Some Inspiration, Vulnerability and Coping

Well this is the longest I have gone without a post! Life has gotten busy and at the end of the day I only have enough mental energy to write a quick blurb about my day in my journal. But, something amazing happened yesterday and although it was something small, it had a profound affect on me, rejuvenating me in a way and giving me the inspiration I needed for a post I could write from my heart. I started it yesterday so lets flash back to yesterday and pretend it’s not hump day.

I just had the most inspirational conversation with someone I see every Tuesday and only give a quick hello to as I am always rushing to and from therapy. I have wanted to talk to her ever since I stepped out of the elevator after my session a few months back and heard her singing. She has the most beautiful voice and she claims it’s because of the acoustics, or “bathroom effect” of the lobby but I beg to differ. I could hear the passion in the single phrase I heard her belt out. Today, however, I had a few extra minutes so I decided to ask her if she is still singing. Yes. I told her that she should do something with it, to which she replied, “I actually love to draw. That’s my thing.” She told me she likes to draw people and coming from someone who struggles to draw stick figures which means I can’t draw worth shit, I thought that was pretty awesome. I stated that she must be pretty good at it and asked if she has ever sold her art. Her response was much like mine was before I started this blog.

Fear. We are all afraid to put ourselves out there whether it is in our art – writing, drawing, singing, finger painting – or in our social interactions. I was asked out the other day by a really nice guy who admitted that it took many months of building his courage because I was pretty intimidating. Me? Intimidating? Oh no, no, no. Just a little rough around the edges. But he did it. He put himself out there and got over his fear, whatever it may have been. Just like I got over my fear of sharing my writing with whoever wants to read it. To hear my new friend say she was nervous of the reaction people might have to her drawing was very touching and hit home. I can tell by the look in her eyes and the smile on her face when she talked about her drawings that she produces some pretty damn good art. It was truly inspiring. I encouraged her to share her art with me. It’s funny what happens when you take a few minutes out of your day to talk to someone.

Back to hump day….so my blog has not seen any love in a week and a half and that bothers me quite a bit, but tonight I feel something brewing and it’s about inspiration, vulnerability and coping…all in one. Ever since my post Vulnerability of the Heart, it seems that everywhere I look I see vulnerability. I see it with two people I care about deeply that just broke up, I see it with a friend of mine who got stood up by a girl he was really in to and I see it in someone I work with that is struggling with a really shitty break up. I feel for all of them. I recently read a memoir by Laura Munson – ‘This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season Of Unlikely Happiness” and it was, to say the least, AWESOME. It was vulnerability AT IT’S FINEST. It was inspiring and it was eye opening. It showed me a lot about a little something we all forget about; coping mechanisms.

Two questions:

1. Why do we cope?

2. How do we cope?

In the three situations above I noticed a reoccurring pattern. All have shown me some sort of sense of rejection and an inability to deal with the individual differences in how people cope or more specifically, how the person they gave their heart to is coping. I have started to recognize that people act in certain ways that we don’t understand, not because they don’t care, but because it is their way of dealing with their own pain. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard, “He’s already moved on”, “He’s already hooking up with someone else”, “He’s already dating someone else”, “It just doesn’t seem like he gives a shit about me or that we broke up” or the worst one of all, “I thought he loved me” – at least that was the case with me…but then again all of those were when I look back.

Then there’s the, “I worry”, “I think”, “What if” that go in front of all those phrases I stated above. Those are the ones that really seem to get us because it enters the unknown and as human beings we do not like the unknown; it scares us like no other as it presents itself as a lack of control and who honestly doesn’t like to control some aspect of their life? If you are okay with lack of control in some way, I would LOVE to meet you.

So we sit in our thoughts and beat ourselves up about it all, driving ourselves insane with worry. Wait. Stop. Breathe. What if we consciously and willingly accept that it is out of our control and that we cannot control what they have chosen to do once they have left us, once they have taken a piece of us with them? What if we are able to recognize that whatever actions someone is choosing to take or whatever actions we manifest that person is choosing to take, is their way of coping? So what if our significant other has already “moved on” or is dating someone else? I am not saying not to care, you’d be crazy not to care but as I have come to learn, you (myself included) do not know what is going through someone else’s mind, so why worry?

Worrying-is-like-a-rocking-chair

Whatever they choose to do, whether that be that they’ve hooked up with someone two days after you broke up or started dating someone new after a week, it does not mean that they do not care or did not love you. (Or sometimes in the shitty circumstance, the person really did move on that quickly and really doesn’t care and that really hurts. BUT again, how are you to know what they are truly feeling?)

I remember lying in bed alone a few days after we broke up working myself up into a tizzy with tears streaming down my face and a gut wrenching pain in my stomach wondering if my ex was sleeping with or dating someone else. I asked a friend if they thought he was and that friend said that if he was, he’s an asshole and I don’t want him in my life anymore anyways because who would want someone that moves on that quickly? I remember thinking, why isn’t he hurting as much as I am? Then another more open minded and to the point friend said to me, “Get real, you have no clue what he is doing. He may be hurting just as much as you. If he is hooking up with someone already or is dating someone else, it does not mean he doesn’t care about you and that he didn’t and doesn’t still love you.”

We all want to be cared about and to be loved and when we suddenly no longer have that sense of being cared for, it tears us apart. Recognizing that I had no control over what he was doing and really, honestly having no idea what he was really doing, nor what he was really thinking, I decided to stop thinking about it, stop obsessing about it, stop crying about it. Granted there were, in fact, a few times after that I chose to think about it and was therefore in absolute tears stressing about it. Hey, I’m clearly not perfect.

Since then, through life experience, reading books, journaling and thinking a lot, I have changed the way I look at situations like that. I have decided to let go of my incessantly controlling nature and realize that whatever he chose to do post break up, was his way of coping with it. The same goes for anyone going through a break up. Maybe you know for a fact that person is sleeping with someone else or is already dating someone else but who are you to know what is really going through their mind? Just let go. Focus on you and what makes you happy. Focus on what you can do to mend your broken heart.

The more I chat with people who are going through break ups, the more I realize that most everyone thinks the way I was thinking. But the moment we understand that a person’s actions are just their way of coping, we suddenly (or at least I did) feel a sense of freedom, a sense of uplifting that takes the weight off our shoulders. For me it was reconnecting with friends, especially my girlfriends that I failed to stay in touch with, lots of crying, lots of cooking, lots of cookie consumption, lots of thinking and therefore lots of journaling and then the most blatantly obvious obsession being my high consumption of Malbec. I chose these things as my way of coping with an extremely painfully shitty situation because it worked for me. It freed up my mind to focus on the important things.

Jeeze. More talk of my ex. It changed my life. He changed my life. People change my life every day and I love to reflect and to write about it. So I end this post with this…

Try not to be afraid of fear, rejection, hurt, pain, ridicule. My fear is of being vulnerable, of letting people in to my life and into my heart. I am afraid of getting hurt. I am afraid of emotional abandonment. I am afraid of doing something wrong and being thought of as a shitty person as it wasn’t too long ago that I felt exactly that, shitty. I felt I brought nothing to this world. But I changed that. I try my hardest every day to accept my weaknesses and work on them but more importantly to acknowledge my strengths as those make me stronger.

Just like I encouraged my new friend to start by sharing her art with me, I encourage you to challenge yourself and make yourself a little uncomfortable by asking yourself what your fears are and what holds you back from truly living your life and being happy. Life is too short to be unhappy but it can also be too long to be unhappy.

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