Stubborn Not Strong

Through the mirror Nicola looked into Angie’s eyes. “You know, you’re very strong,” Nicola said.

“Thank you.”

“That’s no compliment. It’s your weakness. If you weren’t so strong you wouldn’t have to take it and so you wouldn’t.”

That’s not from the book I am reading now, but I believe from the one I read before it. There were many little lines and moments in it which captured my attention, and this was one.

I wouldn’t consider myself strong by any stretch – not by any measure, either. Not physically, emotionally, mentally…any of the “ally’s”, really. (See what I did there?)

But I have still had moments in life wherein I’ve wished I was just a little more fragile – just enough so that I could break and whatever broke me could become someone else’s problem to deal with. Or no one’s. Just so long as it would no longer have to be mine.

I think in my case it’s more a combination of stubborness mixed with an almost overwhelming fear of embarrassing myself. I don’t like making a scene, or drawing attention to myself. Most of my reactions to things and situations happen on the inside, and I keep them as hidden from the public eye as possible. I may jump a bit when something startles me, but I don’t scream and carry on. I’ve actually been trying to force myself to admit when something scared me, rather than focus on hiding it. Keeping myself closed off is the product of decades of practice, and so now it is a very difficult habit to break.

It’s hard to learn to express things when you’ve spent so long doing the opposite.

On the other hand, though, appearing to not have a reaction sometimes still comes in handy. Bit of a catch-22, now, I guess.

I’m super easy to take advantage of, too, because I never cause a stink or stand up for myself. I don’t return things to where I purchased them. I don’t send food back to the kitchen. I don’t rasie my voice when someone’s being an asshat on the subway.

I just take it.

Not because I am particularly strong, but because of some backwards fear of how I feel if I do things any other way. So in that much, at least, the strong and I have something in common.

We all feel like we have to take it.

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Cost

I saw a thing in an advice column yesterday. Well, I saw the title of the letter, rather than the letter itself. There’s only so much I can read over other people’s shoulders, after all. Anyway, it said something like, “What do I say when people ask how much my engagement ring cost?”

And I was, like, “Is that a thing?! Asking people how much their engagement ring cost?”

Like how does that conversation even go?

OMG congratuLAtions!!! Such a beautiful ring? How much did s/he spend on it?! I think mine was around blah-be-dee-bloo, if I recall!”

Is it customary to supply a gift receipt for the ring when you propose? Only not even a gift receipt, but one with the price on it so that the object of your forever love knows exactly how much you love her, right down to the penny? Isn’t such a ring supposed to be considered a gift anymore? I never would have thought to ask someone how much their ring cost, let alone assume they would even know. I had no idea that was a thing.

Maybe I should start asking, if it’s rude not to. Like – how much did yours cost? I don’t have any so I can’t compare. Well…there was one…but I’m pretty sure he stole it, so…let’s call that “on sale”.

As for how to answer it, I’m assuming straight up honesty isn’t as fun as guessing games. Like, estimate how much the ring the person asking you is wearing cost, and then go higher with your response, so you and your fiance/e look like better people or more in love or whatever.

People are weird.  Life is a gift – can I get a receipt with that?

I think I’ve gotten so used to holding back that now I am not sure I’ll be able to open up when I’m supposed to again. I might have to re-learn how to do it, so I don’t waste my money and my therapist’s time too much. It’s actually become habitual now, just keeping things to myself. I’m constantly re-writing my public image, so to speak, carefully choosing what to reveal and how much or little of it I can get away with. I don’t even really put much thought into it anymore. I’ve caught myself actually sifting through thoughts to consider saying if there is a lull in conversation and I can’t just listen and respond. But that technique won’t fly in therapy, so I have to figure out how to break myself of the habit – preferably before I go in – so that I can get the most out of the session. I think that’ll actually make it easier to sift through whatever’s left, once the overwhelming stuff has been released and isn’t building up inside me anymore.

It occurred to me this morning that you can’t lose or miss what you never had, yet it can still hurt, and often quite a lot. You can lie awake at night wondering why it hurts at all, let alone so much. And why it feels so sad to not have had something to lose; why you can mourn something that never was.

I think it’s because what was actually lost was far more important, yet also far more elusive. It’s the realization that it was never there to begin with – that it wasn’t real – that does it, you see.

That realization is the death of the one thing which was there before, and has now been lost.

It’s the loss of plans and dreams and maybes and of having something extra to look forward to each day and even though there’s still plenty of all of that, part of it is gone and that’s the part you now grieve.

It’s the loss of hope.

Monday

Left home earlier than usual this morning so that I could stand on the platform and wait for a train that I could fit onto. Well, I could have fit on any of them, if the people in front of me would move INTO the train instead of just crowding themselves into the doorway. Eventually I was the one boarding first so pushed my way into the area between two cars, where there would have been tons of room were it not for the pieces of shite wearing their backpacks, oblivious to the notion that there might be other people nearby.

Wrestled with a decision all the way in. Still undecided but possibly resigned to feeling like I don’t really have a choice, and that it’s my own fault if that’s the case.

Growing weary of the bullshit and lies, yet allow them to go unchallenged because I just can’t invoke my righteous rage if it’s in defence of my own well-being.

Arrived to find more angry emails about things that aren’t my fault, yet come down on me, anyway, because life.

Forgot to mention another little thing from my volunteer shift yesterday. It involved simply drying the feet of two birds (no idea what they are called) after they’d been in the sink getting a bit cleaned up. Neither liked it, and both of them kicked a lot as soon as they were lifted out, which is why it was a two woman job. I had to grab one foot at a time, but gently enough that I didn’t hurt the little ones, and luckily for me they both stopped kicking once I’d gotten a light grip on one foot, so I could pat them dry, and leave them to kick again once I’d let go.

I talked to them the whole time (not that it helped them, but I think it helped me), and it ended up feeling like this intimate little moment between us. Not an entirely good moment, but not an entirely bad one, either.

My family’s going through some stuff, my buddy’s going through some stuff, I’m going through some stuff. I learned at a young age that people will usually stop being cruel if they don’t get a reaction out of you, as the reaction is ultimately what they/we want. Same goes for other actions, of course, but usually we don’t want the good ones to stop. I learned to hide what I was feeling – hide my reactions – and I learned it so well that I have a much more difficult time expressing them now than I do keeping them closed. It can be frustrating.

I am angry today.

Monday

Had a lovely bout of 3am anxiety again this morning, but eventually went back to sleep after about an hour and a half or so, I think. I can’t really remember what I dreamed about, only that I did dream. Of course, I’m also pretty tired, and that makes it hard to think.

Man, I just don’t know. There’s so much I feel like I can’t talk about. Not just to you guys, but to anyone. Sometimes it all builds up and spills over a little. It’s frustrating.

There’s a lot coming up this week for me, I think. Got some news at work this morning which will directly affect my role, although I’m not sure how much or how little. Will have to wait and see, I guess. The Mind Reels is potentially doing our first radio play later in the week, but I’m still struggling to find people who can fit it into their schedule this week, so may have to push it to next week. I’d rather not, just because it’s already been changed a couple of times to try and accommodate various shooting schedules, but if we can start off this new segment of the show with a strong cast, I think it’ll really have some legs. So as much as I’d hate to reschedule yet again, I know it’d be worth it to get the caliber of performers I’m hoping to. I also have my volunteer orientation at the place I’ve been thinking about volunteering. I’ve also been thinking about backing out, but I’m determined to at least see how the orientation goes before I make any actual decisions on that front.

I’m also aware that it’s one thing to commit to something like that in the summer months, and an entirely different affair to remain committed once February hits. We’ll see. I stress out about this kind of thing ahead of time, trying to contemplate all possible scenarios – which, of course, is impossible. But I try, anyway. I figure there is at least an attempt to meet life halfway if I manage to not make any decisions until I’ve actually checked it out, rather than deciding based on my initial freak out period.  Plus, all signs are pointing to the notion that I should do it.  Fingers crossed for a shift in my life that changes things for the better.

I can’t remember if I mentioned before that my most recent neuro appointment went well. It was probably one of the best yet, actually. I’m not having any flare-ups or relapses, my bloodwork was fine (because I didn’t drink the night before this time), and my MRI, while just of my brain, showed no new lesions forming, and no growth in the ones already in there. My neurologist actually exclaimed, “Yes!” when he looked at the scans. I thought for a moment he was about to hi-five me. He was pleased, so I was, too.

Just messaged a couple of more possible guest cast members for the radio play, just in case they are available on such short notice. The hope is to do this first one, and then do a second one soon after, when even more people are potentially available to join us. It wouldn’t get posted on iTunes until late July, but if we could get the first two episodes recorded and in the can quickly, that would set the tone and I believe it would all just grow from there. If need be, we’ll push the first one into July, but if we can do it this week instead, I’ll be thrilled.

Technically, there is a fuck ton of just Mind Reels stuff to do, and the sooner the better. The next voting round for the Reelies has to get started, there are a handful of guests for regular interviews that we need to schedule, we’re trying to do the Mind Reels Minute once a week, and get this radio play thing going. I’m pretty excited about all of it, too, so it’s hard for me to focus on any one thing, rather than flit about and try to do it all.

As I do, apparently. Geez. No wonder I can’t sleep.

Oh! I also heard back from GWR about a question I’d asked regarding one of the attempts I’ve been approved to make. This one I am doing with a partner, so I can at least now talk to him about it more and start actually planning and working towards breaking that one. More details after he and I confirm that we’re actually going to try for it, but I’m more hopeful than I was before I got the clarification email from GWR. Much more, actually.

I’ve also been waffling on the other attempt I’ve been approved for, but at the moment, I think I’m not only going for it, but I’m also thinking of putting it out into the world and enlisting assistance from basically everyone I know. If not everyone they know, as well. Haha

We’ll see. I just formulated a vague plan yesterday while I was day drinking, so I’ll wait until it’s more clear before I talk about it in detail.

That’s it for my lunch break. I have a lot of work today because I was just off for 4 days, and while much happened in my absence, just as much did NOT happen, so I best get to it.

The Lying Wall

I once dated a person who was, for all intents and purposes, a chronic liar. And when I say ‘dated’, I mean moved in with and tried to forge a relationship. I knew about 2 weeks in about the constant lying; about how very little of what she shared about herself and her life was untrue, yet I slipped easily into the role of placating and enabling. There was much more there, to my mind, so to me it was worth it. At least I went in with eyes wide open, I figured, and the lies were mostly unimportant, in that I didn’t care if a particular event happened or didn’t happen in her past – I was dealing with the person in front of me, instead. I felt at the very least it was a good exercise in learning compassion, empathy and patience. I tried to be supportive of the person standing in front of me, even as I took everything said with a grain of salt. Or a silo of salt, depending on the circumstance.

Anyway, this isn’t really about trying to defend either one of us. We all make choices, and we all live with them. Whatever.

The interesting thing is how the whole experience bled over into the rest of my life, even to this day, though to a much, much lesser degree.

I spent just over a year in that relationship, and apparently that was enough to form certain habits in my relations with other people. Friends, mostly, because I only had one actual relationship after that, but really, it’s affected everything in some form or another.

I didn’t notice it until that next relationship, but that’s likely because that was the first person I allowed myself to really get closer to, and be vulnerable with. It’s an odd experience, to remain vulnerable and honest when you don’t really believe what the other person is presenting to you. When you see mostly a façade, yet allow yourself to be open and real…it’s peculiar. One would think, looking at it from the outside, that it would be difficult to just be yourself, and not put your own guard up, as well. But I think it’s actually easier that way. Like how actors often feel more free on stage than in one-on-one scenarios. There’s something liberating about being able to just put yourself out there and not be too concerned with what will get reflected back to you. When you talk to a brick wall, you don’t worry about what it thinks of you; you just talk. And when it goes a step further to reflect only acceptance and love as a reward for opening up, it actually feels pretty good. You’re still aware that it’s a façade and only partly true, but part-real love is better than all-real hate any day.

When you are open to accept any amount of positivity, it’s amazing where you can find it, and how far even a little bit can go.

There are, of course, downsides. One is that eventually the lies will be about you, so if you’re not at least a little confident, that can be destructive. I lucked out somehow, because while most of my confidence was shattered by my own mind, at the time, where this liar chose to strike was in a ridiculous area that didn’t really affect me at all. The insinuation that I had removed a small amount of cash from a place where I didn’t even know there was any – after I’d just “loaned” her $1500 (which I also knew would never be paid back) – was pretty ludicrous. I think I actually laughed at the accusation, but I can’t really remember. It affected me that little.

No, the lies that turned on me were not very severe, and far too familiar to what had been said about her ex when they broke up. They were a non-issue, and nowhere near what I’d been expecting.

Weird to be in a relationship and just waiting for both shoes to drop and the lies to become more personal.

Another downside is the one that has stayed with me, and that is in the distance I create between myself and other people in my life now, and ever since. Whatever barrier I’d put up between her and I has basically stayed up. I guess it was more around me than it was between us, and I sometimes still catch myself questioning things more than I’ve been given reason to. Questioning or doubting…the assumption that no one is being completely honest with me is a tricky path to navigate sometimes. It doesn’t stop me from being open with other people, but it does stop me from accepting any kind of real affection or other positive emotion.

I just don’t believe anyone.

I mean, I can’t blame that all on this one person, of course. I know the sensation existed long before that; for as long as I can remember. But it was such an easy mindset to slide into, and not even notice it until more than a decade later. As well, it’s one thing to notice, but another to dismantle and re-create something else. My therapist has given me crap for that more times than I can count; for not looking at her during a session, for not allowing an actual connection to be established, for denying myself the ability to see for myself how someone else feels about me, and how in the moment they are. Even with her, part of my brain knows I’m paying her to listen to me, and thus doesn’t completely receive anything more personal from her.

Usually when she says something nice to her, I tell her she must be drunk. It’s our little joke; one that she only puts up with to a point.

I remember describing how my first therapist was kind of like a hologram to me; that she didn’t exist outside her office space. That she was just there for me to vent, and when I left the room, she ceased to exist. She broke the barrier one day by touching my arm out of genuine concern, and the realization that she was an actual human being crashed in on my consciousness with more force than I ever would have believed possible. Had anyone asked me before that moment if she was real, I would have said, “yes, of course she is” and thought the other person was a tad loony. But I didn’t really feel it – didn’t know it with my full being – until that day.

It’s a weird barrier. It allows me to feel safe enough to be open and express myself more than I did before the liar came into my life and I constructed this particular wall in response. But it doesn’t allow me to receive anything real from anyone else. As an added bonus, it also allows me to blow perceived negativity way out of proportion if I think there is any directed at me. It basically skews my reality, even as it allows me to express myself more.

In other news, I’m looking into possibly working with some cool writing prompts, just for fun. I maaay even post the results of some of those exercises here! Stay tuned!

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Last night, I finally finished reading my friend’s book, The Summer Of Letting Go. Okay, so maybe Gae Polisner aren’t friends in the traditional sense. I mean, we’ve never met in person. But we met as writers, which is almost as good. And I actually would like to meet her in person someday, especially if such a meeting included her little doggie. Charlie pics and videos have gotten me through many a bad day, after all!

But I digress. I’d already been ugly crying over a particularly powerful episode of Chicago Fire, and then decided to read a bit before trying to sleep. I was closer to the end of the book than I’d thought, though, so I ended up staying up a bit late to finish it. And ugly cry some more.

Dammit Gae!

So, first off, it’s a really good book. I’m not about to write a review of it here, or anything, though (I will, however, try to remember to do it on Amazon and the like), because that’s not quite what this post is about. It’s more about the emotions it brought up in me.

I can’t claim any kinship with the protagonist – my little brother is alive, I don’t feel like my parents hate me, and I’m not a teenager. I don’t have a Lisette, nor a Bradley. Nor a Frankie Sky (though…maybe Brody would fit that bill, a bit). But there is definitely something in the way she blames herself for her brother’s death, and understands and accepts that everyone else must, as well. It’s not even something that needs to be discussed. It just is. She understands it as simply her reality, and the way she interacts with everyone else in her world is a result of believing that they understand reality the same way she does.

There is something innately relateable in that to me. Something powerful that goes deeper than circumstance, and brings up some pretty powerful emotions. That everything comes to a head at the end of the book, and that I chose to read it last night when similar emotions have already been building up inside of me, as well, made it a kind of perfect storm for ugly crying.

It actually still affected me this morning, too.

This sense that someone I love beyond reason, of whom I think very highly, could think far less of me, and in some cases actually hate me, is a feeling I fully understand. I don’t even have to know specifically why. Just that I am inherently detestable to those whose opinions matter most to me. That even if they love me back, at first, that will change soon enough. I don’t even try to fight it anymore. I just expect it, and accept it when it happens.

Even as I type this, I know how it sounds, and I’m sure there are people who think that telling me that’s not the case will impact my understanding of my own inner world in some positive way. It won’t. I know it’s rubbish, on a logic level. But further inside on a level even I can’t see, lurks something else. And writing any of it down isn’t a request for someone to try and argue it. It’s more an exercise in locating words to adequately describe a particular sensation; something which has always been there, and just never spoken about. Until now. See, that’s the thing with writing stuff down sometimes. Having someone else tell me something that lies inside of me isn’t true, or isn’t real, doesn’t actually change anything. Be me giving voice to it takes away its power; like shining a light into a dark corner and seeing for myself that there’s actually nothing there to worry about. Someone else telling me they turned on a light and didn’t see anything means nothing to me. I have to see for myself. That’s how one grows, really. Do the work yourself; don’t expect anyone else to do it for you. And trying to do it for someone else takes away their own voice; their own power.

This isn’t intended to be me saying, “I am unloveable and will never know happiness” or whatever it sounds/reads like. It’s about me admitting to myself that I sometimes feel that way, that it affects how I relate to other people – particularly the ones I want to feel closest to – and that if I can recognize it, put words to it, maybe I can diffuse it.

There is an enormous difference between thinking things in your head when you are alone, and actually trying to say them out loud, or write them down, or what have you. The transfer from vague thought and emotion into something more concrete…it loses something; some of its power. That holds true to really great thoughts and emotions, too, of course. There’s just no perfect way to convey our most powerful inner realities to anyone else, even though we all feel a lot of the same things.

We just don’t all feel them quite the same way.

Which can be frustrating. But when you do get something out; when you see the lightbulb come on in someone else’s eyes and know without a doubt that they get it; that they understand. A crazy kind of connection gets established in that moment, and even if the shared understanding is of something horrible, you know at least that you are no longer alone in it. And that’s worth all the frustration and effort, I think.

As for me…I’m not great at liking myself, usually, so it’s easy for me to believe that those I hold in highest regard wouldn’t, either. Part of me is always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and when it does, I claim that I knew it would happen, because that’s how things go for me. FML and all that.

It was pointed out to me long ago that it’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy to hold back for fear of being hurt if and when the other person stops being such a large part of your life. And I get that, so I try (sometimes) to curb the machinations of the dark beast within and force myself to aim for the lightbulb moments as much as I can. It’s not easy, and I fail more often than I’d like to admit, even to myself. I do get confused about what actually is true sometimes, though, and that’s where I fall into my own trap.

I guess, at least for now, I need to try harder to enjoy the time I do have, and spend less time trying to predict when it will end.

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Being Mean For Honesty’s Sake

I often think about honesty, and truth, and the price of putting it out into the world. Like, I almost never speak or write what I actually think or feel. Even on here, I know it will be read, and for sure some among you will take whatever it is personally. That’s what we do; we assume everything is directed at us, whether it is, or not. I mean, the internet makes that much easier, because everything posted online has a degree of, if not anonymity, then at least distance and separation between the author/speaker and the individual reader/audience member. We can say and write whatever we want – promote our truth – and for sure someone out there will read it and think, “Fuck…is she talking about me?!” Whereas, if someone speaks to you directly, via letter, email, telephone or in person, there’s really no denying that you are the one to whom they are referring.

So I, for one, self-edit pretty much all of my actual self away. Or, not away, but hidden inside. I don’t express at least 90% of what I actually think or feel – at least. Probably more. Because it’s mean. There are compliments and such that are nice, so I try to say those, at least when they are true. Usually, though, truth and honesty is pretty mean, and it hurts people. I don’t like to hurt people, even people I don’t like, so I keep it to myself. To spare them. To spare you.

But what is that doing to me, I wonder? Keeping it all in? Surely it’s not the healthiest way to live. (And don’t call me Shirley)

I see and hear people purging what seems to be everything that comes into their heads, regardless of how it may make another person feel. Which I guess is great for them, but they’re mean. Many don’t even appear to try finding a way to express themselves without being hurtful. Either they don’t notice how their voices are being received, or they don’t care. Neither is a quality I want to nurture in myself, and I don’t even like people. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be a better version of this inherently evil species. The best version I can be. Or, you know, just better than I could be, if I cared less.

This post went so differently in my head while I was riding to work on transit this morning! It was less vague, yet more stream of consciousness-y.

I think we get ruder and meaner as we get older. Older people will say stuff to your face and not give a crap about your precious feelings. They don’t need to hide behind the interwebs. They’ve got stuff to say and not enough time in which to say it all, so they get out as much as they can, while they can. There’s definitely no time for beating around the bush, or re-phrasing, and no point in keeping it all bottled up inside. Each new day is an opportunity to speak your mind. And now, with the internet, we can be different parts of ourselves depending on our communication method of choice in any given moment. We can show one semblance of truth on Facebook, another in an email, and something quite different to those in our immediate vicinity. It would be interesting to watch the internet generation get older – see how many selves they have when all of the feel like expressing their truth all the time.

I wonder what I’ll be like as I get older? Will I still try to remain quiet, or will I just start expressing my anger and hurt and whatever else I think and feel to whoever will listen? Will I even care if anyone is listening? Maybe I’ll just talk, anyway. To animals, to the air around me. I already apologize to inanimate objects on occasion, so it’s not a far leap to raging my way loudly down the sidewalk, really.

Would I feel better, expressing all these thoughts and feelings? Would it be a relief to just get it all out? Or would I see how my words affect people and just end up wallowing in guilt and regret all the more? (Though, I’d probably get lots of space to myself on public transit if I was speaking my thoughts aloud…food for yet more thought)

It’s so easy to say, “I want you to be honest with me”. But trust me – you really don’t.  Or to say, “Tell me how you really feel.”  Yet truly, you don’t really want to know.  I am not mean or rude enough to make my thoughts and feelings known – yet – but I am absolutely mean and rude enough to have them. I watch you and hear you express yourself, and sometimes it even hurts me, but so far I’ve resisted the temptation to reciprocate or follow your example. It’s not always easy, but I’d rather that than than have to live with the consequences of the effect my words would have on you. Also, I’ve been keeping it all to myself for so long that it’s not only a habit, but I’m also not entirely sure which ones are real overall, versus which are just momentary or reactionary “real”. Which will still be true tomorrow, and which are just lashing out in hurt or anger. When I think about it, it’s difficult to tell for certain. I’m emotional, just like everyone else, but I recognize that emotions fluctuate and change and come with varying degrees of intensity. What I think or feel in a given moment may just be a knee-jerk reaction that winds up not being accurate once I’ve taken a moment to breathe through it. So the idea of doing permanent damage to a relationship, friendship, and even a stranger’s day – all to satisfy a temporary need that may or may not make me feel better – is just not something I’m willing to do yet. It thus far does not seem worth it.

Besides, I’m also aware of how I hurt and insult and upset and anger people on a daily basis without even realizing it. That sentence doesn’t make logical sense, I suppose, but there it is. I know it’s happening, I just can’t usually tell when or why. When I do realize something specific I’ve done, some line I’ve crossed, it’s too late. The damage, however unintentional, has been done. That realization alone is enough for me to carry the guilt and regret inside me for likely the rest of my life. Having that person or people telling me how I’ve made them feel, or highlighting my error in being, makes the burden 100 times heavier. Maybe it makes them feel better to point out my shame, so I let them have their moment, or moments; whatever they need. That’s the only way I feel like I can even partially make up for what I’ve done; allowing them – allowing you – to express how it’s made you feel. But I know how that makes me feel, so I won’t reciprocate.

Usually.

Truth hurts. That’s what they say. It hurts because it’s often mean. It hurts because something we are afraid is true has just been confirmed by another. While part of me wants to be honest with you, and tell you what I think and what I feel, so far, I just can’t. Because even though it’s not my intention to do so, the truth – my version of it – would hurt you. Or anger you. Or confuse you. Or any number of other adverse ways in which it would affect you. Therein lies my frustration. I want to be open and express myself, but I hold back because of how it’ll affect you. Because of how affecting you in a negative way would feel to me.

So far, it’s just not worth it.

Though, at the same time, sometimes I’m drowning in unexpressed and unvented emotions. Yet I see you appearing to have no qualms about putting your thoughts and feelings out there, regardless of how it might make me or anyone else feel. Regardless of how it makes me feel. More and more I wonder to myself – if I am showing you more regard than you are showing me, and if I am showing you more regard than I am showing myself – how can I ever hope to find any sort of balance in my own life? It’s not my job to coddle you, and yet that’s exactly what I do. All the time. Every day. By my own choice. Not because I am a nice person. Not because I wish only to spread peace and love across the land. I’m not a unicorn.

I do it because, above all else, I fear a life without you in it.

Sometimes I just wish you felt the same about me.