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Monday, October 18, 2010

Chapter 2: The Idea of Love

This is Chapter 2 of my "Love Posts." You can read Chapter 1: Love is a Choice here. I apologize to any readers who have been waiting patiently for this post. I don't know why it's taken me so long to write it. I have literally written it on my 'to do' list and even sat down with my hands on the keyboard ready to type it but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I'm not sure why. I felt myself enmeshed in a certain situation that I feared might distract me from getting to the point or make me biased on the topic. It's a strange thought however, since anything I say, my opinions on love and my view of the world, is going to be inextricably subjective. There isn't really any way around it. So I'm not sure why waiting would make me more objective. But I do know now that anything I say will be the honest truth, tried and tested in my own life. As always, I am interested in your thoughts on the topic. Treat this like a thread if you'd like.

Now onto the preface...cause I always have to have one of these...get my current thoughts out of my head so I can embellish on the real subject. If you want the real point of this post (i.e. all of you men out there--hey, I am not bashing males here just celebrating and accepting our differences...and I know that all you really want is the point so...) go ahead and skip to "The Idea of Love" below.

Preface to the preface: morning person

I am sitting here drinking my often ritual herbal peppermint tea with my candle glowing and light music playing in the background. This night ritual is sometimes preceded with a bubble bath but usually followed every other night with reading, not blogging. Yesterday, I made a pact with myself and I am already breaking it to write to you. I've decided to become a morning person. If any of you really know me out there your mouth may be falling to the floor. You actually are probably thinking, "prove it to me." So...I'll try. Two nights ago I stayed up chatting with good friends 'til almost 2AM. I then stayed up 'til 4AM after I got home. My head popped off the pillow at the early hour of 12 NOON! the next day---hey...I need my 8 hours...I may not get it when you do...but I don't function on less than 8 and sometimes more--and my first thought was, "Man, 4AM is a TERRIBLE bedtime." This is the first time I have ever in my life had a thought like this...a genuine, whole-hearted desire to stop staying up late and a complete disinterest in that terrible feeling of waking up when half of the day is over. This was truly of my own volition and not out of guilt because I missed a class or didn't get up and work out like I had planned the night before. There was no reason I needed to get up before noon that day and it was of no consequence to anyone that I went to bed at 4am either. So it makes no sense why now after all this time that I finally change my mind. I am a night owl in the truest sense. I am nocturnal. I should have been born an owl or a bat or some other strange nightly creature. The night doesn't scare me. It's when I'm awake and alert and creative and can lose track of time on a subject without being bothered with the structured hours of the day. It's the night...it's my solitude. But, I love the morning, too...I just don't get to experience it quite as often, at least not waking up to it...going to bed to it I know really well. I am not a morning person. In fact, it would be wise to not try to wake me up in the morning or talk to me within two hours of getting up on most days. You won't find me, you'll find someone else. I take no responsibility.

Anyway, there was a time when I was a morning person. It was one summer and it was brief. Life was good though. I love the sunrise and that summer when we got up at 4 and trekked up to Council Crest Park to watch the sun peak over the horizon and onto the beautiful city of Portland...for no reason but to just be enveloped in its beauty. Those were good days. I do love the morning. It's the start of a day...a day of endless possibility...well a day of a lot of possibilities. There's a fresh feeling and a feeling that you can go and accomplish whatever you want. You get to start over. You get to make it good. When you wake up at 12 you don't get that feeling. I want to change this. Even though I tend to write the most late at night, maybe I can find my solitude and inspiration in the morning. So, my bedtime needs to change. And I can't write to you into the night like I am doing right at this moment. This is obviously going to take some work.

Preface: milestone

Today I met a milestone. We passed along the road. I stopped, said hello, we chatted for a few minutes, I thanked him for the kind meeting and I went along my way. Later on I stopped for a minute by the road to think and ponder about meeting this milestone. I was happy to see him, but I'm also very happy to be passing by. This moment was monumental for me but for most of you my moment on the road today was a passing glance or a silent speck on the film of life. So as its meaning and importance isn't as valuable to you, I will share it with you anyway.

Today I weighed myself (something I only do when I feel like it and know and feel beforehand that if I'm going to do it then it is going to not matter to me what number I see. It's only to make an observation and not a judgment. Of course when the outcome is good I allow myself a brief moment of victory. Who wouldn't.) The milestone: As of weighing myself today I have lost 30 pounds. 30 pounds. Thirty pounds. I'm going to say it again: thiiirrrtttyyy pounds. What? Really? That's a lot. That's gross that I had 30 pounds to lose. But I'm not mad about it or judging myself for it. I have 20 more pounds or so to go. That is my goal at least. When I get there we'll see if it's all I want. But that's a matter of finding myself and has nothing to do with what anyone else thinks.

I'm not on a diet. I believe in eating healthy, whole foods. My relationship with food is basically summed up here. I exercise, I run, I stay active. But mainly I believe it's how you think that matters. "As a man thinketh, so is he."--James Allen (good book by the way, and short) I choose to be happy. I choose to love my life. I choose to love myself. Even on the weeks when boys dump me, my ipod dies, I wake up to the reality of my finances and realize I need to find work (job searching is one of the more depressing activities in life), and when I see how I'm so close to what I want, and yet so far away (New York, I'm talking about you.) I choose to love myself and my life even on a week like this. I see myself not where I am now, but where I want to be. I literally see myself in the mirror that way. This makes for a frustrating discovery because this method doesn't work when looking at pictures of yourself. Those pictures are freeze framed in time and capture you exactly where you are in your progress at that moment. But I brush it off and keep going because I know where I'm headed. I keep a number in my head, usually in 5 pound increments...I find that I am usually dead on this number each time I decide to weigh myself. All I'm saying is, you can be whatever you want to be. You can do whatever you want to do. You can achieve whatever you want to achieve. It's all in how you think.

Anyway, this is good news, right? The half of it that you don't know is: this is the weight I was at, the very weight I was at before I told him basically to get out of my life. That talk happened the first week of January and within 3 months, a whirlwind semester including a competitive journey that took us to LA, SF and NYC DURING SCHOOL, a strenuous relationship with some of my classes and professors and no "me" time, I gained 10 pounds. That summer, I moved to Portland with only my bicycle and my feet to get around, went running or hiking at least 3 times a week, rode my bike everywhere--to work, for fun (Johnson Creek River Trail to the Waterfront, up Hawthorne to Mt. Tabor and back home....I love Portland so much!) & to visit friends--and hardly ate except for basmati rice, the house salad and sourdough rolls from the restaurant I worked at as any form of a steady diet because I didn't even have a fridge to keep food in. Somehow even with all of that activity, I gained 10 more pounds. I realize now this had to do with the fact that I lived less than 2 miles from his house. At some point in the next year or two I fluctuated between another 10 pounds...making 30 pounds total.

My body was out of whack and even my normal exercising and eating whole foods wouldn't cure it. I even ran a half marathon thinking in my attempt and through training that it would jump start me. It didn't. I still ran the half marathon, though.

Gaining weight wasn't a simple matter of calories in calories out for me. It was a protection, from him and anyone else who would try to hurt me. It was a manifestation of what he made me feel I was: nothing. So I became that. I completely lost myself.

But, I don't believe in being a victim. I think sometimes people victimize you. But, it's not for me to judge his reasons or anyone's reasons for doing that. There comes a certain point when you have to take ownership for your life. You have to change the way you think and heal the things you can and move on the best way you know how. So, after 3.5 years I am back here, back to this milestone. And I said goodbye, just as non-chalantly as I said hello, and I won't regret never meeting him again.


The Idea of Love

I have a good friend from college, Ashkan, who is very dear to me. We have the kind of relationship that never needed any maintenance. It was there when we needed it and it was fine when we didn't. We studied music and art history together, vowing to get another 100% (I think it happened once.) We sat in his apartment with our matching slippers eating honey bunches of oats with his lactaid milk (so good!) and watching episodes of LOST back to back for hours. We went on long bike rides just to smell the fresh air. One time we synced our ipods up to the X&Y album and went for an hour long run...same music in our separate earbuds. This was an awesome run...for me...he puked after. We drove to Salt Lake and sat in coffee shops just to feel like we were in some sort of metropolitan atmosphere and to forget that we lived in Utah. We had long talks about life and our differences in religion and similarities in spirituality (he was my one non-member friend at BYU...so of course I held onto him! I have a maybe strange to you but normal for me need for diversity in my life.) We watched indie films and documentaries (he was a film major) and listened to Sigur Ros and Sufjan Stevens. We jammed out on the guitar and the djembe and even gigged together a few times. I may have fallen asleep on his couch a time or two---shhh don't tell the honor code office---but he would let me stay (he slept in his room...just to clear that up), because from time to time I needed someone, someone safe, someone like him. And, (to get to my point) we had lots of talks about love. We went through simultaneous relationships and break-ups and were there for each other in the interim. I listened, he listened, I cried, he...probably didn't cry. But, anyway, after years and years of troubled relationships he finally met his awesome wife, Brandi. They met late spring one year and were married that August. She is almost 10 years older and neither of them were looking for each other. I asked him about their relationship after they were engaged and what he said to me is something I will always carry with me now. He said:

"The problem with the way that two people meet is that you meet somebody and you start to like them and you create this complete idea of who this person is that really has no founding on who that person really is. But, it's a manifestation of who you want that person to be. You have built up this idea in your mind and you spend the rest of your relationship trying to make that person live up to your idea of them and being let down every time you realize they're not. The reason Brandi and I worked is that we met each other with no pretenses. We just got to know each other without thinking about each other and placing each other in this fantasy world in our heads. We got to know the real version of each other. And, we already were what we wanted. She already was what I wanted and vice versa."

Take the lyrics to this song, "I fell in love with the dream that I built of you, playing the part of the queen." Do you do this? I know I have, it's lame. I mean, I have a dream of John Mayer and Johnny Depp and James McAvoy. It's great, they love me (each separately), they're wonderful, they worship the ground I walk on. But, it's not real...I am so unfortunately aware of this reality. It's fiiiiine. But we do this to each other. Why do we do this to each other?

Here's my advice, my suggestion, my soap box, if you will. We need to be honest with each other. We need to not strategize and manipulate and try to pretend we're something we're not and try to pretend they're something they're not in order to make ourselves fit together. Don't say you're okay with their career choice and then secretly know inside that once you are together you will try to change their mind, or worse after you're married. Don't say you enjoy the theatre or dancing or this or that movie because you know he enjoys them when you really hate those things or could care less. If they really like/love you it won't matter to them that you don't like that movie. They will love you for who you are. And isn't that what you want anyway? So BE YOUR-FREAKING-SELF.

Here's why:
Too many people are afraid to tell someone the honest truth about who they are and about what they want. He or she says, "I don't want to tell them the truth or be myself...they may not like me...and what if they're 'the one'." Really? You are afraid so & so won't like you and then you think they could be "the one"? You really think "the one" is not going to like you? If they're not "the one" wouldn't you want to know that now instead of years down the road?

If you are completely genuine and honest about who you are and how you feel about the other person, AND taking into account that you are a relatively sane person, and that person doesn't like you---don't take it personally. Stop yourself. If you are 100% genuine and authentic and they don't like who you are it doesn't change who you are. They just don't like you. And there's not a problem with that. You're spaghetti and they like tacos. You are going to find a spaghetti lover. You will feel much more comfortable and happy with your future spaghetti lover than always trying to please your taco lover. Am I making sense? It's okay if I'm not, cause it's almost 2 AM now. Taco Bell is still open...hence the taco reference. jokes.

So people, let's just be upfront with each other. That is my wish. Let's stop creating ideas in our head of who somebody is that fits into what we want and just be real. Get to know the real him/her and figure out much more quickly if they're what you want. Be the real you and you don't need to worry about whether or not someone likes you. Feel good about who you are. Let's find something more real. It'll be better. I promise. You won't regret it. (That is what I tell myself at least, as I just got through meeting another taco lover. But I don't think I'm wrong about this. What do you think?)

I'm so tired now I don't even know what to do with myself. I'm going to leave you with this song that I love right now. I downloaded the acoustic version through his facebook account last week. There is a line that I love and it relates to this topic. It has a spot in my favorite lyrics of the moment...that and a line from Brooke Fraser ft. Aqualung's song "Who Are We Fooling?"--great song, check it out.

This song is written in second person, but my personal interpretation is that he's talking to himself. I like this idea better. And I can relate. You can make songs what you want them to be, just not people. Remember that.

Goodnight.

Take A Bow

take a bow
cause you played your heart out
and take your time with working the rest out
and try & stay out of your head
i have seen you invent the damndest things there


oh so what
maybe she could not really ever see you through her self
what does that change about you or her?

and try and to stay out of your head
i have seen you invent the damndest things there

maybe down the road i'll see you in a blur
from the speed of light you moving with her
maybe down the road i'll see you in a blur
see you in a blur

don't lean back, my friend
there's not much there that will push you on
use your stride, slow
and pick it up over time
and try & stay out of your head
i have seen you invent the damndest things there
and try & stay out of your head
i have seen you invent the damndest things there





2 comments:

Michael & Siri Alemany said...

Catherine--I love this post. You are gifted. In so many ways. Thank you for this. I quoted you on facebook, is that ok? Love you.

D.B. Woolston said...

I agree with you so much but find it so hard to implement. Early in a realtionship (especially when I'm really digging the person), I want to put everything best out first. I figure that the rest can be shared when things are more solid. But, perhaps that's misguided. In my quest to love and be loved, I close myself off to love by not being me.