E.I- Emotional Intelligence or Eternally Ignorant?

Standard

So, here is the thing. Mr X and I are at a standstill. I am in New York, he is in Morocco. Before we both left, things had taken a turn for the better. As per my previous blog, I had pointed out to him that he had been less than a considerate fiiend and in fact was displaying many of the traits he had complained his ex girlfriend had and that he hated. This appeared to hit a nerve. The result, he came back being a better more attentive person. He was communicative, affectionate, fun and thoughtful. However, give the guy 10 days on surf sand and 5000 miles between us, and you have a different guy. One who is distant, unaffectionate. It wasn’t like that at the start. Oh no when he first arrived, and hadnt settled in, I was once again his emotional scratching post or crutch. There to text intensively for support and reassurance and comfort. I was told how I was missed and 10 days out there was too long. but given time to climatise- and the tables have turned. Where I embraced my adventures and gradulally become home sick, he works backwards- fearing the trip, getting anxious and then once settled, not wanting to return home.

So anyway- where does that leave us? Who knows. Waiting to see what lies at the other end of our adventures. I have had many levels of advice whilst out here from people who barely know me and certainly don’t know him. their um-biased view is that I will end up hurt, he won’t give me what I need/want and I am fooling myself by sticking around. They are right. But yet I continue to do it anyway.

It would seem, among my judgemental ways of critisizing Mr X for his emotional ineptitudes. I have swept over my own. Glossed over the facts of why I seem so persisitent in making this work. I mean what is it I actually like about this guy. We have so little in common in theory. Our personailities are different. In fact he bears a fair few traits of my ex that I was glad to see the back of. Am I replacing my ex? Why am I drawn to guys who seem so apparently wrong fo rme?

I think the answer lies in my boredom. Just as I freelance because the concept of a permenenat job terrifies me. I fear,I avoid people whom are nice but boring. The safe, stable reliable ones. I want to hear stories of adventure, I want to feel like someone can invite me into their world, a world I never dreamed of and tak eme along for the ride. I can do dull, hell I am the queen of the safe option and of the easy option. I need someone who will ensure that the last thing I do is become bland, boring and domesticated. Sure I want elements of that. I think I need elements of that. But 2.4 kids and the same life day in and day out- it terrifies me. I guess in an odd way I challenge myself with these men I choose. I am attracted to their sense of adventure. Thei confidence, their worldliness- all the things I do not naturally posess- unfortunately, my everyday dullness is less than intriguing to them. I am more of a trundle along with the odd elelment of surprise. Occasionally I’ll mix iit up and go snow boarding, or take off to New York on my own or throw myself out of a plane. These are my moments of proving to myself I can be adventurous if I want. But I do not want to spend my life filled with a constant adventure. I need a level of stability of normaility a sense of building toward something. But without the impending feeling of doom that all the excitement slips away as you get older.

I suppose I have realised that much of my ‘flaws’ do sadly, as with anyone, stem from my parents. I have been given all the essentials to survive. I am a practical minded person and put me in a crisis , I will perform. However after, I will crumble. Once the dust has settled, I will be a wreck. As what I do not have, is the emotional backbone to ride the wave. I can look after myself. Certain friends look in awe as I trek off to another country alone. My parents find it hard to comprehend how I live the rollercoaster of unemployment that is freelancing. These are all practical survival things. I have cocooned myself into a place where I can afford to go on holiday if I want, I can survive out of work for a while, I can sort out the practicalities of moving house and starting my life over following a break up. I have the skills to keep buggering on. But what I don’t have , is the ability to be happy doing it,

As in my previous post, there is this odd obsession in society that we must find happiness alone. That it makes us weaker people to crave the companionship of another or others. I can survive alone. I am perfectly capable on a practical level. I am financially independent. I can cook, I can socialise, I can do all the things necessary to display a seemingly normal life alone. But I am not happy. I do not understand if this is me, is everyone else just faking it? Or lying to themselves?

When I explained to the chinese lady I was staying with that being alone is hard, she quite rightly pointed out everything is hard. being married is hard, having kids is hard, so why shoudl being alone be any easier.

However, I do feel that this all stems from a lack of emotional support, I love my parents but my Dad worked all the time when I was a kid. My mum was always there but she is not a naturally maternal nor nurturing person. In fact I quote her in saying ‘What would there, there’s actually achieve?’

Now I look at my grandmother- my mums mum and I can see why my mother is like this. My grandma is the least sentimental person I know. Things simply ‘are’ as they ‘are. Having grown up int he war I imagine this is the mentality you have to adopt when you come home from school unsure if your house will still be standing or your family alive. However, this attitude has spread to my mother. Who woudl sit int he dentists waiting room with me as I cried with fear telling me to pull myself together as I was embarrassing myself. Its not that I wasn’t loved, its not that my parents wouldn’t move heaven and earth for me. Its just the basic fundemental emotional empathy, was never there.

And so I have inheritied the consequence. I know the fundementals of how to ride a bike and how to swim badly, but I never had the emotional understanding to push me that much further and make me confident. I have the education and I have the career I wanted, but I do not have the personal sarisafaction or feeling of fulfillment or that I could achieve anything. Or more importantly the freedom to not worry if I don’t.

My parents lack of emotional understanding has led me to seek it elsewhere,. I rely too heavily on others to fill this gap. I look to partners for reassurance, friends for self confidence and my peers for recognition.

I do not know how to break this – how to fix it- I feel i am hard wired this way. All I know is that if i everhave children. I hope I can do both. I hope I can produce healthy well rounded kids with the practical nouse of my mother and the emotional intelligence of me.

Advertisements

Bye Bye Big Apple

Standard

So I am sitting in Starbucks on my final few hours in the city of my birthday vacation (yes I have adopted a few too many Americanisms). I have had a trip with highs and lows. But the one thing that has astounded me is the incredible kindness of strangers.

I have been staying with people who hardly know me at all and yet I have been taxied around and nursed better by a kind chinese lady, given random compliments on the street, had a surprise birthday cake baked for me and been made to feel welcome and liked by everyone I have encountered. Well nearly everyone!

After Mr X decided to drop the bombshell that being ‘nice’ was a bad thing. It made me hugely insecure. I suddenly felt like I had been living a lie, I questioned if I had been one of those irritating people who plough through life annoying everyone and being blissfully unaware.  This is one of my biggest fears- which is possibly why his comments hit a nerve. Is my kindness a form of insecurity? Maybe it is, maybe I do try too hard to make other people like me.I will admit I have never been the popular girl. My self confidence took a bashing in my childhood with a raft of bullies but I always had a best friend. One person whom my world revolved around. they were my confidant, my sister from another mister, the person whom I did everything with- and maybe that wasn’t healthy, but worse, they always left. Since I can remember, I ploughed my heart and soul into these friendships that woudl be cruelly ripped away. Well they seemed cruel, but the reality is that is life. Divorces, School changes, general growing up and growing apart- everything seemed to drive a wedge between me and this person. everytime. I guess in a way, as I got older, my relationships took this place. Men became my new best friends. I ploughed everything into my relationships. Which inevitably also broke up and dissolved.

So you woudl think- and probably are thinking- why do it? Why not invest in yourself? Why pin your happiness on another- surely that is asking for disaster. Well yes, you’re right. It is. Trouble is I don’t know how. Just as I never learnt to ride a bike properly or swim..I never learnt to be on my own. To make myself happy. The question is- how do you do that at 32? How do you learn that trick? Am I damaged goods , destined to spend my life looking for the person who completes me- be it a best friend or a partner?

Truth is I don’t know. What I do know is I am aware of it and what I do know is I am sick of people telling me to do it. Be on your own, be happy by yourself, find your inner peace blah blah. Yes I know I should listen. I am an idiot not to.

However, I am a social person, I like sharing things. I like doing things for other people. I simply don’t get a kick out of anything as much as making someone else smile or doing a good deed. In a way, thats completely selfish. I am doing that deed to make myself feel good. It is the ultimate arguement against the existence of true alturism. Well I don’t claim to be alturistic. I don’t expect my good deeds to be returned, I don’t give to receive, but I receive anyway- through their happiness, through knowing i made that persons day just a little bit brighter. I don’t know why I do this. I have a compulsion to help people, to cheer people and it makes me sound very hallmark and optimistic. Ironically I am the most pessimistic and negative person I know. I am not sure how that marries up- being nice to others while feeling crappy yourself. but I do know that it helps.

SO basically we have established I am wierd LOL. Until I find the answers I am destined to continue down the same path. But its all I can do.

I have learnt some things on this trip- do not apologise for being nice but do not be surprised that some people will resist it- it says more about them than me. Do not try to be a perfectionist. Sometimes good enough, is enough. Try not to over think what ‘may happen’ as what will happen, will happen. Try to live in the now and focus on how you feel now.

So its with a sad heart I end my trip here in the states. But it has been a good journey. I wanted to get away, I wanted to run away from my scenario at home and I know at the end of that long flight I must face reality again of no job, no flatmate and no boyfriend. But its been an adventure and for that I am grateful

A Bite of the Big Apple

Standard

So here I am- turning 32 in the Big Apple. In some ways my life over the past 12 months has changed dramatically, in other ways not so much. So a year ago I turned 31 by waking up in A+E with a drip stuck in my arm. It was the lowest point I can remember for a long while. Having the stress of a holiday in California while Mr Blues father was on his death bed, he finally passed on my birthday and the result, we went out, drank too much and I am ashamed to report I passed out. So not only did Mr Blue have to deal with returning home knowing his father woudl not be there, but he had to sit with me in A+E. I have never felt so disgusted with myself.

Since that fateful night, I have attended two funerals-Mr Blue’s father and one of my best friends who was taken too young with cancer. I have acquired a niece, seen one of my best friends become a mother for the first time, broken up with Mr Blue after 5 years, left the first house I ever bought and moved back to renting with a flatmate (yet to be found). I have suffered at the hands of two of the worst bosses I have every encountered and rekindled a friendship with an old friend who has been a pillar of support through it all.

 

I had one of the most romantic encounters with an old flame who proved that once a dick always a dick and fallen in love and had my heart broken. So quite the emotional roller coaster for 31 to 32!
I am currently in New York State having spent the past two days in the city. My plan was to make this birthday better than the last. Well I didn’t wake up in A+E but I have acquired a chest infection which is no fun. However, I have also learnt that at 32 I am more confident and able to embrace chance encounters. On the way over here I befriended a fellow passenger after we both thought we had booked the wrong coach. As fate would have it we were on the same flight and ended up not only sharing a cab but meeting for coffee and cake on my birthday!! I was chatted up at grand central station by a stranger named Victor who bless him, spent 20 minutes trying to get my number even after I tried fobbing him off saying I had a boyfriend! I was given a random birthday hug by an Italian doorman and met a random guy I made contact with over the internet for Pizza at NYC’s oldest pizza joint.

Before I even left to come here. I held a pre-birthday meal. As I looked around the table, I realised the 11 people represented every part of my life- from school through to college and present day. I felt touched that so many friends had stayed in my life. Its easy to forget that these people are there when they are not physically in front of you. But even more than that, I noted that int he weeks running up to my birthday, nearly every person I had hung out with, spoken to or texted, I hadn’t actually known a month ago. So life is moving forward, in a good way.

sugar and spice and all things nice

Standard

According to the rhyme, sugar and spice and all things nice are what little girls are made of. This seems like not only a sweeping generalisation but a wholly mis-leading one because as we get older we start to like boys, made from slugs, snails and puppy dogs tails and we are taught that what they like- are bitches.

So in recent events, mr X has now returned from Columbia with a new outlook on life. Now I understand his predicament – he is young and torn between growing up and doing what makes him happy and finding that balance. Its tough, we all do it and he will figure it out. He has even gotten over the ex- so I suppose he is no longer x man either! 

This is all very positive for him, great in fact. However, the by product is that I have become collateral damage. During the saga that was ‘the ex’ it would seem that my place quickly went from being the centre of his affections to being the back up that he used as an emotional scratching post  to ease the pains of the affection she wouldn’t give him. I was the sounding board for his heartache, the fill in for the physical contact and the all round doormatt that happily got worn down as he paced and paced from pillar to post. Now however, I am worn down. My purpose or place holds no significance. I have done my job and just like any other household item I have been thrown out on the scrap heap.

He has taken one look at me in isolation, now he no longer needs my services and rather than the sexy, mysterious, slightly sarcastic and fiesty girl he met 3 months ago- I now appear weakened, used and damaged. He has done this but also I have allowed it.

Because when someone I care about is in pain, especially pain I have felt myself,  I feel compelled to do what I can to stop them hurting. I instinctively respond with the kindness I hoped someone would have given me in that situation. When I was hurting as x man was with his ex, I could see the pain and the self destructive behaviour that I myself felt over Christmas. At that time X-man was kind, caring, gave me the cuddles and kisses that made me feel safe and reminded me there was hope, he made me laugh and he promised he would stick around and catch me if I fell. So I responded in kind.

However, this has now apparently back fired. As in my sugar and spice ways, I knew this birthday would be tough on my own, especially with the emotional baggage that last year held – my ex’s Dad died on my birthday- and because I have lost a friendship circle over night- so when x-man said he was worried about spending his birthday alone and  got pulled to go abroad for two weeks- I figured he wouldn’t have time to organise anything so- in my demented ‘being nice’ brain-I thought I would organise a few of his friends to go to a bar I knew he had been wanting to go to. 

As a result, he found out, he flipped out and decided we needed to cool things off because people had started asking questions about us and he had just got back and told me that he didn’t want a relationship or even to say we were seeing each other so this did not go down well! They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, well I seem to have built a highway to hell!

So x man arrives at my door to tell me- as many men have before- thanks but no thanks. I like you but not enough, you’re hot but not relationship material etc etc I was expecting this. What I wasn’t expecting was then a character assassination about my kindness. According to x-man, my nice gestures and kind intentions come accross as a sign of insecurity and as if I am trying too hard. He sat there and told me that it pushes people away, that its too intense, that it makes others uncomfortable, That no-one, ever had organised anything like that for him , not even a girlfriend let alone a friend and so the whole thing just- well looked pretty awful to someone who was trying to tell me they didn’t want to be in a relationship.

Now some may say I screwed up- I should have seen it coming, others, may feel I was only being nice. I could have taken the hit of it being too much for him- as I do see it as more of a reflection of the lack of thoughtful people in his life so far. However, what really stung was the notion that he feels being overly nice to people could be why I have no friends- apparently.

I did point out that in 31 years not one friend had ever accused me of being too nice, too intense or too thoughtful. In fact they usually complimented me on it and in fact it was one of the very very few things I actually prided myself on. That I was a good friend, a kind person and I not only considered other peoples feelings but tried to help if I could. I suppose a sense of karma, put out the good shit and hope something comes back. 

So now I am stuck- on the one hand I want to remain true to myself, on the other, clearly, my single status, my lack of a large social circle and the seeming demise of me and mr x- all suggest I am doing something wrong. So I am now on a mission to reconnect with my inner bitch.

Funnily enough, a random acquaintance got in touch and said the last time they saw me I had a guy in tow acting like a lovesick puppy and was getting good boys into lots of trouble. It is true, when I was a teenager it seemed I could get the guys I liked, I put on a front, it was aloof, cocky, judgemental, essentially treating them mean and boy were they keen! Somewhere along the way i lost that. I guess because those boys, were just random pulls on a night out. For those I genuinely cared about, it wasn’t that simple.  My lack of respect for me or them seeped into causing pain and I cheated, I hurt people and I didn’t like myself. Yes I had guys but I am not sure how happy I really was?

So somewhere- there must be a balance- a way to retain my dignity, my positive thoughtful traits, whilst also not allowing myself to get walked over and in the process lose the respect and interest of the guys i fall for…maybe I should aim for less sugar and spice and more sweet and sour!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the way the cookie crumbles? maybe i should bake cakes next time?

Standard

Soo. This evening is the first time I hear from X-man since his adventures to foreign shores. This past ten days has been an eye opening experience of just how easily your emotions can be led by another. Most people would argue that to give yourself up to another to the point that your happiness lives and dies with them, is beyond crazy- its a recipe for disaster in fact. You should make your own happiness and then you are with people out of choice not necessity.

Well all I can say is I bow down to those who accomplish that. It is a skill I have yet to master and wonder if I ever will. I am naturally empathic by nature- I don’t just sympathise with peoples pain I feel it if I care about them. And so it follows that their actions will always create an emotional reaction in me. 

Is it healthy? probably not. Is it how you should be – almost definitely not. However, is it how I am- yes. Can you change who you are? Sometimes. See this is where I encounter difficulty. On the one hand these holier than thou ideals of how we should live our lives, tell me that not liking being single and alone, that giving yourself to another completely, that putting others happiness before your own, are all bad. Life should be about being strong, independent and resilient. yet, in the next breath, these same principles suggest you should never compromise on who you are, never try to be someone you are not- so how do I do both?

A classic example has been my actions towards x man. On the one hand I adore him, on the other I resent him. You see I have come out of one relationship where I was constantly chasing for reassurance, to feel valued, to feel like I was someone’s number one. I have somehow ended up there again. Now logic would dictate that I would have learned my lesson. That I would run for the hills and seek out a better more promising relationship.

But logic isn’t my forte. That requires being rational and using your brain to make decisions and I think with my heart and go with my gut.

So when I spoke to x man this evening and he was the happiest I have seen him since I have known him. He was literally acting drunk on happiness because he had such an incredible experience. It was lovely to see him so happy and elated, especially after his torment with the ex that he left the country with. However, the other half of me resented it. Not that he was happy but that being away, being out of of the country and so excited by a world that has nothing to do with me and never will. I won’t lie, it stung. I listened for an hour as he went on about how awesome everything was, how he has missed travelling, how he was sad to be coming home etc. Now I know that this euphoria may not last. He is in a bubble and its easy to feel that way when you are out of the loop. He claims to have gotten over the ex, to have a new attitude to life and not let her back in. I have heard it before. I have trusted it before. So who knows how long this new found x man will last. But what became abundantly clear was that I have no place in his life. He has managed to achieve the earlier mentioned status of happy, independent and not reliant on another person. 

However, I do not know what to do or what feelings to trust. I am aware that Mr Blue made me miserable with his travels because we did not share his experience, but he chose to leave for a month at a time- for x man it was work- but it triggers off the same feelings of rejection, of betrayal, of feeling last in line, not second best to a person but to a lifestyle and a destination.

x man is back home n 2 days so I wonder how long this attitude will last?

Old flames and new sparks

Standard

Sooo. Today is a good day. And for me- lets face it thats pretty rare. So I felt compelled to write about it. X man is away- I am missing him terribly,in fact I feel a bit like a teenager again but I like it. Regardless of the heartache, the roller coaster of emotions. I am filled with positivity today as I feel like I have choices. I have my future back. So far I have not really mentioned my ex much. Lets call him Mr Blue. Well we met in a night club, I wouldn’t say we hit it off straight away- in fact the opposite. While my best friend was making moves with his best friend I was scanning the crowd and ended up getting his attention by essentially insulting him- the real treat em mean to keep em keen. I didn’t believe he was a policeman and I couldn’t  believe his dance moves-  he was zoolander incarnate. However, he was cute, hot and best of all funny. That was it- we went on two dates that week and I was hooked. 6 months later we had moved in and 12 months later we bought a flat.

It was doomed from the start if I am honest. Our differences were glaring. He liked beaches, I liked cities. He went away for a month every year without me.He loved shopping I hated it LOL. But there were a lot of things we both liked- buying a house gave us a mutual purpose- we scoured DIY stores and flea markets to fill our home. We were nesting and it was the glue that held us together. Even when the cracks appeared- I would paper over them.

Over 5 years he ended is on a 6 month cycle. It actually just became expected. He would have a ‘moment’ and decide it was all over. Because we couldn’t communicate and things would build until snapping point over something tiny. It was never really about the thing we argued about- but yet he never actually left. I do wonder how long we would have lasted if we didn’t own our house. Forget marriage- you can divorce by proxy. Dividing a house, the solicitors, the estate agents the dividing of things that you mutually lined your nest with – thats harder. As my favourite book of the moment Eat Pray Love says- the only thing scarier than leaving was not leaving.

I felt trapped on a jugger naught going no-where. I couldn’t plan for the future because It was so bleak that it depressed me. realistically it was all headed towards marriage and the huge kids or no kids- a question that has plagued me for a decade.

I actually recall crying at a wedding with Mr Blue, because I looked abound and realised it was these people who would be at my wedding and it depressed me. They are all lovely- well most- but I just always felt like an outsider- like they were waiting for the next ‘more appropriate one’. In fact several family members, including Mr Blue’s sister said as much! I am sure they feel very smug with their ‘I told you so’ smiles right now.

So it got to the point where I could no longer fight it. For 5 years- the worse he treated me, the more he let me down, the harder I fought. The more ‘good advice’ I ignored. A strange defence but I genuinely believed if he would only be nicer, be more thoughtful, we woudl be happier. But that wasn’t him. He wasn’t cruel spirited (well actually he was after a few ciders but not sober) he was and is simply selfish by nature. He does not naturally empathise with others, it wasn’t just me. I would know more about his family and friends than him, because I would ask. I would check in, I would remember the important dates. Suppose many men are like this. But then I met X man,

He swept me off my feet- showed me a man who was caring, thoughtful and kind. and I realised that was what I wanted. Needed, in a relationship. So I had to go and find it.

I am an only child and when my parents go- there will only be me to pick up the pieces. I need to build my own support unit and I am far from strong or stable at the best of times. I need someone who can make me laugh and smile but also who I can lean on and turn to in times of need Mr Blue only filled half of that criteria.

So here I find myself, going on dates, searching for a spark of something. Someone. So I met with a tinder date today. On a random whim. It was the most successful date so far in terms of things in common. But the elusive spark remained hidden. Once again I got the ‘lets meet again’ at the end then the confusing texts essentially backtracking with the subtext of ‘not looking for anything serious’.

So I will continue on my hunt, but one thing I feel good about. My future is uncertain. I have no job, no boyfriend and not even a flatmate right now. But in all its uncertainty, the one thing my future isn’t is set in stone or bleak. Its filled with opportunity. Sure I could end up a crazy cat lady being eaten by them because no-one finds me. But equally I could find love, happiness and my own prince charming who makes me happy. And I would rather have that gamble, than be sky rocketing towards a marriage I see no happiness in and a future that suffocates me..

So today is the first day of the rest of my life. Cliched, but true. As a dear friend told me- you will never have a MArch 1st 2014 again- so make the most of it. You will never be this young again so enjoy it. Life is for living