You know when you hear those things you know to be VERY true, but holy crap do you ever not want to hear them? Well I’ve had a good number of those coming at me this week.
Firstly, I was talking to a friend yesterday about my latest post, about how people were responding to that and all the things that were stressing me out from it and the rest of my life (as an aside, cheers for friends who will just sit and lovingly let you rant ’til it’s all spent). Somewhere in the midst of my emotional regurgitation she just cocks her head to the side and says to me:
When men want to take care of you, you get really uncomfortable. Grumble…. I thanked her for that very penetrating insight, and I think also said Fuck You, I can’t remember in which order. Though I was cursing her socks, I knew she was saying the thing I needed to hear. And I suddenly understood more about why this project is going the way it’s going, why I seem to be pushing way out of my comfort zone on the vulnerability front. This is very public, people are responding to what I’m putting out there, and I’m responding to those responses in ways that make me uncomfortable. And that’s really interesting…
I can now see why this is a real-time group project. I need that influence of exterior things to poke at and stir up the bits of shrapnel still left in my psyche from the guys who’ve not only let me down when I’ve needed them, but the ones who’ve treated me like I was something broken they were to take care of. There’s a world of difference between a helpless female and a female in need of a little help. A world of difference between compassion and pity. So, I’m getting from all sorts of directions a chance to look at all of that. I’m neck deep in all the things that are the most sensitive, scary, and threatening issues I’ve got. Interesting times….
Secondly, frickin’ Paula Cole has a line from a song that keeps popping into my head in the midst of all this: and it’s me who’s too weak, it’s me who’s too shy, to ask for the thing I love. Now maybe not so much the weak/shy part – it’s probably worth noting, further to yesterday’s comments on the veneer of who I am displayed here, those of you who don’t see the rest of me, don’t see the rest of my processing, don’t know my history, also don’t know: for as tragic and whiny and vulnerable as I’ve allowed myself to be on this site – me, me at my most tragic and needy is still stronger and more self reliant than most chicks on a good day. I’ve weathered a lot of storms, I’m what ya call resilient (though that doesn’t mean I don’t need a soft place to land once in a while, I’m working on that part).
Um… right, tangent got a little longer than the point there – though comes back to it in the end. I AM resiliant, I am easy going, I’ve brooked a lot of disappointment and gotten through all right. I’m very adaptable. So I think I’ve forgotten to even consider stepping up and asking for what I want. Just ’cause I can handle whatever comes my way doesn’t mean I shouldn’t “ask for the thing I love.” On the dating front, say I want to go here.
Now I have done that before, and it hasn’t gone well, asking for what I need, what I want. But (and this time I have to curse my own socks) as I said in that piece about planting seeds and hoping and being open to an outcome you can’t control, just because I have asked things of men that they haven’t met, doesn’t mean I should stop asking. Ya gotta keep planting seeds…
So, here I am neck deep in my most uncomfortable emotional landscape, publicly sifting through all of this, being compelled by that inner compass to risk more, to ask more, to speak up for what I want. Day 29, and I think we’re at the really juicy (and horribly messy) stuff now. Brutal, and strangely exciting.
What’s that old Chinese curse? May you live in interesting times.
Well, things just got interesting.
4 thoughts on “Day 29 – interesting times…”
Well, different lessons, or different glass walls, going on with me. Lots of balancing my own needs with others. Lots of there being nothing I can do to even halve others’ pain. Frustrating. I’m afraid of screwing up, of saying something insensitive or alienating or very disturbing. But I want to be in their lives, beside their hard times so I hide that fear. Does everyone feel that?
Maybe similar to you, Valerie, in that I’m being stimulated by others’ intense emotions, but I need to keep checking in with myself, foremost. Again frustrating, slowing.
Asking for what I want sounds wise. Easy to forget, though I’ve done it sometimes. Sometimes it’s easier to ask in advance than at the immediate time. Sometimes I didn’t receive, but was glad I asked. I needed to ask, not to receive. Though I kept wanting.
I usually do not ask for what I want or need to hear, not for an apology, etc, because those seem worth less if I ask for them. I’d like to learn how to ask for more responses that I want. I’d like to learn in which ways to ask that I’ll be able to believe the response I get.
(Anal note: Yah, I think I’ll do my 100 days forward and backward in where I reply. Which will end up looking like no direction at all.)
I’d be wary of men that want to take care of you. When you start getting involved with those kinds of guys they tend to start referring to themselves as being in a relationship rather than dating. Probably better to build strong friendships first.
“There’s a world of difference between a helpless female and a female in need of a little help.”
I love this. In fact, I love the whole post, and yesterday’s as well. But this line was so well-crafted, and so on-point, that I had to call it out. Well said, as always. Insightful, intersting, honest, and surprisingly obvious in that “no one ever says it” kind of way. Keep going and trust your instincts, I know there are a lot of people who have a genuine interest in standing beside you, not behind you waiting to help.
I’m on the other side of the helping coin right now… those I love in crisis or grief, not me (barely.) It’s hard to stop before I offer too much help, especially when I’m offering some help. (Too much, in that this week, I’m capable of giving it all. However, I think offering too much help would overwhelm them… and too much reassurance might drown out the primary reassurance I gave.)
I’m also keeping an eye on the dynamic that helping does to our (platonic) relationships. A friend is almost seeing me as a counsellor/ mentor/ diagnostician right now. I know that’s not a preferable, good, nor sustainable dynamic, so I’m trying not to further it. At the same time, there’s not much chance to address it right now, with several more immediate issues.
On a different tack, Valerie, I wanted to ask. How was asking for what you wanted something that didn’t go well? Just in getting a timely reply, no, I’m not giving you that? Or worse? Uh, you know you don’t have to answer. Hmm, I know that when I wait until I’m half desperate to ask for what I want, it goes a lot worse, even a respectful refusal.
Shannoetry, I like your response. Warm and dry wishes to all.