Annual Identity Crises

Self-LimitationWhen I graduated in grade 8, I really believed that all of my friends back then would be my friends for life. I didn’t factor in some of us moving out of the city, or going to different high schools. And for those of us attending the same high school, I didn’t think about shifting social circles and stronger outlines forming between cliques.

All my life I was considered to be a “nice” and “smart” girl. I really liked that title. Of course sometimes I wanted to be “hot” and “cool” but other individuals already represented those traits way better than I could fake. Part of the expectation of being the “nice” and “smart” girl was being friends with most of my peers and getting straight A’s. I started accepting that was who I am and will always be.

I remember little tidbits of high school, such as doing lots of people pleasing, and being bullied by people of my own race for being a sell-out or white-washed (that is another post within itself). I was actually really stressed out in high school because I liked being who I was, but there were some elements I had that I wanted to trade – I wanted to be more laid back and “fun,” I didn’t want to stress about failing every test even though I studied hard, I didn’t want to be shy. I also really wanted to have a boyfriend because it seemed like such a big experience that I was missing out on. But what was most important to me was being liked by everyone, and being known for my intelligence.

So I graduated. I was even nominated to be Valedictorian! Then it was off to university. And when it’s a decision between York and U of T, you’ve got to maintain that image of having the utmost intelligence, so life convinced me that my fate lied within the more prestigious of the two. Once again I went through a mini-identity crisis. Here I could become anyone I want because -other than the 5 people I went to high school with – no one knew me! But still, at the pit of me, I was that “nice, smart” girl. I stressed about making friends and getting good grades. My grades fell, and my social circle from high school shrunk.

comfort zoneIn my second year of university I decided to challenge myself in different ways to extend the boundaries of my comfort zone. I joined different clubs, applied for different jobs, and was exposed to new people. I loved it, and didn’t stop until I graduated. So as my grades rose and social circle expanded, even though I still returned to being the “nice, smart” girl, I was also skilled in health and wellness, fitness, coordinating a mentorship program, hosting a radio show, being a program director of the school’s radio station, a peer counsellor for study skills, and many other things. I was multi-faceted! I even had an on/off boyfriend, I thought I was whole.

getting-out-of-your-comfort-zoneThen I graduated. And this past year has been the biggest change for me. Starting a new program which is incredibly focused, I’m with the same group of people day in, day out. At this point I don’t know if I want to be the “smart, nice” girl anymore. I don’t want to stress about failing anymore. I want to be involved like I was before but I don’t have the roomy schedule as I did before. I also didn’t want my circle to shrink again. I’ve tried re-connecting with some friends whom I mistakenly thought would be good friends forever, but with those friends, many times it was either me putting all the effort, or plans falling through. For some of us who have reconnected, there’s been an awkward, uncomfortable air around us. I’m the common denominator in all of this, so it must mean something is wrong with me, right?

Not necessarily – yes, I’ve changed, but not in a destructive way. If anything, life is making it clearer for me to feel out the relationships which are more sustainable: previous supervisors are now friends, my ex-boyfriend has become my best friend, and some friendships which tend to be tough have proven to be devoted friendships which will be able to outlast anything the future holds.

I think I’ve finally taken away what I think are supposed to be several lessons of my changing environment and relationships:

1. Do not live your life by a title and place yourself in a mould.

Instead live your life by your core values. You are allowed to change and will continue to change, but don’t stress yourself by hindering your transformation. Embrace this natural process, you’re growing and it’s called life.

2. You will encounter different types of people throughout your life.

Everyone is trying to get somewhere, and sometimes you’re meant to help someone in someway. In some instances, people will be forever grateful and never forget how you’ve helped them, whereas some people will use you and be onto the next step. Don’t expect to always be remembered though, as whenever you have helped someone, you have done a beautiful thing and are changing your life for the better, even if you do not see it immediately.

3. There are different ways that friendships begin – some stem from convenience, others stem from two hearts being in alignment.

I can say this because I’ve become friends with people and developed an immense amount of love for them and genuinely felt it in return with no question of doubt. The cliche way to explain it is being on the same wavelength. However, to balance things out, some friendships will take more effort to maintain, whereas others will seem effortless. But both can be very valuable.

4. In regards to those friendships which require extra effort, put some thought towards the ones which you’d like to continue versus the ones it may be time to end.

I have a few best friends and most of them have stuck with me through arguments and tough experiences and vice versa. We don’t always get along, but we do have a commitment of good intentions towards each other and are constantly learning to agree while being able to respectfully disagree. These are my friends that I’ll keep for the rest of my life even though they require extra patience and effort.

On the other hand, I have some friendships that I felt obligated to keep because we’ve been friends for so long, or because some are family. But when it became too much to handle and I could tell they had ill intentions towards me, it was time to pull some distance between us. That doesn’t mean the door is completely closed, but it will take time to mend and many changes need to be made to renew those friendships.

5. Just because you’re in a different place or headed in different directions, doesn’t put you above anyone. 

Some people get caught up in their achievements and ambitions, and begin to believe that others who do not have the same ambitions or haven’t achieved as much as them are lesser than them. You may be wise in one way, but someone else is wiser in another way because they put their time towards learning something that you didn’t. And just because you are on a different path does not make you “above” or unrelatable. Whether you’re the president of a school group or a young teenager who was trying to find a home in a gang and is now finding a moralistic way to live, at our most basic level we are all human.  It’s important to remain humble. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when you are unable to know when you’ve attracted the wrong company, and end up losing the company who really did care for you.

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I’m Really Glad We Had Those Times

Source: http://gauraw.com
Finally feeling like a butterly emerging from its cocoon regarding heartbreaker

After not hearing from heartbreaker for over 7 months, I received an email from him.

I’m not sure of what to think, or feel.

For months I continually reached out to him to try to attain consolation that he didn’t leave my life for good. And just when I was honestly becoming okay as I prepare for my next phase of life without him, he emails me.

I’ve allowed myself delve into pass memories with a positive rememberance, but not so far deep that I feel the need to do anything to recreate them.

Big Carrot:

Early in our relationship, back when I didn’t know anything about red flags, heartbreaker had drunk called me at 2am. He asked me to spend the day with him because he wasn’t feeling well. We had been seeing each other for a few months at that time, so I was elated to be his nurse.

He left his key outside his door so I could let myself in. I came early that morning, brought him breakfast. We walked to Greektown and spent some time at the Big Carrot, looking at healthy body products and foods. Then he bought us this awesome lunch – healthy and delicious!

That night we cooked salmon, and I had my first ever glass of wine. I remember he had said that when we become established in our fields and attend fancy events, we’ll need to know the true way of drinking wine. Well, whatever he said was along those lines.

That was the day I actually started thinking I wanted to be with him forever (…yes, I was so naive still).

Nights spent awake together:

I’ve always been a night owl, and for those 3 years with heartbreaker, I’ve probably aged to 3x my actual age. A lot of sleep was lost when I was with him, or when I was up trying to reach him, or just stressing over him.

Yet, I would not trade my memories of the nights we spent awake together as that time invested was peak time for amazing conversations. We talked about everything imaginable, and really opened up to each other. That is what I miss the most about him.

There are many other memories accumulated over that time, but I feel guilty that my last post was so so long, so I`ll spare all those details. In summary, I’m really fond of those memories and glad that I experienced them. The feelings I endure when I reflect urge me to invest my time and attention in that way to others in my life who likely will not leave my side.

I do miss heartbreaker – I miss those awesome times together, and as they are so vivid now, years later, they will continue to be part of me. Although this is going to sound tragic, it’s something I’ve thought for a long time before I received an email from heartbreaker: it would’ve been easier for me to forge closure by imagining that he had passed away, and in his honour, I’d remember the best times and what he taught me.

When I met heartbreaker, I was lost in the sense that I didn’t know myself very well, nor how to protect myself, nor how I deserved to be treated. During the time he was in my life, I was desperate for his attention and his approval. He held a lot of power over me – I gave that power to him, and I didn’t even know how.

I always wanted to look nice for him, have my hair done for him, work out and be healthy for him. Everything was for him! I wanted to accomplish things so he’d be impressed with me, so I could inspire him and so he’d want to be with me and only me. Now I’m interested in improving myself for me, not him.

I’m still not sure of how to feel upon receiving heartbreaker’s email. It basically stated he went home, and he thought he told me prior to leaving (which he did not…he just disappeared). He’s sorry for the emotional panic he has put me through, and he hopes to catch up sometime. For once I may’ve regained my power when I thought I had lost it forever. For once I am genuinely interested in improving myself for me, not heartbreaker.

After close to 8 months, it’s really going to take more than a 3 paragraph, basic, undetailed email for me to step closer to the enemy – because despite our good memories, what he has done has led him to become my enemy. For the first time since this spiderweb became interwoven, I am not masochistic enough to get trapped without it being worthwhile. I’m not going to pressure myself to reply to him, as he doesn’t know the half of it.

Fool Me Once-Shame on You; Fool Me Twice-I’m An Idiot!

The relationship I had with heartbreaker, which ceased to exist as of late January, drove me to learn more about men, and how to understand the seemingly alien sex.

I was so spent until last month, when I finally stopped being so angry and self-pitying. In fact, at times I used to have spiteful intentions of trying to become a femme fatale so I could play the role I imagined heartbreaker was enacting. I was so bitter that I wanted to get my revenge, and ensure I’d never endure a relationship like that again.

I realize I cried weekly rivers because my hope and my time went into the garbage. But now, I just want to understand how men think and operate, what are their primal motivations? That way, when I’m in a new romantic relationship, my decisions will naturally be rational instead of completely based upon emotion.

I thought my time had been wasted, but it wasn’t. I’m 23, and I was told that this would eventually happen to me. Imagine, if I had met heartbreaker this year… I would’ve had no idea what I was in for, and would’ve have reached this realization at the age of 26! If that was the case, I would’ve wished I could get my time back and met him earlier to get the fun, pain, and learned lessons earlier.

Now that I’ve gone through that experience and came out alive with my head on straight and my positive attitude back in tune, the wisdom I have gained is priceless. Anyone can warn you about the red flags indicative of who should be avoided, but when you experience it yourself, you evolve and that is internally valuable.  All in all, heartbreaker was an attractive guy, who came at the right point in time when I wanted to receive him – I loved him and took him as he was. However, he put me through hell, and for that, he will always be reduced to that attractive male, with deep addicitions, who used me to fill a void. On this  human-filled planet, he was right for me then to teach me something, but now there’s no need for him to be in my life anymore. Adios…

New Outlook on Romantic Relationships

Relationships are dynamic, and I keep learning this.

In my head I used to think that as long as I meet and stick with a core group of individuals, in a static fashion, everything would be smooth sailing. In that sense I figured that once someone is part of my core group, they will always be part of my core group, and the magnitude of my feelings towards them wouldn’t change (and if they did, it would obviously be positive because there’s no such thing as beef in my core group).

However, now I understand why I’ve been told that timing is a huge factor in relationships and all of life. I think back to my first few years in university and realize how my relationships have transformed: Remembering #1 Brazilian and how I was so certain that the universe was telling us to get together; connecting with potential hubby and during those moments being absolutely sure that in the short time we dated (though it felt like much longer), I could see myself with him forever; also not forgetting heartbreaker and our undeniable chemistry, thinking he was my redeemer after what felt like hell.

Now I no longer believe in the concept of having one soulmate, or “the one”. In high school people kept telling me that in university, my single days would end because of the “type” of person I am – intelligent, studious, kindhearted. Many even suggested that I’ll find my future husband by the time I graduate (scary!)! They were correct on the former as  I was lucky to have had experienced love at certain points. But during those relationships, and after they ended, my mentality shifted.

In regards to timing, in retrospect these guys entered my life at optimal times because I feel I have, for the most part, “bounced back,” and have reached a level of receptivity where I can really look at all aspects of my relationships in a different way as opposed to being resentful and blameful.

A situation recently happened in my life which has inspired me to write this. I re-connected with a good friend of mine from at least a decade ago, we will refer to him as manly beast. A bit of our history is that I used to annoy him when we were younger, as I had a MASSIVE crush on him and was persistent in obtaining his attention – trying to get him to open up and talk to me in his own way (ie. making fun of me). Then we went to different high schools, lost touch, but re-connected through msn (does anyone still use that? I sure don’t anymore). Manly beast was actually my first kiss, but I don’t know how we lost touch again. Then, we re-connected through facebook, had a few on/off conversations, and then saw each other again this year. It was nice to be in his company again, I didn’t feel like that much time had passed.

Anyways, that got me thinking about how people enter our lives, leave our lives, and re-enter our lives. We never completely know what’s in store. So what I took from this experience is that each relationship is different, yet resemble one another in certain elements. When dating potential hubby, I felt strongly for the time being, then that faded, especially after heartbreaker entered my life. The feelings for heartbreaker still linger, but they are fading, and seeing manly beast definitely fast-forwarded the healing time on that one! (The last time I had seen manly beast was about 6-7 years ago, but after spending 10 minutes with him, the feelings of the massive crush returned quickly, I couldn’t even stop smiling!)

All of my relationships are similar in that I’ve had strong feelings for each of these individuals, the timing just differed, along with the magnitude of attraction. This is what has caused me to believe that having one soulmate is unrealistic and close-minded, and other factors, such as time, play a major role in the potential of what will happen next.

Over It

So.

      Last week I saw #1 Brazilian quite a few times, and, our connection didn’t feel as comfortable as it used to. Maybe I’m paranoid, but the way he was acting gave me the impression that he read the post about him, as though he was waiting for me to say something extravagant. I would have, but, I didn’t have the words.

     That vibe is gone, it has fizzled out. I don’t feel the need to physically touch him (ie. be connected through a hug), because I feel a distance, like he’s trying to repel me while being polite and friendly at the same time. It’s not a natural feeling anymore.

     Makes me wonder if I was just imagining things years ago. Either that, or time and our life experiences caused us to drift apart, and neither of us care enough to put a genuine effort to becoming close again.

     And I’m cool with it. I’ve finally had a reality check regarding heartbreaker, and I’m focused on what are the aspects of an unhealthy relationship so that I never get caught in one again. I’m in a learning phase where I gain love in other ways, and discovering other interests that I enjoy thinking about and putting time towards. It’s all good 🙂

You’re My #1

     I can’t sleep 😦 It’s weird that I was able to fall asleep effortlessly for the past week, but I slept in on Saturday and now I’m wide-awake. It’s 3:50am. Thing is, this isn’t new for me, I’ve habitually stayed up late since I was in the age of single-digits.

     Part of why I can’t sleep is because I feel like I have unfinished business. And today you’ll get to hear the story of “#1 Brazilian“.

     Our history dates back to September 2007 – Frosh! I was waiting for my bus to commute home on the first night of Frosh since my friend who was my ride decided she’d rather stay at the rez of some new friends she made. #1 Brazilian was at the bus stop as well. I don’t remember how we started talking, but it was easy and fun because of the openess Frosh creates, and novelty of the university experience we anticipated days ahead.

     We rode the bus home together, and I figured that would be the first and last time I’d see this friend of mine; I thought nothing of it.

     During the first week we had a philosophy class together, took the bus at the same time 3 mornings a week, AND, randomly rented lockers right beside each other. As you can probably guess, with time and increased positive interactions, #1 Brazilian grew on me in a big way – there wasn’t anything I didn’t admire about him. I remember we’d rub each other’s hands to keep each other warm as we’d wait for the bus; our knees would touch in philosophy class (and he would always save a spot for me); laughing at the silliest things, I always had a good time with him.

     The problem with me was that although I was in university, my mind was still in high school mode where I wanted everything to move quickly. I thought that if chemistry was present, one person should obviously ask the other person out, you date for 4 years, then you get married, have kids, have a joyful career and happily ever after. Although I didn’t tell him what was my philosophy at the time, I likely came on too strong through my actions.

     Second semester we didn’t have any classes together, and I hardly saw him while waiting for the bus – this forced me to cool down (even though I imagined a whole bunch of extravagant scenarios over the break where he’d ask me to be his girlfriend). #1 Brazilian found his niche, and group of friends who shared that niche.  We didn’t really even talk that much.

     To be honest, I was slightly resentful because I really thought we had a connection, I thought he could feel it. I was incredibly attracted to him in more ways than one.  I didn’t see him at all for 2 yrs, until last week, for a brief moment. Then all of the feelings came back.

     Last night I had a very intense dream, the details of which I cannot disclose 😉 I woke up wishing that dream was real life. And now I can’t stop thinking about him, the dream, and the good memories of first year.

     The knowledge that I’m graduating after this semester is liberating, but also carries some pressure. I’ll be meeting new people, learning new things, and encountering new experiences. Which empowers me to decide what I want to leave as the last impression on my current relationships – of particular relevance, the one with #1 Brazilian.

     I’ve decided that I’m going to tell him that I had a crush on him. Naw, that sounds too high school. I think instead I’ll say I had a strong attraction to him since first year, and over time it has intensified and deepened? I was trying to be sensual…that’s never been my strong suit though! Anyways, I’ll work on my script.

     Why is doing this so important to me? Because who knows, maybe he feels the same way. If not, I’m probably not going to bump into him as often afterwards, so I’ll only feel embarrassed for that moment.