I think it’s pretty indisputable that Britney Spears has a few mental issues. It doesn’t get in the way of relationships as the star is almost on her third marriage. Well… maybe it does get in the way of relationships, but it doesn’t keep men from pursuing her. Do not attribute it to her being rich or pretty. When I worked in the school system, one of the other teachers told me about a woman she tutored at a local community college. The woman has multiple personalities, and she put stress on the world multiple. As I listened to the story, I couldn’t help but wonder how, with my one personality, I was still single, while the woman with multiple ones was happily married. Not trying to sound judgmental, I seriously began to wonder what exactly was wrong with me… She went on to describe the gamut of emotional issues this woman had and all the things her husband dealt with. He was very patient, she said.
After breaking up with my last boyfriend and a year of online dating on and off I put up one last profile in which I declared that I was “Looking for a miracle.” I certainly got some interesting responses. One guy sent me a message that read, “Miracle huh? Are you really that bad?” This made me laugh but at the same time made me wonder… Was I?
It’s safe to say everybody has issues and there I was back on the couch with a new domestic violence counselor. It was extremely humbling this time around, because when I surveyed her bookshelf, I recognized the names of many acquaintances from the writing world… But there I was, again. And why?
My book, I Know Why They Call a Shell a Shell, deals with abusive relationships and the aftermath. By aftermath I mean what happens when you finally escape the cycle. From my experience, it seems that after escaping the cycle, a person still tends to gravitate towards abusers, at first. But now when this happened to me, I left much sooner than before. It took a while of going out with jerks and abusers, at least a few dates here and there, to make my way to the normal guys… Yes, they do exist, but I found out the hard way that they are much more complicated than any of the crazy or abusive ones I’ve met because normal guys have real feelings, morals, and character.
Years ago when I was in high school, I wanted to learn to play the guitar for one reason and one reason alone, so I could play “Northern Star” by Hole. Obviously stars always had some meaning to me, but this song gave me solace when I was hurting. It wasn’t until almost a decade later that I would pick up a guitar. My boyfriend at the time bought me one for my birthday. He was a talented musician and played several instruments. After purchasing the guitar for me, he tried to teach me the beginning of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here,” which was ironic because I always felt that the song’s line “We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl, year after year” perfectly described our relationship.
That was the only guitar lesson he ever gave me and the guitar sat in it’s case for the rest of the year. It wasn’t until we broke up that I started playing it. I was inspired when John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads” came on the radio as I tearfully drove out of Vermont’s Green Mountains and away from him. That night when I got home, I learned to play the song and didn’t stop there. After the break up, it seemed that the only time I didn’t feel the pain of the break-up was when I was playing my guitar.
Eventually, my boyfriend and I got back together. I went to visit him in Vermont, this time with my music and guitar. I played a few songs for him and he was not impressed. He was terribly jealous. I assumed, because he was such a talented musician, that he already knew how to play the guitar (as he had mastered several other more difficult instruments). He tried to steal my sheet music so he could practice the songs with his buddies. I left a few days later with my guitar and music safely in hand. I was however, surprised by his reaction. I had taught myself how to play and could only gauge my progress by other people’s reactions much like you can only gauge your progress in personal relationships by another person’s responses to your actions.
Today I had a conversation with one of my clients about angels. She had seen one in a dream. I’d seen one in real life. Neither of us could remember whether or not our visions of angels had wings. I was 8 years old. A friend slept over my house. She got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, I got up with her to point her in the direction of the bathroom down the hall. And what happened next I will never forget. As she walked down the hall I suddenly noticed a huge angel hovering over and following behind her. The angel was easily ten feet tall with flowing garments and glowed bright white. The client agreed that the angel that appeared to her also did not have wings, not at first, she said. The angel manifested to tell her that one day she too would have wings, but not yet and then beautiful wings sprung up from behind the angel and she ascended into the air.
A few relationships ago, I found myself crying. Crushed, I felt as if I’d spent the last ten years going through a revolving door and not being able to exit. The men I dated were all the same. Well, they didn’t always seem that way in the beginning, but they definitely ended up that way in the end. Devastated, I lay my head down at my computer desk. I can’t do this anymore. The thought echoed in my mind. Suddenly in my minds eye I noticed something different. Why do I have wings? I sat up and curiously looked behind me. They were gone. I lay my head back down and closed my eyes. I could see them again. I would expect for a grown adult woman my wings would’ve been something comparable to an angel’s, long fluffy white ones, soft as pillows, light as clouds as depicted in illustrated versions of the Bible. But no, not mine. Mine were short and stubby- I would call them butterfly wings but the shape was more on par with something of a moth’s though the colors were prettier (purple and blue with some pink rainbow accents). What did this all mean? Did I finally have the strength to enter into a normal relationship? Could I finally handle a relationship with a real man who had real feelings?
So it takes a lot for me to admit publicly that I am attending counseling again. Here I am throwing out advice to all who will listen like it’s candy and I’m marching in the Memorial Day parade. Let’s just say I don’t go to therapy because I am excelling at dating, friendships, or relationships. I can pinpoint my issue: fear. When acting from a place of fear instead of a place of trust, my wheels spin and I make poor choices. Now that I have consciously acknowledged this maybe I will be able to hit the brakes before I ruin another friendship. It’s funny. My friends know who I am and how I am. They love me but unfortunately I sometimes demand more attention and energy from a person than they are able to give me. It is during these times when I should step back and take a deep breath but I don’t. That would of course be the logical thing to do and I don’t run on logic, I run on heart.
It is true. I have very little logic and even less common sense. I make all my decision intuitively. When making decisions, I do not think to myself, what would be the best choice that will yield the best outcome? No. I think to myself how do I feel about this? And then if I feel uneasy, as if I’m not being true to myself or my feelings, I rectify it. Being true to myself ensures that I am always honest, that I am always real. Being real does not always encompass being cool or logical. And because of this, I rarely go to sleep at night thinking to myself, I should have said this or I wish I said that. Instead, I said how I felt and sometimes that pushes people away. The last time this happened, it was not entirely my fault. I was absolutely 100% secure until he pulled the disappearing act and came back after briefly going back to his ex. Logically I knew it wasn’t a great idea to try again especially with someone who had already disappeared on me once. Because when you do this, you are obviously giving them the message that it is okay and because of this it is likely to happen again (which it inevitably did). You might think that this observation, which came from a place of logic, would the the main reason not to try again, but it turned out it wasn’t that so much as it was another issue that sprung up almost immediately. Though I never held it against him, it created a fear within me, an insecurity that was not there in the beginning of our friendship; that every text, call or email from him also brought with it the chance he would cut me off without warning again, which he inevitably did.
With that decision, like most of my decisions, I didn’t use my head but my heart. The heart wants what it wants and in hindsight it appears that what the heart wants the most is instant gratification. In retrospect, every single time I have made a relationship decision with my heart it is to my detriment. It is only when I make relationship decisions with my head that I don’t get hurt, and believe me, using my head to make decisions for the heart is a rarity for me. Almost like some sort of love monster.
Another love monster, besides Britney or even myself would be Courtney Love. Courtney Love exemplifies the ultimate dysfunction on many levels. To be honest, her music and lyrics are amazing despite her personal troubles and wouldn’t be that way had her life been a rosy walk in the park. Perhaps I sabotage for the sake of art? I wish that was true, that excuse is so easy and false. I would never purposely sabotage anything for the sake of art (as I already have plenty of material to work with, thank-you very much). The lyrics of Courtney Love’s music spoke to my damaged teenage soul. I was hurt after being raped. I bounced from guy to guy like I was in a pinball machine just hoping for one of them to reach out and hold me, even if it was just for a minute. I wanted to feel loved. I wanted to feel safe. And now, more then ten years later, I find myself repeating old patterns. I find myself able to love myself but unable to trust myself and not being able to trust yourself is scary. When you get bad results in life and mess up all sorts of things and relationships trusting anyone but yourself seems to be the best solution. And none of these guys loved me. Most of them used me, took what they could get from me and made no attempt to hide what they were doing. And inevitably, when they left, I was in worse shape than where I was when it all began.
It’s funny though, how my words have helped many people yet I cannot always configure them in a way that I can help myself. I guess that’s what friends are for right? And maybe this time I actually learned something and maybe now I will change. This doesn’t mean that the friends I lost will ever come back but it maybe means that one day I might get out of my own way. And maybe one day I will get my wings. Until then, I still spend a lot of time thinking positively and “looking for a miracle.”