one-sided love

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One-sided love is difficult. VERY difficult.

Anyone could probably say this without thinking. Of course it is. But when I sat and pondered on it, I realized that I failed to think of is how it could be so difficult. How it is like to merely stew in your feelings, like a warming, plugged up tea pot begging to let out steam… steam with no where to go that instead presses against your chest, your whole body. Like a wish unfulfilled, a string left dangling, a comma inked by a pen without a direction to go.

I like to think what many would think as “fluffy” thoughts: Loving is enough. It does not matter if the person loves you back. Love holds such great power, more than many recognize, that can transcend earthly bounds, heal even the ugliest of wounds. By loving, I have the remarkable power of doing all that love can do. Deep to the root, I still believe this. But when you’re facing that lion out in the savannah, you realize, “This was a lot easier when it was just words, in my imagination.” It’s a completely different experience when you live it out in action. This may go for any kind of one-sided love… whether it’s a person you are crushing on who does not care for you, or a family member who refuses to acknowledge you.

Speaking of romantic love, I always believed that I had a one-sided curse. Almost every guy I ever had interest in, I came to find that he liked someone else, or that he was already in a relationship/engaged/married, or that he simply did not like me back. Yet those who were interested in me, I was never interested in back. After many years of this, I came to ask myself, and God, “Why is it always this way? When will it be, finally, mutual? Will that time ever come?” I have come across so much “single” advice from my friends, bad advice, that I’ve grown a deaf ear to them now. Instead, I’ve learned to listen to my mind and my heart. And my mind says I cannot predict the future, that even if I do not find that mutual connection, I still have my life to live and dreams to fulfill. Yet my heart tells me how much it hurts, how sick it is of putting itself out there only to come crashing down. It feels as if it is now sitting at the edge of the cliff, in fear of falling… and what that could lead to and what it will bring. What it has brought far too many times before. I like you. How hard it is to say those words to the person you like, and how painful it is for them to turn away. For them to never notice your feelings, even when inside you are shouting. Or to finally hand someone something so precious from you, only for them to abandon it without a word.

Maybe there is some who have not experienced this, and to them all of this may be irrelevant. It is easier to say, “It will all work out” when you have not been through it. But for someone who has, I connect to those who understand what I say at a deep level. I sometimes feel the pressure to always be optimistic for others, but in certain instances, I do that at the expense of speaking truth to what is real. I would like to think of myself as both an optimist and a realist. Sometimes things will work out, but sometimes it won’t. The things you want won’t always come easy, or at all. It is still vitally important for us to be vulnerable with others in order to experience love and connection, but that, too, will not always be easy. And it hurts, very much, to love and to not have that love reciprocated. It is a beautiful, wonderful thing that we are loving… that does not change. But within that experience, pain may beat heavily. We do ourselves better if we do not ignore both sides of the experience or focus solely on one or the other. The yin and yang of these experiences is what makes life dynamic, fruitful, complex, full, enigmatic.

Usually I have a message or point I try to bring home in my posts, but I think for this one, my point is just being honest with myself. Instead of putting up a brave front all the time, and choosing fervently to ignore all of those one-sided loves in my past… choosing instead to acknowledge them, and ultimately, me. I do not have to be acknowledged by others to know I am worthy. I do not have to have my love received in order for it to mean something, for it to carry worth. But the pain still cuts me deeply, and sometimes I want to give up, to stop having feelings for others completely. As contradictory as that is, there they are, those opposing forces pushing and pulling at me so. To me, the most difficult part of a one-sided love is accepting the story as forever unrealized. That I won’t get the ending I strongly long for. And for someone who likes periods and closure, to pen stories that fulfill her heart, it’s a difficult thing indeed.

fighting to be yourself

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I’m sick of being told who to be, of people who do not know the real me defining my identity, blubbering, “‘X’ is who you are.” Yet you judge me based on your experience of reality; your view and social construction of reality is not true for everyone else. I’m sick of you making generalizations based on minute encounters… you have not seen my mind, my heart, my passions. I’m sick of you making judgments of what I can and cannot do. I’m sick of you thinking that you can “read” people–spouting pride until you are naught but a forest of arrogance. I’m sick of you assuming without looking at the BIG picture, as if everyone views the world the same way as you, as if people are not any different, shaped by their own unique life situations. That social, familial, socioeconomic, gender, and racial arenas do not make a difference. I’m sick of you saying that you know who I am, and shoving that mold on me as if I’ll fit. I only have this to say to you. Get your head out of the fucking sand. You are not God. You cannot read my mind and you cannot judge my character when you made no attempt to understand who I am.

I spent most of my life letting people define me, telling me who I was and what I was capable of. People have given me unsolicited advice and have shoved their standards and views onto me, forcing me to accept them as “truth.” But growing up, I begun to see that their words have as much power as I give them. I think that many of us still continue to live being affected by this, subconsciously operating on the assumption that people hold much more power over us than they actually do. That their words somehow matter and how they view us is a reflection of who we are. But having spent my whole life encountering people who have gotten “me” wrong, I came to realize that people are much worse at reading me than they think they are. If I had continue to let everyone’s words define me, I would not be here writing this. Ever since I was 5, people have told me that I’m: ugly, unattractive, weird, different, a loser. Kids either made fun of me or ignored me. I was ostracized for my racial identity and experienced terrible racism. Most of the time, I was not worth attention, unless it was negative. I spent a majority of my life believing I was not good enough for others.

I suffered with dysthymia (a chronic kind of depression) for 9 years of my life and in all honesty, I may have followed through with killing myself if I continued to believe in those horribly untrue definitions people told me. But now those words have no power over me. Because I am a strong advocate of the postmodern view, that the world, as well as who we are and how we see others, is individually constructed. We all see life through a unique lens that is molded by our experiences. I construct my own identity, regardless of whatever interpretations or assumptions people make on that based on their experiences. Their words have no power, because I have stopped giving them power. Even if people today say that I’m: pretty, attractive, smart, intelligent, open… I do not need their confirmation to know I am those things. And when people say negative things, or things that are completely incongruent with my identity, I pay them no heed. Because whether good or bad, people are not constructing my identity.

And there is such freedom in that. Because when you break it down, life is based on your perspective. You, and only you, hold the power to construct your life and your identity. These people only define you when you let them. We always have a choice… a choice to rise above what society dictates, those harming standards, to not be like them or think like them, to be a complete you, without hesitation. There will always be people who will not appreciate who you are and what you are worth. But if their words don’t matter, then that won’t matter either. In your lifetime, the world will never stop shoving its standards on you, seducing you to follow as they do. But don’t give up. Be courageous. Push back. Define your own standards. Fight for your passions, for what’s true in your heart, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You have to learn to fight for yourself, in order to learn to fight for anything else in this world.