Posts Tagged ‘reality’

h1

love me.

May 6, 2010

Yesterday we were doing a magazine CV collage with some special needs students visiting UWE, and the idea of this activity is for the kids to divide a sheet into Hobbies, Future, Skills/Interests and School, and then they have a big pile of magazines from which to cut out pictures and annotate each section, to draw up a picture of themselves.  It’s quite a basic activity but the students always enjoy it, and often end up just flicking through the magazines.  Each time we seem to have to edit the content (for example, the story “I was battered by a 12-inch dildo” isn’t quite appropriate!) – usually from women’s magazines, you girls are filthy!!! – but generally a lot of fun is had.  I had brought in some old copies of Vibe and Touch to contribute to the magazines the students used for collages, and I found one with a Mary J. Blige interview, which I couldn’t help but start rereading.

Apart from talking about the backstories to some of her earlier songs, and stating that people seemed to support her more when she was making sad, introspective songs struggling with love and life than her newer, more lyrically upbeat material, Mary talked about learning to accept love, finding romance and getting through years of emotional abuse.  This was the most interesting part of the interview for me, and resulted in me deciding to keep the magazine and take it back home (as well as listening to My Life again)!  I reflected on my own love life, and thought about a variety of my favourite celebrities: Mary, Mariah Carey, Usher, Janet Jackson, Rihanna (among others) have all stated that they never thought they would find love; that maybe love just wasn’t for them.  For a while, I was starting to feel the same way, and even though I am now in a relationship I still often wonder if I’m capable of really loving someone, giving myself to somebody.  I never had anybody who treated me so wonderfully and who seems to really care for me, and yet I find myself trying to sort out the fantasy from the reality: what is falling in love?  What does it feel like?  Will I know? Or is it more realistic to be with somebody who makes life that little bit better, but still have your independence and feel like an individual person.  What is love?  Is love the former, or does it fall somewhere in between? I just don’t know, and I guess that different people have different opinions on love (depending on their experience; some people really do know when they have found the one, others believe they have and then get it wrong, other people again seem to say that no lover is perfect but being with somebody who treats you well is the most important thing).  I just feel like I’m tiptoeing through a foggy minefield and at any moment it’s all going to blow up in my face.

I think part of my confusion stems from the fact that I am stubborn, feisty and fiercely independent.  Over the last few weeks, it’s come to the fore that I have real problems with letting other people care for me, look after me or even do things for me.  I don’t know how to explain it, but I feel like I’m grown up now and I shouldn’t need other people to do things for me; I relish my autonomy and I almost feel like that’s being threatened when a family member, friend or partner tries to help me with something.  I understand that part of being an adult is knowing when to ask for help, but I still don’t like doing it because I feel like I should be capable. In some implicit way, I guess that I might feel that allowing somebody to do something for me is both their suggestion and my subconscious confirmation that I am incapable.  I don’t like feeling like that, but I’m also aware that it’s a complex in my head that doesn’t really exist; people do things for one another out of kindness and friendship bonds.  It’s also hypocritical of me to feel like this, because I am always one of the first to be willing to help another person.  I get afraid when I feel like I might be being too clingy or relying on someone else too much, and I like to have my own space and freedom – I get very edgy and uncomfortable when I feel like my independence is being compromised – even if in reality this isn’t the case. So this is one complex I don’t get.

I then think that perhaps this is related to my upbringing.  My parents had a very stormy relationship, with lots of verbal, mental and emotional abuse thrown in all directions (including mine).  Though I very rarely witnessed physical violence, it’s still taken its toll and it will never be forgotten.  I realise at times that my upbringing has affected the way I see and do things, particularly in relationships and friendships.  I find it difficult to totally trust people, and although I’m initially usually very open with somebody, it doesn’t take long for my paranoia to creep in and wonder why people do what they do, why they might be nice to me or acting a certain way, assuming there’s an ulterior motive or hidden agenda, and usually blaming myself for these things.  Ironically, especially in the past I used to be scared of ending up alone, wondering why I couldn’t find happiness and almost acquiescing to the fact that I might end up this way – and I’m 24 years old!!! To be thinking like this is a bit crazy, really.  And now I am in a relationship with someone who treats me very well, I often get scared that I can’t return his affection enough, that I don’t deserve this, that somehow I’m going to mess it all up.  Why this self-sabotage?  Things are great, and I enjoy our relationship so much when we keep it light, have fun and just relax.  Again, we’re both young, this is normal and natural – and I do deserve this!  But I can’t stop my brain working and I can’t seem to patch over the vulnerability at the core of my heart that whispers these things to me.  I guess that my upbringing and the relationships that have surrounded me (not just my parents, but throughout both sides of my family) have scarred me more deeply than I’m often aware.

It’s ironic that I’m able to be so frank and openly vulnerable on this blog: although I appreciate that some of my readers don’t know me or have never met me, I also know that some of my readers are my friends whom I know personally.  It’s like being able to write on here is a conduit to my innermost feelings, and I can express myself so fully here that I am truly grateful that I started this blog nearly a year ago (which is insane, it’s flown by!).  But being so honest and open is a little strange when in real life I act so strong, so confident and secure. I have a lot to be secure about, it’s true – but on the inside I often get nervous, afraid, insecure and I can be so vulnerable.  I don’t know how to fix that.  Can I really love someone when I’m still learning and having issues with loving myself, essentially?  Why am I so hard on myself?  And why do I have issues with letting someone love me, care for me and be there for me?  I know I am a good person, I know I am a lucky person, and I know that I deserve love.  I work damn hard professionally, educationally and personally at being the best I can be – I have goals I’m constantly working towards.  I also know that I am human, and I accept the humanity and imperfections of others a lot more readily than my own.  It’s just with all these things swirling in my head, I get so insecure about love, both giving and receiving love and letting someone in.  I feel like at times I offer my vulnerability with one hand and then snatch it away with the other if somebody gets too close.  Why am I like this, and how do I get better?

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h1

holy matrimony.

August 16, 2009

Yesterday I had the privilege to attend the wedding of my friend Aiman to her boyfriend Phil.  They’d been dating for nearly 3 years, engaged for 8 months prior to yesterday’s wedding, and it seemed unreal to me that a girl I met 5 years ago who was so childlike and naive had grown into a young woman who is embarking on married life.  I know that a couple of my friends felt it was too young (Aiman is 24) to get married, and others really dislike her partner Phil for various reasons.  Myself, I feel that different things work for different people.  Phil is Aiman’s first boyfriend, and sometimes high-school sweethearts make it work, so I guess university sweethearts isn’t so far-fetched either.  And although I’ve heard various things about Phil’s temperament during the stormier parts of their relationship and their on-off periods, he’s always been perfectly nice to me and vaguely witty in conversation.  So I am happy for them both, and I sincerely hope that it all works out for them.

Sitting in the church with my friends (whom it was so good to see!), waiting for Aiman to enter and watching everyone else buzzing about, I actually felt nervous!  I mean, why? I didn’t think that Aiman was going to back out, and she wasn’t even late (uncharacteristic for her).  As I’ve explained, I was really happy for them to get married, and I guess there was only a tiny tiny part of me that thought that it may not have been the right decision, at least at this time – I suppose that’s normal, to be scared that something’s not going to work out, and to hope against hope that it does.  99% of me was genuinely happy sans reservations for them.  I guess that the nerves were from the fact that this was the first friend of mine who was taking the plunge into a new life with somebody, that she had grown up and changed so much, that it took a lot of bravery and courage to commit to such a life-changing decision.

Why is it life-changing? I started thinking about this logically – whether you’re in a church, a registry office, on a beach or in a football field – the venue may have different levels of solemnity (also depending on who marries you and whether they think they are a stand-up comic – the pastor was atrocious!  “the 6 most important words in any marriage: ‘I admit I made a mistake.'” What a thing to say at a WEDDING.  Come on now.) but the act is essentially the same: you’re declaring and committing your love for another.  If you both agree to get married, and you both are in love (which, ideally speaking, you should be!), then there’s nothing to be afraid of.  I think its the combination of the venue, having family and friends around you, and the gravitas that always comes with such an event; that gravitas is what, I suppose, made me feel nervous for a few minutes as the wedding was starting.

Would I like to get married?  I dreamed about getting engaged in sixth form (obviously that never happened, which was probably a good thing, in retrospect), thinking that it would have been cool and romantic.  The two people in my sixth form who did get both engaged and pregnant before finishing were a topic of debate, and not usually in a positive way – too young, too soon, too much etc. The dreams we have for ourselves, as soon as they turn into a reality for someone else, seem to suddenly acquire pitfalls, pros and cons, and more serious consideration than we originally had for them when they were just fantasies in our heads.  Something we imagine to be so positive suddenly becomes negative – are we hateful people who can’t be happy for another?  I don’t think so – like I said, I was genuinely so happy for my friends yesterday on their wedding day.  But for me to get married would be something entirely incomprehensible to the single, 23-yo me right now.  If it were to happen, I am sure I could make it work, but I don’t really feel in the right space or time for marriage right now.  I always imagined being single, but even if I ended up happily with somebody, I don’t think I would want to push for marriage immediately.  I want to enjoy single life, and I want to enjoy dating, and I want it to feel right in its own time.  And I am sure that yesterday, for Aiman and Phil, it felt right and that is the most important thing of all – in love, your hearts being in the right place goes a long way towards making everything work.