Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Joys of St. Valentine's Day

I am incredibly lucky.

I'll admit I used to really hate Valentine's Day.  It was like a curse.  It felt as if everybody around me was happy and I wasn't.  I was miserable and alone.

Until recently, however.  I realize now that I have some of the best friends in the world.  I run crying to them about my paper cuts and they help me.  They're there for me, which isn't easy, because I'm needy, demanding, and constantly putting my head in wasp nests.

I'm the kind of friend who e-mails you at 3AM to tell you about how close I am to doing something very stupid and permanent.  And it's legit.  I'm not looking for attention.  I'm right there.  And then you have to use some kind of logical syllogism to somehow break through the swirling shit in my head to get through to me.  Once you talk me down, then you have to make sure I don't go back to where I was, so you have to ask questions.

It's exhausting being my friend.  I've burned a few people up.

But I have friends.  I have people I'm extremely close to who care about me.  To them, I'm a priority.

That's a word I'm learning to apply more and more...priority.

When somebody cares about us, we become a priority to them, and they show it by a number of ways.  I'm learning the difference between somebody who cares about me and somebody who just accepts my affections.  I didn't know there even was a difference for a long time.

I've always had diminished expectations when it came to anything more than bare friendship.  Part of that is my low self-esteem.  The other part is past experiences.

Nobody will give a shit about you until you love yourself.  Until you can say to yourself, "I love me more," you will have nobody and nothing.  I'm still learning how to do that.  I'm still learning my value as a human being.

I'm the first person to admit I'm a work in progress.  I've always said that.  And there are some incredibly basic lessons I'm just now learning about how to take care of myself and how to be good to myself.

I'm learning how to make myself a priority to myself.

On Monday, I gave myself an assignment:  I was to make a list of the things I love about myself.  I failed in this assignment and wasn't able to write a single thing down.  I was too depressed and disgusted with myself.  I was angry at myself for choices I made.

I was upset that I wasn't strong enough to say, "I love me more."

It takes strength to be able to say that when it's not really something you believe but know you have to say anyways.  But it's like a lot of things--we say them often enough and eventually we'll believe it.

My friends see me for much more than I see myself.  I used to think they just said those things because they felt sorry for me.  But no, they genuinely mean it, and it humbles me to know somebody cares that much about me.

Valentine's Day used to almost unbearable.  I did whatever I could to unplug and run away from the despair.  I always laughed bitterly at women who told me it wasn't much of a day for them, either, despite how many men wanted to be with them or cared about them.  In my mind, their cup ran over and it still wasn't enough.

Wait, you're complaining about the meal on your table not having enough garlic and too much black pepper?  I haven't had anything on my plate in so long I've forgotten how food tastes. 

But I'm not going to get into the disappointments and heartbreaks.  I've done that far too much and no good will ever come of it.  I can't fix the past.

I've discovered that with friends I'm still finding that emotional connection I crave so badly.  Sure, there's a line, but I'm used to that.  I'm still a priority to them, though.

It's an incredible feeling to be a priority to somebody.  To know that somebody is thinking about you and wants the best for you.  That feeling you get when you know somebody else sees you struggling and wants you to find peace.  I used to be really upset that nobody felt that way about me in a romantic sense but I've come to accept how special it is to have friends who care just the same.

I might not be a priority to a woman right now and I might not have been a priority for a woman in a very long time, but that doesn't mean I'm unloveable or unwanted.  I'm not sure what it means, exactly, but I'm not broken and damaged goods.  I'm not.  I'm a good person and worthy of being somebody's priority.  Maybe I'm not ready.  Maybe I have a lot more work to do.  That makes more sense to me than being the monster I used to think I was.

But I'm not a monster.  I'm a person.

I can't tell if I'm healing or if I'm rebuilding.  Either way, I'm doing something for myself and I'm doing it just because I'm worth it.

I'm more active now than I've been in a long time.  I'm eating smarter and getting rid of bad habits.  I'm writing more, too.  I've got my novella done and I'm working on my query letter and synopsis to send off to a publisher.  My goal is to send it off by Friday.  I'm getting a tripod tomorrow as a gift from an admirer of my work.  I'll certainly give him some ice cream anyways, though.  But this will do wonders for making my videos look better.  

I'm doing positive things for myself.  I'm doing the footwork to improve and move forward.  And I'm not alone.  I have friends who are with me and in support of me.  Despite all the stupid shit I do, they support me, and genuinely care about me.

If I could have one thing in this world right now, it would be to have the faith in myself my friends have in me.  They see me as a much better person than I see myself so this list of things I love about myself was supposed to be my way of getting to that point.  But I stalled.

I just don't see what they do.  And that's my fault.  It's all my fault.  But I'm working on it.  I've been meditating and that's helped me clear the shit out of my head and help me focus on what's right in front of me.

Right now I'm making ice cream videos for all of the women who are important to me because I don't know what else to do for them.  I'd like to do more, but it's what I have to work with, so that's what I do.

Being positive about Valentine's Day is important.  I wish more people did it.  I could go on about all the terrible memories I have but what's the point?  It's best to focus on the positive.  I have great friends.  I'm not unloved or unwanted, I'm well cared-for, and better off because of it.

I used to define myself by what I could do for a woman who allowed me to care about her.  I measured myself and our relationship by how much she would accept from me.  You would think that was a recipe for me getting used a lot but no, that's not how it went.  I was rejected before that happened.  I have a respect for women who did that now.  They could have used me for everything I had and I would have happily given it all up at the asking.  There's a kindness in rejecting somebody without using them.

But think about that for a moment:  I wasn't concern with what I got in return.  Instead, my only thoughts were on what I could do for them and what they would allow me to do for them.  What they would accept from me.  That was it.  As long as they told me I was in their thoughts, then that was enough, and that alone would carry me for days.  A woman simply telling me she felt something for me was enough to put me on a cloud.

Not that I was a priority for her.  No, just a thought.  I was merely a thought.  A nobody, really. I didn't need her to change anything in her life for me, just to say some kind words.

That was then.  That was before I learned what taking care of myself meant.  Or what caring about myself entailed.

I am a priority to myself now.  One of these days, I'll learn to say, "I love me more."  And that is what Valentine's Day is all about--the love we have in our hearts for those who are really important to us.

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