Share And Share Alike

I share an awful lot on Facebook. I share how funny I am, how smart I am, how socially aware, how much I’m awesome at life and conversely, how much I suck at it. I share my ups and downs, my heartbreak, my successes, and all the things that make up the online persona that is me (which is not unlike the real world persona, just clarifying).

There are those who criticise me for this, that I should perhaps not be so open so publicly (it’s a common criticism, as those who have read this blog will know). I get my back up about it for a number of reasons:

1. I don’t like being told what to do with regards to the way I choose to live my life, particularly by those significantly younger than me. I figure I’ve been around the block enough times to know how to life, and if I’m having trouble doing the life thing, I am self aware enough to acknowledge it and ask for advice.

2. I very rarely share about other people, and if I do, I don’t use names and I’m usually having a passive aggressive rant about a person who isn’t on Facebook anyway.

3. I am subconciously afraid that maybe these critics are right, maybe I do share too much. Why else would I get so defensive about it?

Look, there are times when I post and then realise seconds later that I perhaps shouldn’t have, so I delete it. Then there are times when I think I’ve overshared, but then the response to said share is one of recognition and gratitude that “someone else is as fucked up as I am!” I am not going to pretend that I’ve got my shit sorted, or that I’m never wrong, or that I’m always level-headed, so I’ll talk about my haemmorhoids and my sore boobs and how grumpy I feel ’cause I’ve got my period, and so on. I’m getting older, things are starting to fray at the edges. And I like to whinge occasionally.

Just yesterday I found out my cervical dysplasia is back. Cervical dysplasia is abnormal cell activity on the surface of the cervix, caused by the HPV virus, or by having multiple partners over an extended period of time, or having sex before the age of 18, or a combination of any of the above. I’ve dealt with it a number of times before, all with varying levels of seriousness, all successfully with surgery. It’s back again, however, and last night I was having a hard time coping with the idea that maybe my behaviour earlier in life (as the nasty voice in my head calls it, my “whoring around” – that voice is a bitch) has caused this. I know, in the cold light of day, that there is no point tearing myself up over something I can’t change, but at 11.30 at night, by myself in my room, it’s pretty overwhelming to deal with.

And that’s the point of this rant, really. I’m alone a lot of the time. I have one family member in this country and he lives an hour and a half drive away. He’s also 65 and incredibly busy and will probably be asleep at 11.30 at night, so won’t answer the phone. I no longer have a partner to look after me when I need it (not that the last one was very good at that, bless his cotton socks. Well, actually, that’s not fair, he was getting better at it. Then he dumped me), and my friends live away from me and have their own stuff to deal with. I guess I’m not the sort of person that a lot of people think needs taking care of (which is fine by me) or maybe there’s the assumption that I already have someone to look after me when I’m sick, sad, grieving, whatever. But I don’t. And that’s okay.

It’s okay, because that’s when I share on social media. I share because I need to tell someone I’m not doing great, but I know I’ll be fine eventually so I don’t necessarily need to have a three-hour long conversation to realise that. Just the knowledge that someone out there in cyber land is thinking of me and knows what’s going on is enough. When I do need to talk, I call my Dad in the daytime when I’m not going to sob in his ear and make him worry about me when I’m an hour and a half drive away, or I call my bestie, or talk to my older lady-boss. And I share because that’s what I do. No other reason, really. It’s just what I do.

So, to my detractors, thank you for your opinion. When you get to my age, maybe I’ll actually pay attention to you. In the meantime, go live your life, learn from it and then maybe even share it. Warts and all.

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Fifteen Assumptions That Might Be Useful To Make

Exactly what I need to read right now.

The Belle Jar

1. Assume that you are loved.

2. Assume that those who love you find some kind of value in you and the things you do.

3. Assume, however, that you don’t need to be valuable in order to be worthy of love.

4. Assume that there is no one out there keeping a tally of all of your failings, ready to throw it in your face when you’re either feeling too good or too awful about yourself.

5. Assume that if anyone actually is keeping a tally of all your failings, that act says more about them than it does about you.

6. Assume that you can’t make all of the people happy all of the time; maybe not even some of the people some of the time.

7. Assume that you will, over the course of your life, sometimes anger or disappoint the people you love.

8. Assume that…

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Relationship Status

How many chances is too many? How many times can one turn the other cheek? They say a leopard never changes its spots, but considering I’ve changed mine a number of times (stripes are slimming) I would assume others can too.

About ten years ago, I was in a relationship with a heroin addict that lasted for approximately 5 years. I did not take heroin – hated it, in fact – but this did not stop me from loving her. I went back to her time and time again, forgave her every transgression, cried and ranted and raved at her, but I had faith that my continued love and support would eventually make her see the light.

She did see the light, but not because of me. She saw it because she wanted to. All I succeeded in doing was laying myself open for punishment. I kept smacking my head against the proverbial wall whilst wondering why I had a headache. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing, because it made it very clear to me that I have no responsibility for saving anyone else. In the process of “saving” her, I damned myself. Again, not a bad thing to experience, but one would think I would learn not to do it again.

I did do it again, not to the same extreme, but I totally did it. I must admit, I am now aware that I have a habit of throwing myself in front of the metaphorical bus for love. My tactic for keeping a relationship going is to keep giving, even when I have been sucked dry and am lying in a puddle of my own delicious tears, a desiccated, useless husk. ‘This person treats me like shit even though I am giving as much love as I can to them. I know! I’ll give more!’

Now that’s smart.

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When I was a teenager, I read this book, Women Who Love Too Much, because “if being in love means being in pain, you need to read this book!” (I was a teenager. Everything is painful. Duh.) It talked about co-dependence, addiction to relationships, giving up your own life for the sake of your partner’s, making the other person the centre of your universe, all the stuff that makes me want to regurgitate my cookies. But, when I think about it, I know that I put up with a hell of a lot of bad behaviour from a partner because I tell myself I like to be understanding and supportive, that I accept their foibles and faults, and ultimately I expect to be given the same in return. Unfortunately, compassion, understanding, and empathy are sometimes taken advantage of and seen as an excuse to continue the behaviour. Enabling, if you will. ‘She’s so understanding and forgiving. That means I can do it again and she’ll just keep forgiving me!! Hooray!’

Yeah, hoo frickin’ ray.

So yes, I forgive and I support and I understand that other person and that other person says all these lovely things about me being lovely and then goes away and ignores me and forgets that I exist and I’m left feeling like the idiot with egg on her face and a big sign saying KICK ME on her back. I don’t believe I’m crap at relationships. A failed relationship does not a failure of a person make, but I see now how so goddamned hard it is to get it right! You have to choose the right person, first of all, which is not as easy as it sounds. And really, I don’t think any of us can control who we fall in love with, so that point is moot. You have to be comfortable and in love with yourself before you can be in love with someone else as well, and who’s got that down pat? Then you have to be sexually compatible with the other person (which is soooooo very important to me) which is sometimes difficult because so many people have such hang ups about sex. Then you have to have a relationship agreement as to whether you’re monogamous, polyamorous, open, closed, etc etc. Then there’s being at the same place in life for marriage and babies (if you want that), or mortgages and holidays (if you want that), or living in India for a year, or even just living in the same house! It’s insane, and it can’t be planned, and it can’t be figured out because nothing about love is logical and relationships are confusing and nobody knows the right way to do it!!

And yet, human beings fall in and out of love, get married, get divorced, have flings, become fuck buddies, post “it’s complicated” statuses all the time. And a few of them actually get it right, whatever it is, even if only for a short time. So, I’m holding out hope that if I ever do end up spending a significant amount of time with someone who is worthy of all that love I seem to keep excreting all over everything, that I get it right. Even if only for a short time. ‘Cause right now, it all seems a little too hard.