Seconds

This would be the ‘nuts’ in nutstosoup

My parents are artists. Until I was maybe 13 direct-to-consumer retail sales were how they  made their proud, if meagre, living. Both worked in clay. My father made functional pottery (cups and plates and such), my mother made small, whimsical clay animals. Sometimes the pieces would be made correctly but the kiln would get too hot, or the glaze would be mixed wrong, or one antler would fall off a moose, or a handle would fall off a mug. These pieces were not perfect, but neither were they discards. They were seconds: imperfect pieces sold at a discount for those who loved something about that small flaw or failure or just couldn’t afford a ‘firsts’ piece.

I needed to write tonight and I did not want to dump my thoughts in any of my usual-suspect places. I still wanted to feel like I was reaching out (as putting something onto the so-public-its-private internet does), but I did not want reach out to any one or few friends specifically. A blog is a great place for such homeless ramblings, but my blog is about food, and this is not. Further, it’s not Friday, my off-topic day. So I am making another destination. I chose seconds because I needed to name this page and ‘seconds’ has meaning in both art and food. Unfortunately, in eating it means having more of something because that first portion was so good. I’m not sure the writing here will fit that bill. Nor am I trying to imply that the posts that appear on my homepage are all ‘firsts.’ For me this a place to put the stuff that needs to come out. The words that appear on this page are for me, the writer, not you the reader, though you are welcome here and welcome to comment. Advice, commiseration, perhaps even some scolding from people I am not already emotionally connected to might be quite good for me. Please come in and make yourself at home. I won’t be offended if you sneak out the back (or even run screaming).

I write because I have to. I don’t mean that in some lofty artistic plug-the-hole-in-my-soul way. Writing is survival for me. It is the space and the medium in which I am the most honest, and in which I most trust myself. I often feel like I need to write my thoughts down just to see and feel and hear what I am thinking. In real-time they seem to go too fast or slip free and get tangled, or get so ecstatic that they become useless. When I am emotional about something I would rather write than talk about it because if I talk about it the emotion gets deeper and stronger and builds on itself. Further, if I am talking to someone I care about I get afraid of how huge all that feeling gets and I don’t want to scare the other person away and I know they want to make me feel better so I feel like I have to let them. Often, when I really want to talk, I will call up a friend and listen to the instead and deflect like crazy because I just can’t let it all come out. No one ever lets me get to the end of building that huge fire-breathing beast of self-pity or despair or anger, so I don’t know if it’s actually manageable, or if I would actually feel some sort of catharsis and relief by going through all of the ugliness that comes out of me when I am [insert negative-axis emotion here]. But on the page (or the screen) there are only words and they can only breathe virtual fire. They seem more harmless.

This actually started for me tonight when I was laughing at myself. I am stringing my empty love life along right now with a (third-in-a-row) futile crush. Leaving aside any judgement about said crush, my behavior around the whole thing is sort of ridiculous. No matter how simple the task, there is always a plan. Every plan has a major hole in it and almost all of them start leaking the second they are in action and I just end up bailing water and making no headway. Tonight I was going to drop something off for him at his work place. Not until I had timed and located my entire evening’s activities around seeing him did I think to wonder if he was actually working tonight. And of course, he was not. So I did not execute (which is to say I was probably saved from myself) again. I used to keep a journal. And this used to be exactly the type of thing I would write in it. So I started thinking, maybe I need to write down my whole side of the story about this guy so I can leave it alone. But as I bypassed my favorite watering hole (did not stop in, did not run up a bar tab) my laughter at myself turned a little more cynical and lots that I have been running very fast, trying not to feel caught up with me.

I thought of calling L. I remembered when she called me when Julie died. I thought of calling M. I remembered when he called me when L’s father died. I thought of calling N. I remembered how terrible I feel when he tries to ‘help’ me with my loneliness/lack of dating. Just the memories of those first two conversations still make a small chunk plummet from my stomach and bring tears to my eyes. As hard as N is on me I know who sincerely he cares for me and wants me to talk to him and share my life with him (He is a very good friend and I owe him a phone call). All three of them actually care for me a great deal and would probably feel as privileged to listen to my woes as I did to listen to theirs. But as soon as I thought of calling them, I started making excuses –time zones, Thanksgiving Eve, families, other obligations. And so here I am writing instead. I still want to talk to somebody. I want to talk to talk to somebody who has ‘the right answer.’ The response that will actually help or make me feel better. That will actually heal the larger issue. I bet my friends and family would fight over who would have the honor of giving the right answer to me. Unfortunately, I’m not sure the right answer exists. And so once again I offer all this pain to a place that will respond with silence, which is the most honest answer I have heard yet on the topic.

The open question is how am I defective and can I fix it? And if I can’t fix it, how do I learn to live with it? How do I let my lack of pair-bonded, ostensibly monogamous relationship that everyone around me values so highly and that I don’t have, and cannot seem to get into for trying, just be okay? Why can’t I be special to someone I care about? Why does everyone else somehow manage to fucking do this and I can’t?

I’ve been told everything from the soothing (“Any man would be incredibly lucky to have you as a partner”) to the self-responsible (“You just don’t know what you want”) to the irredeemable (“You’re intimidating.” Um, I’m supposed to ‘be myself’ right?) to the (perhaps enjoyably) dirty (“Why don’t you become someone’s sugar mama.”). I don’t want a boy toy. I want a love. I want someone who wants to learn how to care for me really fully and gently and compassionately. And I have not met him so…

oh well.

I really resent being emotional in this way, being vulnerable to sadness that overwhelms (even temporarily) the possibility of joy. I keep myself too busy, too active, give myself too many things to do. I get caught in this cycle of Too-Busy-To-Feel/Too-Busy-To-Heal.  It was really hard to walk past my favorite spot and another chance to ignore this sad moment with festive beverages and friendly chatter. I’m proud of myself for coming home and letting the tears fall and crossing my arms over my aching heart, plopping down on the sofa, sticking my lip out and pouting. I wish it would fucking go away. I’m tired of feeling like I will never get this amazing important, life-fulfilling thing. But I’m also proud that, as long as this…ramble is, I didn’t science-ify and analyze the whole thing. “Oh Alli, you’re feeling this because of this.” I’ve seen a psychiatrist. I absolutely believe that past experiences shape our current ones and sometimes there are patterns of behavior that can be changed or a new perspective that can be found. But sometimes you just get caught in a downpour with out your umbrella and you’re just going to be cold and wet until you can change. Sometimes there is sadness and pain and it is going to be sad and hurt until it goes away. Luckily, I have learned over the years that sad and hurt are too lazy or too cheap to mortar that walls they build. There are huge cracks for sunshine to leak through and it does sometimes. Sometimes so strongly, that you forget it’s obstructed.

Can I love the right person, please? That would be cool. Can he love me back? Also can someone teach me how to recognize (and not intimidate) him?

Okay, well I guess that’s good enough. Think I’ll go cry now.

Thanks for listening. You are an awesome, millions-strong anonymous void.

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