Losing Yourself

Ok, straight up, your life is going to constantly be changing, evolving, and messing itself up. This is not totally a bad thing. New people will come into your life, old people will fade away. Your job will change, even if you don’t change jobs. iPhones will keep getting bigger and bigger until they look like something Zack Morris would’ve used. And parts of you are going to change to keep up with all of this.

That being said, a lot of this change is good change. Changing job responsibilities means the chance to learn new shit (or learning new shit could lead to changing job responsibilities, either way). New phones mean new apps (which I am completely addicted to, btw.). We are constantly moving to new apartments, buying kittens and puppies, re-painting the livingroom walls for the 4th time, and picking up new hobbies.

All of these changes, that seem to come naturally in your life, pretty much are good things. They’re things that help you grow as a person, that help you evolve.

Then there are the changes that could go either way. That’s where all the new people in your life come into play.

You see, meeting someone new and amazing does something to us all. Our brains for from “Well, it’s Wednesday night, so I’d better grab my glass of wine and paint my nails while I watch Criminal Minds and read Cosmo” to “OMFG you are so freaking AWESOME!!!!!! Let’s hang out every fucking night!!! We can be besties!!!!! We can be together ALL THE FUCKING TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Don’t believe me? Just think back to any time ANY of your friends EVER got into a new relationship with someone. You guys used to spend Friday nights together, drinking beers and watching movies, until it became “date night”. Suddenly, you’re sitting alone at the bar, whining to the bartender about how you’re going to be single forever, while your BFF is out at a wine and cheese taster bar trying to match blue cheese with a Malbec (which is not a good idea, btw). It’s like your friend was abducted by love-aliens and replaced with this strange being who likes to go to Ikea and hold hands while looking at shit and saying “Oooh, if we got those throw pillows, and that bookcase over there, we could make a nook!”

Ok, now admit it: it’s not just your friends who have done that. We all have. I once dated a guy in university who was into bluegrass music and curling. I now know way too much about curling and Norweigan curling pants, and can actually sing along to some Flying Burrito Brothers songs. I also had stopped hanging out with my BFF and our frat-house friends most nights, started marathoning TV shows online (and this was before Netflix made it so damn easy to do. We had to work for our Drew Carey Show!). I was like this person that wasn’t totally me, but that I wouldn’t exactly throw shit at if I met them in public. I was like this shell, totally empty of the things that used to be me, and not filling up with any new awesome things to replace them. Instead of evolving, learning new things, picking up a new hobby that really interested me, I was just like this extension of the dude I was seeing.

And that’s when I lost myself.

There is a big difference between “changing bit by bit, bettering or evolving your tastes and yourself, in order to keep up with the times and not get into a rut that will bore you to tears” and “changing everything about you to match up with the person you’re spending all your time with”.

This is something that has been on my mind quite a bit lately, too.

You see, I just started seeing someone. Beginning of last month, I went out on a limb and flirted with this really really cute customer I’d see at work every day. He came back in later and left his phone number for me. We went out that weekend, and it turns out we have so much in common, it’s almost mind-blowing. Recently, we’ve been spending more and more time together (he was there for me quite a bit while I was going through that huge health scare and surgery thing with mum), and just this week decided to become an official couple.

But no matter how much alike we are, we are still different in a lot of ways. There are a lot of things we’d each like to try that the other likes, just to know each other better. He is willing to watch my favourite movies with me (which, with my odd taste, is something none of my exes ever did), and I’m willing to give Trailer Park Boys a chance if he’ll watch it with me. At the same time, though, I’m careful not to let this become some all-consuming quest to do all the things he does.

Case in point: Criminal Minds. He hates that show, refuses to watch it. That show gives me life. So if he’s over on a Wednesday night, we skip it and I stream the episode the next day online. If he’s not here, then I get a night with wine and Dr. Spencer Reid. While things are new and fresh, we’re taking time to learn more about each other and each other’s interests. But at the same time, we’re encouraging each other to just be ourselves.

Right now, we’re both at weird places in our lives. I’m working VERY part time, wishing I had put more effort into my writing over the years. He’s working full-time, but not in a position in his company that he can stay in much longer. On top of our regular everyday personal issues we deal with, we’re both contemplating our financial futures while trying not to let our present fall to shit. While we have that in common, our actual jobs (or possible jobs) couldn’t be more different. So, we encourage each other. He is constantly telling me that I need to write, that I’m a storyteller, that I need to get stuff down on paper or computer. He knows that I want to write, but just have had less than zero encouragement over the last decade or so. I know that he loves his company, but not the position he’s in. I try to help him look at other positions to look into there, things he can train into, in order to move to a completely different job there.

Do you see the differences there? Instead of giving up my favourite show, or making our current situation all about his need for a new job, we compromise. We help each other to grow, to learn. Any sort of healthy relationship, whether it be romantic or not, helps you grow into the best you that you can be. In my past relationship I mentioned, I gave up on growing “me” and instead grew to be “an appendage of him”. I totally lost myself.

It happens to the best of us, Sunshine. But we learn from it, grow from it, and move on with our lives.

So, with all this encouragement to write, expect to hear from me a bit more. Things at my current place have become……. interesting. I may have some new Roommates From Hell posts coming VERY soon!

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Finding Your Faults

I know, no one wants to admit to themselves that they’re not perfect. I mean, we all know that nobody is perfect (oh god, please don’t let my sister know I just wrote that. I swear Tara, you ARE perfect! Please don’t be mad at me!). It’s just a part of being human, I guess.

We all have our faults, and most people try to ignore them. In my experience and observations, that just leads to a lot of denial and fights. Having faults is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s something we all need to recognize and embrace, for a number of reasons.

Have you ever been in a job interview, and the interviewer asked what your biggest strengths and weaknesses are? I know that conventional wisdom (and most job counsellors) will tell you that you need to choose a weakness that emphasizes your strength. For example,  my biggest strength is my ridiculous organization abilities. At one point in university, I had a multi-calendar colour-coded system for keeping track of all of my classes, volunteering, and jobs. It was really quite extensive, and impressive. I always bring that up to show that I can handle as much my bosses want to throw at me without missing a deadline. the job counsellors I saw said to say that my biggest weakness was that I tend to take on too much responsibility. However, thanks to my superior organizational skills, I am able to handle as much as they want to throw at me.

Is that really my biggest fault though?

For job hunting purposes, I say it is. You never want to answer that question with “I have no faults”, or “I can’t think of any faults”. Not only do you look like an conceited asshat, but it shows something about you that no one wants in an employee: you think you can do no wrong, so wrong must be done by everyone else.

Now, this isn’t exclusive to job hunting and interviews. We all have faults in our every day lives. Now these faults aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but they’re something you need to acknowledge, like your whole life is a job interview.

Case in point: you all know that my roommate and I were in a relationship for quite a few years, and broke up last year. Right now, we’re great friends. We can hang out, and tease each other about our faults, and about how everything went to hell in a handbasket between us. Before the breakup, though, was a whole different story.

Before the breakup, it was constant fights. Neither one of us ever wanted to admit to our faults, and they kept coming out in full force to butt heads. After the breakup, when we were forced to confront what it was that came between us (besides the obvious fact that we have absolutely nothing in common and hold completely different values and visions of our futures). That is where knowing and acknowledging your faults comes into play.

He has a serious problem with communication. When something or someone bothers me, or pisses me off, or just generally upsets me, I speak up. Letting people get away with behaviours that bother you without letting them know how they affect you is a lot like faking an orgasm: you’re just reinforcing their bad behaviour, so they keep doing the same thing that isn’t working for you, over and over and over, no matter how little it works for you or how little you like it. While it might make them feel good about themselves, it does absolutely nothing for you, and leaves you feeling unfulfilled and upset.

Now my ex didn’t share this view. I would flat out tell him if he was doing something that was bothering me. He, on the other hand, wouldn’t say shit if begged him too. Seriously, I flat out asked him dozens of times “What is it that I’m doing that bothers you, so I know for future reference”. It wasn’t until AFTER we broke up that he unloaded all of that crap on me. The one and only time he ever actually said anything to me, I tried to explain (not excuse) my behaviour to him, so that he would understand why it is I do the things I do. He saw it as an attack on him for finding fault in me, instead of an attempt to work towards fixing a problem between us, and clammed up.

Now that we’ve broken up and are seeing other people (he has a really sweet girlfriend I’ve friended on Facebook and talked to a bunch of times, and I struck gold with possibly the most caring and amazing man to ever exist), we can look at the things we did wrong with us, and find our faults. He knows that communication was a big problem with us, and is actively working to be more open and understanding in his new relationship. Both of us know that we have a problem with the way we argue subjects that are important to us, and we both act like our opinion is the only one that matters. This is something that I’ve been looking into within myself, and am trying really hard to work on.

Finding and admitting to our faults is not an easy thing, but it’s an essential part of life. There is no way you can grow as a person, without looking at what is holding you back from your growth. I know that I have a real problem with motivation. You’ve probably noticed that I go long periods without posting on here. I have notebooks filled with post ideas, research, and rough drafts of ideas. I have every good intention of sitting down at my computer and just typing on here for hours upon hours, setting up post after post to be posted for weeks on end. But as soon as I sit down….. well there’s Facebook, and Tumblr, and Jenna Marbles on YouTube, and random articles on BuzzFeed………… the next thing I know, hours have passed, and I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing.

Thing is, I can recognize that this is a problem for me. Today, I sat down, threw on a random SOAD playlist, turned off Facebook (but kept Tumblr up because… reasons), and decided to do some research and actually type something today. Sure, it’s not much so far, but it’s a start. It’s something I can admit is a fault, and something I can now work on.

So, Sunshine, knowing your faults is a GOOD thing. You need to know what it is that holds you back, so you can work on yourself and push yourself forward. You will always have faults, and you need to own them. You need to take that fault by the nards, look it in the eye, and say “I know you’re screwing with my life, and it’s going to stop NOW.”

And on that note, I am done my non-procrastination for the day. That amazing man I mentioned is here for a visit tonight, and I’m going to introduce him to the amazing world of Jenna Marbles and how to call in sick to jobs you don’t work at. So until next time Sunshine, keep on keeping on!

 

And So It Goes…..

My living situation has become quite awkward. There are so many “I told you so” moments that SHOULD be happening right now, but I can’t say anything….. for reasons. I know you all don’t want to know the details of the relationship and break-up (that’s what my Tumblr blog is for), but it has so many teachable moments in it!

I’m going to try not to ramble on about it much, but I will be using it as an example of many, many things that I can now see went wrong. As the boy said last night, hindsight is always 20/20. Now that we can sit down and talk calmly together, we’re starting to see a lot of where we went wrong in our relationship. I am also starting to see where I went wrong at life in general, and how it’s lead me to where I am now.

So, once again, I have failed at this whole Being A Grown Up thing, quite badly. But every failure I have is just one more teachable moment I can pass on to you, sunshine. Hopefully, you’ll learn a thing or two, and only have to fail vicariously through me.

Living With Someone: When Good Things Go Bad

Well I’ve been absent from my blog for quite a few weeks. Like I said before, I’ve been going through a lot of stuff. One of those things I’m dealing with has been a very strange break-up.

Now, he and I had been dating for a little over 3 1/2 years, and living together for a little over 2 years. Neither one of us is in any sort of financial position to move out of this house (his parents own the house, and it is a REALLY nice house with a really great price for rent and utilities). We both really like this house. He is an Army Reservist and goes to college, and I’m working (VERY) part-time in customer service, so it’s not like either one of us can afford our own apartment at this time. Plus, part of the reason we broke up is so that we can still live together and be friends, without wanting to kill each other.  So we’re trying to make this “not together but still living together” thing work.

Holy crap, is it harder than I thought it would be!

When I moved in with him (he’s the house manager, but his parents have said they’d rather have him move out than me, which makes things a little weird with that), we seriously thought this was going to wind up either a “forever” thing, or at least a “very very many years together” type thing. Neither one of us thought that a little over two years from then, we’d be splitting up. But that’s just what happened. Thankfully (I guess?), towards the end things started to go south. We each had our own bedroom this whole time, and we started sleeping in our own rooms again. We stopped doing things like cuddling on the couch, and having date night together. And we fought, seemingly all the time.

One day, a week before Christmas, we decided mutually that we needed to break up. It was the day that we were going to exchange our Christmas gifts, too, before he left for the holidays to see his family. I went to work that night, and he picked me up afterwards. We had texted a bit while I was working, making sure we were both ok with this break-up. That night, we exchanged gifts (I got him a new sherpa hoodie and the promise of new craft beers from work in the new year; he got me the book 10,000 Drinks and a machete), made our break-up Facebook-official, and set up our new Tinder accounts. To all outward appearances, we were handling this extremely well.

Well let me tell you, this is nowhere near as easy we have been making it seem!

Ok, so we don’t fight like we used to. But there were some things we were fighting about as a couple that directly related to our living situation (cleaning, roommate drama, his tendency to just let his to-do list get bigger and bigger while nothing gets done around here, my tendency to start just doing the things on his list until I get made and scream at him for not doing them months ago, etc….). None of these things have changed for us since we’ve broken up, but how we have to deal with them has. We used to fight, threaten to end our relationship, and then make-up. We can’t exactly do that now. This is forcing us to really look at things that need to get done around here, and who is actually doing them.

We also have to start dealing with the issue of dating. Now, we haven’t been broken up long, but the last year of our relationship was pretty crappy.  A lot of people thought we would’ve broken up long before we did, and a few thought we had already broken up. So we thought the idea of us seeing other people would be pretty damn easy for us to deal with.

Turns out, not so much.

I took it hard when he started texting with girls from Tinder, even though I have this weird flirtation-type-thing going on with a customer at my work. We have no idea how we handle the issue of bringing dates home with us, and try to make jokes about double dating. We’re also still attracted to each other at times, it seems, and are fighting that too. That last part hasn’t been a big issue between us yet, but it is making us question our behaviour together. We’re both cuddly people, and cuddle with friends. Can we cuddle together, or would that be weird? Can we still confide in each other? What about looking for dating advice? How the hell far can we take this friendship with each other?

Truthfully, it’s pretty damn hard living together like this.  I’m working on my resume as we speak, and will be starting a massive resume blast first thing Monday morning. I need to find a second job, and get out of this house. It’s just too damn weird for me.

All this weirdness is killing my creativity, too. Before he came home after the holidays, I was trying to get back into some more creative endeavours: I bought yarn to learn how to arm knit; started using my adult colour postcard book; started mapping out this blog for the year with ideas and themes; I even caught myself doodling in notebooks and writing down story ideas again. But as soon as he came home, that all just seemed to die.

So, I’ll be trying to get back into this blog again soon. Hopefully, I can write away the weird feelings I’m getting right now.