Unloveable

{I love this book.  It makes me cry.  I can’t read it to my students.}

My friends Stacey and Ryan were married yesterday.  {Sidenote–My first purple bridesmaid dress!  You know how I love purple.  It was beautiful.  For those of you who reference the movie and are counting, 7 down, 20 to go!  :P} 

At Stacey and Ryan’s wedding, a statement was made:  “True love means that you will love me when I am the most unloveable.”  That statement struck a chord with me.  I can’t seem to get my act together with regards to romantic relationships.  Never have.  I date the wrong guys for too long, I push the good guys away, I don’t open myself up and allow anyone to get close.  (At this moment, I sincerely hope none of them are reading this…and I don’t think they are, but I’m paranoid…but I’m going to be brave and honest anyway.)  Half the time I think it’s just bad luck, the other half of the time I think something must be wrong with me.  I am defective in some way.  Something about me isn’t compatible with being close to someone else.

But that statement from the wedding got me thinking.  Of course God will arrange the right relationship for me in His own time, and that’s the only way I want it.  But I also know that God can be holding out an opportunity and I can push it away.  I have this mentality that I sort of don’t want to meet my someone until I complete all these tasks and make myself more perfect, eliminate the unloveable.  Less fat.  Less debt.  More cute clothes.  Finally find a haircut that I like.  Clean closets.  Stop leaving things in the fridge well past their expiration dates.  Somehow be skinny, tan, stylish, graceful, generous, and…well…just less me and more perfect.

The fact that I push people away when they start getting close to discovering the “unloveable” about me is an issue.  My friends Dave and Christine recently helped me with my taxes, and I couldn’t find last year’s taxes when I needed them.  Dave and Christine witnessed me searching high and low for last year’s taxes, knowing full well that if I had just filed them away in an organized manner last year, this wouldn’t be an issue.  Or if I had thought of it, I could have searched for them before they came over. 

By the way, it is actually possible to do this year’s taxes without access to last year’s adjusted gross income.  🙂

(I never did find them.)

Dave and Christine have seen me in some of my more “unloveable” moments.  In a swimsuit when I don’t feel particularly attractive.  No makeup and sweating like crazy when we’re playing ultimate frisbee on an 85-degree day.  Dave and I went on vacation together last summer…Going on vacation with me is a lot more than I usually have to reveal to friends!  Plane travel, sleeping in the same room, seeing exactly what I do eat and do and say for five or six days straight. 

And yet, this feeling of having Christine and Dave see me not be able to put my hands on something I needed…I was mortified.  I don’t think they knew that.  Or maybe they did, they’re pretty perceptive.  Dave and Christine are just the right kind of friends for me–they will shove their way in through a window if I don’t open a door for them.  Metaphorically, of course.  I would like to think they are aware that it would really freak me out if they actually entered through the window in my apartment.  🙂

Which brings me back around to wanting someone who will love me when I am most unloveable.  The debt, the fat, the disorganized…those are not the most unloveable things about me.  One of the cliche statements about parenting is that babies don’t come with an owner’s manual.  Well, I think I should come with an owner’s manual.  There are so few people in the world who love me when I am unloveable.  I can count them on one hand.  That’s just the way people are, and I doubt anyone else’s world is any different.  Everyone wants something from you, or expects something of you, and when you don’t live up, when you are found to be defective, they are finished with you.  Or if they’re your family and can’t get rid of you, they are finished with you until you prove to be worthy again.  I have a feeling this is true for everyone, but we all experience the world differently.  The owner’s manual for someone who wants me needs to make it clear that I experience a world where I am never, ever good enough.  Where I will always feel like I’m weighed and found wanting.  Where I feel alone in the middle of a crowd, and terrified in the midst of success.  And I think those things might be the most unloveable things about me.

So my directions might say:

1. Never, ever be pushed away.  I will push you away, because that is what I do.  I push people away so that they can’t get in, can’t see the things that I fear they will find unacceptable.  When I say I want you to go, what I really want is for you to stay, to see me, and to accept.  What I am saying is, “If you stay, you will see something that I don’t like about myself.  If you don’t like it either, it would be worse than you just leaving.  So go away, and then I’ll never have to know if you would have rejected me.”  Push back.  Stay.  Don’t let me push you away.

2. The loudest thing I experience isn’t what I see, hear, smell, touch, or taste.  It’s what I feel.  I experience emotions every day that are raw and fresh.  I take on the emotions of those around me, real or fictitious.  You can’t dismiss them.  You can’t say I shouldn’t feel this way, and you can’t say something is not a big deal when, to me, it is.  Because I will try to please you, and I will try to hold it all in, and eventually, I will explode.  So just be a sponge to absorb what I give.  Hug me when I’m happy, and when I’m sad, or scared, or excited.  Really, that’s all I need.

3.  My sister and I are a package deal.  End of story.  She was there before you, and she is the only person on the planet for whom I don’t try to be perfect.

4.  And on a practical note…Hug and kiss me all the time.  All.  The.  Time.  I cannot have too much contact.  For all the things I don’t understand about myself, that is one thing I know is true.

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I read an autobiography today.  All 279 pages of it in one day.  {After the wedding week, I protected today from obligations, knowing I would just need some down time.}  It was an easy and fast read, but it still surprised me that I finished it!  I’m not going to tell you who it was; it’s embarassing.

Okay, I’ll tell you.  Living boldly and authentically and all that.

I read Miles to Go by Miley Cyrus. 

Okay, and now you have to give me a chance to defend myself.  🙂  I saw The Last Song, and loved it.  Loved it so much I have watched the trailer online several times after I’ve seen the movie.  So much that I went and saw it again, by myself, because the first time we missed the first 15 minutes of the movie.  Loved it so much that it officially makes my list of movies that speak to me, and change me in some way.  Loved it so much that I’m not going to read the book.  Miley Cyrus plays the main character in the movie.  When I love a movie (or t.v. show or whatever) that much, I always want to know more about the real people who play the characters.  I didn’t really know anything about Miley Cyrus, other than who her dad is, and the fact that she plays Hannah Montana on Disney Channel.  (You are living in a cave if you teach little kids and don’t know the difference between Hannah Montana, Miley Stewart, and Miley Cyrus!)  I figured I would spend $10, read it, and sell it to Half Price Books for however much.  It’s still new enough that getting it from the library would be a small hassle and a long wait.

And who knows, I wonder if I’ll put it on my shelf and never touch it again, and stack it up with the Half Price Books pile in a couple months.  I just finished it 30 minutes ago, I need some time to process.  (As always!)  But I know that I’ll be putting it on my shelf for awhile.  Some of her pre-fame experiences are just too similar to my middle-school experiences to dismiss her to my give-away box already!  And her discussion of her first relationship, with someone she calls Prince Charming (though you can ask the girls in my class if you want more information…amused sigh and eye roll here…) is candid, wise, and hopeful.  Just in general, she speaks with wisdom of a woman with life experience, even as she writes with the eagerness and enthusiasm of a teenager.  I am very curious to see who she is in 20 years.

When I write songs, I try to tell a whole story. But sometimes the whole story isn’t ready to be told.  The bridge of a song is the transitional part, the part that musically connects two parts of the song.  It’s sometimes called the climb.  After the bridge, a song may come back to the chorus, but it’s bigger, it’s grander, and it feels different because of what happened in the bridge.  When you hear the bridge, you feel things changing, and you know the finale is near.

Over the past couple of years, my mind has wandered back to a relationship I had about ten years ago.  It was an important relationship, and a really great one, for who we were at the time, but for some reason I let go of it so completely that there weren’t any lessons learned, any wisdom to be carried into future experiences.  As I’ve been realizing that I don’t let people get close, I’ve been circling back to this important relationship a little bit.  Of all my romantic relationships, that was the only one where I really let him in.  I knew his deep dark secrets, and he knew mine.  He saw all the way to the back of my closets, if you will.  🙂 

We were so bonded, in fact, that after we broke up it was a good year or so before we stopped seeing each other between other relationships.  About six months after we broke up, we were hanging out, doing our usual cuddling and catching up with what was going on in our lives, and he asked me why I wouldn’t let him kiss me.  I said it was because we were broken up, and I knew if I let us go there, I wouldn’t want to be broken up anymore.  We still loved each other so much, it was hard to remember that we wanted to be broken up, especially when we were acting like we were together.  But when I was leaving, he hugged me at the door, and then just as I was turning to go, he grabbed my hand and pulled me back in, and kissed me passionately.  It was a movie-worthy kiss, which happens so rarely in real life!  And that is how he became my most romantic kiss ever.  When we weren’t even together.

Truthfully, maybe that’s why I let go of him so completely, in the end.  I had to move forward.  We both did.  When I finally let go, I had to let go to the extent that I could go on, and be with someone else without considering them through the filter of this relationship.  And I did.  I didn’t think about that kiss once for probably a good five or six years.  Or anything else about the relationship.  His name was in the “list of boyfriends,” and that’s it.

Come to think of it, I have always thought that if any of my relationships is responsible for my interpersonal defects, it was the next one, the mean one.  But I wonder if my Prince Charming didn’t play a part.  Being that connected, that bonded with someone…the separation was long and painful.  Wanting to kiss someone you’re not really allowed to want to kiss…wanting to call him when he’s not supposed to be your first call anymore…knowing that you could say one sentence and he would already know the background information to understand what you’re going through…  When two people’s lives are woven together like that, pulling them apart is a slow and difficult process.  I wonder if a part of me just wanted to avoid ever having to do that again.  And I will admit, all my breakups since then have been easier, cleaner, and more satisfying.  You know, when you know the relationship isn’t right, there is something very freeing about being done with it.  I don’t think Prince Charming and I ever felt free, or had a “clean break” moment.  We just had to keep pulling at the threads for awhile.

He is the beginning of the story.  He is the chorus of the song.  The bridge has lasted nearly eight years, once you account for all the in-between-trysts, but in my future there is someone who I will let see my secrets, and my closets, and my unloveable moments.  And it will be like that important relationship, but it will be bigger and grander, because this person will be more right for me, but also because of everything that I have experienced since then, including struggling to let people in.

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I know that’s a lot of personal information.  I just had to share with someone, even if it is internet strangers!  🙂

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Mom
    Apr 18, 2010 @ 11:34:26

    You know that “love” and “like” are two totally different concepts in our family. At least I hope you got it eventually. Are you talking “like” all your hidden secret places or “love” you in spite of them here? I love you anyway. And I hope you love me even if you don’t especially like me all the time.

    Reply

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