Thursday, July 28, 2005

Wrong Lesson, Nancy

“So what lesson did you learn from all of this?” he asked, pressing his fingertips together and leaning forward as though to pray.
“Not to ever let anyone get close to me again?” I shot back without looking in his general direction.
“Wrong lesson, Nancy.”

I smirked. Something about the sour look that stretched across his face when I said this made it seem all the more amusing to me, though on some level, I was entirely serious. Perhaps, I’m becoming cynical, or maybe I just choose to see things as they present themselves to me. And why shouldn’t I?

Why do people always assume that there is only one lesson to be learned from any given situation? Doesn’t perspective factor in anywhere into the assessment of an issue or experience? When did we start taking the value of our own unique perception for granted?

Perhaps, on some subjective level, he was right. Maybe that wasn’t the primary lesson or immediate response I should have given, but if it was my ultimate conclusion was it necessarily wrong simply because it differed from his? Wrong or right, some things are true whether you choose to believe them or not. Even so, can anyone ever really convince you of your own mind? (They can surely shed a little light.)

As I struggle to let go of the past, it keeps its hold on me. Who can tell me to forget it and move on before I’m ready? (Many have.) Yet, because my response has not been an immediate abandonment of all I’m feeling ("OK, I'm over it - Thanks!"), I’ve been perceived to be “dwelling.” I’m simply dealing. I’m simply recovering in the only way that I know how – as best as I can. And while I've been fortunate to have so many people looking out for me, in the end, it can only happen when I'm ready. (As I've been told.)

Shaken as I may be, I’m still aware of my own strength; I still have faith – that hasn’t changed, though the reminders have been helpful. I’m still the same girl and I still know my own mind (however crazy I may be at times). It’s my perspective that needs changing, and I know that time – and God - has quite a way of taking care of that. Eventually the tears will stop, the pain will subside, and the lesson – whatever and however many there may be – will have been learned. In the meantime, I’ll be learning.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Logic of "I Love You; I'm Leaving"

"I love you. I just can't be with you." How many times have these words been uttered, and how many poor heartbroken souls have grappled with them? But to what frequency or degree of honesty has their logic really been questioned or considered?

What kind of Love allows the option of leaving? The answer came to me suddenly this morning as I lay in my bed wondering whether N was equally disturbed by the loud noises coming from outside our building. Knowing his morning routine so well, I knew he was undoubtedly awake, though no longer here with me. There is only One form of love that provides an Exit Option, and it's the form that people are often most comfortable with: Love of Self. In many ways and for many reasons, this can be chalked up to Self-Preservation.
"I love you, but I can't take this anymore," which can be broken down logically to:

Desire to avoid conflict/Desire to ignore painful issues > Love for the beloved


Desire to protect self from getting hurt > Potential that beloved will be hurt

But is that true Love, when we know that love is not supposed to seek its own? What good is Love that is "unending" if the end result is that we leave behind the people who love us most to their own devices? Is that Tough Love or is it Counterfeit?

Undoubtedly, there is a great deal of pain one must take upon themself in administering any brand of Tough love, and where Self Love trumps Love of Another, a hedonistic approach will ultimately be preferred - one in which pain is minimized for the Absent lover and consequently maximized for the lover left behind. The equation - and results - becomes tougher on all parties involved. But how do you really quantify Love?

"I know he still loves me, even though he left me," I said as I gripped my knees with both hands and looked into his eyes as though I had all the confidence in the world in what I was saying.

"I don't know that you know what you think you know," he said.

This was Thinkspeak, undoubtedly designed to rob me of my conviction in the matter or to force me to question my own assumptions, however ill-conceived or comforting they might be to me. I just stared coldly back. I did not realize then that he was only applying cold logic to what I'd said. I decided to revise my statement, "I know he loved me as much as he was capable of loving another person." He seemed satisfied with that -- though I'm sure it's only because in the end he got me to admit on some small level that N's love was tainted or that I had been deceived. (A hollow victory, if you ask me.) Still, his words followed me long after our time together had ended and gnawed at my vainly concealed discontent throughout the night.

Why did I need to believe that N had loved me or might love me still? What purpose could it serve any longer? Was it a matter of a pride -- needing to be reassured that I had not been deceived? Was it a matter of having something from the past to hold on to -- a time to look back on and say "I was really loved?" (Surely for me, that is no small matter.) Or was it just a means of avoiding the unalterable truth: that in the end, whatever the logical breakdown or equation, N left me. Logically speaking, given the end result, saying he still loved me was little more than a parting gift. Maybe that's what I've been avoiding. Has my faith in his love become a poor justification for my own love? In any case, the further I break it down, the more I realize, that justified or not - and whether or not I ever have it "all figured out" - nothing changes. If all I have left is the Love in my heart, I have something, and what have I to lose by clinging to it? Peace of mind maybe? But that's a whole other equation... and I'm weary of logic this morning...

Sometimes, there is no sense to be made. Sometimes the only logical choice is to hold on to what is real for us even when there is no justification -- until we better grasp the truth. Eventually, we'll lose our crutches, and hopefully when that happens we won't be crushed by the weight of them when we fall... we undoubtedly will again. At least I'll do so knowing that I fought to hold on -- as illogical as that will surely sound to anyone who hasn't loved with utter disregard for their own heart. The love I have, unrequited as it may surely be, is still my own. There's strength in that.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Everyone Leaves

Everyone leaves, even the tears run
down my face, tracing the paths your fingers once made
leaving no retribution, they wash nothing away.

And yesterday's words pale to emptied intentions
poured out in pages you've crumbled or lost
and your withheld confessions and misplaced affections
are depriving no one but you...

(And these lines that cut so deep,
these scars that are clinging to me,
are the only thing honest
And I'm not afraid of the truth.)

Don't need to drown you down, or search for peace of mind
at the bottom of every empty bottle
not even in the shattered glass is there salvation to be found
though I can't remember the taste of you now...

Soon I'll forget your face,
the touch of your skin, your pale green eyes
and the words that you whisper again in my head
will all be replaced
by broken memories, by unkept promises,
the lessons derived from your poisoned truths,
the unintended lies

Poured myself out for you to see
can't say you don't know what you left behind
Sorry I was too broken for you,
and too content to drag you down with me,
too weak, but too willing to make your demons mine

And after all of this...

And after all is said and done...

Nobody stays,
that's what I told you once
(you were mistaken)
Everyone leaves...
Even the tears run.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Way It Is

If I’ve learned anything in my 23 years of life, it’s to never be surprised. When you let your guard down to the point that something another person can say or do can shock you, you know that you’ve missed a step somewhere along the way. How often do we project our rationale onto other people and expect that their thinking follows the same operating principals we live by only to wake up and realize that we’ve had it wrong the entire time? We rack our brain over and over again trying to figure out “how” someone could do something they’ve done because “we would never” do it, but we fail to realize that their abilities in this area might differ from our own. How often have we been thrown by the actions of others because our feelings clouded our ability to really perceive them or our hoping against hope has led us to the delusion that we can really “change” another person? I guess the frequency of incident isn’t as relevant as whether or not we’ve learned from them.

You cannot ever expect to get an orange from an apple tree. That is what I told my mother today as she went off on another long and drawn out tirade regarding my father about how “shocked” she was by his recent behavior. I wasn’t shocked at all. Sadly, I’ve come to expect certain things and it appalls me that after 20+ years, she has not accepted the way he is. (She is still reaching for oranges.) Instead, she chooses to tear herself up, wondering “how” and “why,” while all the while it’s been clear that whatever the reasons are, that’s the way it is. (This is why I chose to forgive him today.) There are certain things in life that we won’t like – certain things that will tear us up regardless of whether or not we accept them willingly – but the important thing is to make peace with those things, to realize that we are in no position to argue with “the way things are,” and to resign ourselves to making better choices.

Choices are that which we have control over and it’s those very choices that define – or destroy – our lives, if we let them. Choosing to accept is not always the easy choice – nor is choosing to forgive that which we cannot understand – but it’s in our hands, and it has the potential to set us free from the chains we place upon ourselves and give us a peace we would not otherwise find.

To love another person you need to really see them. To accept someone for what they are you need to really know what they are. Yet, at the same time, you can’t take anything for granted, because – as I’ve learned – things in life can come along to blind us or distract us from certain truths. I’ve accepted certain things; I have hope in my heart. There is peace in that.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Lesson Upon Waking

The rain was crashing down again outside the window, but the world outside would never be the same. I’d been given new eyes, and the nightmare that so abruptly, and almost accurately, materialized, took shape in everything surrounding me, to the point where there was nothing in me, nothing in my life, that it didn’t touch.

When I got home from the hospital on Saturday night and saw the blog that I’d last posted, it sent a cold chill down my spine. I’d never imagined when I wrote that Friday morning - a week and a day before - that by that night, before I could even close my eyes to sleep, the world would change in such a similar fashion - only this time, I wouldn’t have the red blanket to draw near to - though I found myself reaching for it so many times in the night over the course of my stay. Something about that color, that blanket, that reminded me of the full red moon I witnessed unlike any we had ever seen before, that recalled for me how cold my skin had been against the chair up on the roof and how soft it felt against my legs. In one instance, those nights were lost to me, and even though I couldn’t see the sky for so many days, I knew it would never be the same sky again, that nothing would ever again seem as beautiful, and the fact that I was unable to get outside did not matter as much as the fact that the world I knew had disappeared, much like a dream upon waking, in spite of what a wonderful dream it had been.

We often can’t control our dreams, but when we sense that we are dreaming and anticipate that we’ll be woken, we cling to the images, we try to stay longer (as I did this morning), and it’s seldom our fault when we wake and the dream is lost and we cannot remember. Sadly, in life, there are choices we make; we can choose, whether it’s our intention or not, to shatter the very dreams we build, if we try to hold on too hard. I wish that I had believed those words when I first heard them, and while wishing does precious little to turn back time, I learn from them what I can now, I carry them with me; I don’t forget.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Is it EVER Really "Different?"

When does the past cease to be a lesson? The correct answer is never, but all to often, we forget to remember that. Why do we feel the need to define every relationship as being "different," anyway? How many times have we used this as the end-all excuse in trying to explain away our feelings or justify feeling a way that others may not understand? "I'm telling you, I can't explain it, but THIS time, it's DIFFERENT." Who are we kidding anyway?

I suppose that if I knew the answers, I wouldn't be writing this blog. Most likely, I'd be richer than Oprah and selling more self-help books than Dr. Phil, Joel Osteen, and Rick Warren put together. But although we don't profess to know all the answers -- well, most of us don't, but this is Washington and there are many people here who firmly believe that they fully grasp the truth -- does that mean we shouldn't ask the questions?

How many times have we really taken the time to examine the pieces of our shattered pasts? Have we really considered the causes or extracted the necessary lessons we should have learned? Or have we been content to repeat them, believing that eventually we'd learn our lessons, resigning ourselves to the notion that we really only learn the hard way anyway?

Sad to say, but true, this is often the case, and it is often this willingness to forgo deep "dwelling" over the past that safeguards us from becoming cynical in the face of new possibilities. "This time it really WILL be different." But has there been change? Have we really come away from the past with anything of substance to aid us in the present or possibly carry us through to the future? Or have we accepted the vicious circle that our lives have become, throwing ourselves without caution into relationship after relationship in the hope that eventually the madness will end?

I'm learning daily that love is a rollercoaster with downs as intense as ups, and that, no, it does not get any easier. Whether we accept how clueless we are, or are convinced that we have it all figured out, we are still being educated. Only now, we risk being proven wrong or foolish -- but do so in favor of extracting all the joy we can from the moment, because the moment may be all we've got and is the precious little we can really hold on to.

Why do we - who've healed after having been hurt - continue to play Russian Roulette with our hearts? Probably because the pay-off is so great -- and the game is so exciting.

Isn't that what it's all about anyway?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Moo-ving up In My Career

Just when it seemed that my professional creativity was going the way of the dinosaur, along comes a project that not only re-energizes me but allows me to do what I love to do more than anything – write, more specifically, blog! – in a professional manner. And, better yet, it involves moo cows, which anyone who knows me knows I LOVE!

While the issues surrounding energy, the environment, telecom, and regulation may not be entertainment to everyone, I’ve certainly found it amusing to some degree. In what other job have I had the opportunity to sit and ponder jokes about barn-yard animals that might make for a witty analysis of “milk order marketing mandates?” Wasn’t that fun to say? Say it with me now…

So today - unlike the family farmers who stand to be crushed by this regulatory burden - it was very easy for me to see the glass as being half-full -- especially now, as I await the posting of my very first blog to the organization’s website! You know you want to read it… I mean… what could be more exciting than USDA regulation concerning regional pooling and pricing provisions? For me – only having the opportunity to employ an abundance of milk and cow-related puns – and “publicly” call government rule-making “stupid!”

On days like this, I love my job.