Elastic Warriors of the Universe

There’s something to be said about not being the victim anymore.

For the longest time, I knew my baggage was “my first boyfriend cheated on me, therefore I am teeming with trust issues so you should be empathetic when I’m crazy.” It’s not a fun place to be, and I thought I would be that way forever.

But something happened about a year ago, and I just stopped.

I didn’t want to be labeled as “the girl that got cheated on”, I didn’t want to carry that baggage with me into every new relationship I had. I didn’t want to be crazy about the trust issues, constantly wondering where my new boyfriend was at all times, worrying over who he was with, if he was lying to me about something. I noticed all of those tendencies slip into my second relationship. Slowly, my trust issues receded, which was such a big relief for me.

Eventually the trust issues came back full force, but that’s what happens when you date sleazy guys that are down for any attention girls throw at them (no matter how much love and attention you give them).

It took a long time to get over labeling myself as a victim. I felt I had an explanation, a justification for my overly anxious attitudes, that whoever I dated next would have to be okay with me being worried about them all the time.

One day I realized I just didn’t want to think that way anymore. I didn’t want to have to worry every minute of the day. I didn’t want to have to check up on someone all the time and then not believe him anyway because I was lied to in my first two relationships. Relationships are built on trust and friendship, and I couldn’t have a good one if I could only promise half of those characteristics.

I can’t even explain how liberating it was to finally let it go. I didn’t want to be the victim anymore. I didn’t have to keep lugging around this heavy, anxious weight all the time. Maybe it’s naive, maybe it’s resilience, but I decided I needed to trust people wholeheartedly again if I was ever going to find a relationship that gave that trust back to me.

I know I have a big heart, and sometimes that’s why I get screwed over. But I try not to let it make me bitter. I know that there is so much good in the world just waiting to be unlocked, that there is so much love being shared out there. I know that if I put love out in the universe, it will come back to me somehow. Maybe I can show others how to love, maybe someone will surprise me by showing me that I can love more.

I’m still not perfect, I still see the trust issues creep in every once in a while. But I see the progress I have made, and I’m usually pretty proud of it. I believe that one day someone will prove to me that trust is real and true, that loyalty and commitment are not too much to ask for in this modern dating world. Until then, I will be working on myself, perfecting how to breathe, let go, and let myself be vulnerable to others in the hopes that they prove their trustworthiness.

The point is, you don’t always have to be the victim. Heroes don’t have easy histories. It’s not about how you fall, but how you get back up.

The Only Path is the One You Follow

Spring break is almost here! I know it’s going to fly by, as I’m planning on working 7 out of the 9 days I’m home and generally have fun stuff planned the other days I’m home. Hopefully I’ll find time to hike and get a little more realistic incline in.

So, I have an interesting “problem” I guess. More of a thought and situation. Have you ever loved someone but wanted them to go back to their first love? My love interest used to date this incredible girl. I hated working with her because she was so bossy, but the more I read her blog, learned of her personality, saw more of her heart and mind, the more I liked her. She’s beautifully artistic and she radiates confidence. Things turned messy for them, and they ended things on not-so-great terms, meaning whenever she makes her way back to our little town, her old place of work, the bartenders will warn him he won’t want to mingle tonight. The last time they were in the same building, he finished his food and left without a second thought, didn’t even come out for drinks with everyone that night to get his mind off things.

I know he was really hurt by her, more than I think he has ever let on. I have heard him talk about her, both in admiration and in bitterness. They are both such beautiful souls that I’m not sure he will ever love anyone as much as he loved her. What stuns me is that I’m not jealous when he talks about her, but I genuinely feel sorry for him. I want them to be together, even though I have such strong feelings for him. Even when I ask the universe for him, I want him to be with her because I think they could be the greatest love story, so passionate and pure. High school sweethearts, best friends, both fiercely independent but with gentle love for each other. It’s beautiful to me – I have so much respect for it. Which is weird right? I’ve asked the universe for this man! Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I should ask for his happiness and see where it leads him. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a good love story.

Maybe I know how he feels. Because who doesn’t wonder what could have been?

Another thought I’ve been wrestling with constantly is my relationship with my best friend, and I think I’ve expressed it before so I’ll keep it short. Shouldn’t you be in love with your best friend? The one you’ve known since high school, the one where you can mutually tell each other everything, you’ve met each others’ families and it’s not strange to just spend all day together doing nothing and still having ¬†a good time. I want nothing more than to love him, and I know so many people that agree and want to see us together. But there’s something in me that just can’t picture it, and I wish I knew what it was. But shouldn’t I listen to that gut feeling now? Before it’s 20 years down the road and I’m regretting not branching out in my life?

If you had the chance, would you want to know your future? I think I believe in some kind of predestination. It’s the least anxiety-inducing method of looking at the future. Everything is as it should be. Whatever happens, it is for a reason. I think I had to adopt that method, because the pathways were just too expansive for me to think about all of them, about every person I could be.

I actually remember that moment that I settled on predestination. I was hiking by myself, I think in Gambrill. My sister had recently been going through some of her anxious/depressive thoughts, and she shared with me that sometimes she felt overwhelmed by all the choices she could make in her life and all of the paths down which she could go. And I told her that I shared those same anxieties sometimes.

I remember when I was choosing which college to attend, I was like this decision is going to decide my life. And in many ways, it does. But I was worried that I would choose the wrong college and somehow miss out on meeting my future husband. Which is crazy for an 18-year-old to be worried about. (Although maybe I was right since, ya know, still single).

But on that hike, as I followed that beaten path, the one forged by so many others before me, set up by the parks’ services, I realized there is only one path in life. You can take many directions, you still have the chance to choose. But what if choosing is an illusion? What if your path is already predetermined, that everything is already aligned for you, all you have to do is follow?

I was very relaxed then, like I had just figured out life. All of my anxious thoughts were put to rest. It’s very easy when you think “what I am doing is what is supposed to happen.” That the universe is constantly guiding me in the right direction. It helps me have faith in my decisions, but I still don’t make choices blindly (not all of them anyway).

Anyway, here’s to love and other drugs.

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Gentle

As I said before, it’s getting down to the wire for my classes, which, unfortunately, means I don’t have as much time for fun things. Instead I’m writing feasibility reports and historical reflections.

I like the idea of reflections, just not the formalities. I wish someone would ask me those prompts in person. What a conversation it would be!

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It was beautifully muggy yesterday evening

I think I’m losing the art of conversation. I don’t know if I just don’t talk as much here, or if I’m really just bad with small talk, but more and more I find it less pressing to talk to people. It’s still nice to have a conversation, but I realized my thirst is not in speaking, but in holding an in-depth conversation. I’m a listener, but that doesn’t mean I can’t express my own thoughts and opinions.

(Speaking of, I finally registered to vote today)

My COMM theory professor from fall semester brought up a recent study performed by one of his colleagues, and it stated that people of my generation were exceedingly good at multitasking. After expoing for two years now, I have no doubt I am great at multitasking. However, the study also said people of my generation scored significantly low in reflection. I remember furrowing my brows at that. What? What did this guy know?

But the more I look around, the more I see that some of my friends¬†don’t reflect on anything. I specifically remember telling Mary “reflection is important!!”, and I’m pretty sure she needed to hear it – you’re welcome, Mary.

It’s like people don’t understand that they can try to answer the “why?” and “how?” questions themselves. “Why do I feel guilty about the way I treated this person?… Because it was the wrong thing to do, wow I should apologize.” “Why is it that I’m unhappy?… Maybe you’re feeling unfulfilled.” “How can I be fulfilled?… Try new things, find what you like.”

Some days I feel like I’m the only person who reflects. Then again, maybe I reflect too much. I’m always in my head when I walk to class or the gym. The gym is usually the only time my brain is absolutely silent, and that’s why it has become my savior over these past few years.

Anxiety? Run.

Sad? Better lace up those shoes.

Stressed? Boy you’re gonna be sore tomorrow!

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Unfortunately, the rest of my body disagrees with me, and it always tries to ruin my progress either by destroying my knees, my heels, or – now – my shins!

Sometimes having a silent mind can be more helpful than being reflective. I take after my mom in that my mind is always running before bed unless I can really tire myself to the point of exhaustion (which hasn’t been difficult since senior year of high school).

Some of my friends are really into eastern philosophies, and I remember trying my hand at meditation. I struggled with it (“Am I doing this right? No I shouldn’t be thinking… I think I got it – damnit no I shouldn’t be thinking!”), but I eventually got the hang of it. It really helped me go to bed. I think it’s similar to that savasina thing at the end of yoga, even if I’ve somehow pictured myself in a different world.

I think my ability to multitask and remain calm is due to my success at meditation. It’s not like you avoid all thoughts that come into your head – you accept them, finish them, and let them slip right on through. I realize I do this when I expo. When I’m suddenly overwhelmed with tickets, I internally scream, and then pull myself together, let the tickets flow out as fast as they flow in. I like the challenge it brings, and I’m always proud of myself at the end of a big rush.

I guess it’s important to find balance then. Multitasking is a great skill of our generation, but don’t forget to reflect. It’s important to balance a fast-paced life with enduring thoughts. It’s how you come to understand yourself and people around you better.

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. – Plato

(Never thought I’d ever be the person to quote a Greek philosopher…)