Friday, January 18, 2008

glass half full of cynicism

i have been gone for a long, long time. i'm sorry. thank you for continuing to read.

generally i am a very optimistic person. i realized the other day that i don't make a lot of sense. i think that most people equate optimism with happiness and sarcasm with cynicism. i'm not saying that i'm unhappy, but i'm certainly not energetic and bubbly; i'm not sunshine and rainbows and...bubbles all the time. at all. but i am an idealist. i blame tv and movies mostly. i'm a sarcastic optimist. i look on the bright side, i always believe that things will turn out alright in the end, and i give people the benefit of the doubt about 80% of the time. but twisted things make me laugh. i have a hard time relating to people who have no sense of irony. but my main point here is that i am not someone who often has feelings of hopelessness. even if i'm depressed as hell, i'm hopeful. in terms of the major things that i want to accomplish in my life, i don't really worry that i won't, i just get down about the sadness and/or frustration that i'll have to go through in the meantime. everything seems so far away. but i do believe that i will get there.

however it hit me like a ton of bricks just a few hours ago that i view things this way in every aspect of my life except for in relationships. i am incredibly cynical when it comes to romantic relationships. i've made progress, and though i have made a conscious and somewhat successful effort myself, i mostly have my boyfriend to thank. he's made me feel wanted and cared about and appreciated and important in a way that no one else i've dated ever has. i'm very grateful for him. he's very understanding and patient. we don't always "get" each other, but i think that the important thing is to try, and to communicate to the other person that he or she is important (i know i've used that word three times but it's the only one good enough) enough to you for you to do that.

but back to cynicism. it has no positive place in terms of the way that we view relationships. miranda on sex & the city makes it look cool, but look at all of the things she went through with steve before she realized he truly was THE one and settled down with him! i mean they had a baby for god's sake, and they'd dated off and on for years. he treated her like royalty no matter how mean she was to him. and yeah, i know i'm talking about tv again but i'm just using it as an example because thousands of people watched/watch that show so the characters are like mutual friends of ours, you see? like, if i said "look at sadie and barney!" you wouldn't have a clue what i was talking about. just for the record i do not know anyone with those names, but you get the idea. maybe you don't know of the characters miranda and steve either, but the chances are pretty good that you do.

in reality, if you think that you will fail, most likely, you will. it's all about attitude. and i could launch back into all of my whining about baggage and past pain and all of that shit, but that's just feeding into it. going through most days thinking "he/she is going to break up with me; i have to at least consider beating them to the punch, no matter how much i love them" is NOT GOOD if you are in a good relationship. seems like it goes without saying, right? but i have to remind myself of that on a regular basis. i'm the strangest combination of open and guarded. i think it's important to be at least a little of each, but if you're too much of either, you paralyze yourself. too open? vulnerable to heartbreak. too guarded? well...vulnerable to...heartbreak. but the difference is that if being too guarded is your problem, you're less likely to be totally blindsided by a situation, and adding shock to heartbreak is about the only thing that makes it worse. at least in my experience. at the same time, it prevents you from living every day to the fullest and from enjoying the good things, if you've constantly got it in the back of your mind that it's going to end.

keep your eyes open, yes. if it hurts, talk about it. but life's too short to always assume or expect the worst. i don't want to have 50 relationships like carrie bradshaw. i want to believe in love the way that charlotte york does on satc. unlike charlotte, i'm not old fashioned; i'm not particularly domestic. but i don't want to date until i'm 40 or 50 either. i don't have it in me. i want to replace the cynic in me with the charlotte york.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


when i first decided that i wanted to approach this subject, i had an angle. unfortunately since then, it seems to have escaped me, so just bear with me here. insecurity. for years i was under the impression that i was extremely confident and secure. and then i started paying attention. no, i'm not insecure in the way that i look, and i think that's generally the first thing that comes to people's minds when they throw that word out there. i'm not completely in love with my personal appearance but i don't think that anyone is. there are things i would alter slightly if i could, and things that i can change that i will. but most of the time i'm not terribly self-conscious. i don't ask people often if i look alright before going out. i don't care if my hair looks kinda crazy or i'm covered in dog fur. i know how i like my hair and which clothes flatter my body so i just style, dress, and go. i'm not that bothered by it all.

i first realized that i lacked confidence when i realized WHY it's difficult for me to sing in front of people: i'm afraid that it's not good enough, and it matters a great deal to me what other people think in that area because i'd always planned to make music my life. by stark contrast, it doesn't bother me a bit if someone doesn't remark on how wonderful my writing is, or even if they insult it. i think it's good, and i KNOW it's above average, and i speak from my heart. i don't try too hard; this is just what i do and have always done. i had a friend when i was younger who loved to sing. she always took lessons and was in musicals and she still sings. she has a beautiful voice, but a lot of people found it to be obnoxious because she would sing ALL the time. it didn't matter to them whether or not she actually had a good voice; it was just too loud and too much and they didn't think or care beyond that. personally, i loved it, because it was literally music to my ears, i loved her, and i envied her confidence because she didn't care when people would tell her to shut up, jokingly or not. she just loved to sing, so she did. whenever the mood struck her. and it took me years to realize that that is really all that you need to do: love something, and then pursue it no matter what. or even more importantly, do what makes you happy - it's probably the reason that you're here in the first place. it's an attitude that i'm adopting a little more each day. without passion, there's no point to anything.

but i've recently realized how insecure i am when it comes to relationships. as i've mentioned before, i don't come without my baggage. i'm traveling a little lighter these days thank god, but it's still one day at a time. regardless of the people i dated who treated me certain ways, ultimately it was (and continues to be) my job to decide how to react to that treatment. sure, the way i was treated in any given situation may have reinforced certain hang-ups that i had, or feelings to which i was predisposed, but if we didn't deal with our shit and move on, we would never get anywhere. still, sometimes my reactions are a little too...big. i'm not an overly defensive person except when it comes to a few specific things, and if one of those buttons is pushed, i have trouble staying calm and rational at first. if you're close to me and you're not aware of said buttons, feel free to ask but i'm not going to list them all here. i'll just say that i'm lucky to have some very patient people in my life who stick around until i've had time to decompress and react in a fair and rational way. to those people, i say thank you for liking me and loving me and caring enough about being in my life to give me that consideration, because i usually don't deserve it.

shout-out to captain obvious: thank you for caring enough to fight with me. thank you for making me feel like my good outweighs my bad and that i can trust you. thank you for being the first person i feel comfortable arguing with without thinking you'll go away. thank you for listening to me, and thank you for calling me on my shit.