All posts tagged love
All posts tagged love
I used to feel morally compelled to TELL THE TRUTH, even if it meant bulldozing someone else’s emotional comfort. But then, this one time, I tried the lying bit—just a little guy: “Congratulations!” I exclaimed. “I’m so happy for you.” When truthfully, I thought the now-fiancé was a complete moron. The result? It worked! My friend smiled. Probably knowing, deep down, that I had other opinions, but grateful that I was choosing to keep them to myself. AND IN THAT MOMENT… I realized how little service I was doing by not telling little lies here and there. By uninterruptedly telling the truth, I had hurt feelings, caused tension, created drama, and on and on.
These liars, I thought… they’re really onto something.
The truth is, none of us like to hurt feelings. (No like-ey! Nooo like-ey!) Even if it’s for some higher good or “their own good” or whatever. On some level, when we hurt another person, we hurt, too. And we don’t like to feel pain. None of us like to feel pain. And so it (reasonably) goes that the liar lies to avoid making someone else feel pain so that the liar herself can avoid feeling pain. And the lied-to allows the lie to be told (even when we know it’s not truth) so that the lied-to does not have to feel pain.
We all participate in and even come to expect poor excuses, half-truths, embellishments, exaggerations, omissions. WE EXPECT TO BE LIED TO. Because it’s so damn effective in saving us from PAIN.
Pain… I am not the first to suggest that pain is an indication that something needs to be changed. That some-thing is wrong. Therefore, PAIN is highly functional- it not only facilitates our personal evolution, at times it saves our emotional and physical lives. If pain is such a useful tool, WHY DO WE AVOID IT? And why do we spend so much time helping our fellow humans avoid it?
I met a funny fellow the other evening. A self proclaimed Buddhist. For unrelated reasons, he explained that Buddhists believe not in seeking enlightenment, but rather in seeking to align themselves with their own higher truth. Above all else, TO BE TRUTHFUL TO ONESELF is the Buddhist mantra.
So with Buddha in mind, and assuming we all accept that sometimes there is benefit to fibbing that outweighs the iron-clad statute of SPEAK THE TRUTH…
Here is my RULE: Start by asking yourself, what is my intention when I lie? Does it come from a place of love (self-love or love for another person) or does it come from a place of FEAR?
Love? Lie away. Fear? Check yourself, bite the proverbial bullet, and bulldoze.
When he is in love with you…
1. He stares at you like you are the most beautiful woman in the world
2. He finds ways to spontaneously show you that he loves you- in tiny details, in tiny moments, every day
3. He lets you take the spotlight, and he assumes the position of shadow- ever framing your brilliance
4. He will do anything for you, and it’s not a burden: it’s his joy and his purpose
5. He will face any fear, and wrestle any demon, if it will make you just a little more comfortable
6. He believes you are capable of miracles and that he is fortunate to be with you
7. The happiness of the relationship is his first priority
8. He uses the term “we” more than “I”
9. He fantasizes about growing a life with you and includes you in conversations about his future
10. He unconditionally defends you
11. When needed, he chooses you— over work, family, friends— without request
12. He remembers what makes you happy and surprises you with unprovoked acts of kindness
13. He respects and supports your interests by participating in them—even if only on the periphery
14. He lets you win, even if it means he loses
15. He asks to include you in his hobbies and interests, and in the relationships with the people who are most important to him
16. He is compelled to please you—seeing you happy MAKES him happy
Do you agree? What did I miss??
I came home tonight and our house smells like you—like boy. Some sort of man-body-wash, mixed with musky-something, topped with the rich smell of your clean, Italian skin. And I smiled for a second… wondering if you were going to greet me from the living room. But the house was still as it often is.
James Dean is a bartender. And I hate it.
His professional life consists of a 70-hour workweek—spent marinating in alcohol, and agave nectar and drenched in late nights and intoxicated company. He’s told he must ignore me when I visit him at work—not to touch me— because him appearing “fuckable” is good for business. And trust me, I know just how much the perception of his availability drives business. I once WAS that business.
I hate it.
My dear friend, Monica, has taken over his role of companion, emotional supporter, secret keeper. James isn’t around enough to consistently be my plus one, listen to my woes, hear me giggle. I replay the highlights of my last afternoon and evening late each morning when we get to spend a few hours together. Two to be precise— between 12 and 2. Hours that I subtract from my workday so that I can see him… before he once again returns to his booze stained workspace.
During the first bit of our rendezvous, he is usually waking up, slowly, drug of choice now caffeine. I am bubbling with enthusiasm. Dying to connect. But I forget details, the jokes lose their hootsva, my emotional strife has already dissipated into its muted self, palatable, cool enough to drink. This is not a full-blown relationship. This is what develops in the in-betweens. I can still keep secrets, still wrap a pretty yellow ribbon around my emotional lows, still disguise my grumpy, irritable, sweaty-from-working-out self.
I go to bed alone almost every night. And I feel very much alone.
Absent-men are a button issue for me—my dad’s commitment (read, obsession) with growing wealth shredded his marriage with my mother into an unrecognizable, bitter blob. And tried as he may have in the space in-between late nights and business trips, those days “Dad” was nothing more to me than a gift-wrapped t-shirt and a bag of Skittles left outside my door.
And it didn’t stop there… M spent more evenings in his architecture studio than he did with me. So much so that I started sleep on both sides of the bed, knowing he wouldn’t be there. So much so that “all-nighters” became a sign of professional prowess and, seemingly, of dick-size. He cared more about that paper, project, design, whatever, than he did about caring for his health. Even to the degree that he could continue to function as a human being— complete sentences, feel anything but intense, pants-pissing fear, share love with me.
Am I that 20-something asshole that doesn’t appreciate sacrificing for success?
I feel simply burnt out with supporting the man in my life in a career that offers a crap lifestyle for crap pay, during crap hours. ENOUGH. I don’t want it anymore… I want James Dean to have a career that supports the vision we have for our lives and our future. I want James Dean to remember that in our partnership, there is nothing that is entirely independent. Including work-life. And that what ain’t good for me ain’t good for us.
Maybe I am that asshole…
I love James Dean… more than anything. More than pickles even. And I really do love pickles.
It almost isn’t love—To say that I love him would assume that I, the lover, is separate from him, the loved. And that just isn’t so. I is Him. I is Him.
Late last night he told me that he couldn’t promise me that he would love me always… He said that he could guarantee there would be times when I would annoy the shit out of him. But that he promised tonight and always that he would never stop trying. He said that if I could promise him the same… that we could be invincible.
But in spite of all these remarkable, heart rumbling, universe awakening feelings… I don’t think I have completely fallen for J.D. yet. I am holding back. I find myself looking in his green eyes and blinking just as I start to feel myself summersault into him. It’s as if with eye contact we share our everything. And I am scared. I am afraid that I may lose all sense of my Self if I experience the reality that there really is no difference between James and I.
To completely fall in love with James Dean is not to let a foreigner enter my space. This is not the fear… for he does not occupy my heart, as the romantics say. No. He is the space I occupy. He is the person taking up space. And everything in between. I am swollen with him. He runs, plays, swims, grows inside of me.
Perhaps I did not know myself completely until I met James Dean. I recognize him as part of me, like looking at my own reflection. Like closing my eyes and transcending. Before James I was just grasping, pathetically, at a foggy perception of “my” identity when all I needed to fully understand myself was… home.
That is what this man is to me… He is home. I am home.
Dear God, could it be that I am not an individual at all? That my identity—opinions, personality, experiences— are simply illusions? I thought myself the sum composite of all my life experiences. And yet… here I am… feeling abandoned and separate from the very things I held onto as “me.” And realizing… I am so much more.
So if I feel better, more whole, more grounded and gifted with James in my life, why am I terrified? Why won’t I let myself fall?
I don’t think it has anything to do with James. It’s me—I’m afraid of finally knowing me, entirely. For to completely fall in love with him would mean to fall around, in, through, behind, in front, of me. To know myself, without omission. And call me crazy, but the prospect of that is beautiful, yet terrifying.
The pause in the room this evening was torturous. I was panicking. Mind grabbing at the empty space between when I repeated my friend’s question, “What makes me worthy of love…? 5 REASONS??” and the horrific BLANK the followed. I thought of the generic, “I’m a unique expression of the Divine.” Or some shit like that.
Then another blank. And more panic. There has to be something… I thought.
And up came the tears, the young Jodi Anne tears, pleading internally, eyes flipping about. Please… please… let there be some thing. But no. No thing. Because this part that was pleading and crying believes that I am not worthy of love. Not one bit. And that everyone I love will discover that sad fact someday. (And they will roll their eyes when they think of the time they wasted investing in me).
Luckily I have other parts. Lots. And luckily, those parts remember that I tend to make people smile and laugh. That I show love through affection, and thoughtfulness, and by creating home wherever I go. And I tend to facilitate positive change by asking provocative questions and suggesting challenges. I also invest in self-development, so that crappy stuff that periodically makes me a jerk to hang around with will likely work itself into pretty at some point. Oh and I love to cook and host and am not bad at either.
I realized tonight how long I have ignored this child-like part that believes that I am not worthy of receiving love. And how tortured she was, alone with her own self-destructive beliefs. I imagined her timid, in a small, dark broom closet, sitting, legs folded into her undeveloped chest, back against the whitewashed walls. Wailing to be heard, acknowledged, and comforted. But she also believed herself too ugly to come into the light. So I had to dig her out this evening. And DIG I did.
Past the walls of disbelief, of inner hatred, and self-doubt, and ignorance, and socially imposed values of “modesty” and crap. DIG that poor girl out, I did, and let her soak in the light. I needed to let her see me, with all my parts, and feel welcomed and in good company. And so maybe, just maybe, after a time she could finally see someone bright and beautiful and genuinely worthy of love.
So now you: Give me 5 reasons you are worthy of love. And… GO.
It turns out… some of it was my fault.
Even without M, I still feel the compulsion to take responsibility for the people who are closest to me—even when, especially when, they don’t ask.
I still believe self-sacrifice is the most powerful expression of love and sacrifice myself, silently, automatically, and without request. And then resent it later.
I still try to control… everything.
I still overreact.
I still PMS and don’t know “it’s only PMS” until I’ve cried for no reason.
I still implode, shut down, and cannot speak when I am upset.
I am still intermittently insecure about my physicality and need to be convinced that I am beautiful.
I still leap headfirst to conclusions.
I still don’t know how to trust.
I still am secretly waiting for every romantic relationship to end in deception and/or infidelity.
Without M, I would have had the same ugly parts. Our lives together revealed them. (Those nasty little fuck-faces). And I guess… I am grateful to him for helping me discover the hidden pieces of me.
NEWS FLASH: James Dean and I are moving in together.
I am excited about picking out an epic set of white linens, deciding on the exact placement of his gaudy orange espresso machine, and knowing that we will introduce more and more co-creation into our relationship as co-habiters.
But I’m scared, too…
A year ago, I was a duck farmer, duck organizer, duck evaluator, duck liner upper. And I employed my duck savvy with M—we had been together for four years when we moved in together. I knew his family intimately. He knew mine. (For the most part) We all got along. I knew his morning routine, how he reacts under pressure, during holidays, drunk. And it was all okay… okay enough. I don’t have all this “evidence” when it comes to James… in many ways he is still a mystery to me.
I can hear the pundits chanting… too soon… what if… have you ever… Most of these mantras have taken their turn intermittently screaming between my ears. And do you know what I say back? Yeah? What if? I have never. Soon enough.
In spite of my intellectual fears, I made this decision from my place of knowing, my place of truth. Knowing not that I will succeed, because I don’t. Knowing not if we will last, because I don’t. Knowing not if James Dean will disappointment me or worse, if I will disappoint him. I know not the ways of the universe—meant to be/not, whatever. I simply know what is true for me in this moment. And that truth is: Living with James Dean is right for me, right now.
End of conversation.
I insulate myself in the guise of “independence,” “autonomy,” “power”, but if I’m being honest, the ship of I-Wanna-Man set sail right around the time I discovered how lovely Barbie looks with Ken (and how sad she looks without him). I mean, I don’t think I would DIE if I couldn’t fool one into marrying me (I hope you are wearing your earmuffs, James Dean). No, no. Certainly, I would continue to breathe and laugh and play and love. Yes. ‘Tis true. But I would laugh less, I think. I would love smaller. I would play empty.
I should just say it: Pssst. I want a husband.
And how do I want said husband? In a lovely marriage bundle. The traditional kind—where Dad gives his permission and walks me down the aisle. Where we blubber through our carefully crafted wedding vows, celebrate with a huge stinkin’ cake, and bubbly and FIND OURSELVES MAGICALLY BELIEVING IN THE POWER OF WE.
“Traditional marriage,” that dirty phrase, has become simply unmentionable for the educated, upwardly mobile woman. So what do we do? We collage together different bits of “relationships” with their various, (fucking) confusing rules, and norms, and correctnesses we think we have created something truly unique and therefore more valuable. And in so doing, we refuse to “settle”—because that (of course) would mean eternal damnation. We refuse to “give in” to gender norms. Oh and we curse those (weak) women who give into the social pressure of White Wedding.
Logically speaking, however, it is impossible to step out from the socially imposed constructs from which we are born into and raised. Therefore, all values, wants, dreams, and visions are (at least in part) socially imposed. My desire or rejection of “marriage” in part or in whole is as co-created as the fact that I have “chosen to” shave my armpits, am drawn to literature over mathematics, and add conjunctions to every (sorta) definite sentence.
I have wavered back and forth on this point over the years—ever loyal, (boo-fucking-yah) to the feminist movement and the social paths and professional possibilities she blazed in cement in my honor. But conversely, I now know (as my recent upchuck of JEALOUSY clearly illustrates) I am intimately and irrevocably interwoven with instinctual/personal/culturally-imposed desires for security, stability, commitment, love-ridden, fairytale.
So I confess that perhaps I have been pretending a little. Pretending to side with the “independent” (Rah!), self-made (Rah-Rah!) Jodi. Ignoring the part that has already made up her mind at the life I want to lead. At some basic needs of I. And those needs… yes, needs… include a marriage, and a husband, and some kiddos. Who? What? When? Where? Je ne sais pas. But I’m working on it—starting with the honest declaration of “personal” desire for ‘Til Death Do Us Part.
I discovered another little piece of ugly in me tonight. I am ashamed of this piece. She probably deserves to be drop kicked in the groin. But (alternatively!) here, Piece, take the mic…
One of my lifelong friends got engaged tonight—after eleven years of dating the guy—and I turned my head from the (text message) news with distain. QUICK! Running through all the reasons I just knew it wasn’t going to work out. And why they should not have made this decision. Phah! What are they stupid?? My whole body thought.
I damned their marriage in my own mind before her engagement ring even had a chance to carve a dent in her finger. And it totally makes me feel like a lump of shit to say this out loud but: I AM JEALOUS.
I am jealous of it all. The spotlight, the “announcement,” the sparkly, silly priced ring, the planning, the believing, the making others believe in it, too, the name changing, the name creating, boo la la, I am jealous of picking out linens, and wall paint color, and becoming Mrs. So-in-so, and sharing dreams and bank accounts and bathrobes.
But most of all… I am jealous of their readiness. Their HOPE. Their TRUST. Their LEAP. I crave to be ready for the marriage bit. The wedding bit. The baby bit. The husband bit. But as much as I want it, I’m not ready. It frightens me.
My friend, Monica, asked me recently over ice cream what I fear most in the world. “That I’ll end up like my Mom,” I said. “Devoted, loyal, blindly in love, desperate to salvage a failing relationship, but ultimately incapable. Because he leaves me anyway. He tells me that he never should have married me, that I am crazy, that I was a bad mother. And he happily builds a life with someone else with the tools and the assets that we created together, that we were supposed to realize together. He does this with her. And never looks back with regret. And never credits me for my tolerance, my sacrifice, my forgiveness, my love. He just walks away. And never looks back.”
This is my biggest fear: That I will marry the wrong man. And he will realize it first, and leave me.
So while I crave to be married, I WANT to believe in it, I WANT to trust that I am the future Mrs. James Dean, I want to trust that he wouldn’t do that to me. That he is reliable, loyal, nothing like Dad, I don’t. I don’t know how. I simply don’t know how to trust. Not even for a little bit, not even a little bit.
How do I learn how to trust?? Please. Tell me. How do I learn to trust?
1) If you are mean to us, your penis size may just happened find its way onto the Internet
2) Your mistakes are expressed and discussed in real-time not only with friends and family, but potentially every online human being in the world
3) Our make-outs, breakups, and make-ups—with other dudes—are described in unnerving detail
4) People you don’t know will comment on any reason you’re a “douche canoe” or “motherfucker”
5) You cannot send an email post breakup without being quoted
6) Our fights are archived and relived indefinitely
7) Men all over the Internet are secretly pining for us