Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Deconstructing Illusion on Valentine's Day

I don't know what to write today. Actually, I do know, but I can't write it. So mysterious! I'll write something else.

I looked through Facebook's "On this day"... That's how desperate I am for inspiration. One time I pretended to get chocolates and flowers from a secret admirer. Actually, it wasn't "one time". It was two subsequent Valentine's days. That's pretty sad. It's really sad actually. That was just me begging for validation. Or maybe it was a gimmick for ladies to think I was in high demand.

I remember what my mind frame was like back then. I didn't really do things out of honest self-expression. It was more like... how can I take advantage of this to create the image that I want people to perceive me as. At the time I wasn't willing to actually dedicate the holiday to a single person I cared about. I wanted to "keep my options open", which really meant that I was insecure. It meant that, one, I was constantly looking for validation from women. And two, I didn't feel that I deserved or was capable of having an actual meaningful relationship.

And I was afraid. I must have been. It's weird to look back on it now, because now I want to give and receive love. To hold on to that. To share it with a genuine and open heart. The fear, when I was younger, was irrational. It has to be because I'm struggling to explain it. I think.... I think I was afraid to expose the real me. I thought that I had to be someone else in order to have love.

But when you're someone else.... then anybody who loves you, loves an illusion. And that's hollow. Empty. And I remembered that feeling. I enjoyed the closeness, the affection, the intimacy. But I felt detached. It was all a performance (and one that was unfair to those I was with). And I didn't believe that anyone would be interested in the real me.

Whoever that was.

I've long since grown tired of the illusion. It's still there, in parts. I know it is. I'm trying to dismantle it. But it's hard. It's hard to tell what parts are true and what parts are false. And really, if you pretend to be something long enough, you become that. And that's not always a bad thing. I generally consider myself to be introverted. But I taught myself to be comfortable around people. To be fun and confident. And I enjoy being with people. So I can't chock it all up to BS. Some of it is genuine growth.

"Don't believe the lie.... I'm actually a caterpillar."

When I started dieting and training, part of that was to create a new image of myself. But that doesn't make it wrong. I like feeling strong. I like being fit. It's no longer necessary for me to show off though. I signed up for the Beast of Burden ultramarathon this weekend. I'm no longer doing it. It was stupid for me to sign up in the first place. It was purely to prove something. Hey, look at how tough I am! I'll do any race!

I can't do it for a number of reasons. I haven't trained for it at all. I had planned to. I had started training before the New Year. But then I got sick. Other huge priorities came up. I reduced my training to let my body heal and to not get into a pattern of being constantly sick like I was last year, and to focus on those other priorities. And here I am just a few days out of from the race... and I've barely done any running (by my measure).

I feel like I'm letting some people down. But that's only because I set up a false expectation in the first place. That's a clear example of me trying to live an illusion. Thankfully I recognize that. I'm getting better at recognizing that. And I'm sorry to those whom I've disappointed.

That's an important reason to be genuine with yourself. To be yourself. Because you can only carry on a facade for so long before the cracks appear. I don't need everyone to like me. I don't have the time or energy for that many people. Better to have a few amazing people who know me for who I am, and appreciate that. It's much more satisfying, and much less stressful.

"I wish some cracks would appear in this cage."

So if I'm going to loop this back around to Valentine's Day.....Today of all days is a day for grand gestures. A time when unhappy couples try to prove to one another that they still care (the happy ones don't need to, other than to make their lonely friends vomit a little). A time when those who are desperate for companionship try to create a perfect someone out of someone who is not.

For me it's a day for thought and introspection. To consider what matters and what doesn't. I know what matters to me. I'm not prepared to talk about specifics just yet. But I'm in a happy place. A lot of amazing things have happened recently. And they're things that are building a foundation for a genuine me to be prosperous in joy.

Well, I can mention one thing. I bought a house! That was the priority I hinted at above. I don't know why I was being circumspect. I think because I wanted to write about the house until I realized that it's Valentine's Day and figured I should write about that instead. But soon! House!

But those reminders of the old me from years past.... they show me how much I've grown. That's a good feeling. And I can laugh at those antics. They may be sad, but they're also funny. Also, here's a thing I posted once. Enjoy!

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