Tea and sympathy

There are things I miss about high school, though not among them is feeling like every crush and heartbreak was the most important thing that happened in the universe.

It’s convenient for someone like me to stand on a pedestal and shake my head at those who perpetuate this, if just because I’ve been right in the middle of that kind of drama in my own mind before. Who of us wasn’t, at some point? We weren’t staring forlornly into the distance with some singer/songwriter crooning in the distance like all those teen dramas suggest we should have, but it MATTERED to us.  Maybe we were defined by a relationship, or a lack there-of. Maybe we wanted to be defined that way.

I woke up tonight, and found myself unable to get back to sleep. So after some reading, I came here, wondering if I’ve really shaken that old instinct, or just want to believe that I have.

*****

Relationships (romantic ones, by the way, assume that’s the context for any future use of the word in this post) came up in several interactions yesterday, and some in my late night wanderings on the laptop. Both as they relate to me, and to others… the latter of which got my hackles up more yesterday, oddly.

Is that odd that I’m more openly defensive of those close to me than myself? I don’t think it is, though I can’t speak as to whether that’s typical. We tend to lose objectivity on our own relationships because of our involvement with them. In some sense, that’s good- we lose the barriers between us and those close to us, and we feel love and intimacy towards that person. But that intimacy and openness can also mean pain, and a lack of perspective.

I think late nights make me more vulnerable to the slings and arrows of my own thoughts. I worry more, I’m less guarded… a great state for a writer, even if when I wake up later I might well find the delete button and relegate this back to the virtual ‘drafts’ folder of my mind.

I hope not, though. I need to be less guarded with people, not more. Courage, not fear.

*****

I love this song, which came up at some point in my internet wanderings tonight. It’s sad, and it’s emo, and I love it, even if it reminds me of some of the sadder parts of relationships I’ve been in. I have an inexplicable affection for sad songs, and I wish I could explain it in terms that aren’t “I can relate better to that”, which make me sound like some kind of unhappy shut-in. Which I’m not, honestly. I just think you get more meaning- and perhaps more character- out of the valleys than the peaks.

The various conversations  and reading I did tonight got me to reflecting on the relationships I’ve had, and the relationships I might have- possibilities that are floating on the wind, more or less real than I believe. I’ve got an ingrained instinct to question and prod when people express genuine affection for me, which is kind of awful of me. But when you’ve grown up as self conscious as I have, it’s a hard instinct to shake. It’s one situation where the old, worn chestnut “it’s not you, it’s me” actually DOES apply. I have chuckled bitterly at this revelation about myself before. I probably will again, at some point, when it’s late and I’m feeling vulnerable.

I retreated into myself some after the end of my last relationship, and while that’s occasionally inevitable, I’m still fighting that instinct now. I can’t be afraid to put myself out there, to be honest and open, even just being social in basic situations.

I’ve felt pain at the end of relationships, when you realize you’ve lost the chance at something incredibly special. But I’ve also felt joy during them, the moments where something wonderful is shared,  something that touches you in the deepest reaches of your heart, and all is right with the universe. I need to chase that feeling.

Courage, not fear.

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One thought on “Tea and sympathy

  1. Miriam

    “I’ve got an ingrained instinct to question and prod when people express genuine affection for me, which is kind of awful of me”

    You’re not alone in that instinct. I’m like that as well. Even when I get praised, or given more responsibility – it’s like “what? What are you doing? Are you sure?”

    But the way you ended this post is so true. Courage, not fear. Well written.

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