love

It's not all rainbows and candy floss farts

I've been one of those relationship people. I always have been. It is what it is. I am a relationship person. I have managed in the last fourteen years, to be in a relationship for thirteen of those (with two people) I have looked back in time and sometimes wished I had had more 'me' time. I have looked back and thought, 'Ooo maybe more first dates would be fun?' Although, you've had a few first dates and they were all a bit, well, awkward. Yes, but you haven't, as a single friend likes to remind me, had 'Bridget Jones' moments, singing 'All by myself with a bottle of wine, in your flat, alone, with the cat licking your fa.......... ce. FACE!!. Apparently you do not know your full strength until this has happened. As someone who has been a serial girlfriend, you are sometimes made to feel slightly less, normal? I admit I feel hard done by that I haven't had those moments (yet). Those moments shape you. They are those movie moments that you tell your grandkids about and you look back on fondly, wisely, knowingly 'I remember when I faced all that loneliness, sadness, emptiness and I got through it. I now know myself. You can't know yourself until you have had to sit with yourself and your sorrow and your cat. I am grateful for those moments' and somehow you do get left feeling slightly worried. Can I be alone? Could I get through A Bridget Jones moment, and does that mean I am not as well rounded as someone who might have been? But then you remember you have been through your own journey and you have learnt about yourself and it's OK. I have had plenty of those 'moments' singing to myself loudly in front of the mirror watching my face crumble and contort whilst Evanescence 'My Immortal' played on repeat.  

  

I always thought, in all my relationship years that, I wouldn't get cheated on. Not because I'm so bloody marvelous, but because I was sure as hell sure I would know. I would sense it, work it out. When I would figure out such betrayal I would stick a cactus up said cheaters bottom. The other thing I was sure of, was the more grilling (nagging) and mentioning of said cactus if they ever did cheat, meant that my partner/boyfriend/meant to be soul mate, would not dare do something so absurd as to act so disrespectfully. 

 

In hindsight, I spent years choosing people I would feel 'safe' with. People I would be sure were 'non cheaters' People I assumed would never hurt me, but I was still always prepared for war. Dressed in my armor of cynicism. Well, it was never going to work anyway was it? Relationships don't last forever. People lie. Break up. In the end, you break up. Breaking up was the easy bit. People fall out of love.  All of the time. People grow up. People change. People move on... and as it turns out, people cheat. You think how awful a person you could be to be so purposefully hurt. How little you meant to have such a disrespectful action go on behind your back, how worthless you really must have been, how shitty a girlfriend you were... and on the flip side, the feelings of self righteousness.  How dare he. How dare you get cheated on, I 'deserve' better.  What a little cock bucket to take such an advantage. You lose sleep over both sides of the fence. Your torn between feeling worthless and worth too much.  

 

But you don't split up because you didn't want to talk about football and he didn't want to talk about the universe or better yet KUWTK, he doesn't cheat because you don't play computer games in your underwear. We had no idea how to love one another. We both needed so much from one another. We were co dependent. Needing the other to make the other feel better, feel loved, feel nurtured, feel attended to, feel whole. In the end neither of us were willing to bare our souls to one another out of spite, fear, resentment. How could I show love to someone who by my standards didn't love me enough. Perhaps we misconstrue what love really is. What it means to love someone. Maybe we confuse need for want and want for lust and lust for love. We have this huge innate habit to belong, needing to belong, to feel wanted. Needing to need someone. None of that is love. In turn I wasn't the girlfriend I wanted to be, thought I had to be, and he wasn't the boyfriend I had hoped I would fall in love with enough to feel OK that I wasn't that girlfriend. I was always pushing and fighting for more. More love and respect. Creating more subconscious tests for them to pass. More barriers for them to get over. Prove how much you love me and show me my worth. Prove how much you need me and make me feel whole. I was always concerned about who he was, how he treated me, what love he was giving me, and never much concerned with what love I gave him or perhaps what we could cultivate together.
 

  "In desperate love, we always invest the characters of our partners, demanding they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform the role we created in the first place"-Eat Pray Love 
 

 In all the things that can play with your head, with your insecurities, your ego, of all the things to eat you up and make you second guess your own self, your values, your trust, your love... It would be betrayal.  The biggest question I found myself asking was, what if it happens again? Will I be hurt again? How can I protect myself from it happening again? How do you get over being betrayed? How do you not retort to blame. Blaming him, blaming yourself, blaming the circumstances. How do you trust someone again? Will you ever feel 'safe' letting someone in again, showing them your most vulnerable self? Could you stand there naked, bare your soul, reveal your deepest darkest secrets, share your ugly thoughts, all sides of you, from top to bottom from inside to out? Will you be able to give someone else all of you and trust that he won't break you into a thousand little pieces. Can you find someone who will be kind to you and you to them? Can you bare to let someone in. And close your eyes and hope for the best? 
 

Eventually, the pieces you thought were broken, don't seem as shattered as they had done. Some switch, a light bulb goes on. Every test that has been thrown your way, you decide you don't want to participate in any more. Every sad song that you sing along to in the montagesoundtrack to the scene where you find out you were cheated on, those memories of the last time things were good. And it dawns on you. as you wipe the massive trail of snot from your face with your onsie sleeve (or your cat does the job for you) You're too young to talk it through, work it out. Too uninterested, exhausted, bored to try to make it work. There are seven billion people in the world. You are too curious to fight for something that your instinct tells you is not good for you...   

 

"Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” -Brene Brown 

 

In all the things you could have asked what I was looking for in a boy (I can't say man it sounds creepy) I never knew how important it was to find someone who was willing to dance naked with you for no good reason. The fear of screaming from the rooftops and being unheard or taken advantage of is suffocating. It's scary. After standing on guard in all my armour for years, you hope to find someone to help you out of it. Someone to hold your hand whilst you fill the void yourself. Someone that says 'Me too, I'm scared too.' Someone that isn't putting on armour himself ready for battle. Someone that's wants to jump in head first and take the risk because its actually easier, more fun, to jump in than to stand on the side of the pool in a wetsuit wondering if you can handle how cold or deep it might be.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves-Brene Brown

In no way do I know what love is as such, nor do I know how to be loved. I am definitely not down with 'How to's' It's just from my perspective the only way to be happy is to express joy/love. I can't be happy only receiving love. It's nice, it feels nice, but I'm not sure it brings an overwhelming sense of joy consistently. There is often shame in expressing love. No one wants a self righteous show of PDA all over the internet. I rejoice in the fact that love is not always rainbows and candy floss farts. There can be throwing bacon and squirting washing up liquid everywhere when arguing about the washing up/hovering behind the door/throwing Tupperware lids. There will be nights someone sleeps on the sofa, or tells you your a fuck wit. If we can just, through all of that, trust that we still love each other. That these things aren't personal, that we can still grow and nurture a connection. How did I expect anyone else to express love towards me when I wasn't showing love to myself. You cannot guarantee that the person you love won't stop loving you, that they won't hurt you, cheat on you, leave you. You cannot guarantee that you will not do the same to them. But I still want to be enthusiastic and gleefully optimistic anyway,  because it's boring otherwise. All I hope is that we keep choosing to be kind to each other. That something in us runs deeper, and we chose to be open, vulnerable, honest and embrace each other. Armour off. Naked. Dancing in the lounge at 3am.

 

"People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. a true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake"-Eat Pray Love

 

Being vulnerable...

In class the other day, we were asked to work on 'vulnerability' ahhhhh vulnerability, fabulous. *insert straight face emoticon here.

I began to fret, my palms went clammy, my armpits started sweating profusely and as I watched other people in class go up, and 'be vulnerable' I panicked. I had no heart. I was emotionless. No tears came, I just sat and watched, numb and empty. My brain fogged over. Who could I sit and talk to and be honest with and what could I get vulnerable about? Because that was all he was asking us to do. Substitute a person from class, for someone you want to talk to and be honest with, and let yourself get vulnerable.

OK so here is the deal... In 'real life' 'real time' I get vulnerable over a jelly bean, I can cry because the guy serving me coffee was mean, or because my pink socks turned my grey undies even greyer. I cry when my boyfriend eats the last of my crisps or when there is a dog that looks sad sitting outside of the super market... and I was under the impression I couldn't substitute one of the class members for a dog. I'm emotional, I am vulnerable. I wear my heart on my sleeve and feel fragile at the best of times. What was even more frustrating was I am hormonal (its that time of the month) yet I couldn't shed a sad tear or connect with what people were saying. Because my brain was to busy going 1000 miles per hour dealing with all my thoughts.

I sat for at least two hours wondering who I could talk to... My Dad? Daddy issues? Nope that didn't feel right, I couldn't connect with that. My ex who cheated on me? Nope, Over it. My mum, talk to my mum about my worry and concern for her happiness? That felt better, that felt right, but going over the things I would say just didn't make me feel sad. There was concern, and of course some vulnerability, but it was like I was made of led.

I know what makes me sad deep deep down. I know what frustrates me, upsets me and what makes me feel screaming and throwing a tantrum.

Myself. 

I couldn't possibly talk to myself could I? Wouldnt everyone think I was narcissistic? What was crazy was, I was sitting there feeling everything the teacher was asking us to feel. I had felt vulnerable from the second I had walked into class. Vulnerability runs through my veins. What stops it from pouring all over the floor, what holds the vulnerability in? For me, I guess it is trust, or lack of. With my mum or my closest friends I feel no ways about saying 'I feel lost' or 'I feel dislikeable' I delve into those feelings head first and verbally projectile vomit them all over the place. But to admit to a room full or pears, people who you think, want you to be confident and self assured. People who you are sure will judge you for your needyness to be liked, or to impress. Because we all know its not cool to care if people like you right? We are meant to be these humans with assurance up to our eyeballs. (not too much or that is threatening) but just enough for people to 'not' think that you NEED friends or NEED to be accepted. Needyness is repelling. I know this. I feel it, breathe it and lecture that shiz all day everyday... but deep down, all I kept thinking through the whole of class is...

'I hope these people don't think I am pretentious' 'I hope they don't think I am boring' 'I hope they don't judge me and want me to fail' 'I hope they don't sit there praying they don't get put in my group' 'I hope they think I deserve to be there as much as them'

and whilst I am sitting there feeling vulnerable, trying to somehow find vulnerability and not knowing where to look, I am torn between who I am and who I want to be, against who I am not, and who I want people to think I am... and in all of that I know this is all insanity.

I have read many a self help book. I get what they say about, being in the moment, being present, not needing peoples validation. I hear Echart Tolle and Marianne Williamson loud and clear. I preach this stuff all day long. Because I know its true. I know the essence of who I am, and being 'me' is all I can be. The answer is truly in being comfortable with who you are, and deep down, I believe that accepting who I am, and being OK with that, is what people will ultimately like. I like people who are open and real. Its people that do the most covering up that I cant hack, despite having compassion and knowing where the ego crap comes from, because I have those insecurities too.

I came out to LA feeling rather confident in who I am. I have done a lot of soul searching over the last few years. I know peoples validation means nothing, I know that I don't need anyone's approval, I know that not everyone will like me, and often I know that will be because of an insecurity in them and not a default in me. I know that when I don't like someone it is usually best to look at myself and see what it is in me that I see in them. I know that only the universe (substitute with God or Love or another universal word for something so great you cannot define) knows the truth. And at the end of the day that is all that matters. I know that not everyone will think I am a good actress, or that I am funny, or interesting and that it is all subjective and as I approach thirty I felt like I was finally coming to terms with that...

Then you get on a plane and fly for 11 hours, move into a place with strangers, spend time with a best friend completely out of context to your relationship and are thrown by how different you actually are, and with those differences come uncertainty, you get given a manual car (when you wanted an automatic) drive for hours on the other side of the road, have you Sat Nav break and your phone die, you get lost and you join a class of strangers who all seem so intimidatingly good, and close and like family and you join the group and you go on stage and you cant seem to show case your personality because you have your guard up, a sensor on.

Dont show them who you really are in case they dont like that version.

instead you show them a mediocre, safe version of yourself and you step off stage and kick yourself as you go through all the things you could have said, should have said and you pray that next time you go up you will be 'you' and all of that soul searching and all of those books full of wisdom disappear and you become that effing 14 year old again.

You sit between this conundrum of knowing what makes sense, knowing who you are, being proud of who you have grown up to be. Your happy as larry at the self discovery and the courage you have had to come out and try new things. You are ecstatic to be included in such a group of talent and proud to be involved...

Against the extremity of feeling increasingly not good enough to be in class, to be in LA, to be chasing such a career. And then the knowing that all of that fear is just my Ego playing games with me. My Ego trying to make me believe those thoughts. Because I know I am enough. Wholeheartedly. Brene Brown would say. The aim is to lie in bed and say 

yes I am imperfect and afraid, but that doesn't change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging. 

So how do you fight these demons? The ones that eat you up and make you think your crazy. The ones that make you talk way too much, divulge too much or say nothing at all, sit there quietly just smiling at everyone. The ones that make you ingratiate and eager to please or the ones that make you act all care free and nonchalant. The ones that make you stay seated and not to go up and perform 'vulnerability'

The only answer I think I have discovered is to be aware of those dark places and you call them out, you diminish the very thing your scared of. How can your Ego win if you accept it. What power does it have if you see it and you do your thing anyway?

All that kept me from going up was the voices that said, 'your not emotional enough, your not connected enough, your not free enough, your not nice enough, your not trained enough or smart enough or honest enough. Your not enough. And all I was asked to do was go up and share that. Share what I felt I was lacking. Love for myself. As our teacher said, all vulnerability is, is Love. It stems from love. And ultimately my biggest fear was that I didn't love myself enough to bare my soul to an audience of strangers who had bared their soul to me.

So next weeks class is going to be the time I don't let my Ego get the better of me. The time I stop worrying about what other people think and trusting that just being open and honest is good enough.

Brene Brown says to

Dare greatly

... and that is what I shall do. Eeeeeek!

Before I die...

We don't have many words to say about this... but we walked past this wall on union street London and fell in love. It is such a good idea. They left chalk for people to add whatever they want.

Here's what we want to do...

Eat until our belly hurts

Laugh until our belly hurts

And spend time with people we love (not until our belly hurts)