Unveiling the Unavailable

I feel as if I haven’t written about relationships in a while, and the inspiration hit when I was having a discussion with a friend on the way home from work today. We were dissecting something I’d read that examined being attracted to and attracting unavailable people (both physically and emotionally), and ultimately, forging faux-lationships with them. Either the person approaches them, expecting them to be receptive to their advances, or, they find themselves drawn to those who are either in relationships, married, or just not ready for committment. This topic can be a little heavy, because people feel judged if they’re currently in them, or have been in them. I truly believe that, for the majority of people, they don’t go out actively seeking unavailable people. If anything, they like to believe that they are doing quite the opposite – avoiding them, ignoring them, or rejecting them. Every once in a while though, one of them finds you and somehow senses your internal unavailability as well, and BAM!, you’re sucked in. Against your better judgement, you engage in behaviors and activities that make you question your moral compass, all the while asking yourself how you allowed yourself to end up in such a situation. Understand that you are not a bad person, and there are a few reasons why this is happening to you (before you read them though, end that toxic relationship!).The convo caused me to do a little bit of further research (cough-cough Google) to find out why this “phenomena” keeps occurring.

Advice

People meet you at your level of broken-ness. This point was brought up in an article I read on Huffington Post, Why Do I Keep Attracting Unavailable People. It discussed how a fear of committment within two different people can somehow draw them to each other, because they recognize attributes, almost subconsciously, in each other. I’ll bring it back to something even more simple: misery indeed loves company. For some strange reason, we tend to believe that others in our dismal situation will somehow give us space to improve on ourselves. In reality, that broken energy is just being pushed back and forth between the two people. Instead of addressing their wounds, they’re feeding off of each other, and as a result, never completely heal themselves.

Pretty Girl

Having someone who’s unavailable gives you space to be unavailable as well. We all probably know of someone who has been/is a side dude or chick, and seems to be comfortable in that space. Sure, they complain about always being alone at night, and not being able to parade their love out in public, but for the most part, they’re happy with the situation they’re in. They claim that it’s easy, that it doesn’t require much from them, that it’s better than a full-fledged relationship. But guess what? It’s NOT. Not easy, and surely not better. If anything, it feeds the painful parts of you with more pain, and keeps you immobile. You get stuck putting enormous amounts of energy and life into something that shouldn’t even have come alive. Sure, you’re busy, and it seems like a quick fix, but we all make time for the things we deem important. When you find an available person that you’re really feeling, best believe you will do everything in your power to make room for them in your life.

Burning Bottle

You have daddy/mommy issues. Okay, hear me out on this one. I’m not suggesting that you need to go see a psychiatrist asap or anything. Many of us, especially if you grew up where I grew up, didn’t have the healthiest of home lives to mimic or learn from. Some of us had absentee parents, and whether we want to admit it or not, that dynamic has shaped our relationships. We’re afraid of getting deeper, of truly entrusting our love with someone else, so being in the faux-lationship is the best possible option. It allows us to relieve ourselves of having to be vulnerable and potentially being hurt, but you know what else it does? It also prevents us from being open to receiving the love we truly crave. Holding on to that which isn’t ours serves as a repellant to what we should be embracing, what we deserve. Yes, it’s great that you can live in a fantasy world that doesn’t require you to struggle in the deep end from time to time, but for how long? At what point do you decide that the shallow end just doesn’t fill your soul?

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Control Freak

I have an issue with control – I like having it. Wayyyy too much. Or maybe I should say, I had an issue. I needed to have complete and utter ownership and a say in everything that happened in my life, whether it was my decision or not. And when something happened that was ultimately out of my control, I tried to do everything in my power to take back the reins. I’ve discovered though, life doesn’t really work that way. Sometimes, bad things (and good things!) happen, and no amount of willpower and determination will give you the opportunity to bring yourself back to a time when you COULD have changed things. That’s called time travel, and we haven’t been able to master the technology to make that a possibility.

Clock

In my efforts to psycho-analyze myself, I sat down one day and really tried to figure out why I was so hell-bent on controlling all of my life situations. Like most things in our lives, we can track it back to our childhoods. Childhood is such an important belief-shaping time period for us. Our minds are malleable and formative, and if we’re not careful, we can absorb habits that will become a hindrance to us as adults. I can recall moving a lot as a child. By the time I was 18, we had lived in about 13 different apartments. It was all in the same town, but a few times, I had to change schools, depending on what side of town I lived on. There was a lot of lost friendships, as well as cherished items that were left behind because of all of the moving. I can remember feeling so lost and helpless as a little girl, forced to live a life based on the decisions of others. As a result, I started focusing on all of the things I was able to control – my schoolwork, my public image, my talents. I was a great student, and I made sure that everyone knew I was one. I put on the personality of a responsible, conscientious young person, and found myself having to live up to that ideal on a daily basis. Exhausting, really. But at least I could control it.

Young Shonnie

As I got older, some of those controlling habits started to trickle into my interpersonal relationships with others. When I didn’t get my way, I would shut down, or feel hurt, have an “attitude”, or work my magic to manipulate the situation to my advantage. But guess what happened when I did that? I still didn’t get my way. And the end result was a lot of mis-communication, hurt and pain, and the eradication of my relationships/friendships. I was starting to be seen as someone who always needed to have her way, no matter what. That type of mindset erodes trust, and if there is no trust in any relationship, then there is no true relationship at all. I learned that I had to stop blaming my past for my future, and start working on ME. I stopped putting my impossible expectations on others – instead of expecting, I started accepting.

Robot Duck

This isn’t to say that you stop having control of yourself or the decisions you make. That is still important, and you need to do that for your own growth. What I am saying though, is that at some point, you need to evolve and become more emotionally mature. You can only control your actions – people aren’t dolls to play with, or robots to program to do your bidding. You may not control the ultimate outcome, but who cares? As long as you know that you’ve done everything you could to be authentic, and that you didn’t manipulate someone to get your way, then you’re on the right path. Because in reality, “It is our attitude toward events, not events themselves, which we can control.” (Epictetus). Focus on your attitude.

The Heart of the Matter

Forgiveness. It’s a word that’s been on my mind for a couple of weeks now. I’d been contemplating whether or not I should write about it, and then Sunday morning, India Arie’s cover of the song “Heart of the Matter” rolled through on Pandora, and then her song “Wings of Forgiveness” came on. So yeah, the question in my mind was pretty much answered for me. And of course, with today being the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, it seemed even more apropos.

Boxing

I’ve never considered myself to be a very forgiving person. In fact, traditionally, I’ve been the complete opposite, the grudge-holder, who contemplated all of the ways I could make you pay for hurting me, betraying me, no matter what the offense might be. I grew up around people who didn’t necessarily believe in the idea of letting things slide, of letting bygones be bygones. Because if you did, you were somehow weak, a pushover. And you know what all of that negative energy beget? A home filled with resentment. Pent-up anger. Anguish. Anxiety. All of the things that can lead to depression. I realized that it also hurt ME. If the other person was smart, they weren’t even thinking about me and my animosity towards them. I was only damaging my OWN soul.

Arm Wrestling

I’ve been dealt with some hurtful situations over the last year. Situations in which I would have had every right to lash out and act crazy. Initially, that was my first inclination. I wanted to do everything in my power to make those persons pay for what they had done to me, how they had made me feel. I sometimes even fantasized about how it would all go down. But for some reason, I made a different decision. I determined that it essentially wasn’t worth my energy. Yeah, I’d feel good in the moment, but that’s all it would be. Just a moment. Once it was done, my psyche would be wrought with the memories of my malicious impulsiveness. So, I did nothing. I meditated and prayed on it, and decided to just forgive.

Pancake Smiley

Let me tell you – that was quite literally the best decision I  could have made. Now, instead of being consumed with rage, I could focus on more important aspects of the situation’s aftermath – like healing from it. Anytime I had any thoughts on potentially going back on my decision to forgive, I just thought about how it would affect me. After a while, it stopped being in the forefront of my mind, and I’m pretty certain that I pushed my healing curve ahead tremendously. Yes, anger can be justified, but it’s also a choice. We can always choose to keep our minds and spirits there, and as a result, become breeding grounds for negativity. Or, we can choose forgiveness, and learn to be the person who moves on. Not because we’re weak, no. But BECAUSE we’re strong, and we love ourselves more.

The Present IS a Present

Today I saw a quote that was attributed to the Dalai Lama on Facebook. It was his thoughts on what surprised him most about humanity, and he said, “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived”. I saw it first thing this morning, and it definitely resonated with me. I, like many young people of my generation, am so focused on the future and future goals, that I fail to take a breath and look back at how far I’ve come, and appreciate where I am now.

The-Dalai-Lama-Image

The thought took me through the rest of the workday, and on my way home, I had a good “life” conversation with one of my best friends. She had recently gone through some major life changes, and shared with me how happy she was to finally feel like everything was falling into place, how she was feeling settled. She felt like she had been doing too much planning planning planning, always running, never resting. And finally, FINALLY, she was starting to learn the beauty of living in the now.

Catcher in the Rye

What’s funny about that conversation is that it’s seemingly a constant theme amongst my friends and I, like we’re all having these mini epiphanies all over the place. After spending so much time worried about the future and being stressed about all we haven’t accomplished, we are finally understanding the value in enjoying what we have today. I created my vision board for the year last weekend (as promised in my previous post), and the activity proved to be time-consuming, but extremely cathartic in so many ways. While its focus was on my goals for the year, getting them all down in one place has appeared to free up the mental space for me to bask in what’s directly in front of me. My focus and goals are still there and always present of course, but now, they don’t consume me with constant stress and despair.

Open Road

What truly is the point of working tirelessly if you’re never taking the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor? I would hate for people to remember me solely as a “hard worker”, as “ambitious” and “forward-looking”, but speak nothing to my love of life, my dedication to improving the world, my love of the beauty that surrounds us. Take a moment this weekend to just reflect on all of the wonderful-ness in your life, and appreciate where you are, right now. Enjoy this moment…you can worry about tomorrow, well, tomorrow.

Back Scrubs and Doggie Bags

Yeah, yeah, another post about being single. But this is a serious one. Soooo serious. You never realize how many things you take for granted when you’re a part of a couple, especially when it’s all you’ve known for ten or more years. Obviously, when you get that far, you just assume that it’s going to be that way forever. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work out that way, and you end up dealing with some big adjustments when you transition to single life. For me, there are five pressing things that I’m just now understanding are super serious – that make my ousting from coupledom that much more evident.

1. There’s no one to wash my back in the shower. 

Have you ever realized, like, really realized, the necessity of having someone wash your back in a shared shower? The joy of not having to be extremely and unnaturally flexible, a contortionist of sorts, just to have a nice, clean back? Imagine my sadness, my utter despair, when, after months of near-death experiences and injuries in the shower, I discovered that they actually sell things to help you with that. You know, those long-handled brush thingamajigs, back scrubbers, I think they’re called? I’m convinced they were invented by a single person who was just over the stretching and sliding to get to that one spot in the middle of their back. Sad. Very, very sad.

Back Scrubber

2. You can’t race yourself to the bed so you don’t have to turn out the lights. 

What a friggin pain in the ass this was before I bought my home a few months ago. Back during the “Relationship Age”, I tried to always be the first one in the bed (so yes, former SO, I was taking that game seriously, and really did NOT want to turn off the lights), nice and comfy, so I wouldn’t have to get up, half-asleep, and flick the switch. Sure, that seems small, but it is oh so important when you find that snuggly spot in the bed, and you don’t want to get up again. My new place has a remote control for my bedroom lights (Bougie? Maybe. But an ingenious invention, really). Also, that praying mantis has nothing to do with this section at all. But I was desperate to use him. 

Praying Mantis

3. Who will eat all of my restaurant doggie-bag leftovers? 

I typically eat small portions of food (this is mostly due to the fact that I just want to get to the dessert, and like a good girl, I have to eat some of my dinner first to look as if I’m following the rules). Because of me eating two bites and feigning fullness, I just about always have something to bring home with me at the end of dinner. This wouldn’t be so bad if I actually ate the leftovers, but no. Like the wasteful American I am, I almost always forget that it’s even in the fridge, and by the time I remember, it’s too late. That cedar-plank salmon looks more like some sort of algae concoction. The irony of all of this? I despise wasting food, so I also give myself a guilt trip for a few days after the offense. Do you see the dilemma here??

Doggie

4. There’s no one to ditch parties and events with. 

You get invited somewhere, the day comes, and you’re kind of like, meh. And when you’re in a couple, that “meh” feeling is okay, because guess what? They’re going to agree with you! And if your former SO was a man, that statement becomes even more true! Especially when it comes to those situations where you feel it necessary to show up as a couple. But now? I get invited to places and events, and if I don’t feel like going, I stay home. Alone. And there’s no one to make me feel okay with the fact that I just ditched someone’s kids bar mitzvah/holiday party/movie night/whatever whatever or something. I am alone in my shame and guilt (okay, there probably isn’t much shame or guilt. I was tired. Get off my back!).

Loner

5. Running out of toilet paper is now just your fault. 

Before, you could get upset, cast the blame on your innocent SO, but now? You have no one to blame but yourself. It was your responsibility. You knew you used the last of it the night before, so don’t act so surprised when you wake up the next morning to the little unusable bit that’s stuck to the paper roll. You kept reminding yourself that you needed to get more, and you didn’t. This is YOUR FAILURE. In the grand scheme of things, it seems miniscule, but at 3:30 in the morning? It’s crucial.

Toilet Paper

All this to say, every event in your life brings you the chance to learn new things about yourself, good or bad. I’ve learned that, especially after listing out these five things, I’m apparently wasteful, lazy, forgetful, and a hermit. But on the bright side, I’ve learned resourcefulness. It’s that much more important to stock up on toilet paper before you need it.

 

Turn Pipe Dreams Into Reality

Every once in a while, we find ourselves lost, confused…feeling out of place. We look in the mirror, and all we feel is disdain and displeasure with the image reflected back at us. We feel insecure, unloved, depressed – every negative emotion and feeling available. And some days, it’s seemingly impossible. We’ll never find true love (for the first time or again), we won’t get that promotion, our dreams won’t ever come to fruition – or so it all seems. In short, we feel trapped and despondent, slaves to stagnancy.

Bunny Suit

It’s so easy to stay stuck in that place, believing that happiness and joy is just a pipe dream being sold by some shady dealer. Those feelings of despair lead to quiet discontent and complacency, making us almost immobile to change and progress. The key to moving past this is understanding that nothing is permanent, and realizing that the only thing keeping your situation the same is you.

Hockey Players

Have you ever gone into a restaurant, retail store, government agency – anywhere – and, instead of receiving a smile and good service, you were met with a negative attitude and annoyance? And, if you’re like me, the first thing you thought was, “Well, if you don’t like your job, why don’t you find a new one!”. Like, how could anyone be THAT unhappy, yet still hold on to something they hate? When you give in to the negative side of being at a standstill, you might as well be that disgruntled employee.

Pug

I know it’s not easy to just magically change a situation, and this is definitely not a “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” soliloquy. And maybe you can’t change your current situation immediately, or even the next week. However, what you can control is how you view it and handle it. You can give in to the “woe is me” mentality, or, you can start making a concerted effort to focus on the positive, and making those plans to propel yourself forward. Maybe that means loving yourself more; maybe it means getting more education, or putting yourself in a place outside of your comfort zone. Whatever it is though, you need to start it now. Not tomorrow, not next week, not for the new year, but NOW. Everyone deserves joy and purpose – start claiming yours.

You’re Really Not Missing Anything

The other day, while aimlessly checking my FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, and [insert social media app of the moment here], I had an epiphany. Or something like one. More like a kick in the shins. I didn’t really care what anyone was doing or posting (not in a negative way, because I do care about my friends or family), but I was drawn to the need to feel connected to something, anything. It seems that I, like many young people in my generation, suffer from extreme bouts of the fear of “missing out” and “being alone with yourself”. Obviously, I can’t speak for everyone, but it seems like this has become a huge issue for me. I’m slowing become a boring person, one who gets bored easily, and needs to find some sort of stimulation by living vicariously through the mundane but seemingly more exciting lives of my social media friends. I’m forgetting how to think critically and deeply, how to entertain myself, how to feel okay with being by myself.

Social-Media-Addiction-Shots

Most of us aren’t so young that we can’t remember the times of actual interaction with real live human beings, with no distractions like smartphones to glance down at every five seconds in the middle of a conversation. Remember trying to remember the name of a movie or a place, etc, and you had to like, actual talk each other through it and THINK, instead of Googling it?? And while you were trying to remember that thing, you thought of other things, that possibly made you think of something else, and took the conversation off into a tangent about THAT new thing?? That so rarely happens in my life now, I’m sad to report. I’m trying to think of the last time I had a real-life intellectually stimulating conversation with someone, and I’m blanking out (maybe two weeks ago?). And those times that I do attempt it, because I’m feeling quite thoughtful and pensive that day, people look at me like I take life too seriously. But isn’t the purpose of life to ponder and well, search for the purpose of it?

Prehistoric Googling

I can also recall not being able to wait until I had a few hours to myself, so I could do whatever I wanted, kid and husband free. I would write some poetry or music (or a blog post), or maybe do a little reading, or make something else worthwhile, like being present in the moment. Now, I get a couple of hours, and I’m staring at a phone or iPad screen, scrolling through and “liking” stuff that I actually really don’t like, or playing the evil that is Ruzzle or CandyCrush (I’m soooo ashamed to admit this). I’ve considered deactivating my social media accounts, but I always come up with excuses like, “I live so far away from my friends and family now, this is how they can keep up with us!” (because there are no such things as phones, anymore, right?), or, “I need it for business purposes!” (I really don’t). And so the insanity ensues.

Tyrone Biggums

I honestly don’t have a solution to this issue, but I know it’s one that is starting to have a large impact on my relationships and my creativity. When I can sit on the phone with someone I haven’t spoken to in a while, and I can’t have a conversation that’s longer then ten minutes, that’s a problem to me. And when it takes me a month and a half to write a new blog post because I can’t focus, that’s also a problem. If you’re not experiencing this issue, I commend you. And if you are, I think we may need to start a support group. If you suddenly see me disappear from your friend feed in the near future, know that I haven’t unfriended you or blocked you out of my life. I’m just needing to be focused and blocked in to MY life.

This Mortal Life

I am heartbroken over the passing of Paul Walker. Did I know him? No, not personally, of course. But many of us get to “know” celebrities by the moments we share with them in movies, from photos, from their work in the community. Many of us begin to think of these celebrities as our friends and family, so their untimely deaths have a deep impact on us. For others, though, I think it conveys something deeper, some aspect of ourselves that we have to examine.

Direction

It doesn’t just mean we won’t see our favorite star on the big screen again, in something new. It’s so much bigger than that. It sharply reminds us of our own mortality, and that can be scary. It causes us to take a step back and examine our lot in life, our paths, to see if we’re really where we want to be. It makes us hold on to that loved one just a little bit longer, makes our kisses last a second more than usual, makes us bite our tongues instead of harshly rebuking our partner with venomous, hurtful words. Essentially, it reminds us that we only have this one life, this one chance to live fully, to give our all in a positive way.

Live with Purpose

Today, you have to ask yourself: what can I do to live life fully? If tomorrow wasn’t a guarantee (which it is undoubtedly not), what would you do differently? How would that change your outlook and game plan for the day? I challenge you all to love yourselves enough to be the best you possible, to live in the present and enjoy every moment of it. That isn’t to say that you should live recklessly, but you should live with intention. Leave the fluff behind and focus on what is important, what helps you grown and learn and love…what helps you BE. May all of those who didn’t have the opportunity to wake up today rest in peace, and may you all take that as your cue to live a life of peace and purpose.

Paul Walker

Here Comes the Sun

It’s so easy to a bitter, sour person when things don’t go your way. Maybe you didn’t get that promotion you wanted, or they left you out of the equation yet again. Maybe your archenemy just drove by in the car you wanted, or purchased the house you thought you’d be able to buy. Unfortunately, bitterness won’t improve your situation, or make you happier. Sometimes, you have to make a conscious effort to just let it go and be happy. As of late, I’ve been focusing on three ways I can ensure my daily happiness (daily, because you have to start somewhere), and just be great. Why do I keep focusing on these positive posts? Well duh, I’ve still got work to do!

1. Don’t let other people’s emotions and reactions to you determine your mood.

Argh

I have such an issue with this. I tend to be very empathetic, and sensitive, and if I care about someone, their mood seems to always somehow dictate mine. I could be floating on cloud nine all day, and one sideways comment or dirty look can make me feel some type of way. I can’t help but feed off of others emotions sometimes. It’s such a gift and a curse (ok, I’ll stop with the hip-hop song references). I’m figuring out slowly but surely that I have to do my best to kind of put up a wall, or just brush it off. Because, like I’ve said in previous posts, it’s really not that serious. That doesn’t mean you can’t care, but you kind of have to care about yourself first.

2. Stop raining on other people’s parades. 

Debbie Downer

Like, seriously. Just because you’re in a bad mood doesn’t mean you have to put everyone else in a bad mood too. Try being genuinely happy with someone else’s good news or good fortune. Or dammit, if you have to, fake it. There are always those scientific studies out there that say things like, “smile when you’re upset and it’ll make you happy”. That’s like, actually true. At least in my case. When I start faking the feeling, I actually start feeling it. Try it today. Smile!

3. Chill with the self-deprecation. 

The Breakfast Club

You’re actually not as horrible as you think you are, or as stupid, or as [insert unrealistic negativity here]. Everyone is entitled to make mistakes in life, but the key is to feel it, and move on. And while you’re at it, relax with the over-analyzing. I’m one of those people who, after a trying situation, goes back and tries to think of every single thing I could have done differently. And when I bring it up to whomever was involved, they had already stopped thinking about it eons ago. Besides, if you were sooo perfect, how would you ever learn, and grow? If you have to, stick some positive affirmations up around you. THEY ACTUALLY WORK.

No one is expecting you to be happy all day, all of the time. That’s actually pretty ridiculous and would make you some weirdo Stepford Wife or robot. However, you can actively change your outlook on life, so you can start being a more content. If you have some tips for improving your outlook on life, please please please feel free to share with the rest of us!

Either Love Me, or Leave Me Alone

Have you ever found yourself spending so much time and energy focused on how other people feel, checking in on them, never realizing that you’ve forgotten to figure out how YOU feel, forgotten to check in with you? It’s so easy to get caught up in being who others want you to be, and you eventually find yourself confused about who you really are. It’s happened to me, and frequently happens to me. I’ve gone through so many changes in my life lately, and it has me feeling like some sort of drifter, hovering on the outskirts of life. I found myself losing sight of what makes me unique, what makes me special to those who love me. Inauthenticity, even if unintentional, can literally un-ground you and make you question everything. You’re spinning in no particular direction, with no buffer or barrier to stop you from doing so.

be-original

In the shower the other day (my best thoughts happen in the shower), I tried to think of the last time I sat and actually spent some time with myself, meditating or just figuring life out. Not surprisingly, I couldn’t come up with anything. When you take time for yourself, you give yourself the space to explore what it means to be you. Conversely, when you fail to do that, you fail to be creative, to be innovative, to exemplify what sets you apart from any other mindless drone. As a result, you start searching for meaning and purpose in things that shouldn’t be remotely important to you. You begin to be formless and spineless, living vicariously through someone else’s personality, their existence.

doyoubootote_large

So the purpose of today’s post? I suppose there’s no real, clear purpose, aside from me utilizing this medium to express myself (and do all the stuff I just said I don’t have time to do). And I guess, it’s also to give you a nudge and inspire you to do the same. Stop living other people’s dreams, skulking in their shadows, and stop stop stop emulating their lives. If they aren’t happy with you once you actually begin to be yourself, then you’ve succeeded in eliminating any barriers that will hold you back from being who you truly are. Because honestly (in the words of the great philosopher, Jayz), they can “…either love [you], or leave [you] alone. Be you. Be real. Be alive.

Purpose of Life

Multi-Racial Misfit

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