“If you ever feel that you are no longer important to someone… then leave their life silently.”~ Anonymous

I wasn’t going to blog about this, because it’s a relatively small and unimportant matter, in the grand scheme of things, and is a situation that’s somewhat personal, besides. However, I found it was something that upset me in a way that I simply couldn’t let go of the way I wanted to…and it upset my emotional balance all evening, and consequently, how other people felt about spending time with me. In short, it made me really, really sad, and I’m not even sure why it hit home as hard as it did.

I have a friend who has been in my life for some time, only recently, after quite a number of years, we took the time to meet face-to-face. Before that, he’d always been the sort of person who’d been content to be my friend at somewhat of a distance. A naturally introverted person with a pretty rich inner world and a very busy life aside from that, he’s never been the type to call me up to gossip about our lives, and if I were looking for the kind of person to remind me of my importance on a regular basis, I’d naturally feel hurt by this friend, because he’s the type that forgets to send an e-mail for a week, or two, or four, or eight.

Of course, whenever we did communicate, I always got the sense that underneath our many difference, there was a complex and unique level of connection…and since every letter seemed to mention “I’m sorry for not communicating more often”, I took it as a sign that I was someone he wished to get to know better. I even took it as a sign that in some way, I was worth escaping from an introverted and self-sufficient world to spend time with, which he did, although neither of us were certain we’d get along…at all.

We did indeed get along, in a way that led to a more heartfelt, interesting connection than I’d anticipated. I’m not an inexperienced girl when it comes to people, the ways of the world, and seeing the parts of people and their inner worlds they don’t typically share with others. I saw in this friend someone I felt an inexplicable connection to, despite a myriad of superficial differences—whether that connection is a sign of simple romantic attraction, a meaningful friendship, or someone who has been put in my life for a purpose, I do not know—but I know that connection when it shows up (and it doesn’t often), and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been wrong about the existence of that connection. I also know when that connection is reciprocated, if not understood, and there really doesn’t need to be much conversation about that. People just intuitively sense how others feel about them, I suppose, even if it’s illogical and confusing and makes little sense. The “why” and the nature of human connections are harder to figure out, but their existence is fairly simple.

Anyhow, my response to all this was to react in the way I’d react to anyone I’d been friends with at a distance, clicked with, and realised we should spend time getting to know one another: by communicating more frequently. Unfortunately, since this friend lives at quite a distance from me, is too busy to screw around on Facebook all day and rarely uses it, doesn’t reply to e-mails in a timely fashion, and has a schedule that precludes long, in-depth phone conversations, it left me with one of my favourite and most adaptable ways of becoming closer friends with someone: text.

A few weeks ago, we had a rather heated discussion (re: argument) about communication, which ended in me overreacting and feeling rejected, because I received a rather sharply worded letter about how this friend simply didn’t have the time or emotional availability required for the whole “getting to know you better”, communication thing. The letter wounded me so deeply that I briefly considered simply dismissing any possibility of anything past a casual, once-a-month friendship, and cutting off communication. Fortunately, when I expressed myself and my feelings, my friend sent me back a more emotionally-oriented explanation of what he was trying to say, something I could relate to. This led to a series of communications and rather vulnerable, emotional conversations about ourselves and our lives, and on my end, I saw as even greater evidence that, deep down, I’d met someone who truly wanted open, meaningful, and sensitive connection with others…despite an outward appearance that might point to the contrary. The more I connected with this friend, the more I saw how much we had in common on a deep and internal level, and not just the differences existing on the everyday lifestyle level. Again, I received feedback from my friend that indicated he also saw this, and was both pleased and confused by the dichotomy of feelings evoked by that kind of friendship.

Somewhere along the line, we reached a truce. We agreed we both had broken pieces in terms of how we communicate with others that could possibly destroy not only any possible friendship between us, but likely affected other friendships and relationships in our lives. We agreed that I would cut him some slack and not assume that not hearing from someone every day means they don’t like me, are abandoning me, or have lost interest in knowing me. In return, he would work on being more open and communicating and taking the time out to truly connect, because it’s an important part of life.

This worked for about two or three weeks. I agreed not to text him at work when he pointed out it was disruptive, or when he was sleeping, or to be overly clingy and lack understanding about the need for focused, introverted time, which meant I might not get a response to a text or a call that day. On his part, he acknowledged that me opening myself up and trusting him enough to want to make a space for him in my world and my life, and doing that the only way I know how—via communication—was indeed a special gift, and one he felt hurt by not appreciating enough, letting me know that getting to know one another better and “spending time together”, so to speak, was important for him, too.

Today, things kind of blew up, and there was an unpleasant exchange of texts that again led me to feel hurt and rejected and as if the gift I was offering was not only something not of value to him, but one he clearly did not want and was returning unopened. This shocked me because, quite frankly, I’d thought I’d understood that not only was this friend attracted to me on some level, but also felt a connection with me that was both intimidating and intriguing.

I see that it happened because we both failed. Neither of us followed through on the promises we made, on the ground rules that we established that said “This is what’s going to work to help our friendship grow”. I naturally fell back into my old habits of texting whenever I felt like it (although I did try not to do so during work hours), and because things seemed different, in that my friend would not only answer my texts but communicate and have long discussions with me—sometimes about important stuff, sometimes about nothing—-I began to assume the friendship was, in fact, becoming more comfortable to him. I understood that I was dealing with someone who didn’t need my level of communication, but it really seemed as if my friend were trying to bridge that gap, the same way I was trying by being more respectful of his time and obligations.

However, at the end of this week, things seemed to go awry. My friend stopped communicating, for days, and of course it didn’t take long before I started to take it personally. He let me know that he was very busy with other obligations, and at one point, even apologised for not being around—something I think is probably not normal for him to do. Yet, although I understood, I seemed to focus on the fact that not only was I being ignored, I was getting a different vibe from my friend’s sparse communication.

I felt as if something had suddenly become different, as if this person I felt comfortable growing closer to backed away—and like all intuitive people, I’m not sure I’m not right about that—-and like all people with abandonment complexes, I freaked out and felt abandoned.

Of course, I tried to mask this with sarcastic humour, and my friend instead accused me of being confrontational. I didn’t intend to be, but being an equally intuitive person, he likely detected the hurt feelings and fear lurking underneath the snarky comments. Somehow, things escalated into him feeling like something was wrong with him for his inability to make me happy with the communication he was offering, which then hurt me that he was so hurt. As a result, I immediately moved into abandonment mode, accused him of being disinterested in any sort of meaningful friendship with me, and using all the typical things you’d encounter in ending a relationship (“I’m just going to walk away now, because it’s for your own good; I make you sad and I don’t want that”) and the counter, (“We can still be friends though, right?”)—with someone you weren’t even involved with, ever, to boot. It became upsetting, distracting, dramatic, and in the time it took us to have this text fight, we could have had a lovely, uninterrupted 30 minute phone chat about something that left us feeling positive about each other and ourselves, rather than fighting about communication.

I still have this odd feeling that something happened to cause my friend to create an emotional distance I didn’t expect and I responded to in an overly sensitive way. Perhaps it is a “me” related thing—perhaps he finally read a regrettable piece of correspondence I’d sent after our first fight over communication and freaked out, perhaps it’s because I told him I was planning to stop by and visit on my way up to see my family and friends in the Northeast (something he seemed pleased to hear, but people are complex and difficult.), or perhaps he simply decided he’d had enough and needed AlaynaFreeTime. Perhaps it’s something related to work, or difficulties with another friendship or relationship in his life. But there was a specific point when I felt something change, and because that scared me, I couldn’t just let it go. I should have, especially if it was an emotional misperception on my part. But, this idea that this new friend in my life wasn’t yet someone I could trust not to disappear on me—either literally or emotionally—or withdraw to the point where sending me a “checking in” letter once a month was the extent of interest he had in knowing me; well, that idea is powerful and pervasive when it’s been a hurtful part of your past.

I understand that we both failed…both in communicating with one another and in working to understand one another, and to help one another overcome certain trust issues and insecurities.

I said to someone recently that usually,when people who care about one another fight, it becomes about everything except exactly what you want and mean to say.

What I meant to say to my friend this week was this: “I understand you’re really busy with life and overwhelmed, and I appreciate you taking the time to tell me that, because you’re not accountable to me in any way, and that choice shows me you care. Yet, you’ve been more emotionally distant than usual, and I have this weird feeling that you’re withdrawing back into your own little world, which makes me feel scared of being abandoned.”

Instead, I didn’t say those things. I didn’t say “thank you” for making the effort to try, which might seem like such a minor thing to me, but isn’t at all to someone like my friend for whom communication isn’t a daily necessity. Instead, I hid behind annoyingly snarky messages about his unavailability in hopes that he’d reach out and connect with me, say “This is how I’m feeling and what’s going on, and it’s not personal…and if it is personal, here’s why.” Instead, I made someone I cared about feel inadequate and unappreciated and unaccepted for who he is—which couldn’t be further from the truth. And, of course, rather than opening up more, this seemed to get the reaction of him shutting down, backing away from me, realising it was just easier to dismiss things by saying “We’re broken people” and “We’re really different, and look at close friendships differently” than to really talk.

And, in that way, my friend failed a little bit, too. It takes two people to connect, and when things went awry, I put myself out there in an emotional way that went largely ignored and disregarded. He retreated into his safe, comfort zone where someone getting too close or demanding too much wasn’t an issue, and there wasn’t anyone to let down or feel harangued by. Rather than remembering, “Alayna is opening up to me and attempting to know me in a way that is meaningful and flattering, and that is a gift that not too many people freely give”, he only saw demands and inconveniences and expectations he couldn’t fulfill—-something that I’d suspect likely reminded him of other friendships and relationships in his life where that was in play, and reminded him of other times he wasn’t understood or accepted. In fact, after apologising to me for being too “broken” to communicate in the way I—and many people—need, I felt the need to hug this friend, and remind him that he was just as he was supposed to be. He thanked me for accepting him, which I found odd—only moments early, I responded in a very emotional way because I felt judged, when he pointed out, “Most people would do this, instead of what you do…”. I felt it necessary to give him something I didn’t feel from him, which perplexed me..but, like I said, I don’t always understand feelings. They just *are*. I was very hurt, but his reaction made me feel bonded and protective, all at once. Perhaps I have a nurturing side to me, after all.

I may be really, really wrong…but despite the really unpleasant, hurtful conversation, I still feel like my friend is someone I know and see and understand, deep down. I can’t always express that when my personal insecurities get in the way, and I hide behind drama and histrionic outbursts, and the old standby, “I’m walking away so you can realise how important I am when I’m gone.” At the same time, I think he has a fairly deep insight into the person I am, the person a few layers deeper than most people know—but when something stresses him out or scares him or overwhelms him, he retreats into this very logical mode that can sometimes border on hostile (or maybe just for an emotional person like me.). I wish that he could communicate with me *before* that happens, to speak openly about thoughts and feelings and concerns and not just while we’re having an argument and hurling around all the statements about what we don’t like about ourselves, or one another. Because I know we are actually fond of one another a great deal—and we both like ourselves enough to get by. ;)

I know and understand enough about people to know that both my friend and I use well-developed defense mechanisms on a regular basis, two different tactics that have always been successful for two people who have developed a lifetime of self-protective instincts, distrust of letting others too deeply into their world, and fear of ultimately being hurt, abandoned, used, or betrayed. I accused my friend today of not being willing to open up or take chances or give anyone the benefit of the doubt or to let anyone in, but the truth is that I’m no better—-I push away the very people to whom I want to get closer. And, being more intuitive than most, it’s like I *know* what’s going to accomplish that self-protective sabotage that I’ve relied on to keep me safe—an instinct that’s resulted in a lifetime of commitmentphobia, polyamoury, a string of broken engagements and ex-lovers who won’t speak to me, friendships that change every few years, and the unique talent I have for telling people I want them to come closer while simultaneously pushing them away. Maybe we both share the same fear of intimacy that means our friendship can only exist on a superficial level, but I kind of instinctively feel the opposite…that perhaps we are the kind of people that can really and truly relate to one another in a way most others cannot. I suppose only time—and the mutual interest and willingness to figure that out, if such an interest exists— will tell.

I also see that, deep down, my friend and I aren’t that different. I deal with many of the same issues in an extroverted, hyper-emotional way that he deals with in an introverted, “this isn’t comfortable for me” way. I wouldn’t be surprised if, despite that dichotomy, our feelings and insecurities and fears are very much the same. And I also wonder if this underlying dichotomy is that inexplicable *thing* that would draw two very opposite people together, and despite reason and logic, create feelings of “You’re supposed to be important to me, and I don’t know how or why, but I know you are important.” When you turn around the mirror image of yourself—the one that is superficially opposite in every way, yet still essentially you on some level—you either find something life-changing in some way, or something you simply can’t have in your life because you–or the other person–can’t deal. Again, I suppose it’s a matter of time and mutual interest in getting to know one another that will reveal which this is, but regardless, I have this feeling that my friend and I finding one another, and discovering these things about one another, is meant to be immensely significant in some way. Good, bad, indifferent, life-altering, or just confusing? I don’t know. But I’m willing to be open and patient enough to find out.

In some ways, it’s asking the impossible. For us to get to a point where we have the kind of friendship I think we could possibly have—one of that rare variety that pass through your life, teach you something valuable, and change everything when you’re not looking—-we both need to appreciate one another and see the small things, rather than making demands. We both need to get rid of defense mechanisms that aren’t doing either of us any good…because (and again, I might be wrong), I think that deep down we both look for the type of connections that we simultaneously fear and push away, and instead choose other types of connections to populate our lives. We both need to stop running away, emotionally detaching, or hiding behind sarcasm and other forms of communication meant to not betray any real, meaningful feelings.

I was really upset about the conversation today, not just because I felt hurt, rejected, and abandoned, but because I felt I let down someone I’ve come to care about greatly, and possibly destroyed the chance for a real,honest, deep connection. I assumed my friend would feel relieved and as if a weight were lifted, making it clear he didn’t want to know me as well or hear from me as often. But, writing this, I realise how inconsistent that is with the person I believe I’ve come to know…and that I forgot I’m not the only one with a great capacity for feeling emotional, abandoned, misunderstood, rejected, and not good enough. Wanting space to be yourself is not the same as not wanting to become closer to another person. At the same time, I could see why he’d be hesitant to want to become any closer to me than we already are. I think there are aspects of our friendship that confuse and overwhelm and scare this friend of mine—and at the same time, he truly values and wants in his life. Ironically, many of those are likely the same things. I asked him why, knowing about me and my tendency toward clingy, dramatic communication in compensation for other, more meaningful things—he still chose to befriend me, much less meet me, much less admit he felt the same inexplicable connection with me upon meeting that I did—and I don’t believe I ever got an answer. Knowing the answer might clarify some things for me. Am I just a curiosity that’s outlived the entertainment value by becoming a demand? :( I don’t actually believe that, but I’d hate to find out what I felt as connection was mere intrigue by something long heard about, but never experienced. I’d hate to discover that I was a novelty for this friend.

In an emotional outburst moment, I informed him that he could send me away and choose not to communicate with me anymore, but after a few days, he’d miss the presence he found annoying and distracting. I told him that I believed the fact he thinks he doesn’t need or define closeness in the same way I do might be true, but he also might be surprised to find that it’s not exactly the way he always thought to define it, either. An overemotional, dramatic statement, of course…but I suspect there’s an element of truth.

I think that my friend and I did, in a way, let each other down this week…and while that’s sad, it’s nothing that should put an end to what has the makings of a very special and valuable friendship. Sometimes, people fail one another. Sometimes, people fail themselves. That’s precisely what forgiveness and insight is for.

I know my friend doesn’t read my blog, or tries not to…but I do hope perhaps an exception exists for this one. He may not see things as I see them—my intuitive read on things has been known to be wrong—but somehow, I believe he’ll understand more about me, and about our disagreement, than I was able to communicate while it was happening. And if not, well—at least I know I understand better. I am not going to be the person who simply walks away and says “You have no idea what you’re missing out on in not knowing me”, and talk to him once a month, once every two months. If he’d rather we have that kind of friendship…well, that’s not my choice. I can only make my own decisions. But I’m not allowing my fear of feeling hurt and rejected and suffering from wounded pride to shut someone out of my life who has become quite important to me.

I think that’s a type of personal growth on my part, and I can only hope the continued interest in carving out a small place in life for another person who may one day become a great friend is ultimately reciprocated.

Sometimes all you have to say is, “I care about you, and I’m sorry all my own crap kept me from letting you know that, and not giving you what you asked me for.” It is OK to tell someone else what you need, but it’s also important to remind them how important they are in your life—if, in fact, they truly are, and you want them to stick around. And, when someone asks you for something, if you truly care, you owe it to them to keep trying to understand, to provide that…especially when it’s relatively small, but requires you working through some of your own issues. In a way, it’s the hallmark of one of the strongest types of friendships that can exist…one with a strong enough foundation to challenge one another, without drifting apart or growing resentful in the process. Under the right circumstances, those are the people who leave an indelible imprint upon your life…and I guess that’s why I feel as attached as I do to a friend I should be able to easily walk away from. After all, I have experience in walking away from relationships built on much more, with much more time invested…so why not this one?

I don’t know. It’s just something that, in the core of my being, I *know*…some things, some people, are too important to give up on. Most aren’t. But once in a very great while, you find the one that is, and there’s nothing logical about that. Yet, it is one of the most real and honest things there is in the world. Not everything has an explanation, yet some fundamental understanding of that thing’s importance exists on a very personal level.

I know I sound like a person who’s read too many Paulo Coelho books, which I am, but it’s how I see the world, and how certain things make sense to me. We all have multiple soulmates in life—and I’m not speaking of the romantic variety, although for some, that is part of it–but of the people who have an irreversible impact on who you become. Some grow with you, some stay with you, some merely pass through your life, but all leave a permanent mark that can’t be undone. Something tells me my friend is one of these people for me, even if he is not the type to believe in such things.

I’d like to hope that, whatever the purpose of our friendship and however confusing and rocky the path, the emotional side of my friend is able to understand and appreciate that, too. Because, sought out or not, it is truly a gift that life sometimes puts in your path.

It’s good to know I have a few friends/loyal blog readers who care, but you guys truly don’t let some stuff go, do you? *laughs*

Earlier in the month, I posted a piece on synchronicity, in which I shared a sweet story about reconnecting with a childhood crush at a cafe in New York City, and our subsequent love story/short-lived engagement. The point of the piece was not to vent about my personal life, but to share why I believe in synchronicity, and the power contained in the signs the Universe tries to send you on occasion. However, the most common feedback I’ve gotten over the past two weeks is “What happened with the rest of the story?”.

I didn’t really want to go into the rest of the story, because it’s personal, and also because I wanted to avoid exactly what happened: spending more time thinking about my ex-fiance than I have in a dozen years. :P

Since everyone wanted to know what happened to Avery, and why I cut the story short, the answer is a simple one. Life happened to Avery, and he ended up making largely the same choices most conventional Americans make.

After we broke up, Avery finished grad school, and went on to law school. He met a nice Jewish girl who is also the uber-ambitious, driven type, and helped him overcome his overly romantic, idealistic tendencies. In short, he found the polar opposite of me, the girl who’d always loved him precisely for his brooding demeanour, depressing poetry, and desire to change the world.

He still lives in New York City, is with an accomplished civil law firm, and is still, I assume, married happily enough. We keep in touch enough to say we’ve kept in touch, yet not enough to imply any real connection or stir up any issues. We have lunch or meet for drinks perhaps once a year when I pass through town. It is all very adult and civil, and there’s nothing serendipitous about it.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have regrets about Avery, but not the part where we didn’t stay together, didn’t get married. I think I intuitively knew he needed to be someone and pursue something other than what I had to offer, and I would only encourage him to take his life in a different direction, one that may have brought him much less happiness in the long run.

If anything, I sometimes feel sadness. I feel a sense of “Why did you need to choose the conventional, the obligatory? Why couldn’t you travel through life the way we always talked and dreamed about, off the beaten path, with me? Why did you end up wanting to change me, rather than let me help you encourage the authentic, adventurous you shine through?”

The answer is, few people are strong enough to choose the road less traveled, which is why it’s called the road less traveled. Doing so means hardship, sacrifice, lack of stability, being judged by others. For Avery, he felt always that his personal happiness was secondary to doing what was expected of him.

Although it sounds judgmental, and it is, I’m of course equally guilty. I fell in love with the idealist who wanted to become a journalist in a war-torn country and write a powerful piece about life in other places, the intellectual who saw himself as a professor who’d publish papers and give lectures on how to make the world a better place. I wasn’t any better prepared for a future that involved me being the wife of a civil litigator, any more than he was prepared to show off an outspoken, bohemian wife without an Ivy League pedigree.

People change, and they do not always change or grow together…and that’s just the sad reality of life. That’s why over half of marriages in the United States end in divorce, because people aren’t static creatures.

I am inordinately proud of Avery and everything he’s accomplished in the world, and the happiness I hope he’s found. I have a close friend who, over the years, I’ve seen gone through a similar transition, and I am equally proud of my friend and his happiness—though a part of me will always be sad he didn’t choose a different path, and that’s simply selfishness. We all have those weaknesses.

And while I still adore and admire Avery, I believe everything worked out for the best. The person—or persons—destined to end up with me are those who chose a path a little less conventional, who retained a bit more idealism and commitment to artistic and intellectual growth throughout the thing we call life, even if it means a crappier apartment and a heart that is broken and disappointed more frequently, and parents who are a little less approving. :P

I didn’t share this part of the story, because I am still romantic and idealistic enough that when I think of Avery, I think of the sensitive, idealistic, protective 16-year-old boy I ran through rain and mud just to hug goodbye…and how the Universe found that moment as meaningful as I did, because goodbye wasn’t goodbye.

The infrequent times I meet up with Avery to catch up on old times and talk about how different our lives are now, I always carry an umbrella.

Old habits die hard, and undue romanticism never does. ;P

Nothing much of note to blog about today; I’ve been a little under the weather since the DizzyMonster(tm) has returned to my life, throwing everything out of whack. Logically, I know it’s probably just a temporary thing that’s related to the ever-changing weather here in Atlanta. (we went from a week of 85 degree temperatures, to a week featuring lows in the 30′s. I just had to turn my heat back on. I love the fact that we’re the only city that has 8 distinct seasons, and we experience 3 different ones per day. :P ) Emotionally, I can’t help but feel a little defeated by a body that won’t let me be in control of my own life; a reminder that while I may have good days, or even weeks, everything can again fall apart at a moment’s notice and there’s little I can do except wait for it to pass. I feel quite disheartened. :(

So, in an attempt to dwell on the lighter-hearted side of life, I’ll blog about one of those random moments that sort of brings synchronicity back into life, and reminds you that somehow, every seemingly tangential conversation does come full circle (even not if always with the same person. :P ).

A friend of mine posted on Facebook today that she was blushing. A rather mundane, ordinary status, I grant you. However, this got a number of curious replies. It was a surprising and uncharacteristic for this girl to post, because, like myself, she does not fool anyone into even thinking she’s the type who blushes out of embarrassment or self-consciousness too easily.

This was an odd bit of synchronicity because a while back (or maybe just days ago—I don’t know, all the days seem to run into each other as of late–sleep, work, do random stuff, work, blog, read, repeat.), a friend of mine attempted to make me blush via our conversation, and failed miserably each time. In fact, I think the result was him blushing a few times at my responses to said failed attempts. (oh, yes, if you don’t succeed, I’ll have a witty retort that puts you on the spot and makes you blush instead.) I told him that blushing, much like saying something that renders me speechless, is something that doesn’t happen often and one has to work for it. (I believe that was accepted as somewhat of a challenge, but I’m not worried. I can hold my own. :P )

After all, how do you make someone blush who will freely talk about most things, and/or turn anything you have to say into a witty comment, sometimes with obvious Freudian connotations and low-brow humour? It isn’t that I have no shame, but it’s simply that my level of shame is much lower and my tolerance for being put on the spot a little higher than…well, most everyone’s. It’s also probably the direct result of never having that many close female friends; in college, when the girls were all off getting manicures, I was challenging frat boys to Irish car bomb contests. It’s not that I’m not feminine and delicate and modest and all of that good stuff; I am, in my own unique way. I’m even a little cultured and refined when need be. But when the time comes to have fun, I want to surround myself with intelligent people with a sense of humour who aren’t afraid of a little wit, or telling a dirty joke here or there. Life needn’t always be so serious, after all…there are more than enough opportunities for seriousness, focus, and repression.

But, in all seriousness….I digress.

Back to me. (come on, isn’t that how it should be? :P ) I am not the blushing, shrinking violet type. I’ve tried to cultivate that response a bit in order to teach myself Southern charm and all that, but it doesn’t work unless I’ve just done a shot, and then I’m coloured-in for an entirely different reason, and the results are typically neither charming nor subtle. :P In fact, the only way to make me blush is to point out a social faux pas that I’ve committed, make a comment so brilliantly witty or off-colour that I have no retort, or to say something unexpected and from the heart that evokes an emotion that is worthy of more than dismissal with a witty comment.

This girl who brought up the subject of blushing mentioned that it was, in fact, a response to a situation with a handsome guy and an unexpected comment that made her—the type of person so open that I look positively prudish in comparison to—turn a reddish-purple colour.

My response? “Unlike virginity, blushing should be reserved for the right man, in the right situation.” (I do believe that’s almost worthy of becoming an Alayna-ism.)

I suppose I should be honoured that I have the ability to make my friends–and typically my male friends, at that— turn varying shades of red with relatively little effort.

As for me, speechlessness and blushing don’t come easily, so I’m always rather thrown off-guard when it happens.

(And, yes…that’s what she said. )

On an unrelated—but not entirely—note, television is catching on to the idea of manic pixies and sarcastic, emotionally challenged chicks with attitude, and morphing them into one character…and the result is a new show I absolutely love.

ABC premiered a show (there are currently two episodes on Hulu) called “Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23″, and I have to say, it’s hysterical. The Guy I Am Currently Dating recommended it to me, somehow knowing I’d love it, and once again, he has not disappointed in his understanding of what I find funny. :P

It’s not “Two Broke Girls, but it has a different kind of charm. The highlights include Krysten Ritter as the aforementioned “B–” (is it coincidental that all the really cool, kick-ass chicks are from the Philly area?), and James Van Der Beek from Dawson’s Creek as a fictionalised version of himself. The whole thing is totally absurd, but has snark and heart. I wish it wasn’t on ABC, because anything on ABC inevitably sucks and dies; it’s much more an NBC or CBS kind of show. However, while it’s around, I totally recommend watching it. If you don’t like wit and absurdity, it also has two hot chicks and Dawson from Dawson’s Creek? What else do you want from your TV?

I highly recommend. Like demure, blushing women, good TV is hard to find these days.

“”Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a fucked-up girl who’s looking for my own peace of mind; don’t assign me yours.”—“Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind”

Over the past year or two, one of the things I’ve struggled with the most in my life is the balance between establishing something resembling “security” in my life, while also feeling the freedom to be myself, and express myself and create myself freely. It’s odd, because I’ve never been one of those people who had to go looking to “find myself”. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, journeyed down a number of different paths, but I’ve always had this fundamental understanding of who I am. (I think it’s why my Meyers-Briggs and similar personality tests have remained almost identical over a period of nearly 12 years, while most of my friends’ have altered with their lifestyle changes and personal growth.) No matter where I am, what life I’ve chosen to live, what I choose to do with my time, who I choose to surround myself with, I’m largely the same person. I’m more than a little quirky, creative, colourful, insecure, snarky, outgoing with a definite need to escape into my own little world sometimes, a little demanding and outspoken at times, a little withdrawn and inaccessible at others, divisive and intimidating for reasons I’ve never understood, stubborn, charismatic, energetic, intelligent, quick-witted, funny on occasion, unconventional, naturally attractive to some and naturally repellent to others. I sense things about other people and situations that others don’t always see. Sometimes I see too much about others for my own good, or for theirs. I am an observer of human nature, inspired by the dark and idealistic alike, and have dreams and visions that are so vivid they seem a part of my reality. I’m extraordinarily passionate about everything except the daily, mundane, repetitive stuff I’d love to be passionate about. I’m not like everyone else, and I’m long past the point in my life where that makes me feel badly about myself, though I’d be lying if I didn’t say I often saw people who represent my vision of conformity and the road usually traveled and wonder if I’d be happier and life would have been easier if I’d only been born that kind of person.

Interestingly enough, another thing I’ve always been for people in my life is a muse. I don’t know why; I’m with myself all the time, and I don’t find myself particularly intriguing or inspiring. I’m not the smartest or the most beautiful or the most interesting or the most assertive person in the world. Although I’m different, I’m also fairly low-key and ordinary in many ways. Yet, a lifetime of surrounding myself with artists and intellectuals and unconventional people has taught me that others see something in myself that I do not.

Over the years, I’ve been the subject of short stories and poems, posed for sketches, and had my portrait painted. I’ve been, although to a minor extent, immortalised in book form (for which I’ll always be eternally flattered.) I’ve starred in a number of different plays, musicals, operas, put on a one-woman show, and learned that every director I’ve ever met has looked at me and seen a different person. I’ve worked with artistic photographers and appeared in exhibitions. I’ve had a number of people tell me I inspire them to live, love, grow, and create. I’ve had some friendships and love affairs with people whose names you might recognise, although there’s not that much recognisable about me.

On one hand, it’s very flattering. On the other hand, it’s a great burden, being the thing that inspires someone else. I’ve had too many relationships end because someone fell in love with the girl who was going to help them break out of their shell and see a wider, brighter world, only to abandon that girl when the mission was accomplished (and marry or move in with the next girl in their life, one who was inevitably much more focused, much less flighty, but much less passionate about life.) I’ve discussed this story before, in my entry about the role of manic pixies in real life, so this is not a story about that.

Neither is this a post about “You should like my stories; I am awesome.” In fact, it’s a reflection from a girl who has learned that stability has come at a price. While I’ve been busy over the last two years or so struggling for “independence”, “respectability”, and “stability”, all things I’ve told adults need and qualities I naturally seem to lack, I’ve put many of the things that make me who I am on the back burner. My self-confidence and self-image has suffered greatly, from the emotional toll of trying to figure out what I need from my life, and wondering why people often judge and disapprove of me, to the physical trauma and side effects from illness that have affected me mentally, physically, emotionally. I don’t have the energy I once did, and never anticipated living without. The 25 pounds that got added to my body left me looking at a person I don’t love, a person who doesn’t care to flaunt herself, a person who isn’t always flirtatious or interesting to others, a person who no longer wants to be photographed or put on stage or be the centre of attention. In my mind, I no longer have it in me to inspire anyone, including myself…and I can’t help but think that’s a great loss. In reality, I’m still finding I occupy space in the world where I encounter men and women who idealise me, are curious about me, are enamoured of me, want to know me better because I bring out some creative and imaginative spirit. Apparently, a muse does not have to be in good spirits, young, beautiful, or easy to get along with, something which fascinates me. What is it about people that “inspires” certain other people?

Recently, I was having drinks with a friend of mine, and he said he didn’t know why others found him inspiring. In fact, he felt soul-baringly self-conscious about the idea, as if there were this fear that at some point, everyone would see he was just a scared, ordinary guy, and he’d be accused of being a fraud, a poseur. Really, when it came down to it, he didn’t see anything inspiring about himself at all. I’m not sure he even is at a point in his life where he knows who he is, or if he likes himself.

However, when I look at him, I see someone extraordinarily inspiring. He’s a person who once weighed over 650 pounds, and 2 years later, has lost over half of that. He’s been so inspiring to other people that, after finishing a tough obstacle-course type race here in Atlanta, he received an offer to spend the next 6 months training for a marathon. Not only that, he’s going to have the right kind of people to get him in shape, and help him reach his goal weight.

You see it on TV shows like “The Biggest Loser” all the time (transformations that are not always the healthiest), but to know someone with the sheer amount of willpower he has, someone who not only knows what he wants to do, but has the fortitude to battle against obstacles to get there, that’s true inspiration. When I felt too dizzy to be able to go outside and walk for five minutes without having a panic attack or worrying I’d have a heart attack, thinking about all he’d conquered gave me the strength to keep going, little by little. I’m a naturally impatient person, so accepting what I wanted was never going to happen overnight was the hardest part, but accepting that it wouldn’t happen at all if I didn’t start taking those little steps was what kept me getting out of bed on days it didn’t seem worth it to do so.

I’m telling this story today because my friend is leaving for his 6 months of training today, and although I haven’t known him for that long or gotten to know him as well as I’d have liked to, the few serious and thought-provoking and downright funny conversations we’ve had have made me an instant fan. He’s been nothing but supportive of me in the time I’ve known him, but in that honest, “It’s not really my job in life to flatter you and you can handle some constructive criticism” way that I need, but can only accept from certain people without being too emotionally impacted. There’s no doubt about it, I’ll truly miss him, and have no doubt he’ll be out there accomplishing everything he puts his mind to for the next six months.

People never really know when they inspire others, and when they discover that they do, the reaction to that is usually one of feeling flattered, mixed with “Why on Earth would you think anything special about *me*?”. For much of my life, I’ve felt a bit like the creative and often romantic “inspiration” I’ve evoked from certain others in my path has been unwarranted; the work of overly idealistic people who look at another overly idealistic person, and grow attached to a reality that isn’t there. I’ve always felt the need to shake people and say “Don’t you see there’s nothing special about me? I just pretend because you can’t go through life letting the world know that.”

Yet, what I’ve come to realise is that, like my friend, my own lack of self-confidence and skewed perception about the power I have to affect other human beings in this world, has kept me from seeing things that other people see in me….and those things have little to do with whether or not I’m in a positive mood, whether or not my body is in ideal shape, whether or not I feel like putting the effort into being charming or I end up being just downright impossible. I don’t know what people see in me, what inspires them…but I also know the people in my life probably have no idea, as an artist, who or what inspires me.

For years, I’ve kept a series of poems called “Intrigue”. It is not, as you might imagine, a recounting of all my various flings and fascinations and relationships. It is a collection of emotionally-based sketches, people who were able to evoke a response from me that inspired me. There are friends, lovers, acquaintances, enemies, people I no longer know, even people I’ve never met, detailed in these poems. There are people with whom I’ve spent years of my life, yet never wrote an “Intrigue” about.

Recently, a friend of mine who is a writer and all-around creative individual urged me to collect these, to turn all my “Intrigue” poems (and subsequent spin-offs) into a small volume of poetry. It likely wouldn’t be more than 30 pages, and few of the poems are any good; they’re merely emotional sketches. When I told her this, she repeated her encouragement for the project.

I again asked why, and she said “Maybe I just want to know what really moves you, what makes you tick. And if I do, so do more than a handful of others.” (I decided that, in my free time, I’d work on this and perhaps end up sharing with a handful of people who like reading my stuff.)

Everyone is inspired by someone, in some way…and in return, everyone inevitably inspires someone else.

I suppose it’s the circle of artistic—and emotional—life.

And I hope my friend remembers that when he’s missing home a bit, and off changing his life for the better..there’s simply no shortage to the amount of inspiration you can offer, even to your friends and family back home.

Of all the words that can open a conversation, a phrase involving the word “incompatibility” is typically up there with “We need to talk..” and “I’ve been doing some thinking”. When you preface any conversation by remarking upon the general level of incompatibility between you and another person, what follows is inevitably going to be a form of rejection. The context of the remark, and the intent of anything that follows, is irrelevant.

Well, it is not actually irrelevant, of course…it probably makes a huge difference to you in one way or another. It probably makes a huge difference to the other person, as well. However, it doesn’t detract from a certain level of implied rejection present in the comment.

This applies to most situations, be it in the workplace, disagreements with friends, the reason someone doesn’t want to go out with you, or is choosing to end a relationship. Between all people, there’s a certain level of incompatibility. Dismissing things, feelings, people, or ideas on that basis really is just a form of rejection, albeit a really kind and thoughtful one, and one that’s often based in logic rather than feeling. It’s also one you really can’t dispute, because the conversation would go a lot like this:

“I think we have too many incompatibilities for “XYZ” to be successful”.

“I don’t see it that way. I intuitively feel that you’re wrong/have misjudged the situation/are personally rejecting me.”

“Well, I do see it that way. It’s not rejection, but you can take it however you want.”

Really, you can’t go much past that point. That’s sort of the end of the line for any conversation relating to the situation, and there isn’t any lack of clarity there. You know how that person feels about you and your interactions.

Today (which was actually yesterday), I told a story about a relationship that ended very amicably and without drama, and it was a more personal form of the hypothetical conversation referenced above. Of course, it was longer than three sentences, but those three sentences were the intent behind the breakup. And, because there is really nothing that can be said when someone says “We have too many incompatibilities for this to work”, it was one of the least drama-filled breakups I’ve ever been through. Not to say it didn’t hurt like hell. It did, for a long time. We are still friends, in that casual sort of way people are when they are friends after a breakup, and when I think of him, there’s no bitterness or egocentric “I hate you because you rejected me”.

(It’s kind of like when you ask someone why they don’t pay more attention to you, and they respond, half-jokingly, with “Because I have enough common sense not to.” :P )

You *have* to see these things as a type of rejection, because they really rather are. Just because the answer isn’t “Because I don’t like you” doesn’t make it not rejection. It just makes it less mean. :P

Considering these things and reflecting upon this past breakup in my life—how I saw it when it happened, and how I feel about it now—made me decide to write a blog on the topic of criticism, rejection, insecurity, feeling less than accepted, and all that not-good stuff.

That being said, I’ve gotten rather awesome at handling various types of rejection in all spheres of my life. I, of course, do not like rejection or criticism or disinterest in any form—-editors sending back my work for revision upsets me, as does feedback that implies my work is less than perfect—and, along the same lines, criticism and rejection in my personal friendships doesn’t bother me any less. Yet, I’ve learned to handle all of these things with a lot more grace and attitude of “c’est la vie” than I used to.

People have, over the years, told me this is something that happens to people around the age of 30. As your sense of who you are and what you want, need, and value becomes more solid, the emotional reaction that accompanies someone not liking you, someone criticising you, someone not being attracted to you, someone finding flaw with your work, someone thinking you’re replaceable, someone defining how they wish to interact with you in terms of limitations…it’s not quite as earth-shattering as it was 10 years earlier. It’s somehow less personal, and more about “this is how life works”.

That being said, it’s totally not without effect, either. The reason most of the world doesn’t put themselves out there and walk around wearing their heart on their sleeve is that rejection sucks, even the nice kind, even the teasing kind put out there by people who genuinely care about you, and the logical, obvious kind that’s..well, obvious and makes sense on a purely intellectual level (which is not always where the fundamentals of human interactions are formed.)

After recounting my drunk texting weekend drama, a friend of mine laughingly told me that I lacked in subtlety (which, of course, I naturally took as a criticism, although it was meant as a compliment…like me, this friend finds subtlety an overrated virtue). I thought about this, and realised that of course he is right, but it’s also partially why I have struggled with any form of criticism or rejection throughout my life.

Starting at a very early age, when I started performing and making auditions a huge part of my world, I opened myself up to encounter more criticism, feedback, rejection, and other opportunities for hurt feelings than most. This sort of naturally translated into who I became as a human being…I’m quite frank, very straightforward, and some people find that direct approach to life shocking or unrefined. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I share it with the world, something reflected in everything from my personal relationships and friendships, my approach to work and art and creativity, even this blog.

In reality, I probably do encounter criticism, hurtful remarks, and rejection more often than most people, because I put myself out there in a way most people do not. Sometimes that comes across as lacking in subtlety or not caring for social propriety, and that is criticised (which could be why I’ve struggled a little, finding acceptance here in the Southeast.) Sometimes, it comes across as confidence or social fearlessness, and is something that other people (especially women my age or slightly older) have told me they wished they possessed.

It’s an odd choice for a naturally sensitive person, living not only a lifestyle but being of a personality where “I’m putting it all out there, you can judge if you want.” is normal. It’s even more odd for someone who is naturally hurt by the slightest criticism, offended by the slightest disinterest, or implication that she is somehow secondary to another person. Yet, this is obviously my natural inclination when it comes to dealing with people, since it is a tendency that’s amazingly amplified when I have been drinking and have a phone in my hand.) I don’t think it means it’s not there throughout the rest of my life, because it very obviously is…it’s more that part of me must feel some freedom in displaying that natural tendency without considering consequences.

I know I am not alone in this seemingly contradictory approach to life. I have a friend who is an actress, and has gained a certain level of success and notoriety in the business via the world of reality TV, a world that isn’t for people who aren’t willing to put everything out there for judgment and be vulnerable. It isn’t a world in which highly sensitive personalities have an easy time of it, and my friend certainly did not. The negativity and outright hostility, not to mention rejections and judgments in both her personal and professional lives, took her a very, very long time to deal with. Yet, part of what made it so difficult for her is simply being a highly sensitive person who is also quite naturally lacking in subtlety or a sense of the right way to play the game in the world. She goes her own way, is a person who is very different from most people, is hurt when others dislike her, but not enough to keep it from her path. With age, she’s lost a lot of her insecurity, and rejection and criticism doesn’t seem to affect her in the way it used to. In many ways, she and I are very similar people, and I’ve learned a lot about life from her experiences.

While television and stage and the world of performance in general are, admittedly, a different world from every day life…a lot of the same tools apply. Learning to cope with judgment or criticism, being rejected because there’s someone who comes across as smarter or prettier or a different “type”, being reminded that not everyone thinks you’re as charming or interesting as you find yourself to be, and having people label and typecast you as a matter of business are things that affect all of us, performers or not.

As for me, my friend is 100% correct in one respect. I absolutely lack in subtlety, and engage people in a way that’s more direct and requires more vulnerability than many feel comfortable with. I think, at heart, I’m just a typical New Yorker. I don’t have time for games, I’m not interested in BS and “social propriety”, and I’d rather be judged for being me than loved for all the effort that goes into trying to be someone else. I put everything out there, even when it invites rejection or would be emotionally easier to avoid an unpleasant conversation or to use discretion and keep something to myself. Yet, there’s a a part of me that’s also incredibly closed off, that few people see, that’s difficult to get to know, and probably leads people to form a picture of me that resembles a puzzle..missing a few key pieces here and there. Most people think they understand me pretty well. Most people are incredibly wrong.

I don’t like rejection, dismissal, criticism, or any form of being made to feel insecure or inferior. Yet, I leave the door open for it in all aspects of my life, most of the time, just by being me, speaking my mind, wearing my heart on my sleeve, and approaching people in a very direct fashion…and then I need to figure out the right way to deal with it when I don’t like what I hear. I’m actually so overly sensitive that I hear rejection in comments that aren’t meant to contain them, that are issued by friends who truly like and value me. Yet, simply by behaving with a little more subtlety, and approaching life a little less directly, I might mitigate some of the things I hear that don’t make me smile.

Yet, that’s not what I do. I probably never will. It really is interesting, the opposing forces built into the the building blocks that comprise my personality. :)

And I think it’s kind of awesome that a friend knows me well enough to point out that I generally lack in subtlety, but that’s exactly what’s likeable about me…at least in the eyes of some people. *laughs*

This morning, I woke up to realise that I had just been having the weirdest possible dream.

While this is not anything new for me…weird dreams and I kind of dwell in the same Universe…I can usually figure out some rhyme or reason behind the dream on a subconscious level, what it signifies, if it was a psychic dream, if it was a TV/movie dream, or if it was just a totally screwed up, weird dream.

In my dream this morning, I was working on planning an event. It must have been a younger version of me, because I was in the house I used to live in when I lived in New York, and a bunch of people were all meeting up to work on a project, so we’ll say it was me during my college years in this dream, although I looked exactly as I do now.

In the dream, I was annoyed because people weren’t listening to me, and there was no sense of order about me trying to get stuff done. I felt disrespected and ignored, and I was especially hurt because this guy I liked (who is not a real person I’ve ever seen before) kept behaving as if I didn’t exist—as did many other people in the room—because of a very attractive blonde that everyone was killing themselves to get to know. Except me, of course….I was generally annoyed by her existence.

Here’s the weird part of the dream, however: when the blonde girl turned around and I saw her face-to-face, it was Marilyn Monroe! *laughs*

While I’d probably ignore me to talk to Marilyn Monroe, too, it’s one of the weirdest scenarios that’s happened in my dream in a long time, and I woke up feeling totally confused.

I suppose I could have had this dream for a number of reasons. Yesterday, I started working on a blog (which isn’t finished yet) about rejection and judgment and how actors/performers handle these things “differently” than most, while not being affected by them any less…and the result is that many put themselves out there too much in everyday life and personal relationships, as if the whole world is an audition, and you have 5 minutes to be as direct and straightforward as possible, and leave the impression you wish to leave. Also, there is this television show I watch that comes on on Monday nights called “Smash”, which is about the making of a musical that’s about Marilyn Monroe.

Before I went to sleep last night, I had conversation on Facebook with a very good friend of mine, one who looks or acts absolutely nothing like Marilyn Monroe, but is a very attractive blonde that commands a lot of attention for her good looks and perky personality, and sometimes leaves me feeling a bit insecure in comparison. Finally, it could be a psychic dream, of sorts—-a warning that I guy I am involved with, like, or have a crush on is going to ignore me and break my heart due to the appearance of an attractive, voluptuous blonde in his life.

It could be any, or all of these things. I don’t know. What I DO know is that it was a seriously odd dream. And, apparently, I wouldn’t much care for hanging out with Marilyn. :P

This isn’t news to anyone who’s known me for any length of time, but if sober me likes communication and the various forms of social media a little more than average, drunk me has a serious problem when it comes to the need to communicate *now*.

I admit it. I have a slight drunk texting problem. I always have, but over the years, as I’ve started having fewer wild nights out that involve waking up with a severe hangover and reading the text logs from the night before in a state of shame and mortification, it’s become less of a problem.

Last night proved old habits die hard. After closing down a few bars, then going home and drinking vodka cranberry at my house, by 5 AM, I couldn’t walk in a straight line, but I somehow figured out how to use my phone. It should, ideally, come with a breathalyzer.

The problem with me and drunk texting is I will not text you at 1 AM after a few drinks to say “Woo hoo!! Having great time! Wish you were here”. No. I will text you at 5 or 6 AM when you are asleep—and often not alone—to tell you that I am secretly in love with you, to share whatever inappropriate thought is in my head about our friendship, or to suggest you don’t love me because you’re not going to leave your wife for me. Sometimes I will announce that it’s stupid that we ever broke up, or that I don’t understand why you’re not interested in me, given how awesome I am. ( I think the answer to that is self-evident.) I will drop earth-shattering feelings, often typed incoherently, on your phone at 5 or 6 AM, without any consideration for the fact that you might be sleeping, or there might be another person in your bed who is going to feel even less positively about my texts than you do.

You know all that stuff people secretly think about their relationships with other people? I type it in an only somewhat coherent fashion, and send it to you before passing out on my bed. I then wake up in a state of shame and mortification, because there are some things best left unsaid, some things that are best not discussed, but drunk me doesn’t know that as soon as an instrument of communication is placed near her.

It’s been awhile since I had an incident involving drunk texting, mostly because I’m older and wiser and no longer get that drunk that I have the irresistible urge to turn your world upside down by sharing my feelings.

Last night, I definitely fell off the drunk texting wagon, and this is something that is not going to work out well for me—particularly given that one of the friends I sent texts to is married, and another is a friend with whom I recently patched up a fight over communication with the laying down of some ground rules, one of which is “Don’t text me while I’m sleeping”. Neither one of these people needs to hear about my emotional attachment to them, and they certainly didn’t need to hear about it before sunrise. So, yeah. Not my finest hour in life.

A third friend who received a drunk text was drunk enough to drunk text me back. While amusing, I don’t think either of us understood a word of said conversation, and I passed out for the night in the middle of it.

I really do think very highly of all of the friends I drunk text, I’m just not sober enough to realise how inappropriate and self-centred my 5 AM emotional outbursts are. Please don’t judge me for my random drunk texting habit and my lack of better judgment. Totally, totally sorry. :( This is why I don’t have too many crazy nights out anymore; I have too many feelings and secrets that *should* be kept to myself, and somewhere around martini #5, I totally forget that. :P

“Made a wrong turn once or twice
Dug my way out, blood and fire
Bad decisions, that’s alright
Welcome to my silly life

Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood
Miss ‘No way, it’s all good’
It didn’t slow me down.
Mistaken, always second guessing
Look, I’m still around….”

—-Pink,“Fucking Perfect”

This week, Gala put up an excellent post on her blog, for people who are following her Radical Self-Love Boot Camp and keeping journals meant to help unleash the beauty within. While I think this is a fantastic idea, I personally don’t really have time for any other projects in my life, and I also think people might be kind of scared if I unleash any more radical self-love on the Universe. (I recently ended an e-mail to a friend by saying, “There are plenty of people in this world who happen to think I’m a fucking awesome human being, and I’m really sorry you’re not one of them.” *laughs* If that’s not self-love, I don’t know what is.)

(P.S. I think the aforementioned friend secretly is one of them. :P )

Anyhow, she put out a wonderful exercise called “I Am Not Sorry”, where people are meant to list in their private journals all the colourful, unconventional, weird, brash, bold, unique, unexpected, offensive things they’re just not sorry for being. Since I put my private journal out in public, for the most part, I thought I’d give myself a much-needed boost by sharing my list with you.

* I am not sorry that I talk too much, that the pitch of my voice bothers you, that I’m not friendly enough to want to talk to everyone the same amount, that I monopolise conversations, that I’m enthusiastic about life, that I can project across a crowded room when necessary (and even when not.)
* I am not sorry that my viewpoints and lifestyle choices and past decisions don’t make sense with your view of the Universe. People can make mistakes and be a good person. People can make unconventional choices and still be deserving of love. I am not sorry when you judge me, because that’s your baggage, and not mine.
* I am not sorry that I have a strong personality that commands attention. Maybe you don’t like that. Maybe you resent that. Maybe you envy that. Maybe you’re secretly in love with that, so pretend to despise that. I’m pretty happy challenging your perceptions of how you think people should be.
*I am not sorry that everything about me is a little too much, and that you don’t like my bright hair, my quirky fashion sense, my perfume, my sensitivity, my need to be reminded from time to time that I am loved and admired. I am not sorry for not blending in.
*I am not sorry I feel too much, too often, too quickly, and I almost always express it. I am sorry if it hurts other people or makes them feel badly, but not sorry for the intensity that accompanies my emotions and how I experience the world.
*I am not sorry for not being particularly well-wired to be a monogamous individual. It isn’t because I don’t know how to love or have a fickle heart, it’s simply that my heart and my mind look at the world in a different way. I believe in multiple soulmates, unrequited crushes, requited infatuations, complicated friendships, lifelong relationships, and all the fantastic people life puts in my path. I am not sorry for thinking the ideal relationships open you up to life instead of place limitations around you. I am sorry when the way I see the world inadvertently hurts others or causes them to feel unloved.
*I am not sorry for my bad poetry and emotionally vulnerable blog posts, and the way I put myself out there when others don’t. I am more sorry that I don’t meet people who do those things more often, more freely, and more naturally than I do .
*I am not sorry for loving bright makeup, glitter, accessories, all things shiny and funky and retro, and for not wearing jeans. I am not sorry for the odd, unconventional figure that some people choose to judge, and is in no way perfect, but I’m learning to love again.
*I am not sorry for being chaotic, messy, creative, thinking and talking a mile a minute, coming off as self-absorbed or narcissistic, and creating a whirlwind around me whether I mean to or not. I understand why some people don’t want to be a part of that, but it secretly hurts when they don’t.
*I am not sorry that I put myself out there openly and honestly and in a way that may shock people, or inspire rejection or judgment. If you believe something, say it. If you feel something, tell someone. If you want something, ask. If someone is important to you, let them know. Life is too short otherwise.
*I am not sorry that you look at me and see a list of things I should be sorry for. I look at me and see all the parts of a person that’s fucking awesome, along with a few parts of a person that could use some improvement. But I am not sorry for being me. If you’re waiting for that, waiting for me to conform, waiting for me to me more like you imagine I should be, waiting for me to be more like you, it’s never going to happen.

I am spirited, intelligent, strong, extraordinary, charismatic, lovely, and worthy of admiration. I am not sorry, and you shouldn’t be, either.

And I’ll leave you with this, on that note.

Intuition is a confusing thing. On one hand, it can be a positive guiding force that protects you in your life. Almost every time I’ve gotten myself into a really bad situation in my life, it’s because I didn’t listen to what my gut instinct was telling me about something. If I have a blind spot in my life, it’s to ignore the alarm bells that go off in my head and the doubts that cloud my heart, and to determine that I am in charge of my life, so intuition is irrelevant. Whatever I’d like to happen in my life, I can choose that…intuition has little to say about it.

Yet, for some reason, it just isn’t true. I don’t understand enough yet about myself and my spiritual nature and my place in the Universe to understand why, but when I start to get indications from life that I’m headed in the wrong direction in one way or another, yet decide I’m going to do what I want to do regardless, it’s a frustrating battle. It’s rather like being condemned to roll the boulder up the mountain, only to have it repeatedly fall backwards. The fact that this has happened so many times in my life has taught me intuition is something real and inexplicable, and while not everyone has it on an equally well-developed level, you know it when it hits you.

According to Meyers-Briggs, my iNtuitive nature is the most strongly expressed aspect of my personality. Despite the stories I tell about my psychic dreams and visions that look like flashes from the future, rather than memories from the past, or vibes I get from certain people or situations that make me extremely self-protective (I’ve been accused on more than one occasion of being a bit paranoid, only to remind people it’s only paranoia if nobody is out to get you, and almost every time, my weird feelings of suspicion and paranoia are justified.), I rely a great deal on my intuition. I struggle not to always let it affect my overly emotional nature or cloud my judgment, but what many people refer to as impulsiveness or following my heart is usually me following a sense of intuition. I sometimes feel that, in certain ways and at certain times in my life, I am guided in a certain direction and I may not even know why. I may have strong feelings, fears, the logical part of my brain that tells me intuition can lead me astray…yet I know that very rarely does that ever happen. Somehow, I end up where I’m supposed to be, even if it’s not where I wanted to be—even if it’s not how I wanted things to work out.

The things that throw me for a loop are the things I just don’t see—or feel—coming in my direction. They’re the situations for which I emotionally unprepared. I have a hard time coping with those, because my alarm bells never gave me the notice I needed. I’m not often shocked or thrown into a state of disarray, but when I am, it hits me hard. The situation with my ex-roommate was one of these. I knew I couldn’t trust him, that lending him money meant I’d never see it again, that much of what he confided to me as a friend wasn’t true, but his sudden abandonment threw me for a loop.

You see, I’m the girl who spent a weekend in bed back in her college days, watching sappy movies and crying because she knew her boyfriend was cheating on her…if not actually in a physical sense, then emotionally. I remember very clearly a relationship that devastated me because we were so close—but he had a female best friend he’d known for a very long time, who was an important part of his life. This didn’t bother or threaten me, until the day I met her, and first spent a weekend with her. After she left, I was so depressed I didn’t want to get out of bed, and played bitter angsty music and cried a lot.

I didn’t know why. My friends didn’t know why. Outwardly, he didn’t treat me any differently when she was around. She didn’t act as if they were secretly having an affair, and he swore to me they were not involved in any way, so nobody could understand why I was so upset. But that weekend, I knew it was over. My heart was broken, because there was something in the way they interacted, the way they looked at each other, that even if they were honest and trustworthy and nobody was cheating on anyone…he would just never love me the way he loved her. I would never, ever be good enough. I would always be competing with something to which I couldn’t compare, and it broke my heart.

It didn’t end right away, because I tried to tell myself I was stressed, PMS-filled, making a big deal out of nothing. But, of course, it eventually did end. Strangely, I don’t remember how it ended, or if it was painful…because all I remember is that weekend, which was one of the worst in my life, for no reason other than what existed in my own head.

A few years later, I saw an engagement announcement, and it hurt a little bit that he was getting married. What hurt the most was that his fiancee was this woman who’d been his lifelong friend, the one I knew the first day I met her was his soulmate. To this day, I believe he was a relatively good guy who treated me well. I believe that for a long time in his life, he just didn’t know. He didn’t see what I saw in one day.

I can’t explain why and how I see things that others do not, but I do. Sometimes, I know what others are feeling before they do, and I try not to let on, because I don’t want my intuition to influence their choices.

As a result, I have a lot of friends who come to me for advice on their romantic situations; people who are single and married, poly, monogamous, dating around…I have a lot of friends who want to know how I see their love life, what I would do in their situation, etc.

Today, I had a dear friend ask me directly, “Do you think I’m with the wrong person?”

I don’t know how to answer things like that, honestly. I don’t know what makes me any kind of authority, and I feel hypocritical judging anyone else’s relationship situation when mine is not at all straightforward, and I often ignore my intuition so that I can keep on with life the way I imagine I’d like it to be.

Yet, intuitively, I do know. I almost always know. I don’t want to influence anyone else’s choices with my judgment, or issue advice that’s clouded by my own lack of impartiality, but I know. Just as I know when a person I have feelings for is going to end up with someone who isn’t me—likewise, I have a pretty clear understanding of when another couple that’s happy and in love and discussing marriage and so forth shouldn’t be. I just am uncomfortable being asked by those who give my intuition too much credit.

Recently, I had a conversation with yet another good friend, in which I confided that I didn’t understand our friendship. On a surface level, it’s hard not to see all the differences between us, things that might preclude even a casual friendship, much less one that runs a bit deeper. Yet, the more layers you peel away from the surface, the more commonality there is, and the more it becomes obvious that there’s the potential for some significant type of emotional connection.

I confessed to him that I was a little shocked by my iNtuitive reaction to our relatively new friendship; it is rare for me to trust someone or wish to connect with them very quickly, unless I somehow sense we are in many ways the same person. In so many ways, this friend and I are not the same person. Yet, my intuition, upon spending time with this friend, told me that I had just met someone who was going to significantly impact the course of my life. It even sent me a random, nonsensical vision that didn’t make any sense, and still doesn’t…but I can’t help but think that years from now, it might.

I do not know if the impact this friendship will have is positive or negative, I do not know how it will manifest itself, and I do not even know what kind of connection it is. What I do know is that it *is*, and it’s been awhile since I had that reaction to another person. It’s the kind of thing that happens perhaps once a year, sometimes once every two years. It’s a rarity.

What shocked me even more was that my friend, also a highly iNtuitive personality, had a similar confused reaction to spending time with me, and phrased his viewpoints on the situation in exactly the same way. All I could say was, “I don’t always understand the connections I make–or don’t make—with other people. I just know when they are there, they’re there for a reason. Perhaps I’m just going to let life point out what that reason is, because it has a way of doing that.”

Over the years, almost everyone that iNtuitive connection has brought into my life has been a major, irreplaceable piece of my life’s puzzle. Some have been friends, some have been lovers, some have been enemies, some have been all of the above at different points in time. But one thing they all have in common is that they’ve been in my life through seemingly difficult odds, through complicated emotional situations, through personality differences that clearly point out a certain level of incompatibility. That intuitive voice that has helped protect me from danger and has helped alert me to things others don’t always see…well, that seems to trump everything when it comes to my personal relationships.

There’s a point to this seemingly long rant, and it’s not “Always trust your gut instinct”. Yesterday, I heard news that my father was again extremely ill and in the hospital. This is the 5th time in a little over a year, so to say his health isn’t good is an understatement. For those who don’t know me well, I am not close to my father. For much of my life, he has not really been a part of it, except in the way where he’s influenced a number of the issues I have with abandonment and seeking approval from men who are not able, available, or interested in giving me the validation I need to feel positively about myself. Knowing he is ill has brought up a mixture of emotions, and many of my doctors have suggested it’s been the breaking point for my anxiety, the reason I finally needed to seek help for something I always dismissed as a personality quirk. Apparently, I have a lot of feelings about my father’s illness that I do not process, or understand, a rarity for me. In fact, most of the time, I feel like a bad person because I don’t really feel much about it at all—and this from the girl who cries at Hallmark commercials, puppies cuddling, and when a friend ignores me or an enemy levels a criticism. I have feelings about *everything*, but something as significant as a parent who is ill (and we’re not talking about minor stuff here, we’re talking about my mother receiving calls three different times telling her she might want to prepare for the worst.) gets no reaction.

Part of it is my own emotional issues, I know. But another part is intuition. Even when the doctors said, “Perhaps you might start wanting to make some final arrangements” last year, a voice in my head told me to not be distressed, because he was going to be okay.

I feel that way this time, as well. I am grieved for my mother, and her level of distress and worry, but I don’t feel it. I don’t even feel sad. I feel a certain level of confidence that somehow, things are going to work out for the best–and I am someone who rarely believes that about anything.

I suppose believing in the power of my own intuition gives me comfort, or protects me from the harsh reality that I have no emotion left for a parent who—like so many—was never able to offer me what I needed when I was young and vulnerable enough to need it. But I’d like to think that I just *know* I am not upset because I don’t need to be.

Yesterday, one of my very close friends told me she was expecting her second baby (which I suppose I can write about, because she posted about it on FB). Before she had her first child, I not only had a dream in which I saw her baby as a two-year old, and so knew it was a girl, part of the dream involved my friend saying “We can’t go on vacation around St. Patty’s Day because that’s the weekend we’re celebrating the baby’s birthday.”. My friend has a lovely two-year old girl that was born a week after St. Patrick’s Day. Pretty cool, no?

Anyhow, my first reaction was to tell my friend she was going to have a baby boy this time, and she said “That’s what everyone says”. Yet, probably because it was in my mind, when I went to sleep last night, I had a dream where my friend was in the hospital and was holding her baby. This baby was smaller than the first one, seemingly a little more fragile, a little less spirited than the first one.

In the dream, my friend and her husband told me they named the baby Amelia.

I do not know if everyone is mistaken in their certainty my friend is going to have a baby boy, or I had a dream with clouded intuition, but it seems my friend is expecting a tinier, more delicate baby than she might be prepared for…perhaps suggesting the baby will be born earlier than predicted…but that this baby, one who looks like an Amelia, is most clearly not a boy. :)

And so there might just be a third one after all….*laughs*

Everyone has a dirty little secret about themselves, one they don’t necessary announce to all of their friends, for fear of being judged and/or mocked mercilessly. It may be the Britney Spears album you still own and break out when you’re feeling blue, or that you secretly sing disco songs in the shower in the morning, or the pair of Hammer pants still sitting in the back of your closet from your high school/college years.

In case you were wondering (and if you’re reading this, I must fascinate you enough that you are in fact wondering…:P), here’s my dirty little secret:

I love the movie “Titanic”.

Yes, I know. It’s not cool to admit you love “Titanic”, or that you used to sing that Celine Dion song at karaoke bars (and did so well enough that strangers would buy you drinks instead of throwing them at you. But, I do. It’s an integral part of my college years, holds fond memories, and is just a pretty awesome movie, aside from the personal connection I have with that movie.

I could go on about how I love the movie because like Kate Winslet’s character, I survived a tragedy in my life that claimed the life of someone I loved, and had to learn to move on from that. I could mention that I love the movie because Kate Winslet represented something I wasn’t used to seeing in movies at the time, a female protagonist who was not only strong and spirited, but resembled me, in the way of being someone who was charming because of her curves and vivaciousness and bright red hair, and not in spite of those unconventional things. I could even mention that it was an awesome movie because, back then, Leonardo DiCaprio was cute.

However, those aren’t any of the reasons I love that movie. I love it because it’s sweet, romantic, utterly unrealistic, cheesy, dramatic, tear-jerking, and has every emotion in the universe packed into three hours, on a big boat. All the things I hate about chick flicks, romantic comedies, unrealistic adventure movies, and cheesy dramatic moments…they all show up from time to time in “Titanic”, but it didn’t stop me from seeing it in the movie theatre 7 times, and probably another 20 on DVD. If I were not still too sick as a result of the vestibular disorder to handle the movie theatre, I’d be there watching the 3D IMAX version repeatedly, with a box of M&M’s in one hand, and tissues in another.

Oh, and for the record, I never had a crush on Leonardo DiCaprio like the rest of the girls my age did when that movie came out. For some reason, I was irrationally attracted to Billy Zane, who plays one of the biggest douchebags in the history of any movie. Of course, this immediately followed my Hugh Grant phase, so I apparently favour dark-featured British guys who are total assholes, even when pretending to be charming (at least in movies.) I also went through a phase of liking guys who are clearly gay. Life would have been much simpler for me at that time in my life if I’d just found Leonardo DiCaprio a little more physically attractive. :P

I also love the movie “Notting Hill”, but that’s another story for another time.

Let the judgement commence. :P

Oh, and if you’re interested in reading thoughts more interesting than mine on blogs far more entertaining, learn about one-night stands, and how to have them. (This, of course, reminded me why I no longer have them, and causes me to wonder why I ever did…though those are dirty little secrets for another time and place.)