Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

This Too Shall Pass

February 3, 2008

Uhg!

What can I say, it’s been one of those days. And after I was just happily talking about the future of my happiness blog! It turns out, pinhole cameras are miserable to work with, especially if you start to worry you are messing it all up (and actually messing up some of it, forcing yourself to redo it). I sent a text to a friend describing myself as “sweaty, tired, pissy!”

It doesn’t help when half the world is holding hands (I imagine, saying “ha ha, look what we have that you don’t!”) and yet your roommate’s life is telling you that it doesn’t last.

Which brings us to the title. I was walking back from the art building grumbling to myself when I remembered that phrase and the story behind it (it makes the happy people sad, and the sad people happy). I said it aloud, thought of myself happier and everyone else sad, and I laughed out loud.

I can’t control being sweaty or tired, but I can not be pissy. It’s really not worth it.

Also, I knew walking back I had to watch this. Cheered me up. ^^ Later everyone.

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Knowing Who Your Friends Are

January 31, 2008

A while back, I saw this advice on a website somewhere. The site was talking about the general degradation of inter-personal relationships, and so started by posing this question, which is easy to answer but difficult to accept.

If you want to know how many friends you really have, answer this: If you had a picture of yourself doing something very wrong, both morally and legally (like bestiality) how many people could you trust it with? Those people are your real friends.

I believe the site went on to say that the average was about one or two, down from (presumably by a different measure) 6-10 something like a hundred years ago, and that many people have no one at all.

Something Simple Revisit

January 2, 2008

A little while back I posted a list of things I wanted from a college relationship, referring to it as something simple. Since then, I’ve mostly given up on getting it, but I still feel like it warrants a little further explanation.

The list was as follows:

  • No history
  • No families
  • Good chemistry
  • Compatible schedules
  • Comfortable feeling
  • The ability to be honest about it with the people around me

I thought at the time that it made a lot of sense, but since almost no one got what I was talking about (My mom took it as a holiday issue, which I can see) or else understood how to apply it (er, everyone who talked to me about it), I guess i need to flesh it out.

No History: I’m halfway through my second year of college; It has to be possible to find someone to talk to who didn’t go to high school with me. Really, though, this is a request for a stranger. I want to start making a new history with someone, not have our relationship bogged down by statements of the form “You’re great, but you dated x who was friends with y who cheated on z” etc. etc. Of course people will always have their history, but I’d like it to be one in which I am not mentioned. No history means something fresh.

No Families: Another one influenced by high school. I’ve had exactly one girlfriend since I learned to drive. Even ignoring having to ask parents for rides, so long as you live at home families are typically involved. This can be good or bad but it’s always complicated and typically deceitful. As a student at college, my family is far enough away that “meeting the parents” and “first date” shouldn’t be synonymous, and I’d hope for the same from her. No families means focusing on personal chemistry.

Good Chemistry: Isn’t this part of every good relationship? I would have thought so but it baffled a few people. I’m not looking for sex, sans emotion, so I better like the person, and hopefully they’d like me too. Good chemistry means, well, good chemistry.

Compatible Schedules: Honestly, until I posted the original list I figured this was the most difficult requirement. College often means hectic schedules and lots of homework. All I was hoping for was at least a rough compatibility. If I found someone I really liked, I wanted to be able to actually see them occasionally. I could accept some craziness and play things fast and loose timing wise, but never is not okay. Compatible schedules means time to decompress together.

Comfortable feeling: This ranks up with compatible schedules in terms of difficulty. To put it simply, I was until pretty recently in a really long relationship. There’s a comfort that comes from knowing you always have that person, that you can count on them, and just in general from being accustomed to their presence. I didn’t want to have to deal with a whole lot of uncertainty and game playing. Comfortable feeling means being able to let your guard down.

The ability to be honest about it with the people around me: I hesitated to add this to the list originally because I was worried people would take it the wrong way, but mostly they just didn’t get it. I’m going to now state a fact that everyone knows and no one wants to admit: teenagers lie about what they do outside the house and parents lie because often they don’t want to know. It’s not always a bad things; i think it’s possible to treat your children with maturity and have them respond by being responsible, all while keeping certain things secret. My point is, at college, this shouldn’t matter. The parents no longer know (or need to know) everything going on in your life on a day to day basis. Everyone in your life aught to be your same age, too, so no one should have any vested interest in what you do. Being honest means mature conversations with friends and maybe sexiling my room mate (sorry Keith!).

So there you have it. is it still that vague? People will probably still find holes in it, but I guess that doesn’t really matter anymore. I originally posted the list out of my new paper journal in a bout of frustration. Since then, I’ve resigned myself to, perhaps, having to accept life a little more complicated then I would like.

On The Difficulty of Human Relationships

November 10, 2007

When you think about it, it s pretty incredible that anyone ever finds someone they really love. it’s especially bad if you really believe in soul mates. I’m sure I sound mopey, but think about the odds.

To begin with, there are how many people of the opposite sex (well, the sex you like, anyway, excluding bisexuals, who I suppose have an advantage)? Three billion or so. That is a lot of people to choose from. I will grant you that most are too old or too young to even be considered, so lets say more like one billion. What a big pool to choose from.

Still, the real trouble isn’t that there are too many people, but too few, for precisely the reason that you don’t meet most of them. In fact, most people probably only ever meet the tiniest fraction of that number. Of those, how many are cut off from you by various social hurdles (some more legitimate then others): kinship, kinship of your friends, friend of an ex, on and on. Or else you meet, but are “at different points in your life.”

“Looking for different things.”

Maybe you aren’t even looking, although by now you should see how stupid that is. What if you just missed them!

Add on to this the difficulty of getting to people to agree on how to pass a Friday night, let alone an entire life together, and it seems like finding someone you love should be nearly impossible. Yet it happens all the time, every day.

So the question is, do we find the people we’re meant to, or do we create those people? Do we settle? We don’t want to think so, and yet it seems more likely. Whether or not that’s a good thing is hard to say. It wont ever appeal to the romantic, but at least it means we have a way to combat the odds.

Love And Indifference

November 1, 2007

I recently picked up a copy of Richard Bach’s The Messiah’s Handbook: Reminders for the Advanced Soul. The book, for those not familiar, was original in another one of his books. Given to messiahs for guidance, it is meant to be used when they face a difficult decision. With the problem in mind, it can be opened to any page and will dispense knowledge relevant to your current predicament. In truth (or, at least, the most I can say with certainty) it is a small compilation of generally good proverbs and phrases. My mom and I have both found it, lets just say, eerie in it’s accuracy. I pick the page (left or right) before opening it, and often the side I pick seems relevant while the other side seems pointless.

Anyhow.

Today, I was waiting for a few minutes before going in to work and opened the book, without any particular problem in mind, and it delivered a short message that shed a lot of light on a problem I have been pondering lately. A little background first, though.

A lot of people have noticed (and been confused by) my ability to simultaneously hold a somewhat low opinion of someone and still enjoy spending time with them. This shows up in a lot of ways. I can tell you why a person is annoying even if though I talk to them when we share a class. I don’t hold grudges easily. Worst (from some peoples’ perspective), I can know that someone hurt a close friend of mine, or even hurt me, and still be friends with them. To those people it bothers, it seems like I am oblivious to their faults, self destructive, or disloyal to my friends.

I don’t mean for it to sound like I feel superior to these people. I understand that trust is hard to win and easily lost. I think loyalty among friends is a wonderful thing, and as long as one isn’t petty or mean, severing ties to support a friend is not wrong. I am just explaining why my friends see me as different.

The phrase I pulled from the book today was this:

To love someone unconditionally
is not to care who they are or what they do

Unconditional love, on the surface,
looks the same as indifference.

Indifferent has to be the perfect word for how people perceive me. “How can you not care what so-and-so did? Doesn’t it bother you that they act like that?” Well, the answer is yes and no. I care and it bothers me, but not so much so that I feel like the person is completely intolerable. These people wont be my close friends, nor partners or loved ones, but does that mean I can’t chat with them if we share a class? I don’t think so. To put it in cost-benefit terms, so long as I keep in mind who they are I can use them without harming myself. Universal love might be too strong a word, but I certainly think everyone has some worth.

Now then, my small pitch for this philosophy. I have never had an enemy, rival, etc. I don’t think (I’m sure someone will correct me) that anyone has ever hated my guts. I’ve gotten a lot of happiness out of the relationships I kept when others would have left them. I feel like trusting people inherently has made enriched those relationships as well.

To be fair, I’ve nearly lost close friendships when I didn’t share their feelings. It’s arguable that I maintain a lot of shallow friendships (although, really, who doesn’t?) and, as far as I know, I might have just been lucky so far. Perhaps all my tolerance will catch up with me. Only time will tell.

For now, though, I will keep doing things my way. I don’t “forgive and forget,” but I don’t cut myself off either. For my friends who do, I wish them all the luck, and they know that they’ll always have a friend in me, too.

The Long Way Home

October 29, 2007

Trying to write this before Norah Jones’ “The Long Way Home” loops again on iTunes…

I have been thinking lately about relationships. In particular, because I am torn between wanting to avoid them (if for no other reason then the financial benefits… my goodness!), enjoying my freedom so to speak, and missing the regular intimacy that a long, stable relationship brings about. I keep wondering why it is that people get stuck right where I am, not happy being single (song just started over… switching singers) but unwilling to “get back in the game.” Alright, actually, less so “like me” and more “like in a sit-com.” You know the sort of situation I mean.

I think the problem is the intermediate period. Starting to date someone is exciting, but it is also hard, time consuming, and awkward. The thing a lot of people really want is the steady comfort of being with someone for a long time. So the conflict arises from wanting something that comes in the future without wanting to the intermediate step.

Alright, that probably sounds pretty obvious. I blame Aristotle, who relishes in taking forever to say something really obvious in the most obtuse language he can.

On an unrelated note, I am considering slightly altering a story idea I’ve been playing with, for it to include shinigami. Since someone complains when I use Wikipedia, you can Google it yourself. It’s Japanese. My particular idea is inspired by India, and that’s all I’m saying.

Ciao!

On Love Songs

October 14, 2007

There is little doubt that I am a perverse man at times. Those who know me well know I often respond to things in ways that are unusual. I think responding to the end of my first long relationship with curiosity counts, but oh well. I’m curious.

In particular, I’ve noticed something interesting about myself lately. After Moi and I broke up, I couldn’t listen to most romantic songs without it bothering me. Lately, though, I’ve noticed that I can again. They no longer remind me of the past, but give me hope for the future.

That has to be a good thing, right?  And pretty interesting too.

Low Tolerances

October 3, 2007

I’ve found – and if you’ve gone though something similar, please feel free to share – that since breaking up with Moi, a lot of things have changed, but none of them have been what I’ve expected. Or, I should say, which changes are significant has been surprising. The whole bit about helping her with man troubles, wherein the man is not me, is new, but not at all unexpected with our bizarre and rarely well understood relationship. It comes with the territory.

Rather, the things which have been really grating on my nerves are related to the breakup by, at best, two or three degrees of separation. For the most part, though, they follow an understandable pattern.

One is how often I am ahead on my homework. I know, I know, I shouldn’t complain, least of all while in the middle of a weeks worth of difficult assignments and big exams. Still, there is something strange about the sitting in my room on a Saturday night and having no work to do. I know I will have work by the same time Monday night, but for the moment, I am up to speed. Surprisingly, while this should inspire relaxation or pride, it just inspires boredom. I think I need a looming deadline for me to really be able to relax (read: forget about work for a while), whereas simply not having work feels like, well, waiting.

Moving on.

I find it frustrating talking to people for very long, because inevitably Moi, or girlfriends at large, or something with some distant relationship to Moi comes up, and I have to explain the situation. Even if that explanation is no longer then amending “My girlfriend always…” to make it “My ex-girlfriend always,” it interrupts my thoughts.That, though, is just a function of time. As time goes on, I’ll have more news to share with people that doesn’t involve her. So, onward.

A peculiar and very strong feeling I’ve had lately is being completely sick of pleasantries. I naturally have a lonerish slant, so I suppose I am disposed to resent those anyway, but goodness! I never realized how many people I was polite to. I’ll say this: I have no taste for families. Mine, yes, but anyone else’s, not with a ten foot pole. What pressure there is, to be wonderfully acceptable! I suppose that is always an issue.

I notice it a lot with friends, too, though. I haven’t lost my affinity for listening to my friends problems and given advice where I can, but I’ve noticed that I am more direct with them. Most often, I think, we subconsciously temper our speech to make them feel better. Instead, I feel like I have lately been quick to tell them the truth as I see it and if it hurts them… Well, I don’t know. Maybe they need to hear it. Maybe I just don’t have the patience to let them down slow. I do wonder, though, if they’ve noticed at all.

If other people’s relationships are frustrating, imagine how mine go. (Dangerous topic, I know. My loved ones will pry. Love you all!) For some reason the phrase girl drama has been prominent in my mind lately. I know, I know, I am asking for trouble writing that, but please believe me, I am not proposing any direct correlation. I only mean it in the sense of all the complicated things a heterosexual man such as myself must consider while in any sort of relationship with one of the fairer sex (yeah, that phrase is probably off limits too). There are a few people I’d really like to talk to, lay some things out, and ask some big questions. Fortunately, I have been able to have exactly these discussions with some of them. With others, well… I am not such a loner that I don’t know asking some questions at the wrong time can dictate the answer. For now, I’m doing my best to put those concerns out of mind.

Finally, I have a very low tolerance for myself right now. Why? Because I’m not tracking my spending this year! I’m not spending any time in New York, so it should be a piece of cake to save money. Yet I’m not. Where is it going? Not a clue! So I need to get back to that. Muy pronto.

I think that’s enough for now. More tomorrow!

A Bloodless Coup, Revisit

September 14, 2007

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Moi and I’s decision to end our romantic relationship. It has, not surprisingly, been on my mind a lot. I’ve talked to a lot of people about it. Till recently, I’ve told everyone that I am fine.

By and large, this is still true.

That being said, I was recently talking to a friend when I realized that, happy as I am that Moi and I were able to end our relationship peacefully, and happy as I am that we are still friends, I’ve still been hurt. Worse, I’ve been responding to it the wrong way.

I wrote a few days ago about a desire to change my hair.  In that post, I wrote that part of my reason for wanting to change my hair was to, in some sense, mark the end of one period and start another. Come to think of it, I’ve heard that Japanese girls often cut their hair when a relationship ends for the same reason (though, to be fair, I have only heard this referenced in anime, so I invite anyone with better knowledge to correct me). I’ve been thinking about it, though, and I feel like that is a horrible reason to change myself. Really, what difference would it make? Would I feel better? I don’t think so anymore. It seems like cleaning the bathroom to fix the broken water heater; things might look better on the surface, but they are still broken.

I wish I could say that threatening my hair with bleach was all I had done, but I’ve been groping around for change in a lot of places. Luckily, and with gratitude to everyone who has helped, I think I’ve gotten myself on the right course again. There are still a lot of things for me to sort out, but I’m getting there.

And as I said, sorry folks, this writer is remaining a brunette.

Are men brunettes? That sounds wrong somehow.

In Search Of A Disinterested Party

September 12, 2007

The subject earlier (see my previous post about universal chairs) of bias got me thinking, which I’ve been doing a lot of lately anyway, and I came to an interesting conclusion. If you ever find yourself in a difficult situation, it’s tempting to go to your closest friends or family. You might even be able to. However, I’d encourage you to seek out a disinterested party.

I’m sure the idea of searching your loved ones for a bias seems strange. After all, isn’t that one of the reasons we love them? They’ll stay by us no matter what, they’ll put us first and prop us up. Part of that arrangement, typically, is a certain amount of trust that they have your best interests in mind. I’m even fairly sure they do. That said, it’s hardly impossible for people to be motivated by things beyond their control. Too, it’s fairly easy for that unconditional support to backfire.

People who care deeply for you, after all, want to support you in whatever you do. That doesn’t necessarily mean that what you’re doing is a good idea. Similarly, people in your family often balance a desire to support you with a desire to shape you; it is, after all, their job.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t rely on your social network for support. If that is not what they are for, I don’t know what is. I’m just suggesting finding someone disinterested to give you a little perspective on the situation. If you find a good person, you can learn a lot. It’s easy to lose yourself in the unfolding story of a personal crisis and miss obvious things sitting right in front of your face.

It is in this spirit that I say, thank you Kat. Me? Highlights? What the hell was I thinking? More coming soon.