Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


WWW As My World Turns

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dreams to Remember

(This post's thought process may be hard to follow as it is just kind of random thought written as it comes to me)

This past weekend through today have been about reflection and the past. For some reason I can't find a large batch of pictures that I used to have in a wall collage. There were probably something like 70 pics or so. Last night I was frantically looking for them everywhere and can not find them. I will have to check what few boxes are leftover in storage to see if I can find them. Why am I looking for these pictures with the fervor of a treasure hunter?

Memories have been assaulting me left and right over the past couple of days and some of those memories are tied up in those pictures. I was thinking of a few years ago when I first met Matt and life seemed so right but also many years ago when I was dating someone else things weren't going so well and I barely ate. In fact, my mom’s boss at the time who was (and still is) a doctor asked my mom if I was anorexic or bulimic. I was seriously skin and bones – except for my hips and my top. They’ve always been a little extra curvy. It wasn't like I wasn't purposely eating, it was just that, after a few months, when we saw each other I tried so hard to please him and make him happy that I got, well, too nervous to eat. I lost my appetite.

I remember one time when the cracks started showing up in the relationship and we took a trip to see some friends and for like 2 or 3 days I hardly ate anything. I tried eating a burrito on the 2nd night there and choked down one bite b/c it just stuck in my throat and made me want to vomit. I literally couldn’t eat anymore. I was probably a size 5 at the time and he would tell me things along the lines of “I hope you don’t eat like that all the time” when he would see me eating a Snicker’s candy bar. (It was a long distance relationship and we saw each other on average every few weeks) It wasn’t a conscious way of loosing weight but subconsciously I think I wanted so badly to make him happy with me that I was constantly nervous and when I get emotionally nervous I can’t eat. I physically can’t eat. I have no appetite and if I try to eat anything substantial, as in solid, I can’t get it past my throat. It’s like my throat closes up and says “Nope, not in here”.

Now to most people you think a size 5 isn’t skin and bones but because of my structure and the way I carry my weight it was skin and bones to me. I am 5’7” and weighed probably close to 120 at the time.

I realized over this past weekend that the trying to please the person I was dating (or married to) stems from my relationship with my father. Sadly, my father wasn’t there for me like a good father should have been. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my father dearly and was devastated when he died (though I never really showed it b/c I was too busy shouldering my grandmother’s grief and being strong for her), and I knew that my daddy loved me as much as he was capable of doing. As I mentioned in previous posts last year, my dad was clinically depressed, suffered from acute anxiety disorder and had severe OCD. (I am adopted so I don’t carry those traits in me) It was very difficult growing up to not have a “normal” childhood of sleepovers and slumber parties or even friends over to the house to play. With my dad’s conditions we just really couldn’t have anyone over to the house who wasn’t an adult.

I was accepted by my dad just as I was but a part of me felt like a huge piece of the father/daughter relationship was missing. And, well, it was. Even though I was unconditionally accepted by my dad, he never was really able to show it except for rare moment and through his letters to me. I understand now that I've been looking for that one relationship where the other person accepts me and loves me just as I am with all my flaws. Unconditionally. It hasn't happened yet. So, psychoanalyzing myself, I think that I tend to try to do so much what I thought was right to please the guys I dated that it ended up stifling my personality and ended up being the wrong thing to do anyway. I would start out this bright, fun, vivacious personality and end up this highly insecure, overly complacent shadow of myself.

Like at the end of this relationship with that guy from many, many years ago, there were the riots in LA and I wasn’t even 21 yet – a couple of weeks away, and I didn’t really care what was going on or what caused it other than to think that it was awful and that I hated hearing about people being hurt. Could I tell him that I didn’t really care about the politics of it? No, instead I parroted responses back to him b/c the one time I said that I didn’t know why the riots were as bad as they were, he made some snide, derogatory remark that made me not want to say I didn’t know to him again. So I listened to his answer as to why he thought the riots were so bad and then when he asked me again, I repeated his answer back to him, thus earning me a positive response from him. At that moment I realized that, regardless of how I had hoped differently even though I knew better and as much as I loved him, that the relationship really was over. I was miserable, I was trying too hard to do the right things and it was all wrong, and I hated the person I had become. I was on the cusp of 21 for heaven’s sake! I was just trying to come into my own with someone I loved more than anything and I didn’t want to be all newsy and introspective and serious. I wanted to be fun and revel in this person I loved and experience life. I wanted it to be the way it had been and my world instead was crashing down on me so fast.

While I was visiting him for six weeks, (this was the same guy who went out on the date while I was visiting that I posted about last year) my mom told me that after several years of separation she and my dad had decided to finally get divorced. I hardly got an “I’m sorry” or any show of sympathy or support. I guess by that time there wasn’t really anything left to say anyway and maybe he thought that because my parents had already been separated for years and I knew they would never get back together, that it shouldn't affect me. But he was wrong and the relationship had become what it had become. The end...of the relationship, of the friendship, of anything remotely positive anymore other than memories. I wanted to be able to show my own opinions, or non-opinions, and not be afraid of non-validation and derision of my thoughts and beliefs and wants and desires. He could be so cutting to my 20 year old heart with his words and facial expressions and he probably never even realized it. More than anything, I was afraid of the rejection I had been experiencing, but even as much as I still loved him, at least I had the sense to know that it was better to cut loose and try to move on than to continue to suffer the hurt.

I have realized that I have the problem of giving what I think will make others happy instead of what really will make them happy. I’m more of a giver than a doer and, unfortunately as in the case of my marriage, what Matt wanted was more doing than giving. I would rather buy someone something that I know that they have been wanting and give it as a gift than, say, dust or vacuum. (Housework really isn’t my bag, baby.) But that wasn’t what Matt wanted. He would rather have had the dusting and vacuuming than the PS2 or the DVD player. For me, giving is how I show that I love someone. For Matt, doing was how he wanted me to show I loved him. And in the end, he chose someone who I’m sure is more of a doer, and in making his choice, chose the end of this marriage. Lessons learned.

Anyway, back to my original thought. I wanted to find these pictures to remind me that #1 – I shouldn’t being trying to please others to the point that I lose myself in the pursuit of that positive validation and #2 – I should be trying to please God first before anyone else. I’ll have to try storage tonight and see if I can find them in there b/c they sure aren’t at the house.

The song that comes to mind right now for me is “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember” by Otis Redding. Thinking about those pictures takes me back to an easier time where, at least for a little while, dreams did come true, and even when they didn’t, end up to be happily ever after, they are lessons learned. And both of those dreams are ones that are worth remembering even if they didn't stay.


TexasFred said...

Just dropped in to say hello and put a pin on your map... God Bless Texas...

greatwhitebear said...

I can relate to so much of this, it is scary. For two people who are philosphical polar opposites, we sure share a lot of similarities.

caramaena said...

Here via Michele's - lovely post.

Michele said...

I love ythe fact that you ended this very poignant post with the line "dreams are ones that are worth remembering even if they didn't stay."

That is such a beautiful truth that can only be spoken from a wise, mature, and caring heart.

Thank you for pointing me in the direction of this post. It is beautiful!