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By the Bay: A Pathetic Poem

I saw a lover alone near the water

The lonely woman inside my head

I kissed her blankly and she waited

for me to find myself instead

 

I went to see a new big city

I found myself a job up there

I walked around sad and lonely

and always hid the fact I cared

 

But now I find a time each day

To sit and think thoughts of you

Torturing myself with right and wrong

Thinking about what I should do

 

But there’s nothing left for me to save

No point in loving you any more

I wander round my lonely harbour

and cross the cold and violent shore

 

If only you could see me now

To see how much I’ve grown

I’m strong and tough and smart and sad

Maybe you’ve always known

 

One day I hope you’ll call me again

You’ll smile and make it all okay

It’s only a shallow dream, perhaps

But maybe we’ll be together one day.

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How I Plan to “Date” Myself : Getting Used to My Own Company Again

I’ve got no idea who I really am. Of course, that sounds absurd; if I don’t know myself, then who possibly can? Aren’t I the one in charge of dressing myself, choosing my food, putting myself to bed and getting myself to work? So how can it be that I totally don’t know myself at all?

I have decided that I need to get to know myself over the next month, and to do this, I am going to date myself. Yes, I know that sounds so cringingly awful and trite, and also hyper-self-involved. I am not a narcissist, I think, despite having written about them frequently. In fact, I think that part of me doesn’t love or know myself well at all.

Since I have recently split with my partner, I have decided that it’s high time I got to know myself again, rather than choosing to deal with my grief by running right into a new relationship. I am pledging to do a whole month where I don’t date, have sex, flirt or get involved with any man, while I get over my ex and work out what I really want.

I used to be able to spend time on my own, in fact I used to fear being in relationships full time and always insisted on living alone. But that has changed in the last few years, all I want is to be attached, in love and involved. But I know that I have not been acting this way and pushing people away when they try to get close to me.

I am lacking in self love and self respect. I need to seek ways to give this to myself. I read a great article today about a woman who was a member of SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, an offshoot of Alcoholic Anonymous which also works the 12 steps) who realised that she was using other people to fill a void in her that she needed to fill herself.

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Hedley Galt wrote Finding Paris: An Unusual Love Story when she immediately booked a ticket to Paris after a break up, expecting to find love. Instead, she found herself.  “I was in Paris and I was dating myself,” she says. “I’d take myself out and I just really tried to get into a place of being with myself and being OK to be in my own company… it was really beautiful.”

I really admire her bravery, not just in doing this, but in sharing her journey with others. I think it’s actually very hard to look at relationships and where we are going wrong. I have lost many jobs, but losing a relationship feels so much worse, it truly feels like a rejection of the self on a deep level, and that hurts. However I have come to realise that it is never another person rejecting me, it’s only ever me rejecting myself on some level.

Hedley Galt had to really learn about how she functions in relationships, and about her patterns. “It’s been such an interesting process of learning about myself and relationships,” she says. “I can now see where I’ve been misguided and misdirected in those pursuits – looking to men to meet my needs rather than me being responsible for my own needs and then being able to be in a relationship where I’m simply sharing my life with somebody rather than looking for them to fix me.”

So often we try to fill parts of ourselves with the wrong kind of panacea. I need to learn how to give back to myself in an appropriate, kind way. I need to fill myself with things that are responsible and caring and to treat my body and mind with tender loving care. It’s the usual mumbo jumbo, but they are things that make me feel excellent.

How I plan to “date” myself: 

  1. Focus on work and writing projects
  2. Keep in contact with friends, and be a good friend
  3. Look after my body, eat well and exercise
  4. Don’t drink or smoke to excess, be kind to myself
  5. Keep up with my family responsibilities, stay in contact with those that need me
  6. Do cool things that I love. Reward myself with outdoor activities, shopping and nice meals out
  7. Look after my finances and get ahead in my life
  8. Focus on cool things I am doing, such as buying an apartment

photo by kewl – thanks!

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Are You Re-Living Your Childhood Pain Via Destructive Relationships?

I have just finished the self-help relationships book I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway by Tracy McMillan. Life was tough for Tracy. What would you do if your father was a pimp, a drug dealer and a womaniser who left you abandoned to fend for yourself in a series of foster homes from a very young age, messing up your chance at having decent, healthy relationships with men?

One Easy Trick to Self Love

I have previously written a post on a great technique she gives to deal with the feelings of self-hatred and negative chatter that we can experience when we go through a bad relationship break up. It’s easy – and I really recommend you try it. My post summarises it, and Tracy’s book also covers it, but you have to read the whole book to get to the trick at the end!

Why You’re Not Married

Tracy McMillan became well known recently because she wrote an article called Why You’re Not Married that was published in the Huffington Post and contained suggestions such as “You’re a Bitch,” and “You’re a Slut” (oh Tracy you know me so well?!). It’s written in a tongue-in-cheek style, as the author has been married three times herself, so she admits to having messed up lots in her past and is by no means ‘holier than thou’ when it comes to making mistakes in love.

If you can, buy the book. It’s really well written and has a very interesting structure, tracing the author’s love life from her childhood through to her third divorce. As mentioned, Tracy’s father was a pimp and a drug dealer, and most notably, a womaniser and Tracy works out that she has been having adult relationships where she is trying to reconcile her feelings with her father, who is in prison. She (like others) believes that our adult relationships are just our way of attracting lessons into our lives that we have to learn – so she finds herself attracted to men that plan to leave her, just as her father did when she was a child.

Sorting Out Childhood Issues with Bad Relationships

If you are having trouble with destructive relationships, if you feel yourself drawn to the wrong type of men or women, then buy a copy of this book. Tracy tries to work out why she constantly seems to mindlessly go back to relationships to sort out aspects of herself she hasn’t dealt with, and it’s not until she leans to deal with her own emotional crap that she can finally let go of her destructive patterns.

My only issue with this is the fact that someone like Tracy should have every reason to have a difficult adulthood, having come from such a difficult childhood. I similarly don’t have that sort of excuse. My parents were (and are) outstanding, loving, present, happy and gave me every opportunity in the world – and yet I still have issues with relationships.

So I Have No Excuses – Am I Just an Asshole?

I can’t use my parents as an excuse. I have had some enormously difficult and destructive relationships, including my present one where there has been significant abuse doled out (I guess on both sides, although he’s the only one who’s been in trouble with the law) and yet, I’m still in it. I sadly can’t give the excuse that I came from a difficult childhood – I guess I’m just an asshole. Or maybe I’m just with an asshole. Either way my current relationship is problematic and my inability to leave it makes me feel that there are obviously deeper issues to be dealt with here.

Why I Love Bad Boys

My relationships have been pretty destructive from the start. I guess I like bad boys and people who are slightly crazy. Ordinary guys are so boring. I have never really gone out with someone ‘nice’. I tried to once, but we broke it off very quickly, after only a couple of months. He was very religious and had decided to abstain from sex unless he had been seeing that partner for over a year. I was very keen to get into his virginal pants. While we were courting I drove him so crazy that he was in actual, physical pain trying to restrain himself. I was not a good match for him.

Even my very first boy was a bad boy. He actually ended up gay, but when we were in our teens he was a real womaniser, dating five girls at a time. I set myself up for heartbreak and heartbreak is what I got.  Still wonder why I did that. I had no reason to pick someone so unsuitable, so unattainable. I was never very confident as a teen. I was a little heavy and I never felt attractive. It was just a phase, by age 18 I had lost all my excess weight and I was attractive and confident. But still it took a while for my mind to catch up with my physical transformation.

I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway

If you have destructive relationships; if you keep making the same mistakes; If you find yourself running towards something you think may be bad for you – read this book. Tracy McMillan is actually one of the writers on Mad Men, so she knows how to tell a great yarn. I highly recommend this book. It’s different.  She doesn’t give herself too easy a time, she is open and honest in her portrait of herself, which makes it a fascinating book.

The core messages of this memoir are quite powerful:

You are special and unique. You are worthy of Love. You deserve love and respect.

It takes Tracy forty years to come to term with those sentiments, and it’s a wild journey. Buy a copy of this book. It’s been my fave for 2013 so far.