Love

I’ve been thinking a lot about love recently and how often people don’t see love because they aren’t using the same love language. In other words, love can take on many forms without necessarily saying “I love you”.

It can come as a ‘message me when you get home’ or a ‘I made you something’ or even letting someone go because you know in your heart that you don’t belong with them, or you are holding them back.

I was observing a situation between a single father and his two daughters. His love language was that he often bought gifts to say “I was thinking of you”, however one of his daughters had a time love language. She wanted his time. She wanted to be near him more than anything and every time he gave her a gift instead of just catching up with her, it hurt her more than anything. She was dying for him to say that he wanted to see her, for him to ask her how she is going – and just be there. His other daughter was much like him. She didn’t need time, instead she loved the gifts. Her love language aligned with his. She felt wanted and cared for, while his other daughter was sinking deeper into depression feeling like she was worth nothing.

The Father in this situation, came to me for advice. He was concerned that he was doing something wrong because he was getting two different attitudes to the present-giving. He thought that the gifts could mean something to them, but the first daughter seemed like she was unappreciative. He asked me what could he do to help her. The answer was simple “Speak her love language. She’s dying to spend time with you and if you listen closely, you will see how much it hurts when you ignore her desire to be around you. She doesn’t need gifts to see your love, she just wants to be with you, share time with you”.

It sounds cliché but sometimes it’s the little things that show someone you care.

For me, love was always intense. It was always everything or nothing, there was never any inbetween. And it greatly affected my relationships, it became my undoing; my kryptonite. I would fall so fast for someone without thinking about it and soon I was being used. It has made me cautious – some would describe it as cold or unfeeling, but I have had to learn how to protect myself. So many times I ended up hurt because I was all-in.

Often my love, my want to be with someone was at a sacrificial cost to me, in order to gain their respect.

 

A few months ago, I was online and I got a message from someone saying that maybe if I was more ‘open’ or ‘forgiving’ I wouldn’t be so cold hearted and cynical. I really wanted them to know my story and see if at all it changed their mind on why I am the way I am. I’m self-protecting. More than anything I would love to be the way I was before, free not to be scared or prejudiced against people, but unfortunately, I’m not 19 anymore.

 

It brings me back to this idea of love. A few years ago people would have said “oh! She’s so generous! She helps anyone out! She makes sure that no-one goes hungry in her class”. And its true, yes, I did ensure that if someone was hungry at my tafe, they could have some money – but that got abused. I was saving money and wasn’t able to give any more money and suddenly I became a cold hearted cow. If you met me when I was much younger, I would have been super affectionate. I would be touchy, I would want to hug you… it was my answer to everything. As if the hug would put back the pieces of someone’s broken heart.

Now, like the daughter aforementioned, I notice time. I know that my family have different love languages. I know my mum for example is a massive time person. She notices little gestures like the phone call at a set time, spending quality time with her loved ones is the way she wants to spend her love. I notice when someone thinks of me even if it’s the smallest thing, I appreciate it.

 

In case you were wondering, there are 5 love languages.

  1. Quality Time
  2. Receiving Gifts
  3. Acts of service – doing something for someone
  4. Physical Touch
  5. Words of Affirmation – telling someone that they mean a lot or that you appreciate them.

 

I crave those words of affirmation. I have struggled with mental illness most of my adult life and I long for words to be openly said. It provides me with certainty that the relationship I have with that person is a mutually beneficial one, or that I am loved or respected. It is a major flaw of mine to crave words of affirmation as if words aren’t being said, I feel like I am struggling to stay afloat. My brain often tells me lies about relationships or people and I rely on people’s actions as a countermeasure to stay sane. That somehow, I am not respected, cared for or loved. It feels like I am insecure about everything when I ask someone “do you love me?” or “are we okay?” when really I’m longing to hear “I care for you” or “you are important to me” or the really important one “This relationship isn’t a waste of your time”.

 

So, with this in mind, how do you express your love? Do you listen for other people’s love languages and reciprocate?

Food for thought.

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Here for You

I have noticed that there is such a lack of support for women/girls to girls. I have noticed we have no trouble saying nasty things but when you try to find something encouraging to say to another female, it’s like we come up empty.

A girlfriend of mine is going through some really awful things at the moment and in a flurry I attempted to try and find some kind of beautiful thing that would make everything seem just a little less dark.

But I couldn’t find anything. Instead, I found “how to make a girl swoon”, “how to make a girl fall in love with you”, and “compliments to get her into bed”.

I’m sorry. Last time I checked, the world isn’t sex-based. I am so irritated with the knowledge that if someone wants to support someone else and you are trying to find ideas of how to say the right thing – it’s almost impossible.

So, I’m about to change that. Here is my list you can use to friends (of both genders) that can possibly help take the edge off. (BECAUSE GOOGLE IS SHIT AND PEOPLE ARE SEX-DRIVEN MANIACS AND JUST GENERALLY CRAP)

  1. You matter
  2. You’re important in my life
  3. You are a fighter
  4. You make everyone around you smile
  5. You have the most beautiful smile (AND YES THIS WORKS FOR GUYS)
  6. I won’t leave you alone during this dark time
  7. You are funny
  8. You are kind
  9. You are important
  10. You are smart
  11. I’m really glad we met
  12. You are a creative genius
  13. You have the biggest heart
  14. You are so incredibly brave.
  15. You are a wonderful friend
  16. You bring out the best in people
  17. You have the best voice!
  18. You are always so helpful
  19. You are one of the strongest people I know
  20. You. Are. Enough

And maybe this will just go out into the void, and maybe no one will read this. But even if just one person reads this.. I want you to know, that “I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you.” – Valerie (V for Vendetta)

 

 

Soft Spot for Sylvia Plath

As someone who is in a English Literature Major at University, I have a real soft spot for Sylvia Plath. I know her history, I know why she writes the way she does and the potency of what she communicates, but I just adore it.

She has this beautiful ability to voice her passions, flaws and her reality, which, I truly admire. Margaret Rees stated; “…she stripped away the polite veneer. She let her writing express elemental forces and primeval fears. In doing so, she laid bare the contradictions that tore apart appearance and hinted at some of the tensions hovering just beneath the surface of the American way of life in the post war period…”

Although her passion led to her death by the age of 30, it was definitely clear in her writing her fears, her loves, her consuming passion and obsession with death. Maybe I admire her because I see something of myself in her poems, or maybe it is because she challenges other authors to be realistic about their own writings. She challenges even herself about her own perceptions.

I mean, really, shouldn’t we all try to challenge norms? Shouldn’t we try to question the bigger picture?

If I can not bend the will of Heaven, I shall move Hell.

They say “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” and they say “the most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has everything to lose”. I personally believe that both sayings are true, but there is something missing… I stumbled across this and I have to say I love it. As a geek who loves English literature and I love Latin, I just adore this;  

Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.

If I can not bend the will of Heaven, I shall move Hell.

I have been struggling with my own demons at the moment and finding it hard to trust people around me. With all my hurt, I felt like a failure when people were telling me to just move on and forget about the past. The difficulty is that when something traumatic happens, someone just can’t forget about it and it takes a very long time to move on. The hardest part about this though, is not so much the work I was putting into myself, but rather, knowing that this might not be good enough for the people around me. Like there was a time limit on their patience and understanding. How are you supposed to say “This is not something I can fix in a week. Or a month. Or a year… give me time though, and you won’t regret it”

I think its hard for people to understand when they haven’t gone through something similar. Often, I would say “please, be patient”, with the knowledge that most times, I would soon be left behind.

That in itself; leaves a mark. A metaphor for this is feeling like someone cutting you and then someone else coming to the rescue, and telling you, “Yep, I am going to stay with you and we are going to get this wound fixed. Hang on, I will go and get the first aid kit” and they don’t come back. Or they do come back and there is almost this expectation like you shouldn’t be bleeding anymore.

At the end of last year, I was talking to this guy and something didn’t quite sit right. Something didn’t feel – real. I was hesitant, and he got impatient saying that I was being selfish and whatnot. So I just took a leap of faith and he turned out to be someone entirely different from who he said he was. I guess the real kicker is that, a few months ago, I reached out to an old friend of mine to reconnect, and she was telling me about this guy who she was seeing very casually, but he had to work too much and she didn’t feel that was good enough (which is fair), but it turned out to be the same guy. Telling us the same thing, telling us to take a leap of faith.

In that time, knowing what I know now, I am so very tempted to NAME AND SHAME him. Let people know that this person isn’t who they said they were. I was furious when I found out. Not so much that he was lying to me about who he said he was, but the fact he did that to me and a girlfriend (living in close proximity to each other – which is a damn bold move) but also because he wanted us to just jump head first into a relationship – and when I questioned who he really was, he disappeared. I felt like I was going insane, like did this person really truly exist? Or am I going mad?

I have a long history with violent relationships, where I have been gaslighted* (*gaslight: manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity) where I have felt like I wasn’t good enough, or I have questioned whether or not its my fault that people treat me poorly.

So I made a pact with myself to be kind, and wait. Allow someone to prove their sincerity. That way, I would know that they meant what they said, and I wouldn’t have continual open wounds. It was apart of my self-care plan. In that theory, I would be self-sufficient and I was happy with that. No one was going to get into my head again.

But even this, has proved difficult. Because let’s face it. I’m human. I have needs and by the time I realised that in being “self-sufficient” I was, in fact, pushing people away from me.

“…I’m done reliving my bad decisions

I see now maybe there’s a reason why

I’ve been through hell and back

Yeah, honestly, it’s all made me who I am

Holding on to wasted time

Gotta learn to let go in life

So, I think it’s time to practice what I preach

Exorcise the demons inside me

Whoa, gotta learn to let it go

The past can’t haunt me if I don’t let it

Live and learn and never forget it…”

(Learn to Let Go – Kesha)

That song has become really powerful for me. I feel like its okay to be upset, and its okay to hurt, but holding yourself back from letting go is counterproductive.

“…A part of me always believed

I must have brought this on myself

‘Cause I’m not where I want to be

And every time I want to change my life

It just feels like trying to turn water into wine

 

It doesn’t have to be a world away

I can hear the song like it’s inside of me

I know that if I get to know my pain

I unlock a hundred different doors to better days…..

This is not my punishment

This is my catalyst for growth

I know I will survive this

I’ll be the strongest person I know..”

(World Away – Tonight Alive)

I have entered into University and studying subjects I adore. I also work pretty much part-time, and I love both of these aspects of my life.

I guess all I really wanted to point out, is that if someone is going through some really hefty stuff, just hold on. They aren’t trying to punish you, or hold you back or anything. They just need understanding. Life is tough. And it’s even harder without supportive people around you.

Sound of Silence

This existence is exhausting. Every aspect of it, is so tiring. All the politeness, all the insecurities, all the pain, all the tolerance of less than perfect behaviour.

I am tired. I am sick of being tired. I dream of better days and face nothing more than a restricted view of my future. Like a brick wall is in front of me, and I can see through the gap just a bit, but not enough to escape my suffocating situations.

Nothing feels like home anymore. Nothing makes me feel safe, secure, happy. I feel like I am constantly drowning in a sea of shame, disappointment, even regret. I want more out of my life, I want to be in control. I want to feel alive.

I have barely anything that I feel makes me feel alive. I am constantly in a battle with anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, self-harming ideation. I feel like I could run away tomorrow, and no-one would notice.

If I disappeared, would someone search for me? Would someone feel obligated to never give up looking?

Over the years I have been so committed to people, never letting someone feel alone and isolated. But when it was my turn, I often felt like I was totally alone. I could be in a crowded room, but I never felt like I was in the right place, not even when I really needed it.

Recently, I have been trying to become more mindful of my experiences. Instead of just putting my emotions carefully in a box and discarding them, I have tried to learn how to sit with unpleasant emotions. Such as; anger, fear, shame, regret, disappointment. I wish I could say that every time I sat with an emotion, that it ended well.

I think the hardest thing about sitting with emotions, is actually allowing yourself to feel them. Currently feeling sadness and shame, I feel like it would be easier just to push them aside and hope they don’t resurface… but the real question is, how long till they resurface? It is inevitable that they will come back, with the possibility of them becoming stronger than the original feeling.

It’s a little bit like when you have a wound. If you pick it before it is healed, it can often re-open or leave a nasty scar. Too many times I have picked my wounds, and they have seamlessly opened unnecessarily. I have even tried to love people that put me into different boxes, or tried to force me into something I’m not. Hurtful and almost untrustworthy people barging into my life, trying to tear apart work I have been endlessly working on for 24 years.

You would think by now, that I would have learned. That somewhere along the line, I stopped myself, thought twice and walked the other way. But in a desperate need of finding someone who could relate to me, I never put myself first. I held onto the rules and regulations of someone else. Even if that someone else was continuing to hurt me, without a second glance at how their words and actions were affecting me.

It has taken me almost 5 years to stop that terrible addiction. To put a “self-worth” patch on my arm and just like nicotine, try to rehabilitate myself so I come first.

Sometimes, I can feel my worth coming back. Sometimes I can feel the self-respect I let go so long ago, start to slide back into my life.

I know all of this is a massive learning curve, and I am just starting. Maybe I will learn how to love myself better, gain some self-respect, and even maybe I will start to move forward. But I would just like to say, how very hard it is right now. I can’t explain it, I can’t justify it. But maybe I can sit in this emotion for a while, and it won’t become so foreign.

Death

Death is easy, it happens every day. We are consumed by death and sorrow.
Death is easy, living is hard.

As a little girl, I had this perfect idea of heaven. I knew I was going there because I was a good Christian. I never strayed. I never lied. I obeyed my parents, always did homework. I felt like nothing could ever possibly go wrong. I had this idea in my head that heaven was like a giant ball. It was full of angels in ballgowns, men in suits, dressed impeccably, food was overflowing and never-ending. There was no fear, sadness, shame, guilt. Just love. Just absolute unconditional love.
However, there is something I find quite scary in the idea of death. Even as a Christian, who believes there is an after-life, I feel almost petrified about the idea of death. Knowing that one day I will just stop existing, and that will be that.

Daniel 12:2
“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”

That scares me. Questioning everything about what I do, how I am living. I often question “am I doing the right thing? is this good enough” and then, like a tsunami, the wave of guilt and shame floods in. I feel so ashamed of things I have done, and things I haven’t even done yet. Scared that this is the best it’s going to be, and later in life, I will turn a corner and fix something that I can’t fix.

Maybe this is my depression/anxiety talking. Maybe it is natural to fear the unknown. Maybe living is meant to be hard, and death is meant to be easy.
After all, what’s the point of it all, if there is nothing glorious at the end of it?
I have questioned this for way too long. Tossing between feeling a sense of wanting to live and wanting to die. Not necessarily in the way you would think. I don’t want to die, but I want to stop living. I become so scared of the future – I want out. I know I am not the only person out there who feels like this, but it can feel incredibly isolating when you are alone in a room with just your thoughts; planning every scenario – thinking of every outcome. It becomes tiring.

“Here I am, a bundle of past recollections and future dreams, knotted up in a reasonably attractive bundle of flesh. I remember what this flesh has gone through; I dream of what it may go through.”
― Sylvia Plath

I have been too close to the edge, too close to breaking point. Too close to just entering eternal sleep. I have been too close to finding out what afterlife I would be headed to.

Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.

– Buddha

Will someone tell me how to live life without eternal fear? Can someone write a list of things I can complete so I know I’m going the right way? Can someone make a checklist, and I will complete everything. I will be good, I won’t stray from the path they want me to take. I just don’t want to be alone in death. I don’t want to fear death. I even don’t want to fear life anymore.

So, like I have said previously: death is easy. life is hard.

Man’s Best Friend

It’s no secret that I love animals. I probably love animals more than human interactions. I know I have spent more money the last few months on my guinea pigs than anything. But there is something undeniable about having a dog. I used to have a dog, he was black all over except a white little mark on his little chest. He was protective and loyal… I loved him unconditionally, but as I was only little, I didn’t understand the responsibilities that came with loving an animal. I didn’t understand that he needed to be fed and walked and brushed and washed and everything else that came with owning a dog.
Skip a few years after we lost my dear Littleone, (yes that was his name) I wanted another dog so bad… but we just couldn’t do it. Around the age of 17/18, I was in a relationship that was an abusive one, but the thing that got me through was the dogs they owned. It sounds really bad, but no matter how bad things got, I felt comforted when my ex’s dog would come up to me, snuggle with me, and remind me that things were going to be okay. Ironically enough – my ex’s dog started growling at him whenever he came near me… (and who said that dogs aren’t intuitive??)

I had a bond with this dog. I felt joy when he was around, I was deeply depressed and suicidal but the one thing that stopped me was that dog. He knew that I wasn’t okay, he knew when I was in pain or struggling with my fears. He knew what I was afraid of.
Leaving him was harder than leaving my abusive ex. Knowing the dog wouldn’t understand me leaving was incredibly hard on itself.
I have witnessed the joy that dogs bring to people’s lives.
Two of my best friends recently lost their dogs recently, and I can tell you, those dogs were just full of love, and losing them was crushing. The joy those dogs brought to my friends and their family was absolute unconditional.
One of my friends had his dog for 18 years. She was the most loyal dog I think I have ever encountered. She followed him everywhere, never left his side, and if he went out, she would wait patiently at the door until he came back, howling at his absence. And every time he came home, she would greet him with her bark and her frantically wagging tail. She helped him grieve when he lost people close to him, and she always made him laugh. Losing her was like losing a part of himself.

My other friend lost his dog of 9 years, and that dog was a ball of joy. Nothing and no one could compare. He was loyal to a fault, incredibly intelligent and insanely intuitive. I felt both of these losses as I knew these dogs for a long time, and they have definitely left a paw print on my heart.

There is nothing in this world that is like a dog’s love. They don’t ask you for things in return – their love is always and unconditional.

I have been reading up on therapy dogs for the last few months. I have read that a dog can sense pain, anguish, uncertainty. They can help calm a patient down from a mania episode, help recover someone with epilepsy, help control outbursts from patients with autism, they have been put in nursing homes to help with loneliness and independence.

Pretty amazing hey?

Lets just say that i am looking forward to when i can experience the joy of owning my own dog.

It won’t be taken for granted.