Saturday, 7 May 2011

Of Camels And Ducks

Oh the irony of writing one thing one day and turning around the next day with a whole other set of insecurities and hurts knocking at your door, waiting to take you down, yet again, but from a different angle.

I am an emotional duck. Or maybe a swan.

You know that saying about how ducks and swans are seen to be gliding along the surface of the pond, all smooth and elegant, serene and calm, while underneath the water their little legs are going like crazy to keep them going?

Yeah, well that's me and my emotions.

And you combine that with all the camels that make up my life and I feel like all my backs are getting broken by these tiny little things that shouldn't matter but then they're just the tipping point and it's no wonder I feel like I'm sitting here not even knowing how to explain myself. (And can't help but wonder why it feels like so much straw is getting thrown my way lately.)

However I was raised, or whatever it is that hurt me or made me wary I am who I am at this moment and I'm not sure that that person is capable of holding good solid relationships.

My Mom tells me that even as a child I would only have one close friend. I wouldn't have said that about my childhood if you'd asked me, but that's how she sees it.

I think what I see myself as doing, as being, is protective of myself. And wary of being hurt and left.

Or perhaps more to the point, of people choosing someone else over me.

Because that's what happens.

A best friend would find a new friend or a friend who lived closer or a friend who played on their team or was in their class and that new friend would get their attention and I'd fade into the background until someone else would want to spend time with me and share their stories and secrets.

There was a while there where I had a good solid group of friends, but I moved away for a year and when I got back they'd moved on and I was never really able to reconnect with anyone in quite the same way; I was always just slightly on on the outside.

My friends now have all moved on in their own way too. They've all married, many of them have had kids and it moves you to the outside; to the periphery.

And so maybe all this pre-loads my camels with so much straw on their backs that it doesn't take much for me to be hurt, for that back to get re-broken and no, I don't know why I'm built this way so no, I don't know how to change it.

Some people are good at that. C-Dawg's good at that. She can recognize where she has walls up or is working from past hurts and she can call herself on it and try to fix it.

I don't even know where I'm coming from half the time.

Case in point? This weekend.

C-Dawg made a comment about the way I was reacting to her new relationship and I was completely surprised. It's not the first time lately that I've been spoken to about how people are perceiving me so I tried to see where I may have made her feel that way and I apologized.

But the things with my damn camels is that the straw just seems to stick there. It's not like it blows itself back off once I've dealt with the issue, and so then suddenly we're dealing with something that's not even about what it's about.

C-Dawg wants to move forward with her running whereas I don't, exactly. I kind of just want to stick at where I'm at while maybe getting a little bit faster and increasing my cardio. But generally, I want to stick at "still enjoying it" and "middle of the pack."

I understand and respect her desire to push herself and know exactly how she feels. I'm just not there.

Which should be totally fine, right? Absolutely. I want to be the one on the sidelines cheering her on as she zips by in her fourth marathon.

Except for my damn camels.

Because all of a sudden it's not about her wanting to run faster and father than I do, it's about her not wanting to be with me anymore.

It's about our lives going in separate directions.

I'd wanted running to be "our" thing and all of a sudden I see her slipping away and moving on with a life that doesn't include me. A life that includes a new boyfriend and her son and their lives together and her running both literally and figuratively away from me.

Which isn't what it's about.

C-Dawg just wants to run.

But here's the thing with me and my little duck legs.

Because I know when she tells me that she wants to join a clinic I can't make it to that the absolute sadness that comes over me isn't about the clinic. I just can't get to what it is about so I withdraw.

And C-Dawg notices.

Most people don't. Most people just see the duck, floating along, serene and calm. They don't realize what's going on and how twisted and anxious and hurt I am on the inside.

She notices damn fast.

And this time it sort of feels like our wires got crossed and as I sit here writing this I feel like I'm sitting here waiting for one of the people I care most about in the world to write me an email saying she's done with me.

Because that's how it's worked for me in the past.

That's the straws and the baggage and the scars and whatever other metaphors you can come up with.

People leave me.

Friends move on. Boyfriends break up with me. And now, with my Dad being sick, the reality becomes that parents die.

I've somehow learned that keeping people at a safe distance helps. Helps the hurt to hurt less. So it's such a risk for me to have a close friend when that opens up the potential to be left.

And hurt.

But I don't know what to do.

I don't know if I'm supposed to just babble out every little thing I'm upset about or if I'm supposed to wait until I'm calmer.

I've been fighting myself this weekend, fighting the urge and the habit to push C-Dawg away because that's usually what I do in this situation. I see the situation turning in some way and feel the potential for me to get really really hurt so I push away first.

And I've been trying not to do that. Am trying to grow here.

But I feel like my duck legs and my straw-backed camels screwed me over and how many times can you ask someone to be patient? How many times can you ask someone to understand you when you don't even understand yourself.

I don't know what I should do. Do I keep people at that safe distance and just live with the alone that comes with that? Or do I let people in and be inevitably hurt and disappointed because we're all only human and no one can read my mind.

Perhaps I am an incredibly selfish and self-involved person. Because sometimes I feel like the world should revolve around me damnit. I sometimes get to a point where I feel like I've given so much to so many and at the end of the day it's still just me taking care of me and watching out for me, when what I'd like is someone in my life taking care of me the way I try to take care of my loved ones. But I think my loved ones don't know how to take care of me sometimes because I'm scared to tell them what I need.

I'm scared to tell them because they might say no, or they might roll their eyes, or they might leave me, so I sit and I wait and I hope and I send them mental brain waves and hope that they read my mind because isn't it clear that my little legs are flailing away just under the surface of the water here?

Isn't it clear that my camels are already over loaded and I need help un-packing them?

Isn't it clear that I still haven't learned to find myself really, truly, honestly to be someone people would choose to love.

I think I've always wanted to be first in someone's life, but I'm really starting to think that maybe I'm not someone who will ever have that.

Or maybe you'll tell me that that's not actually how it works.


Blogger Heather said...

I relate completely to this. I'll have a lot of friends, but there's always one I spend most of my "available for friends" time with. I can't casually date more than guy at once, I find it stressful. One at a time please. I'm the long term girlfriend/best friend kind of gal. All my boyfriends have moved away, left me behind at the last minute... Things tend to be on other people's schedules; what they want to do, when they want to do it, where... Etc. I've usually chalked it up to my ability to attract a lot of flakey people into my life. Not that ALL my friends are flakey but a large number of them bail on me a lot.

I've come to accept that I'm one of those people who completely gives herself over to the people who are important and will do whatever she needs to do or is needed for. Not everyone is like this. But I'm learning to find and see the ways that other people DO reciprocate. Maybe they don't show they care in the same way as me, and maybe sometimes they're flakes, but they do have ways of showing me they care and that I'm important.

I'm figuring out that one day I'll find someone who treats me and sees me and looks at me the way I see the people that are important in my life. It will happen. I just haven't found them yet. And for now, I'm happy with my life, and ultimately, I'm here for me. I'm my rock at the moment, and that's ok. I've got a roof over my head and a cat to cuddle with. I have a good job, plans and goals... The rest will fall into place.

Just keep flailing until you bump into another duck... Everything will smooth out after that :)

Saturday, May 07, 2011 12:24:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Thanks for your comment and thoughts Heather, it helps to hear someone else feels something similar :)

Saturday, May 07, 2011 4:40:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can totally relate. i went through a break up and we were friends before (with a group of mutal friends) and during it all i seemed to be the one who was left out. i mean no one ever said they didn't want to be friends with me, but it felt awkward and i couldn't get past it and i shunk away. and like you said, people move on and i found it hard it break my self back in after it all happened.
not sure if any of this makes sense to your situation, but the one thing i wish i'd be able to do was get over everything that was going on in my head and just hang out and continue my friendships. i let the awkwardness get to me and it went too long and then the friends were gone. i miss them lots. so if i had some advice, it would be to try to push past it because i'm sure your friend won't be thinking about this in the same way you will and if you let your friendship fade, it'll be harder to get back on track.
you and your friend seem to have a great friendship and i hope this little 'bump' passes for you :)

Saturday, May 07, 2011 5:28:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Yeah, I hear you :)

Saturday, May 07, 2011 5:50:00 pm  
Anonymous TraceTobes said...

Wow. This is the first time I have read a blog (I know, I must be from the dark ages)! It was like reading my own diary. My best friend always 'teases' me about my theory that everybody leaves eventually. I am so glad that some one out there in the world feels the things I do. I am the person to help and look after everyone, but who is looking after me? You have inspired me to think about writing my own blog - it seems like it might be theraputic!

Sunday, May 08, 2011 5:16:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

Cool Trace...

And, yes, it can be therapeutic ;)

Sunday, May 08, 2011 8:49:00 am  
Anonymous randomstranger said...

I don't know what to say to make you feel better, Victoria, but I do know what you mean :(
Maybe you're over-sensitive? I know for a fact that I am, and it leads to me worrying about things that don't necessarily require worrying about and anticipating things that usually don't happen.
You honestly sound like someone I'd love to be close friends with. So I hope you stop feeling that way! :(

Sunday, May 08, 2011 10:56:00 pm  
Blogger Just Sayin... said...

Ya, what Heather said.

I think everyone goes thru this stage at some point in their life. I know that doesn't help you at all. Hope you find the balance you're looking for.


Monday, May 09, 2011 8:43:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

I'm sure I'm over sensitive RandomStranger, but knowing that doesn't always mean I can change it, know what I mean? But, yeah I hope to stop feeling this/that way too :)

Thanks JS

Monday, May 09, 2011 4:57:00 pm  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

Really, I’m concerned you’ve just downloaded info from my head!! I was just thinking about this earlier…minus the fabulous duck and camel metaphors! I totally get the friend thing. My best friend moved away recently. She was the person I did everything with, from running errands to hanging out on a Saturday night. Now that she’s gone I feel left behind. Sure, I have other friends but it’s not the same. Like you mentioned, many of my friends are also married with kids so I can totally relate to feeling like a friend on the periphery. So now when I hear about the new friends MY best friend has made I find myself feeling jealous and afraid that these new friends will replace me and that I will just become a “friend” who lives in another city.
But, on the flip side, I know that my best friend and I will always be friends. Yes, it will be different but we’ll be friends. From my removed position across the globe I imagine that C-Dawg is the same kind of friend to you that my friend is to me. Sure, she’s got new things in her life, but you are also the friend she has chosen to hang out with and run with…when she could have chosen other friends to build that relationship with. I can’t imagine that any misunderstanding would be cause for ending the friendship you both share. I know what often works against me is my own insecurity…that if I become too difficult of a friend or have too much baggage that I will be dropped for an easier, better friend. Combine that with a fear of getting hurt and having to experience those feelings of being left of rejected and I’m just a mess.
I know it’s hard when you don’t know where or how the feelings of I do feel like I know where my fear of getting close to someone only to lose them comes from. Having lost a parent at a young age I know that rocked my world and that I would do anything to prevent that emotional pain in my life again. But darn if no matter how lonely and alone I feel and how much I long for a partner in life…I still find myself guarding my feelings, not opening up to someone and perpetuating this sad life that I live, alone! So, all that to say that even when you figure out all of the things that might be loading down your camel, it’s not always the magic pill to solving your problems. More importantly, I think that knowing we all have our issues and just figuring out how to communicate and understand others is key. I imagine you’re sensitive to how others are feeling, given your tendency to take care of others.
Maybe I’m living in a dream world but I hold out hope that I will meet the right person to help me break down these walls and is understanding enough to so as well. So, I like to think that that will be the case with you too. And darn it if it doesn’t work out….some psychologist or psychiatrist will make a ton of money off of me and live happily ever after!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 7:12:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Wow Rebecca, now you're just stealing words from my head! (No, seriously, are you?) ;)

Love your comment, totally agree, big hugs to you. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 9:07:00 pm  
Anonymous cb_cg said...

Ah Victoria, I do so love your blog! Mostly because, like others have said, you are able to articulate what floated aimlessly in my head for years.

Afraid of being abandoned I picked the wrong guy, moved cities every three years, sabotaged potentially good relationships and stayed in some absolute horror shows.... all so I could avoid the pain of being left by someone I loved.

And you know what? Pushing people away? It doesn't work. It still hurts. It hurts for what it could have been, for the relationship you might have enjoyed, for the chances you wished you had taken. You are hurting yourself so much by all this pushing and fearing and not-daring-in-the-first-place.

Ask yourself 'what if'. What if the next time you wanted to push or run, you said 'yes' instead. And stood your ground, or maybe even wandered forward a few steps. Walk into an emotionally scary (you know what I mean, right?) relationship, eyes open, knowing that you very well might get hurt (when he moves, or changes his mind) but enjoy the crap out of it until then. And then, if it fails, bawl, cry, moan for a few days and then realize that you WILL come out the other end. With no regrets. Live your life Victoria, you deserve it.

You were me several years ago. I see myself so clearly in you. Like you I too wondered if I was destined to be alone together, and decideded 'what the fuck' if I'm going to be alone, I may as well go out in a blaze of glory, I'm going to FEEL every minute of it. And I did, and had a couple of hugely emotional relationships where I was completely open to the wrong guy. Not always fun, but this was my learning curve... and it sounds trite as all hell, but after I figured out how to really say 'yes' in a relationship, then I picked the right guy.

And I am just the same quirky, clumsy, crabby, silly, generous, happy, neurotic bitch I've always been. Except now I'm finally able to be with someone whose personality meshes perfectly with mine.
And at 46, I'll be married for the first time.
Say 'Yes' Victoria. Trust yourself and say 'yes'

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 3:59:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

Thank you very much for your comment cb_cg, it gave me a lot to think about and consider and look forward to too. Thanks.

And congratulations! :D


Wednesday, May 25, 2011 8:09:00 pm  

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