a bit nervous as i filled in my answers because it was quite clear from each question whether it represented a strength or a weakness – and my answers definitely tended toward weakness.

but i got my results anyway and they have a ring of truth. i can see them in me – sometimes. i can see them in my optimum, mentally stable self, but i can even see them in my worse self. i thought it would be interesting to examine them here

my top strength was LOVE OF LEARNING. i like that because i need not pretend i am a virtuous person to have a strength. i am not a disciplined person at all. i may be one of the laziest people around. but i get tired of doing nothing eventually.

it always feels like theres too much i want to learn and know and not enough time. i wonder why i dont take more advantage of my hunger for knowledge. i want to learn new skills and gain knowledge but im reluctant to always put in the effort. however, sometimes i end up learning anyway just by living, and thats a wonderful feeling

my second strength was HONESTY. thats a bit hilarious when you think about it, considering how often i lie (and im not bad at it, if i do say so myself). i hate it about myself but sometimes its just easier to lie than to start conflict and i hate confrontation. however, im getting better at this. and while i do lie about things that would cause major conflict, im not afraid of smaller conflicts or potentially offending a stranger or acquaintance so i tend to be quite blunt about everything else.

the results page also says that honesty includes presenting oneself in a genuine way and acting sincerely and taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions. i think im always a bit anxious about being “fake”. maybe a bit too anxious. i dont want to be someone im not and i may overcompensate a little but thats still interesting that i seem to be succeeding? and for all my faults, i do believe i am self aware and can at least recognise when i behave badly, even if i dont always do anything to change it

the third strength was JUDGEMENT which at first made me panic a bit because i always try to be as nonjudgmental of others as i can. but reading the description, its not about judging others but about thinking things through, not jumping to conclusions, considering all sides and weighing evidence fairly, and being able to change one’s mind in light of said evidence. in essence, it’s the opposite of being overly judgmental. it has a ring of empathy to it. and that made me very happy to see it on my list of strengths.

although i suppose what with my love for introspection and pros and cons lists, it would be disappointing if i DIDNT manage to make this a strength.

the fourth strength was APPRECIATION OF BEAUTY AND EXCELLENCE. im glad this was included as a strength because this is my creed and one of my main motives for life itself. there is so much beauty in the world and it makes life worth living.

the other strengths that followed also felt right to me in their progression. all in all the test was a bit of a reassurance for me and an interesting window into an aspect of my own identity

happy place

in the quest to be content with being alone, an absolute necessity is to find your happy place.

i didnt think id be writing this post. if i was looking for quite a sickeningly positive term, the opposite of the melancholy personality i profess to have and separate from my romanticising of sadness, i couldnt do better. i cringe to type out happy place, even as i cringe at my self absorption. which is why im writing this post, because ive come to the realisation that for me depression is a bit of a revel. A revel in sadness and suicidal thoughts. And its a bit like an addiction. Doesn’t feel great but its easy to get stuck in it.

a happy place grounds you into reality. keeps you there. makes you realise that there’s color in the world if you can only keep your mind at peace for long enough.

my happy place is sitting down in a cool room in front of a computer and pounding my thoughts out, with music blaring in my ears

my happy place is walking in the city streets and feeling the cool air on my skin and a drink in my hand

my happy place is cooking good food and eating it and tidying and cleaning my apartment until its something i can say im proud to have worked for

my happy place is what makes me feel that i could be alone, all alone in the world, and i would be ok. it’s what makes me feel like there is love, wonder, and beauty within me. within my own heart. and thats not all i want. but enough to survive.

these places ground me. they make me know in my heart that im not ready to die. even if this was all there was (and i know its not … oh how i know that theres more for me in store), i dont want to leave. i want to read one more book, drink one more drink, write one more thought, and discover one more thing about myself.

or two. or a hundred