Today was very smoky. I am grateful it’s smoke, and not fire, but with an AQI of 400+ this morning, improving to 240 this afternoon, it’s pretty awful to just exist outside. I’m lucky I could stay inside and avoid it most of the day.
That said, I stayed inside most of the day. Which is always a crap shoot in terms of maintaining my mental health. I was still overtired from yesterday’s balloon hours — I was awake at 2:30AM and stayed awake until past 12AM. Maybe I USED to be able to do that and function the next day, but it’s been a few years (cough, decades, cough), and I was a Crabby Patty today.
Q: What can I take responsibility for that I have been placing on someone else?
The story I’ve been telling myself for a while now is that my ex didn’t like me. To be fair, towards the end, he probably really didn’t. But before that, he did like me, and I played a larger role than I’ve been willing to admit in getting him to dislike me.
I picked this card. I thought it felt like a good card. That was at 8PM. I sat down to write, and then I needed a drink of water. OK, back to it… ooh, a text message! Oh, I should fold this laundry… wait, I need to write my blog post. Gotta shower first. Wash my hair. Stand under the hot water just a little bit longer than usual. Hmmm. What am I telling myself with this avoidance? All previous cards have been thought-provoking but I’ve chosen one, sat down, worked through my thoughts, and BAM! post completed. I’m not sure if I’m really ready to answer this particular question yet. I am definitely up against Resistance right now. So much so, that I’m writing a post within a post instead of the post. At 11:30PM.
Well, here goes… I’m going to give it a try.
Back to the blog.
I was talking with a friend the other day, and as I tried to articulate why my previous relationship had ended, he offered, “He loved the woman he met, not the one he created.” And I thought, YES. That feels true.
Except that I was as responsible for this creation as he was. Maybe more so, because I did it to myself. I listened, and watched, read the feedback, and bent myself into what I thought I needed to be to keep the relationship I thought I needed — a lot of the time at great cost to who I actually was. How could he like me? I didn’t like me. And I had lost sight of who this “me” was, anyway.
I was so focused on ‘not losing’ that I missed the ‘winning.’ And, wasn’t I as much a creator of him, as he was of me? What a great power and a responsibility. Actually, that’s a big part of what I thought romantic relationships were about – two people growing towards a shared middle ground, ideally increasing understanding and more things to love about each other. I’m not sure I would define a satisfying relationship in those terms nowadays.
The move to a middle ground has felt, to me, like more of a race to the bottom. Am I just selfish? Where is the line between selfish and self-love? I don’t know, but I do know that we suffocated the best versions of ourselves — and while not on purpose, definitely by design. What could it have been like if instead of focussing on maintaining the relationship’s current incarnation, I was more willing to lose the relationship in the service of authenticity over status quo. I was unwilling to lose it, until I got worn out; and then it was too late.
One thought: In future relationships, I might take a page from The Dread Pirate Roberts. When I meet my Wesley, I will say, “Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.” That will give us both a chance to get out early or stick around and get better at fencing. This feels like it could be a win.
I’m still working it out. 😉