Monday, May 31, 2010

Because I really, really love you. But you really, really hurt me.

So... I got my feelings hurt today. That phrase sounds so innocent, like someone called me a name on the playground. But it wasn't that. It was like someone saying, "You don't really matter to me" but with actions. And that sucks.

First, I pretended I was perfectly fine. He didn't know it happened. Just breezed right through to the rest of the story. I felt like someone hit me and I wasn't supposed to wince. My normal reaction is to pretend to be okay and then leave as soon as possible without actually letting the other person know I was upset. If they find out that I'm upset then we might have to TALK about it and that would be horrible. So I kept smiling and tried to attend the conversation while this voice in my head was saying, "Don'tcryuntilyougethome. Don'tcryuntilyougethome. Figureouthowtoleave. Keepsmiling. DON'TCRYUNTILYOUGETHOME!" Oh. I'm supposed to laugh at what he just said. Oh. My smile isn't convincing; he is looking at me funny.

Then I come to the horrible realization that it is going to be hours and hours before it is acceptable for me to leave without suspicion. And I can't do that. So I told him he hurt my feelings. And he apologized. And it wasn't good enough for me. I didn't feel better at all. I did a horrible job explaining just how much it sucked. I said one sentence and now he doesn't understand. He makes a joke. We move on. Or he does. But I don't. Not at all. I keep playing the words over in my head. I keep seeing them from different angles and analyzing the implications of the actions. He did this. It means this. He said this. It must mean this. All the while the outside world is barreling forward.

Smile at the people, Sarah Jo. Make jokes. Eat. Play cornhole. Watch the movie. Laugh at the appropriate places. Look at him when he looks at you.

What I feel like saying:

This is one of those things where it isn't so much just the one thing that happened, but also the twenty-seven other things I never talked about. Never brought up. And now it isn't just one instance of disrespect, it is a pattern of behavior that shows that I don't feel valued in this relationship. That I'm starting to feel the way I do right before I just completely disengage and watch the friendship wither. And I never said enough. And I didn't do enough to stop this from happening.

How can I explain where we are now if I never told you about all the wrong turns?
How can I start speaking now when I've been so silent?
How do I decide what is worth saving and when to just give up?
Because I really, really love you. But you really, really hurt me. Over and over again.
And I'm really good at forgiving people that hurt me, but I'm getting tired.

I made it all the way home before I started crying. I wish you wouldn't make me cry.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My iPod died. This makes me even more sad. Somehow, the universe doesn't want me to enjoy working out. Thanks universe. Now that I can't use my bicycle or my iPod, what next? Will my hiking boots fall apart at the seams?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A sound I heard over my blaring iPod.

Today the sun was bright and the air was warm and I just knew I had to be outside. I researched bike trails for a little while before coming to the conclusion that it was stupid to drive somewhere to bike.

I biked from my house instead and connected up with the local trail. I followed it to its end and then continued to the next trail. When I was about 20 miles away I stopped for lunch and randomly saw my cousin, Ashley, there. I talked to strangers, like I do, and then turned around to come back home. On the stretch of road between trails I ran over a large, sharp, piece of metal. I didn't see it so much as hear the POP-clink-hiss-clink-hiss-clink-hissssss. Luckily, I was only actually 3 miles from home even though I had only come back 10 miles. I walked my bike home on the roadways instead of taking the loop back to the house.

Some things I learned today:

I am really attached to my bike. Enough to cry when my tire blows.
It seems a lot hotter when you are walking then when you are biking.
3 miles isn't really very far.
When wearing a sleeveless shirt, my bra straps seem to remove a one-inch-wide strip of sunscreen, causing the most interesting sunburn.
When I get really, really upset, just talking to someone helps.
I'm glad I have several people in my life that would talk to me through my post-bicycle-blowout-tears.
I am really attached to my bike. I didn't cry the 9 times my car had a flat tire.
30 miles goes by much faster when biking with someone else. Biking alone is . . . not as fun.
I will bike alone before I go to the gym. Stupid gym.
My dad, as awful as he sometimes is, knows just how to baby me when I come home hot, sunburned, tired, hungry, and disappointed.

Yesterday was a good, good day.

I like the way my muscles feel as I push the pedals around and around, urging my bike forward. I like the way we can just talk and talk about anything at all as we go. I love it that 2 1/2 hours biking with you seems like no time at all, because when I'm alone it seems to take forever. It fills me with anticipation when you get excited about adventures with me, when you add things to the list. And when I exclaim over silly things like a table leaden with fresh produce or herbs in pots, you don't laugh at me but you rush over to see it too. I especially like it that when I leave you, my head isn't filled with worries over a dozen little things you said. I'm not wasting my time later filtering through the positive and negative things, trying to decide how to feel about the interaction. It is all positive. You make me feel hopeful, validated, excited, satisfied, and happier. And that is how it should be with friends. Thank you for teaching me things, especially when you didn't mean to teach me anything at all.

Sometimes we must be grateful for the things we wanted and never got to have.

Because sometimes they would have been the worst things for us.

Tonight, I lied. But it was to spare your feelings. And you probably won't remember anyway. But I did lie. And I'm not a liar so I feel guilty about it. I want to be honest with you and somehow not hurt your feelings at the same time. But you aren't honest with me and you hurt my feelings pretty frequently too. I'll never get what I wanted from you, but I can only control my own actions. So, I'm sorry that I lied. But it was the only way to avoid telling you things I will never never tell you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Things I was thinking about tonight:

He makes me laugh more than anyone else I know. And he responds with enthusiasm when I suggest an adventure. He says, "When? Today?" And he comes up with adventure for us to do too. He says nice things about me that feel true. Things that matter to me. He doesn't call me pretty, but he thinks I'm smart. And he doesn't compliment my clothing but he says he admires me. When I feel stupid, he shows me that he feels stupid too and then we're stupid together. And when I'm confused he explains it to me in a way that lets me know he enjoys teaching me. He tells me when he misses me and tells me that he appreciates my friendship. I don't have to worry about complicated feelings that go beyond friendship with him. He values and respects me. He makes me feel optimistic about the future and he gets excited about the things I find exciting too. He tries to be good, even though he messes up sometimes. And he doesn't like some of the things I do, but he doesn't lecture me about it.

It isn't that I love him more than you, but he treats me that way I want to be treated. And well, many times you don't.

This scale is slowly shifting.

Sometimes I feel like I can tell you everything I think and feel about everyone but you. And I think you tell me even less than that. And that sucks. It is like we are both avoiding a giant box in the room that is either full of a tamper-sensitive bomb or lots and lots of money. And we are too afraid to find out. Some things just aren't worth dying for. But I'm about to leave the damn room.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Caution: A Woman Under Construction

I'm not sure what brought you here. Maybe you're my good friend and you do things like read my blog because you care about me. Maybe you're a stranger that finds parallels to your own life in some of the things I write. Maybe you just hit the "next blog" button or this entry came up in your Google search results. I don't know.

I can tell you what brought me here.

Years ago, perhaps the day of my first blog entry, I found that my friend Tommy had a blog. It was amusing. It was a connection. It was an outlet. And I wanted one. So I started one.

Some part of me just likes to write. I write and write and it makes me feel better. I use metaphors and examples to construct some kind of foundation for feelings that seem to shift and swirl like the last two cheerios in a bowl of milk. I don't understand the world. I don't understand others. I don't understand myself. Every time I think I have a little corner of something figured out, the whole thing changes and my understanding crumbles in my hands. It was a castle made of sand.

These words, these entries, help me vent my confusion and share whatever conclusions I've come to. Sometimes I contradict myself. Sometimes I repeat myself. But I take them both in stride. I consider that one shows some kind of progress, some kind of change, and the other proves that no matter what else is going on in my life, there are some things that will never change.

And some part of me wants to be heard. I get uncomfortable speaking. I need lots of encouragement to keep speaking most times. Especially when it is serious. I can't get rid of the voice in my head that tells me other people don't want to hear me. Shut up. Be easy to be around. Be pleasant. Stop being serious. Stop sharing feelings and opinions. But you choose to come here. I'm not forcing my voice on you now. So it is so much more important to me, so much more flattering when someone listens HERE. Because they choose to. Not because they were being polite.

Todays conclusions:

I'm just trying to be the best version of my I can be. I'm trying to grow and learn and be better than I was before. It is a harder and slower journey than I ever anticipated.

I'm trying to do as little damage and as much good in other peoples lives that I can, while still maintaining some of my natural selfishness. I never mean to hurt anyone. I know how that feels. Why would I want to share it?

I want to figure out who I am. Because that seems to change about daily. And I want to learn how to let go of the unhealthy things in my life and learn how to love the things that are good for me.

And I want to keep a record. Because even after all my status updates disappear. And even after my texts messages are deleted. And even after you stop reading this for years, it will still be here. A record of who I was. Even when I hated who I was. Even when I was inconsistent and boring and just plain stupid. I was here.

I am here. And I'm glad you are too. Even if we don't actually speak to one another.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Yesterday during my lunch break, Megan was having an argument with her boyfriend over the phone. Of course, I did my best to not listen. I read my book. I contemplated my chicken curry. I stared intently at the microwave at the bowl turned and turned. But her voice rose above all my careful distractions.

At first, listening to it made me uncomfortable. Like any minute she was going to say something that would just ruin it all. She was standing her ground. She was saying, "This is what you did, this is how it made me feel, this is what I wanted you to do to fix it. You didn't do that. Now this is how I feel. This is how you can fix it." It wasn't even my argument and I was recoiling from the confrontation and just wanting peace.

But something happened.

He didn't hang up on her. He listened.

Now I wish I could argue like that. Normally when I'm upset about something, I never really tell the other person . It usually comes out apologetic. I back down. I just want to fight to be over. And I I always have this unsatisfied feeling that I didn't really say what I wanted to say. And how can I forgive you and move on if you don't even know what you did? And how can we keep it from happening again if I don't ever let you know how much it hurt/bothered me/ disappointed me?

It is so easy for me to say, "I love you." Why can't I say, "Many times I feel like you don't value me at all."? The second is probably the message that would give the relationship the most chance of surviving. Eventually, I'm going to withdraw altogether. And I won't be able to explain why, because I never, ever said a thing.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Until 8 o'clock, I had forgotten to miss you.

I knew I was supposed to miss you, of course. And I felt, and still feel, your absence in a way that I can't escape. Empty time where there shouldn't be. And things I would say to you if you were here. And just knowing that even in times when I wouldn't see or speak to you, you are far away now. Things I anticipated. But not until I went to the laundromat did I actually feel the feeling of missing you.

Someone there reminded me of you. He didn't look a thing like you. And he was much older. Decades older. But something in his mannerisms, the way he spoke, the mischief in his eyes, the way he treated me felt just like you. And I didn't even notice at first, being oblivious as I am. He spoke to me a couple times as I went about my business loading the washer and again when it was time to move the clothes to the dryer.

I was reading my book, not even thinking of the interaction when it hit me. Somewhere between paragraphs I realized that he talked to me just the way you would. And I miss you.

Well, I hope you miss me too. Because I'm mean that way.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Arms full of nothing.

Have you ever tried to carry too many things? Something starts to slip and you don't have a free hand to adjust it. You  just move faster, hoping you reach your destination before it falls. Or maybe that it won't break when it falls. Perhaps someone will come along and adjust it for you, or bless them, carry something.

I think life is always, always like this.

What am I carrying?

Weight loss. Thoughts of it consume hours of my day. I vacillate between being excited about my choices to feeling guilty about something. And the progress is never, never fast enough. Weight loss isn't a heavy burden, but it is that mostly-empty box that is so huge it blocks my vision of anything else.

Money. I'm trying to pay off some debt I've acquired. It is hard to find a balance between paying things off and still spending money on things I want. I don't want to make myself unhappy by not ever doing things, but I don't want to make just minimum payment either. Debt is a heavy, awkward bundle to carry.

Dating. I'm not dating and I want to be. I get increasingly worried when I see more and more of my friends and acquaintances getting married. I feel impatient. And I feel the kind of lonely that doesn't go away no matter how much time I spend with my girl friends. The kind of lonely that makes me cling to unhealthy things just because they are THERE and the alternative is nothing at all. This burden feels like the grocery bag handles stacked on my arms that only start to hurt after a little time. Then they cut deeper and deeper into my skin with each swing, timed with my walk. The faster I go, the more it hurts. If I slow down, it will hurt longer.

But I'm sure I'll be carrying different forms of these burdens my whole. whole life.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

This is me letting go. Was that the response you anticipated?

This is me finally coming up for air. Did you think you would always, always have a hold?

This is me finally seeing the sun. I can't believe I ever gave it up.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Metaphors help me figure out how I feel.

You know that feeling when you haven't quite decided how to feel? That is currently where I am. I keep going over all the different factors trying to decide which to focus on. How should I feel?

I'm frustrated with myself. I'm not very good at being verbal about my feelings in person. I always want to do or say whatever it is that will cause the least amount of conflict. And then later I get angry at myself for not speaking. Like right now. Some things I want to say. Some things I'll never, ever get to say. This is why I write.

I'm relieved. Like all of those times I almost got on a roller-coaster and then didn't.

I'm disappointed. Like all of those times I didn't get on the damn roller-coaster.

What is it called when you expect something and it still sucks every time it happens? I'm that.

I'm a little angry.

I feel like the moment all the tension releases and you can't quite locate all of your muscles.

Or like when you finally, finally stop running. At first everything hurts and then it feels better and better.

When you are lost, that moment when all the strange things suddenly snap into focus and you think you know where you are now. You are almost positive. I am that.

I am a little disgusted. With myself. And with others.

I am okay. I just need some time to process. I have all the time in the world. Please don't talk to me about it. Really.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The distance between us is how far?

I wonder what it is like to be other people. I wonder what goes on in your heads. How do your thoughts organize themselves? What do you think about when you're alone? How different are we? How similar? I wonder if there are things we have in common that we don't even know how to verbalize.

Sometimes I feel like we have no connections to one another. Like all of our understanding is imagined and that every other human being is an unknowable alien. Forever changing. Forever an enigma. The people we see walking around are figments of our imagination. They don't even know who they are. They change from day to day. How can we know each other when we don't even know ourselves?

But other times I feel connected in a way I cannot describe. We are all just cells of one being. We breathe together. Somehow, beneath all the artifice, we are one. And the details don't matter because we are made of the same stuff and our differences only help us fit together better.

Sometimes, I wonder if anyone else wonders about this.