Wednesday, August 09, 2006

On Patience, understanding and forgiveness

Well, I used my blog once before to sort out my feelings and get on with my life. It seems a better solution than annoying my friends or G. Last night... or rather this morning, I posted in an attempt to clear my mind so I could sleep. It actually worked.

So now I want to work. To get through the day without calling him again. The phone calls don't help. So here I am.

He asked a question on the POF forum about damaged goods. Baggage. He posed it about his friend, but a couple times he tried to refer to his own situation. Only people didn't figure that out and they referred back to his friend. I've wanted to respond to it again and again, but I can't thanks to POF's rule about being a member for 3 days before you open your big mouth. Likely for the best. But at 5 am this morning I figured it out. Sorta. I mean, what kind of logic am I really going to have after 3 hrs sleep? But here goes....

Baggage. It can be good, it can be bad. At the start of a relationship, it helps you determine if the person fits into your life or not. Do they have too many of the same characteristics that drove you from past relationships? Can you handle someone cold? Can you date someone with kids.

Let me run with this baggage analogy for a minute - how baggage turns bad. Often times, we start out opening the baggage and throwing things at the other person. At first it's the lacy panties and bras and some satin boxer shorts. All is good, they're soft and enticing. You say things like "wow, you're so much better than anyone else because...."

Then you get comfortable. The granny panties might come out, maybe that pair of holey underwear you should've thrown out months ago. Some dirty socks, maybe a toothbrush. You start to see some negative characteristics as the relationship settles, the new wears off. It's not shiny anymore and some tarnish shows through. You say things like "Gee, I wish you wouldn't go away every long weekend." or maybe "Do you always have to leave the seat up????" or my favorite... "Your cat is insane! He freakin' stalked me! If I moved he watched for bare skin to attack like the last freakin' time!" These aren't always related to the past or your baggage. You're likely in the baggage accumulation stage.

But you're willing to excuse these things. They're minor after all and nothing too huge or painful. Then one day you get to the heavier items in the baggage. All this time you've been comparing the other to your past. Looking for flaws. Looking for similarities. Sure they're a unique person, but you just know that it's in there somewhere. You start assigning characteristics to the person because a behavior was similar. Now you're throwing costco sized shampoos and a hair dryer or too. These things bruise. Things like "You sound just like my ex!" or "I'm tired of always coming last, what's wrong with me that no one can ever put me first. First my ex and now you!" Things said in the heat of anger.

The use of the baggage has been negative all along. The comparisons, good or bad, show that you aren't seeing the other person as a unique individual. You're using the past to measure them up. You haven't learned from the past, taken the knowledge and moved on. You're living in the past. Looking for the past in the future. Using the past to push someone else away. Holding it up like a garlic to a vampire. Protecting yourself through walls you've built up.

If you don't let someone in, they can't hurt you. If you hide behind examples from the past, you never have to worry about the future. A fear of taking a chance, taking risks with your heart again keep you from truly seeing the person you're with - good and bad.

Because we all have good and bad characteristics. We're all unique. My ex being too busy for me and always putting me last had different motivations than the guy I have been dating putting me second because of other obligations that are understandably more important - his kids.

The drama someone sees in tears, anger and hurt could be based in experiences with people who could turn those things on and off like a faucet to get their way. Yet another person may not have that faucet control. Maybe they don't WANT to be crying and hurt, but they don't have the ability to hide it or stop it. But seeing the same outer behaviour, someone could attribute the same motivation to it. Now suddenly that person becomes the ex. They aren't a different and unique person. They're the same as the past.

There's no question of whether the person would be willing or capable of changing the behaviour if given a chance. The person may or may not even see or know what they're doing. Confronted with it, they may deny it because they honestly don't think they'd do that. Or maybe they admit that they have a problem. And they ask for time and understanding while they try to work through it. They don't want to do it. They don't want to have that negative characteristic but they didn't realize they did. Now they want to change.

If your baggage prevents you from seeing that. From helping them change. Prevents you from being understanding while they adapt to a new situation and try to be a better person - then you aren't over your past. You're still living in it and punishing someone else for the mistakes of others.

Hi Kettle. Yep, I know I'm black too.

(end of what I wanted to say about baggage.)

I asked for understanding. I asked for him to have patience with me while I adapted to the situation with his kids. I've tried. Maybe not hard enough. Maybe I am too selfish. But I wanted to try.

I didn't realize I used hurt to illicit guilt from him in an attempt to manipulate. I see it now, yet it may be too late. He's seeing me through glasses tinted by his past. Risk/reward. The risk is too great and me as a reward has diminished in value to him.

We all have flaws. I try to accept his - even if he won't admit he has them. It's love. Seeing the good in the person you're with and overlooking the flaws if they can be overlooked. It isn't going in blind and ignoring the flaws. It's acknowledging them and accepting them. Talking with them about the problems to see if there's a resolution that can be reached. If there is, it's having the patience to be there for them as things change. Being understanding and opening your heart, even if it means you might get hurt again.

Because sometimes a person is just worth it.

Other times you have to see that the negatives have added up to a point where there is no hope. You take from the experience and learn from it. And next time you try to leave the hair dryer and 5 gallon bottles of shampoo in the luggage instead of throwing them at the other person in hopes something will stick.

Hiding behind our baggage is bad. Using it to protect ourselves from future hurts because someone else might be too much like the past isn't good. It lets us walk away feeling right. Of course we're better off without that person. Good lord, they were just like the ex. It would've been nothing but pain and hurt.

Yet we ignore the good. The looks of love. The picnics on a sunny afternoon. The walk through a botanical garden even though the other person would've rather been getting a root canal. The night spent talking on the phone for 7 hours because he was at work and I was at home. The hugs at 1am when he had a moment to swing by my place and he missed me. The hours spent playing Playstation. Stolen moments on his apartment steps while his kids slept. Laughter. Tears. Him holding me on his futon after a failed attempt at dinner and a movie because I was too sick.

Sigh, what good does remembering the good do for me now? he needs to remember the good, but he's focussed on the bad. The negative.

The fact is I deserve better. No, not a better guy than him. He's a great guy - whether he wants to believe it or not. I deserve to be treated better. I deserve a real relationship with a guy like him. Not just stolen moments. This isn't baggage. This is the honest to goodness truth. An evening here and there isn't enough to build a relationship on.

If the time is going to be with hiis kids, then so be it. In reality, when he gets out of the one bedroom apartment, things might've been better because after the kids go to bed, in theory I could still have time with him. But I'll never find out.

His kids. They rightfully come first. I never asked for anything else. I just asked for the relationship that he should've been prepared to offer when he came looking for me. The respect. The place in his life that I should have. Some sort of priority. Some kind of importance. A desire to see me and be with me.

Instead I've found out things about me I'd rather not know. And experienced a hurt I tried to use my baggage to protect me from. But G isn't T. He deserved a relationship with someone who wasn't hurting from the past and expecting him to fix the problems. Just the same as I deserved.


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