Sunday, January 6, 2013

Loving yourself is necessary to love someone else.

When I was younger, the whole "you gotta love yourself before you can love others" thing sounded like bullshit. But I'm older now and I've been down a few rough roads, and you know what? IT TOTALLY MAKES SENSE.

It's like this: Let's say that you aren't exactly filled with self-love. You have a negative self image, your esteem is shit, and you have a lot of negative self-talk going through your head. And let's say that for whatever reason, the girl of your dreams (for the purposes of this scenario, the girl of your dreams will be played by Sandra Bullock, because fuck you that's why.) falls head over heels for you.

So there you are, lying next to woman of your dreams, awake and thinking. Are you thinking to yourself, "I am a stone cold pimp!" NOPE. You're going to be thinking, "How did I get this lucky? What the hell does she even see in me? There's no way this is going to last." And then, without even realizing it, you're going to start sabotaging everything. You'll grow distant. You'll start to lose respect for her because somewhere deep in your mind is the thought, "How could someone like her ever love a loser piece of shit like me? She must be retarded." You're destined to fail.

The other side of the coin is that you end up with whatever partner you can get. You may want that girl of your dreams, but you don't feel you deserve her. You may not be crazy about her, but at least she's with you, so you can proudly proclaim you have a girlfriend. And she won't leave you because she has her own co-dependency issues to deal with. Now that you both have each other, neither one of you have to actually deal with the problems you have. Unless you wise up, you'll think that this is what love is. 

I hate to admit it, but I've been through some really bad relationships. We're talking emotionally abusive, manipulative, crazy women here. And you know what? I felt like that was the best I could have. That I was even lucky to have them. I ran my goddamn heart and soul through fucking broken glass for them. I worked so hard to make things good because I didn't want to lose what I had. 

Then one day I got married. She wasn't that hot in the physical sense, but she treated me better than any girl before. And you know what I did? I shit all over all of it. I became distant, treated her offhandedly, and practically lived up to the cliche of the loser husband. If she hadn't had her own esteem issues to deal with, I think she would've left me permanently early in our marriage.
I look back at those times and I'm embarrassed by it. Fucking angry too, if I'm being honest. I wish I could go back to my younger self and smack him around some. "Quit fucking around and get your shit together! You're way more awesome than you realize and here you are squandering your potential! You're too good to waste these good years like this!"

If I had "loved myself," I never would've stood for the shitty treatment I got, and I never would've been a shitty boyfriend and husband to the girl who actually treated me like a king. I'm thankful that I'm on the right path now, but damn, I wish I had understood the memo years ago as it would have saved me a lot of pain and causing the same. 

I am learning now, that I am someone who is worthy of loving because I finally found someone who makes me feel like I am worth loving myself. Therein lies the most important part of any relationship. For once I truly feel like I am not just settling for someone who is willing to love me, and it is the most amazing feeling in the world.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sometimes Hope Is All We Have Left

I have decided to take a shot at this writing business again. I used to write all the time, had volumes of notebooks filled. Random thoughts, stories of things I experienced and saw around me. I went as far as journaling my day to day life in hopes of sorting out the absolute randomness in my brain. Somewhere along the way I stopped doing so, and every time I tried starting again my brain would seem to shut down. I think it came to the point where the things I wrote were becoming more painful memories than pouring my brain out on paper. In any case, I hope to be able to start doing so more often. With that in mind... off we go.

Here we are, a new year, 2013. The past 12 months of my life have been an absolute rollercoaster. I started the year in a relationship I should never have allowed to begin, lost a very dear friend suddenly and found out that people I trusted and truly thought of as some of my closest friends were much different people than I ever truly knew.

I spent the last 5 or 6 years of my life doing for everyone else, all the while never taking my own thoughts, feelings and emotions into account. I spent day after day doing this same thing over and over. Being the back up plan when all else failed. So many people knew they could count on me in almost any situation. Don't get me wrong, doing for others, being a good friend, these things aren't bad. Quite the contrary. It can be amazing in some ways, that feeling of knowing that I can help someone, make their lives a bit easier with just a small gesture.

Unfortunately the problem arose when my own wants and needs became less and less important. The people who would come to me for help, started doing so at times when I had nothing to give, yet I did so. Sometimes going without the most basic of necessities to make sure others had what they needed. The people who were the closest to me were starting to not just ask for help but realize they could take advantage of the kindness in my heart.

I realize looking back that I am just as much to blame for this behavior in others as they are for taking advantage of the situation. I then met someone who would not only change the way I saw others, but also did the one thing I had avoided for so many years I have lost count, made me take a long hard look at myself.

I never thought in a million years that the passing of a close friend would be the turning point in my own life. The truth is that is exactly what happened. I received a call, a request that I stand and speak at his services. I was afraid at first, knowing there were others in our group who were so much closer to him. Little did I know the many reasons that this request was made.

Michael Thomas, or as I knew him best, Boston, was someone who was stolen from our lives far too soon. When I was asked to speak in front of my friends, and his family, I fretted over it. I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to speak the words that would help to heal those in so much pain, including myself. I had never met his family, or so I thought, and was terrified to speak in front of them as they knew nothing of who I was. I found out that I was more known to them than I could have imagined. That this man, who I considered a good friend, thought more highly of me than I ever suspected. That I had indeed met a member of his family, and that he was adamant that this meeting happen.

I spoke and gave what words I had of love, condolences and sorrow in losing my friend. I walked away from the funeral home missing a friend, but glad to have met the people who knew him best. I remember watching his beautiful sister, standing there trying so hard to speak about her brother, and thinking that I was sad, I had never gotten to know his family and hadn't spent much more time with him.

As time went on, I added his sister to my list of friends on Facebook. Just wanting to be there for her and her family, if I could, to offer any help in healing. I have dealt with death often and it was no stranger to me. I watched as she went through some terrible things. Offering words that I hoped would help, an unbiased opinion to perhaps help put things into a different perspective. She reached out to me asking for my thoughts, my view of the things I had seen. I did what I always do and spoke from the heart. It seemed to at the very least help her to realize she wasn't the horrible person she saw herself to be.

One day I noticed a status, I thought to myself, that status is about me. I didn't know how or why, but I knew that she was talking about me. I was terrified to say anything and surely did not want to look like a fool for assuming this was the case. Thankfully, she built up the courage to approach me with her feelings and thoughts. At first I only saw part of what was sent, a part that I took as nothing more than a friend being silly and wanting to talk more. I didn't find out until the next day how important the message I missed was.

Here was this beautiful woman, telling me she loved me. She thought herself crazy for even saying so as we didn't really know each other very well. I never stopped to think, Patrick, you just got out of a relationship, your feelings are still raw, and responded. The only regret I have is that I should have waited until my head and my heart were clear. I can only thank God that after everything she has stayed, and still wants this old Juggalo.

I couldn't ask for a person, a mate, a partner who matches me more than she does. I shall come back again soon and write more about this beautiful, amazing woman that I have come to realize I cannot live without. Until then, welcome to 2013, if things stay on track (I will fight to the death to make sure they do) this will turn out to be the most amazing turning point and year in my life.