Archives for category: love

CONFESSIONS…

OF AN EMOTIONALLY EAGER WOMAN…

For the past weeks I have been trying to make a list of qualities that I would want to see in a man with whom I might have a relationship. Nada Niets Nihil Null Nichts…the page remained blank! Pathetic…I chastised myself… how have you chosen your men in the past? How are you choosing men now? Based on what? Obviously, nothing conscious. And so my confession unfolds.

I Don't Know What I Love in a Man!

I Don’t Know What I Love in a Man!

3 months ago I went out with a man called K. Supposedly, I said, within minutes of sitting down, “I am emotionally available, but not physically.” I say supposedly because I cannot imagine ME saying anything so clear and honest. K told me the other day, that these words are akin to hearing 2 other ‘kiss of death’ expressions from women. ‘I really like you but’ … or ‘You remind me of my brother!’  He then said that after nursing his bruised ego for some weeks, he realized that he too wanted to be friends, and so asked me out in pursuit of friendship. Now, as mutually proclaimed BFFs, we can talk to each other about our forays into the dating world. When K asked me to identify the dominant characteristics of men I have loved, I did some Freudian ‘free association’, feeling K’s non-judgmental curiosity and acceptance of anything I would say.

I blurted out, “Men I love are good looking, intelligent and emotionally unavailable.” A little flummoxed by this list, I tried to recant it. But K laughed out loud and said this described him perfectly…making the point that nothing had really changed for me…I was still attracted to the same type. I replied that I could see his good looks and intelligence, but needed him to explain the typical behaviours of an emotionally unavailable man. He guffawed with incredulity,

K: “Don’t you read Cosmo or Chatelaine? Women are always complaining about emotionally unavailable men!  When you told me you were emotionally available, but not physically, what went through my mind was that most guys, including me, are the opposite…present in body, absent in heart!”

Emotionally Unavailable

Emotionally Unavailable

Between2Marys: “Wait a minute, are you saying that this is a ‘thing’, a documented Character Flaw?”

K:  “I’ll use my very Smart Phone and show you! AHA! 267 578 sites on topic in 0.1 seconds. I’ll read a few descriptions of Emotionally Unavailable Men(EUM) and Emotionally Eager Women(EEW) to see if you recognize your men and yourself, okay?”

K: An EUM will do any one(or a combination of)the following, rather than explore the emotional side of an issue:

K: He will give his woman the silent treatment or pretend to agree with her so she’ll leave him alone or constantly forget to do an agreed upon task or do it poorly or procrastinate on an infinite number of things or feign fatigue as soon as his woman sits down to ‘have a chat’ or he’ll have a temper outburst or become a workaholic or give undue attention to a hobby or a sport or hide in an addiction or the real kicker, talk endlessly about other women…his friends of course…

As K droned on, every word bombarding my heart, I began to retreat into my martini addled consciousness. I didn’t need to hear the characteristics of the EEW, because I have just spent the last 6 months on The Other Woman Blog, dissecting her every thought and behaviour, past and present.

I went home that night feeling disoriented and stupid. I have spent my entire life trying to ‘turn’ emotionally evasive men into emotionally available men…I never accepted I was interacting with emoticons …you know, when the man you are talking to lifts the corners of his mouth upwards to simulate a smile or widens his eyes to convince you he is listening.

My Men!

My Men!

Emotionally Eager Women attract Emotionally Unavailable Men…ARGHHHHHHHH And just as an aside, look at those acronyms. Could they be better? In response to my signature query, “How are you feeling, dear husband, boyfriend, lover, father…I would hear, “eh…um”(EUM). And, after discovering that I am known to psychologists around the world as an Emotionally Eager Woman, makes me say…eew(EEW).

After this revelation with K, I spent the next week dancing to wild music, while maniacally playing ‘air guitar’, as I screamed a barrage of expletives…doing a good imitation of an angry teen. For those of you who do not know, below is aYouTube video which you can watch by clicking the triangle in the middle of the picture!

All of this dancing released a surge of energy from the core of my body…a seismic event, a cataclysmic, life altering shift in perspective. The pressure between Something’s Gotta Give and As Good as it Gets finally burst.

The men in my life ‘gotta give’ and this is ‘as good as I’m gonna get’!

 WEEK 32 OF 52

ENDING MY SEARCH FOR EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE MEN

Here is my deepest confession, although it may be perfectly apparent to all of you. I have spent the last 6 months, ‘working on myself’, so that I MIGHT GET MY MAN…FINALLY…

But never again will I believe that desiring emotional involvement from my partner is wrong. Never again will I believe that if I improve just a bit more, he will turn to me and say with conviction, “I LOVE YOU!”

I will remember that he owns this problem! He has a character defect!

February is the month of love.  So if I can’t be with someone who loves me, I’ll love the one I’m with. And as I am alone, I will start by loving me! I’m going to buy chocolates and flowers for myself on Valentine’s Day!

I will never accept emotional ambiguity, from a man, again!

MY NEW THEME SONG!

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”

Helen Keller 

I felt like dancing in my house this morning so I found a Rock Station and started jumping around to Metallica, a ‘Heavy Thrash Metal’ band. I really missed out as a teenager! Surprisingly, I survived those awkward, angst filled years without Rock ‘n’ Roll. I stayed in the syrupy safe zone of Pop Music, singing along to The Monkeys and The Partridge Family. Remembering Gertrude Stein’s words that say ‘We are always the same age inside,’ I resurrected my teenage soul, and gave it A Whole Lotta Love!

Led Zeppelin vs The Monkeys-can you spot the difference? These are Video Clips from YouTube, so you can play them!

Contrasting the sound, lyrics and sensuality of Led Zeppelin versus The Monkeys, gave me some insight into the 2 extremes of teenage behaviour…sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll or Paul and Polly Perfect. A self-proclaimed nerd, I missed the entire Freedom of Speech Movement of the 60’s, along with the Counterculture Movement against middle class values of the ’70’s. Any veering towards a free thought in our house resulted in a calling in of the troops…I didn’t need the mace and guns of Kent State to tow the family line, we had Mom saying, “Just wait until your Father gets home”…this was not an idle threat.

My Theory on Why So Many Lack a Personal Vision

Children should progress from the total dependence of infancy into heathy independent thinking and feeling adults. Reactions from our parents to our tentative steps towards independence, create either confidence in our ability to be self-determining or shame. 99% of parents whoop it up at a child’s first step, a physical manifestation of independence, but smack that same child a year later when she/he says ‘NO’ or ‘MINE’ …a child’s first efforts at giving independent voice to their feelings. Such a swift and unexpected fall from grace. Throughout the ‘Wonderful Ones’ every smile, step and gesture is met with gushing parental pride…and then the dreaded ‘Terrible Twos’, when the miracle of free thought is so thoroughly unwelcome to parents. It would be the rare parent who proudly phoned Grandma at their child’s first utterance of ‘no!’ Why do we not see our children’s expressions of their wants, needs and desires as the first steps towards manifestation of a personally meaningful life…instead we reward children for being clone-like Mini Mes.

How Defiance During the 2s and Teens Creates a Life Vision

The inherent fire I possessed to define my wants, wishes and needs, separate from my parents’ wants, wishes and needs, was swiftly doused. I was expected to ‘be good’, which meant, do as I was instructed. This resulted in the ‘perfect child’ syndrome. I was voted Best All Around Student in Grade 8, but this award should have been called Most Compliant Student. It would have been NORMAL at 2 and 13 to break a few rules and tick off a few people! Years of making mistakes and learning from these choices would have been essential in establishing MY identity. In not doing this I only developed physically. I was able to physically leave the safety of my parental home, as I had been encouraged to develop a highly functioning body. I was a trained figure skater and swimmer. But I was absolutely incapable of making choices that reflected my own needs, wishes and desires. Naturally, when someone else’s needs, wishes and desires were presented to me, I did what I had always done…I carried out their dreams.

In never feeling free to define my “NO”, my “YES ” meant nothing to me … it had no integrity because it was never my yes…it belonged to my parents…then my friends…then my boyfriends…then my husbands.

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 31 OF 52

CHANGING FROM BEING BLIND TO HAVING MY VISION (with men)

This entire post was triggered by my reaction to loosing weight. When 10 pounds had fallen off, I did the unexpected…I began eating…see previous post. Being thin does not solve problems for me, as I thought when I wrote that post…it causes more. When I am thin, even old and thin, I attract male attention. The beauty of being Zaftig(curvy, voluptuous-one ‘hilarious’ reader asked me to include a glossary of terms for my posts) is that men don’t notice me, so therefore want nothing from me! Throughout my life, this inability to define my needs, wants and desires, left me open to fulfilling the desires of the men I met. I was not conscious of this. If at the tender age of 2, I was discouraged from giving voice to my desires, but instead fulfilled those of my parents, of course I lost the ability to discern whose needs I was meeting. No wonder I am afraid to re-enter the dating world. 

Below are some of the times I have said YES when I really meant NO

1. At 19, I said ‘YES’ to my Austrian boyfriend’s marriage proposal. He was the chef at the Banff Springs Hotel where I worked. I said ‘NO’ by leaving the engagement ring on his table, with an explanatory letter, while he was at work. I then boarded a train, with my packed trunk and escaped back to Winnipeg. He tracked me down 20 years later in Austria. He brought my letter with him, words underlined in red, wanting to hear my explanation face to face.

2. At 20, I said ‘YES’ to my next boyfriend’s wish to co-habitate. I said ‘NO’ by moving back to my parents’ house, on a monthly basis. This continued for 5 years.

3. At 25, I said ‘YES’ to the marriage proposal from my 1st husband. I said ‘NO’ by divorcing in 4 1/2 years.

4. At 32, I said ‘YES’ to my 2nd husband’s marriage proposal. This time my body said ‘NO’ by becoming so ill I had to take a disability leave from my career as a teacher.

So for Week 31 of 52, I will practise saying ‘YES’ and ‘NO’ to men…Consciously alert to the feelings in my gut and heart, I will be true to myself and therefore to them!

My Desires are Worthy!

My Desires are Worthy!

“The garden of leaflessness: who dares to say that it isn’t beautiful?”

Iranian poet Mehdi Akhavān Sāles

REFLECTIONS

This post is dedicated to my nephew!

My love affair with fictional detectives seems to be over. Until very recently, and for decades, I have been mesmerized and transfixed by the antics of detectives. Now, whether reading or viewing, I fall asleep. The ending of any love affair compels one to analyze the arc of its life.

 My enchantment began when I was 7, with ‘The Secret World of Og”. This book launched my fascination(possible compulsion), with detectives and their ability to uncover the truth. I wonder if others know these characters as well as I do… Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew, Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, DCI Wexford and Dalgleish, Inspectors Morse, Lewis and Lynley?

This cadre of detectives is brilliant, witty and perspicacious! In their efforts to solve what are known in the publishing world as ‘cozy crimes’, they display an uncompromising morality. Primarily motivated by a commitment to the truth, they use a complex process that combines logic and astute observation with intuition and instinct, while maintaining a sense of humour. My deep devotion to the genre no doubt resided in my need for role models, whose raison d’être, was the truth. I don’t think it was unusual that I focussed on such types, from an early age. Children have an innate sense of justice and  abhor the ‘bill of goods’ parents try to sell them. My parents, like most, justified their harsh punishment and high expectations of us by uttering the usual rhetoric …”We know best.” and “It’s for your own good.” Clearly neither was true, but my opinion wasn’t solicited. And I was far too afraid to be defiant, as the consequences were dire. But one of my brothers, being the precocious middle child, felt compelled to share his unsolicited views, and was cruelly beaten. I still am brought to tears by these memories. Hitting a child is never justifiable.

I have spent my life on a mission to discover the mystery of family love. Just like any eccentric detective, I’ve poked around in the detritus of family life, hoping that through an examination of broken promises, heavy hearts and discarded dreams, I might find the clue to explain the survival of its love. Familial love endures the harshest of realities, even though this love may not be easily expressed. But begin the arduous task of truth seeking, and a spark of love will be ignited into a flame…no different than the power of a tiny ember regenerating the life of a dying log.  The seed for this unassailable truth was planted a year ago when I saw a luminous vision in New Orleans, a city ripe with the imagery of life and death.

Saint Louis Cathedral New Orleans

Saint Louis Cathedral New Orleans

This arresting image, has two notable themes for me.

Firstly, I have come to believe that even in the darkest of nights, there is still the light of the moon to guide my way. I am never entirely alone… symbolized by the statue’s brilliance in the dark.

Secondly, I found Christ’s open arms, mysteriously compelling. Only now do I understand its significance. I have always been an idealist, demanding life and those in it, function at the highest level, in a state of perfection. But Christ’s gesture of surrender, can also be interpreted to mean the necessity of holding both the dark and the light in balance….good and bad, joyful and miserable, love and hate…withstanding the tension created when simultaneously holding both positive and negative emotions for all situations. It may seem trite to say that a family always has both, but to an idealist, it’s a revelation! As much as I wanted my parents to ‘come clean’ and admit their failings, I perpetuated the family myth of perfection, by demanding it of myself, my children, my husband(s) and my friends. 

I’ve come to realize the power of the confessional. In it lies the secret to fanning the flame of love, for oneself and for others. Only through the experience of my confessional, The Other Woman Blog, where I have openly admitted  my frailties, my faults, my dreams and my desires, have I come to accept, as true, that love flourishes between people when we present ourselves as humans, not demigods. I now embrace the sententious moralizing thrown at me over the years…”Life’s not just a bowl of cherries, sometimes you find yourself in the pits.” Life is simultaneously cherries and pits! Love is simultaneously fulfilling and excruciating. Family provides simultaneously the best and the worst of times!

Below is the collage I have been working on for the past week.

Balancing Death and Life

Balancing Death and Life

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 28 OF 52 

CHANGING MY PERCEPTION OF IDEAL FAMILY LOVE

SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT FOR ABOVE THEORY

Studies done by the Psychologist, H.E. Hershfield, counter the long held belief that negative emotions are linked to increased risk for illness, while positive emotion leads to health and longevity. His 10 year study reports that the greater the frequency of people’s mixed emotional experiences over time, the slower their age-related health declined. Every situation has both positive and negative aspects. Identify any situation, extremely positive or negative, and a balancing reality can also be named…the birth of a long awaited child is balanced by sleepless nights…my near death infection was balanced by my move to consciousness…infidelity in my marriage…what I’ve learned will take an entire post!

Choosing to suppress, ignore or deny negative experiences and emotion, rather than express them, acting as though everything is fine, is not only unhealthy, but it limits the flow of love. Like breathing, that is as much an inward motion as an outward expression, love flourishes in our humanity, in our dark characteristics as much as our light, not in an idealized state of perfection.

So for Week 28 of 52, I will embrace the duality of life.

Christ of the Deep - Key Largo

Christ of the Deep – Key Largo

“Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is richness of self.”
― May Sarton

REFLECTIONS

Today will bring my 10 days of silence to an end. I hadn’t planned this silent retreat, but after a week of ignoring the phone, emails, requests to ‘meet up’ on Plenty of Fish etc., I began to accept that I was choosing solitude. At first I thought this was just a reaction to a very socially active fall and Christmas, but when days of silence were followed by more days, the significance of this experience came clear. After 7 years, I had finally conquered my 2 phobias…Monophobia and Noctiphobia…meaning I was now able to experience the inexplicable joy of being alone in solitude during the day, coupled with a peaceful sleep at night, alone in my bed, without a companion…be it a man, the voice of a man delivered through an audio tape, food, or a knife.(for intruders)

I used to be a person that never spent time alone…ever. Whether day or night, I was invariably in the company of others, be it family members, friends, colleagues or fictitious characters from books and movies. I left home at 19 and moved into Staff Housing of The Banff Springs Hotel for my year away from University.

Banff Springs Hotel

Banff Springs Hotel

 

Upon my return to my parents, I learned of their plan for a 2 month holiday in celebration of the resuscitation of their marriage. My response was to move in with my boyfriend. I never thought of myself as someone who feared being alone, but in retrospect, I had moved from childhood home to Staff Housing to boyfriend, to marriage to the ultimate solution to never having to be alone…children! In 50 years, I don’t think I had spent a single night by myself! I was unaware of my fear, because I had managed to avoid confronting it. Herein lies the challenge with phobias and fears. In general we are unaware of having them simply because we design our lives in ways that keep us well clear of even a chance encounter. Say for example you are Glossophobic, well you just refrain from speaking in public. Or if you are Xenophobic, you avoid travel to foreign lands. If asked if I was afraid of being alone, I would have scoffed at such a preposterous idea, and responded with how much I loved being with people. No argument is tighter than that of a person protecting their fear.

But my unconscious desire to live a more personally satisfying life, kept prodding me to ‘wake up’. One of the most potent nudges came from my dream content. Countless dreams had me dwelling in houses that were obviously restrictive; rooms without windows or houses with staircases that went nowhere or derelict homes with no foundations. Dream images of houses are a symbolic representation of the psychological space we inhabit, our true sense of how we feel in our inner life. Try as I might to ignore this deep desire to redefine my psychological space…this sense of myself…my unconscious continued to bombard me with these images. I eventually began to accept that I did feel confined and dissociated from the real me. I had to admit that the beautiful accoutrements of my external life hid the barrenness, the vacuousness of my inner life.

To bring about real change, though, it meant I would have to undergo a cataclysmic upheaval. The adult self is a stable, perdurable entity by necessity, or emotional/mental breakdowns would occur regularly.  The image that I had created to represent me had to be dismantled, persona by persona, releasing instead, the authentic me. I began with digging deep into Mother Earth.

Image from My Dream Journal-breaking down the walls of resistance

Image from My Dream Journal-breaking down the walls of resistance

I began small, in 2004, with a room of my own in the basement of our family home. Alone in this space, inner chaos opened up within me. I felt disturbed, bewildered and so fragile at times that I was afraid I’d have a nervous breakdown. Shutting out the distractions of family, friends and the incessant busyness of any woman’s life, allowed all of my inner doubts, anxieties, fears, painful memories, unresolved conflicts, angry and resentful feelings and impulsive/compulsive desires to manifest. No wonder we try to hold down the lid to Pandora’s Box. In fact, to stay in this inner chaos and not immediately retreat to the familiar, yet unsatisfying outer life, takes extreme discipline. My herbalist/healer, Annette, asked a group of us if we were flirting, dating or in a committed marriage with our personal growth!

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 27 OF 52

CHANGING FROM LONELINESS TO SOLITUDE-CLIMBING MY EVEREST

In this week’s post, I am celebrating my successful climb from the despair of loneliness to the bliss of solitude. This Spiritual Journey required that I become utterly alone and withdrawn into my innermost self. I had to endure long periods of bitter suffering. But now I have the strength to  stand amidst a throng of people, staying true to who I am and what I believe. I know this is not the BOX I ticked when sitting with a career counsellor in University, but to be honest, if that box had been available, I would have chosen it. I suppose a Degree in Psychology/Philosophy was the University’s version of a spiritual quest!

So now I sit alone, in my seaside cottage, 2 finger tap tapping my experiences through The Other Woman Blog! I will share some images of what I’ve seen out my window.

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