What is Love?

August 3, 2016

This speech is seriously so mind-blowing and the greatest truth I’ve heard in a long time.

Marriage some days feel like a hard, hard struggle.  And there is no where to run.  We committed to this for life.  And that’s it.

So we need to make it work somehow, in some way–whether we like it or not.  That’s how I see it.  There is no option–only learning to be done and compromises to be made.

I think the hardest part for me is this: it is so scary being with someone who holds your heart and soul in their palm…someone who knows the inner pieces of your life so intimately and whom will only continue to do so more over time.

I’m finding myself resisting being known.  I see my flaws and I don’t want him to know it any better than he already does.  I don’t trust that he will hold the vulnerable pieces of my inner being gently and lovingly.  I know in a way that this is normal, but I have always been so self protective that I have so many urges to fight in order to continue growing closer.

I feel stuck in my own inner workings.  Does that make sense?  I feel lonely and yet sometimes I want to be alone so that I can be myself without being watched, evaluated, judged.

If I keep typing, I will find some sort of peace.  That’s what I tell students.  That’s what they practice.  Just write.  Just be with the discomfort.  Watch it.  Feel it.  Maybe even embrace it.

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On togetherness.

July 9, 2016

When I created this blog, I intended to close it when I became attached–like, seriously attached, in a “long term” relationship–a steady and stable long-term relationship.

Well, here I am.  Married.  To VF.  For over a month now.

I feel both afraid and hesitant to shut down this site though.  I think it’s because I don’t feel like days “on my own” are over yet…especially with his ongoing clerkship year and his upcoming fourth year of rural rotations, possibly in (very) very remote far-away places. Add to this–who knows where residency will take him.

Or perhaps “on my own” days will never come to an end.  Perhaps it never does for anyone.  I don’t mean in an existential crisis kind of way; rather, I mean, maybe states of isolation/solitude go hand-in-hand with periods of togetherness.  I think Rilke got it right:

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“I hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other” – Rainer Maria Rilke

It is, in part, because of this, that I think I will always feel the need to keep a part of myself “on my own”.  I will always want to claim some Friday nights home by myself while he is out with friends; I will sometimes prefer to skip boat rides to cook at home in the kitchen uninterrupted and unaccompanied, just as I did this afternoon.  I don’t feel that I am doing life on my own all the time, and sometimes when I do I resent it; however, I do value aspects of aloneness and I reckon it is important–for both V and myself, that parts of ourselves still have freedom to come and go, fluidly, lovingly, always.

“The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvellous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

Here I am again.

November 30, 2015

I write when times are challenging, when my resources are stretched, my mind feels chaotic and my heart is heavy.

The time is now.

I know V loves me very much and I know our relationship is very important to him.  I know right now he’s feeling unhappy and stressed out about the money he’s spent and the amount of studying he has left to do in the month ahead; and I know, above all, that it’s really easy to associate me with both the money and the time that’s lost.  I am, after all, a part of almost every experience and I have come to accept that these experiences, to him, can be wholly incredible or wholly regrettable depending on the perspective he chooses to take on any given day.

I remember when this happened in the past, as it has surely happened time and again, I would feel personally insulted and extremely hurt that he would see me as such a costly factor in his life, as if I contributed no value.  I would feel so sad–and so resentful– that he would undermine all the positive contributions I was sure I made–tangibly, emotionally, and in services.  I won’t lie, of course, I still feel somewhat insulted, hurt, and sad when this occurs.  I still feel anxious thinking about how this period will affect our relationship.

But at the same time, a wiser part of me knows that I need to have faith in what we’ve built.  I need to trust that he will work through the darker emotions himself, without my coaxing, in order to come back to me–to us.  And I need to be strong, be still as a rock and graceful as a dove.  Find the peace that’s somewhere in the deep recesses of my heart and hold on to it, nourish it, help it grow.

Don’t be bitter, D.  Don’t answer pain with anger.  Don’t run for shelter. Do not be shaken.  This is precisely when love must push through.

I don’t remember the last time I have felt so deeply in love and so overcome with so much sadness all at once.  These feelings have been reminding me of this video I watched back in Nov 2013, which captures the idea of both ecstasy and tragedy coexisting as they have appeared to be these last couple days.

(beautiful beautiful video, I love his passionate and animated style of speech)

“Perhaps that’s why when we’re in love we’re also kind of sad. There’s a sadness to the ecstasy. Beautiful things can sometimes make us a little sad, because what they hint at is the exception–a vision of something more, a vision of a hidden door, a rabbit hole to fall through, but a temporary one. I think ultimately that is kind of the tragedy; that is why love simultaneously fills us with melancholy. That’s why sometimes I feel nostalgic over something I haven’t lost yet because I see its transience. And so how does one respond to this? Do we love harder? Do we squeeze tighter? Or do we embrace the Buddhist creed of no attachment? Do we pretend not to care, that everything and everyone is going to be taken away from us? I don’t know if I can accept that. I think I more side with the Dylan Thomas quote that says ‘I will not go quietly into that good night but instead rage against the dying of the light’. I think that we defy entropy and impermanence with our films and our poems. I think we hold onto each other a little harder and say I will not let go. I do not accept the ephemeral nature of this moment. I’m going to extend it forever. Or at least I am going to try. “

So much internal chaos and conflicting feelings have occurred for me since he got accepted.  Almost immediately when he told me, I became so highly aware that everything we’ve built could all be rapidly fleeting, that these could possibly be some of our last days together.  In fact, the first night I found out, almost instantaneously my less-than conscious mind began to mourn the relationship, as if it was over the moment the email was received and I could do nothing about it.  But over time through conversations with people around me, both close at heart and those hardly close at all, my defense mechanisms are calming and my nervous system is slowly easing out of ‘high alert’ to, fortunately, give way to some hope and faith again.

Of course, this hope and faith still fights with my fears and anxieties. But when the former trump the latter, there are moments I feel strong and steady enough to see this through and, at  my very best, even a little excited.  I am excited when I recognize that this may be the kind of love that actually withstands the storms and comes out shining–that, possibly, this could be the kind of love that gives and believes and continues to trust.  That, through it all, this love could be extraordinary. After all, isn’t that what I’ve always wanted? A love powerful enough to change the world? It must sound naive and foolish, but beneath my defenses, I do believe it exists and maybe this is the opportunity to embrace that.

Something new.

March 13, 2013

Every year around March 10, I am reminded that I began my journey into singlehood on this date, on this blog.

I am reminded that every year I set out with a somewhat different intention, and that on March 10 2012, my intention was to spend the year by myself, loving myself and making myself happy.

I did successfully spend September to December of 2012 alone, primarily because I had my head buried in a textbook every day. While this was only 4 months, it was in actuality the longest time I had spent completely ‘single’ since I left my relationship with SC. I was not seeing anyone nor dating during this time. Surprisingly, I was generally content; I didn’t feel the dreaded sense of loneliness I feared. There were lonely days, but they were passing. And I didn’t feel “alone” altogether. I had close friends to support me, and many goals and ambitions to keep my mind preoccupied everyday–particularly staying fit, completing PSYC 370, and applying to grad school. Somehow, through keeping busy doing the things I cared about, my self-love grew, and I learned many ways to make myself happy–ways to sooth, comfort, and lift my own spirits. Running. Writing. Aromatherapy. And candles, for example.  It was really a worthwhile experience. Maybe I should have or could have tried to extend this period of time.

But. I met someone at the end of December. And despite some ups and downs thus far, it’s been mostly ups. And I am hopeful.

So, this March 10th, regardless of where the relationship goes, I want to learn to love someone.

Here’s to something new.

It’s been about 20 days since and I have to say… asking MSM for space was probably one of the best things I have done for myself in a long time.

Christmas and NYE very distinctively remind me of all the hours and days I spent completely miserable last year during the Holidays, because of something he did or did not do. And now, knowing I (finally) decided to cut him out (even if only because he fell in love with another girl) feels extremely liberating.

I know now, more than ever, I don’t need him. And I don’t miss him. In fact I am strangely eager to put that chapter of my life to rest, once and for all.

But – I write this because I am worried that my position will be swayed when we have class together in January.  Somehow I feel a diminished sense of control and rationality when he talks to me.  I don’t know exactly why this happens, but I fear he will try to get close to me again.

That he messaged me on Boxing Day and tried to interact on Facebook the day after suggests to me he thinks we will be friends again.

We won’t. I don’t want him in  my life anymore. 

the end, the end again.

December 10, 2012


And God knows I’m not dying but I breathe now
And God knows it’s the only way to heal now
With all the blood I lost with you
It drowns the love I thought I knew

The lost dreams are buried in my sleep for him
And this was the ecstacy of a love forgotten
And I’m thrown in the gunfire of empty bullets
And my blood is all I see
As you steal my soul from me

– Ellie Goulding, My Blood

I told MM I needed a breather from him today–that I could no longer be his friend, sleep with him, and listen to his forbidden love for Miss-Toronto all at once anymore. It broke my heart on Thursday when he told me about falling in love at first sight with her, and that he was ready to move across the country for her after only four days of knowing her. I know he hasn’t been mine for awhile now, but I was hoping against all reason that if he were ever ready to commit to anyone again, it would be with me–you know, since I’m the girl who comforts him when he’s down, since he showers me with care&affection all the time, and since we still have so many intimate moments together (moments I guess I misconstrued as meaningful ones). Of course, now I realize all of this is empty. I know I have been in denial this whole time and have been pretending to myself and to him that I am as detached and nonchalant about our arrangement as anyone ever could be, but who was I trying to kid?? Over the last 3 months somehow I got attached and sentimental again. He didn’t make it easy for me to be anything but, even when I tried to fight it…especially when I tried to fight it.

I know him and I (like VF and I) have said goodbye many times before, but this time I think I have truly truly had enough. It’s the proverbial white flag….. I surrender. Watching him fall so hard so fast for another girl is the final nail in the coffin. I am coming to realize I never wanted strictly a friendship with him and now I am absolutely certain that that is all him and I will ever be, no matter how things unfold with him and Miss-Toronto. And basically, well, I don’t need that.

When I watched Life of Pi with him 4 days ago, it reminded us that life is about letting go, and saying goodbye is important in these moments. So, MM and I have said goodbye again, and now it’s time I let go.

Stood in the rain and watched you go
I feel a lump in my throat
And this is far from joy

I never seemed to learn
That high makes things harder
That high I get from you

I’ve figured out that joy is not in your arms
I know I’ll always ache with an empty heart
I think it’s time to run cause I’m seeing stars
I’m seeing stars watch me fall apart

– Ellie Goulding, Joy

Could it be?

October 7, 2012

I’m sitting on a couch at the Kensington Starbucks, reading my Personality Theories textbook, and it’s exceptionally sunny and warm outside on this October evening. There are so many other students around me, plugged in, reading, and sipping on their coffees. I had a conversation with EB on the telephone just an hour ago, and I told her this: I’m in such a good mood.

I feel light. I feel hopeful. I feel purposeful. I feel capable. I feel beautiful. I feel – happy.

I may have not done as well as I could have on the midterm a couple days ago. And it’s true that my plans for grad school were suddenly altered over night and deadlines pushed forward by a year. The pressure is on. My work is cut out; I have a lot to do by the end of the year. And much of it requires me to take chances, be bold, and really leap out of  my comfort zone–and leap far.  This is it; this is what my academic and professional accomplishments thus far will all come down to–whether or not I get into the Counselling Psych masters program I want.

Of course I’m anxious. But even more so, I am unexpectedly excited. by the challenge. and by the prospect of finally moving forward.

And to my great great surprise, I am actually very grateful that I have no entanglements to distract me right now.  The Universe is conspiring in my favor. It is! Somehow in the nick of time it not only gave me a big romantic rush to fuel me through the quieter study nights, but it took away that unnecessary piece of time consumption immediately afterwards, too. I truly believe RD served his purpose in my life, and right away, was taken away before I became too attached. On the Pont des Arts the morning of August 3 after RD broke up with me, I cried wondering why the Universe was being so cruel…why it would fly me to the City of Love only to slip Love away from underneath my nose. But 2 months later today, I truly believe this was not an act of Cruelty, but a kind, kind blessing. It was not a coincidence; the timing was too particular and spot on. It had to have been a sign from the Universe–that my journey was taking a turn for the better, and I didn’t need RD nor our dead-end relationship any longer.

The heart-wrenching pain I felt on that 9 hour flight back to Vancouver has been replaced with a sense of peace, awe, and gratitude. Everything has turned out for the better.

I know this now: I am going to be amazing these next few years!  No Man nor Relationship necessary.

I have a lot of support from my close friends and a lot of confidence and respect from my colleagues and bosses. I am surrounded by love, after all.

months too many.

May 16, 2012

Could this be the final straw?

It’s not that he’s never ignored my messages before; it’s not that he’s never taken over a day to respond.

But this time was different; this was me asking if he was okay, and him choosing not to let me know one way or another. I explicitly expressed concern for him, and he didn’t acknowledge nor appreciate it. Not to mention this is following a week of his dismissiveness already. I think I’ve had enough. I think I now realize nothing of quality can come from this–neither love (even if not romantic) nor friendship…in fact, not so much even good conversation anymore.

Acceptance has been creeping up on me slowly. I hope this is it.

I hope the hurt and hate resulting from his lack of response last night can carry me over long enough for me to stay the f*** away from him.

I admit…as much as I was eager to make the 4-day trip to Portland, Oregon over the weekend to attend the Education Fairs and NACADA conference, I had a lot of worries and anxieties leading up to my departure last Saturday. That I would get lost driving there, that I’d feel lonely without data/wifi on the road, that I’d feel like a fraud at the conference, that I would be either super bored or super stressed/sleepy, and that I wouldn’t be able to answer many of the questions students/parents had re: International Admissions at the fairs. And while some of these things did end up happening (I did get a little lost, parts of the fairs were extremely boring, I missed wifi in Seattle, and there were some questions I couldn’t answer), for the most part, I was intrigued, inspired, and comfortable. And the fact I made it through the tougher parts (like getting lost in Seattle) only helps to build confidence that truly, I am okay –  I don’t need to be scared.

This is what growing up is about right? Expanding our comfort zones.

I also loved my stroll to Powell’s City of Books on Sunday night, the three hours I spent eagerly flipping through pages and quietly sipping chai latte there, and then the walk back to the hotel after. I enjoyed my own company, the company of great literature, and that of my ipod as I explored some of the streets and sights of downtown Portland. To be very honest, these are moments I have always imagined having in my life–a mix of freedom, autonomy, and wonder. These are moments I pictured when I told SC I wanted to be single.

And then there was Rose’s company, a colleague both distant enough not to threaten my sense of independence and close enough to lessen my sense of isolation while away from home. She was a blessing.

I guess what I’m really meaning to make a note of through writing this is simply: I managed. And overall it was a positive experience.

(And I even came home to RL’s company, which, surprisingly enough was quite the comfort despite my awareness of both of our selfishness, but that’s another story…)