Friday, February 1, 2013

Defending Myself Against a Ghost

[Pandora goes random as I start the post: “The human heart is a scary part in fact. Cause I could break you and you could break me back.” (Nice song, though the rest is irrelevant.)]

I had a conversation last night stemming from some accidental dating that had occurred over the past few months. How does one “accidentally date” – honestly, I have no idea. It's winter and beds are cold? This is when regularly blogging comes in handy, instead of writing in retrospect.  But, oh well, here we are.

The bothersome bit of conversation was that he, essentially, told me to live like he lives: The life of your past is behind you, move forward and become a better person every day. Don't let it affect you now.

My response was: You must have had a good life.

At some point in time, telling a person that they've had a good life has apparently become an insult. I HAD NO IDEA. In my mind, a good life sounds like such a lovely thing. Kudos and optimism. No? We're not doing that now...great.

He added his “advice” which was, essentially: Believe that humans are innately good. Just trust them and if you get hurt, so what.

This immediately made me think back to what I had just said: You must have had a good life. 

Everything I can remember for a long, long time taught me to think the opposite way of that. Have I had a horrible life? No, absolutely not. Have I had a perfect life? No. Absolutely not. Can you take one person’s way of thinking and coping and moving on and trusting and apply to everyone. Fuck no.

And yet here's this person I barely know – and was coming to realize wasn't anything he’d pretended to be in the accidental months preceding – telling me that I just need to move on from my past: Don’t let the bad things bother you. But there is a big, big difference between things that happen around you and things that happen to you. And anyone close-minded enough to lend that kind of advice, to me, just must have had a good life where anything they had to deal with is easily left behind. No hard fought lessons; just lessons. So caught off-guard by this, I spent the time still attempting to defend my character and my own methods of self-preservation against someone who, essentially, knew nothing about me, but subjected me to the lessons of his life; a life I cannot relate to, as he cannot relate to mine.

"You don't even know me. You can't judge me," I said. (I don't like to be misunderstood or misjudged, if that hasn't been obvious up until now.)

And thus, attempting for anyone to understand my side, I started a conversation with PI earlier today, and, essentially, began to defend myself against a ghost. I guess I just wanted a friend to go: No, you’re not broken and you just keep on doing what you do. Whoever you are, I love you and you're perfect.

Instead, it went like: garble garble damn chat garble miscommunication I’m hurt, I’m confused garble garble and ending with garble I'm offended you said someone else had a good life because I suppose I have. Garble.

What?! Somehow a conversation that I had begun to discuss myself, turned into an attack on him - unbeknownst to me. As far as I knew, I was discussing my side of something that involved a third party he didn't even know. I had no idea how this got transposed onto him. I sat perplexed. Hurt...-er. Then I wondered: Is there ever a moment that we can put aside our own personal experience and just listen to perspective? I know we all have our own stories, but I feel like that unfiltered perspective would probably tell us more about other peoples' experiences than the telling of the experiences themselves.

My opinion or feelings towards another person’s experiences – especially ones I can’t relate to – have nothing to do with that person. Or their experience. It has everything to do with me. And mine. And how I function and process. Yes, I'm still learning. I admit it. For that curiosity and for who I was, am, and will become, I don’t want to be judged or made to feel like I am wrong. If I’m asking question, it’s because I don’t understand…and I want to. There are so many “normal” things that people take for granted that I have no idea about. Realistically, there is no normal, but sometimes I still feel like an outsider looking in; a child in the body of an adult; an alien in disguise figuring out how to fit in…sometimes failing at hiding the tentacles.

Ya. Aliens have tentacles. Haven't you seen Independence Day?

Even in my own family, at times, I feel as though I’m hiding in a shell spaceship of someone I’m not. My 2013 NYE was the worst of my life. In a tragic moment of sadness, with 90 minutes to the New Year, I wrote: In a house full of people, in a room with five, this is the loneliest meal of my life. Family is the saddest I find myself. I cried for nearly 11 hours that day, spanning into the new year. I hoped it was the last of sadness leaving me. I hoped for good things to come. I still do.

However, spending the ball drop crying alone with a friend (in my family's house and then in a car in a parking lot) who kept me from driving 220 miles in a snowstorm  through mountains – likely saving my life – challenges that hope. And it challenges the kind of progress forward that I've worked so hard for. The kind of progress that someone who says “leave it in the past” won’t ever understand: That is supposed to be my backbone when the world breaks me and I fall to pieces on the floor with a hood over my face hiding the tears that fall to my shoulder, not the part that breaks me for doing nothing wrong...or just not good enough.

It can be awful in a place where you hope for so much love.

The irony of it is that I find it hard now to realize that the only people that I could possibly talk to about experiences that haunt me are also the ones who can hurt me the most. By all accounts a functioning adult, I feel bullied in a suspended childhood. I try so hard – to be normal. To be loved. To be loving. And I feel punished for being something I was; for being a kid who had no way to cope or be heard but to speak cry out – because when everything around you is falling apart, how can you possibly develop the tools to learn how to pull yourself together? You can’t. And that affects you. Probably forever.

A “good” life is one you can walk away from and say, “It won’t affect me forever”. Then again, that’s just my opinion. Mine alone. And I think that opinions should be taken from heart for the person that says them and not towards the person they've opened up to. If what I say is bothersome, help me to understand. I shall do the same. Life isn't a competition - relationships aren't a what's-worse - but sometimes when you’re faced with the judgment and “advice” of others, it’s hard not to go: Okay, where have you been? Different places? Good, yours sounds easy. So glad you're perfect. Don’t tell me what I’m doing wrong; I’m doing the best I can.

Perhaps then, no matter what anyone else says, we have to believe we’re doing the best we can with what we’re given. I might not doing your version of right, but I’m doing it as right as I can with what I've got. I still fall down. And sometimes I’m a little broken. I've come far enough to know that I try to be better tomorrow than I am today. I don’t have to change who I trust, how I love, or when I self-preserve, because who I am is where I've been (motivational posters be damned) and there’s no changing that. I don’t think our opinions should ever become unsolicited advice; it hurts when you don't know what wound you're poking. Then again, that’s just the opinion of a wearily trusting, sometimes-broken, pig-tailed twenty-nine year old with take it for what you will.

Of this, I believe: There is peace in pieces. Broken isn't worthless; it's probably really wonderful. We all have our own stories and hurdles to overcome. In essence (puns!), we're all flowers: we just need time...and a little bit of water. And each flower comes with a different set of instructions; different elements to flourish. You know what, I can accept that. 

Analogy accepted. Advice denied.

[EDIT: 042313 -]