Why do we tie our worth to our romantic relationships?
We feel on top of the world when we're with someone... like all of our insecurities slowly melt away. The person we love more than anyone else in the world, thinks our imperfections make us perfect for them.
And so, when they leave... especially when they leave for someone else, we begin questioning our worth.
The absurdity of it is so easy to see from the outside, and yet, even I am only just emerging from the fog of lies that fills your head and heart space when a breakup puts your emotions on life support.
The irony is that the person you fall in love with is seeing what your family and your friends have all been seeing. This is old news to everyone else. So, maybe it's that we have someone hold up a mirror and point out all of the beautiful things about us (inside and out) and they celebrate those things out of an adoration. Maybe they're incredibly good at doing this... or maybe you've had the situation where your partner takes that mirror and uses it as a manipulation tool and they only remind you of the truth about yourself when they want something. Maybe the person you loved turned out to be someone else entirely, and so you assume they were lying about your worth, as well. Maybe no one has ever held up this proverbial mirror, and when it happens, it's as though you're seeing yourself through the eyes of love for the first time. If they leave, it so often feels like they obliterate the mirror and confirm all of our fears about our inadequacy and leave us wondering if our magnificence ever existed in the first place.
I remember, not so long ago, walking into the bathroom each morning, looking at myself in the mirror...day after day... searching for a moment, finding myself still looking back... and I was so ashamed of the flaws screaming at me that I would burst into tears.
I found myself wishing my hair wasn't curly anymore...
wishing I'd color it...
wishing I was skinny...
wishing I was shorter...
wishing I had an entirely different bone structure...
wishing my skin was pale...
and that I had a penchant for covering myself in tattoos...
essentially I was wishing I was some sort of suicide girl pinup.
I wished I was a bit more feisty and mouthy and a bit more liberal and maybe had some relaxed morals... on and on the ridiculous but very real rabbit trail went, until I realized, I was wishing to disappear. I wished I wasn't myself. I wanted so badly to be perfect for the person that I still loved, that I would make myself disappear, if it would make him love me.
[ n e w - k i n d - o f - l o w ]
What is actually happening is a bit more like this:
It's a Night at the Museum, and Leonardo Da Vinci's "Head of a Young Woman" comes to life like an animated pixar character. She looks up and begins weeping and thrashing about, spitting on the mirror hanging opposite her because she's disgusted with her image. She begins shouting abuse at herself and telling her masterful creator (who's statue is also alive in this moment) that his work is sub par and that he has definitely made many terrible mistakes which she painstakingly lists in alphabetical order.
Finally, she explains that she should look more like Mona Lisa.
And as absurd as it sounds, it happens so often.
I don't know the answer.
I just wish we knew our worth, and didn't forget it so easily.
I wish we loved ourselves better.
I wish we loved each other better.
I wish we were more purposeful about how we navigate relationships.
I wish I had an answer.
But, if you are in that place... stop. Don't wait until you feel like it, just stop wailing on yourself. Stop abusing yourself. Stop repeating these negative things over and over. Get reacquainted with you. Whatever that looks like. Start writing down things you love and things that make you smile. Spend time with people who will remind you of who you are. Put on music that YOU found that reminds you of whatever it is you're passionate about or your favorite place in the world. Watch a film that always makes you smile, and ask why. Read a book that you loved as a child. Remember what makes your heart beat... your dreams... your goals.
Take off your masks and armor and get to know yourself again. Then revel in who that person is. Not in a weird narcissistic way, but "treat yoself!"
That person is pretty wonderful, to say the least. It may not happen overnight. It most probably won't. But get to know yourself again, and realize it's a really complex individual but it's a masterpiece.
And it will get better.
Saturday, June 20, 2015
I’m going to remind you that this is all far fetched. Gloriously far fetched, but fetching. I could be next in line - next in the queue. All of these familiar feelings and unfamiliar ways...
But I like it very much. So, for now... for today... until whenever it’s without question.
If ever… I mean…
I’ll keep it in my pocket like a lucky stone.
Anyway, there are these moments where I can just float along and forget.
I hope and pray and dream and I can just be.
Even, this afternoon just as the storm came, I was drifting.
And then, out of thin air, curiosity slinks round my thoughts like a sneaky house cat, and all that was stilled, began moving. Later on, when I'm good and vexed and moody, there will be a sound when i least expect it. A feeling, a reminder like a gentle breeze whispering over your skin setting the butterflies alight... and I’m gone again. Just gone and set adrift. Just like that, I'm all at sea.
And so, let me remind you that I know that it’s all a bit far fetched
Except that it isn’t.
I feel it breathing
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
We were on the patio that warm night
I can still smell it
The rich foods fading as the kitchen closed down for the night
The temperature falling, but not too much…
Spring was giving way to summer
I was glowing
Much like the red awning with all of the lights beneath
I was in love.
Something came alive in me
The stars had “aligned”
It was my turn
The sketches of dreams now filled in
I could see him
My gorgeous man
And I gave him that room
That grace to become
And I bloomed in the reciprocity
I was his.
It was beautiful and I glowed in it.
I never was moved by southern city names,
But it was all made right in Memphis.
Though it all began much earlier for me.
That night, I was floating.
I felt like I’d won the lottery of love.
The dreamy boy in school picked me!
That night, she approached me… meeting my smile
Happy for me, and I was surprised.
I knew we got along, but didn’t realize I meant much to her
It’s a sentiment echoed throughout much of my life, if I’m honest
But that’s another story for another time.
I was waiting with friends for him to clock out…
And she walked over to me as I sat at that black high patio table
I remember the grates and the feel of the chair beneath me
I remember her heels as she moved closer to me
Such a beautiful lady, she was.
She spoke to me with an air of authority that stilled me
She said, “he better treat you like a queen, and don’t you dare ever settle for less”
I remember that I stopped breathing for a second.
Hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it?
You see it all so clearly…
Not how it felt, or the heaviness of the door, or how familiar the place had become
Not the table numbers or the drinks or the faces of regulars
Or the playlist on heavy rotation… what game was on
What time it was…
But every feeling filling in the details with color
And the fact that I still saw myself as a girl of the cinders
Waiting to be discovered by a prince
Waiting to become a princess
When all the while I was a queen.
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Full of light and fury
Full of dark and hurry
Full of angst and worry
Anxious in a still still room
On a bed
Held only by walls I painted
Tucked in some lonesome corner of the county
Wrapped up in shrouds of beauty
Most of them would curse it
Most of them would lay down and die
The heavy weight of being cast off.
The moment you wake to realize you are no longer…
The love of anyone’s life.
The highest priority…
The deepest heartbeat
The most beautiful
The apple of their dark eyes
The motivating factor
The color in the sky…
The light… the light that makes them move…
You’ve been unraveled
And ushered by your lover into the very jaws of hell…
To drink the seas of loneliness down…
The pale ring on the finger of your left hand…
The diamond lost.
Now, wrapped up in excuses and justifications
And the passing off of blame
Heavy on your shoulders
Heavy on your head
Heavy on your furrowed brow
Heavy on your mind
Always on your mind
Silent and haunted.
A prayer ever on my lips…
And lost affection
And the red marks of lies like welts to the face.
And so in this brokenness… I wait.
Wait in the feeling
Wait in the knowing
Wait until I’m healed
Wait until I’m found
There are the blues.
There are the mean reds.
And then there is the madness.
You cannot choose it.
It’s like an illness of providence.
Not mad in the sense of being a harm to yourself or others…
Not mad in the sense of creating your own reality…
But mad in the sense of being able, or rather willing to sit in the ache.
To find words to explain the feelings.
The highest of the highs…
The lowest of despondent lows…
And giving meaning and depth… making a song out of the rhythm of the every day.
Because it isn’t always these tiresome waves…
Waves of jubilee.
Waves of sadness.
That word just seems so mild.
When what you mean is something so incredibly cold that it burns…
And bones ache
Delirious with the feeling.
Every breath is agony.
But there’s this mark that your eyes are fixed on…
This deep intent to survive it.
To be still in the chaos… not to be part of it, or to allow it to become you…
Not to overpower it with anger.
But breathe through it slowly like labor pains…
Trusting that there is something miraculous on the other side.
Trusting that you’ll be carried to the shore,
And find your feet again
And so you sing your way through it
You give the pain a sound
You harmonize with the wailing
To make some beauty of the dark.
Is my being thrown against the blackness of the sky
Being buried in the grief of midnight
And letting it crush me until I become a diamond
And my pain explodes into a hundred stars
To guide some weary eyes to a new dawn of hope.
It is hope singing in the middle of the night.
And so here I am.
It has eluded me.
I have run and run and run til I can run no more.
Put the day to bed…
And let me sing again.