Sunday, December 26, 2010


I think a lot of the recent emotional turmoil I've gone through doesn't really make sense unless I give a proper explanation about my personality and my role in relationships in general. I am, in essence, a dutiful person. In fact, I don't really know if I can explain myself outside of that word. To me, duty, loyalty and obligation are not bad words. In fact, they're comforting and soothing. They make sense to me. They give me a sense of stability. I don't trust my emotions and I don't trust for things to develop naturally. This becomes especially evident in friendships.

Like I said in the last post, I don't understand and can't comprehend when friendships end. It simply doesn't make sense to me. To me, once you make friends with someone, they are essentially family. This is especially true when they are Christian. We're brothers and sisters in Christ, and thus we're eternally bonded to one another. I don't think many people -- not even Christians -- view friendships this way. They continue on like even the unbelievers, just talking to who they feel like talking to, and distancing themselves from those who they don't feel like talking to anymore. Everything is based on emotional whim. It's based on desire, trivial details and interests, and a general sense of selfishness that I can't comprehend. If you only talk to those who you wanna talk to, and you're only friends with those who you wanna be friends with, then are you really living up to the standard of self-denial that we're called to?

It's not like I'm a super moral person. I can't take credit for my views on relationships. Whether it was through genetics or upbringing, this is how I turned out. The foundation, the core, of my relationships is based upon feelings of obligation, duty and loyalty. It doesn't matter how anyone else treats me: I'm going to stay loyal to them no matter what. To me, I don't know how to better express care or love. It's just how I do things. I know I have hurt people in the past when I neglected them, and so in order to not neglect anyone and hurt them, I vow to be a loyal friend, even if I don't necessarily feel like it. Of course I don't always enjoy a person's company, but who the heck am I to let my emotional whims determine how I treat someone else? You may not always enjoy talking to your grandmother, but you do it and you make time for her because you have a commitment of family to her. You respect that, and you treat her well because of it. I simply take that same principle and apply it to all of my friendships. It doesn't matter how much their quirks might annoy me. Those are just quirks. I can get over it, and I'll do what I can to be their friend no matter what.

The downside is that most people don't, and that is something that I just can't deal with. I don't think obligation means that you don't care, or that you're heartless. Again, what kind of reality would it be if we had no sense of duty or loyalty? I also feel that we're given conflicting messages about this as we grow up. When we're young, we're told that if we feel bad or hurt about how someone else has treated us, we should tell the person what's up. We should tell them how we feel. So that's what I do. When I'm not being included, or when I want someone to joke with me or kid around with me like they do with others, I tell them. But I'm often told that I'm being pushy, or that people want things to be natural, not through obligation. I don't get that. So you want to include people, but if they ask to be included, you all of a sudden don't want to, anymore? It's frustrating. I don't understand the rules people live by. I try, at the very least, to be consistent, despite all my quirks. The worst part is knowing that I'm totally in the minority. I don't know anyone else who lives by the rules I live by, and it is a very, very lonely feeling. I feel like I try so hard to include everyone, be everyone's friend, and I don't get anything in return, even when I ask. It's just really... I dunno. It just feels wrong.

Gosh, I had so many more coherent thoughts when I started this post, but I'm getting emotional and it's late, and now I'm just rambling. I like how even when I ramble, my grammar is impeccable. I've come across plenty of emotional blogs and notes by people for whom that isn't the case. Anyway, I don't think duty is a bad thing. If someone comes up to talk to me out of obligation -- because they feel that it's right and loyal to do so -- even if they don't quite have the mushy emotional warm feelings that go along with it, I'm okay with it. I'm more than okay with it. Doing something out of obligation means that you still care about the person. In fact, it means you care a lot. It means, "I'm going to do something that I might not even feel like doing, in order to make you happy. My feelings aren't as important as yours. I want you to feel safe, included and warm." That's really what motivates a lot of my actions. I'm surely not selfless. I mean, I'm complaining about a lot of my social efforts not being reciprocated, right? But at the same time, I will never be convinced that a strong sense of duty and loyalty is anything less than a good thing. It is a good thing, and I'll live and die by that belief.

And if anyone wants further elaboration why the events of the past summer -- from the divorce of my parents to the abandonment of several close friends -- put me into a downward spiral like they did, I think this previous explanation of my personality pretty much sums it up. The betrayal of family members and friends, to me, is the most damaging and harmful thing I could possibly go through, because that's simply what I value so much. Maybe I shouldn't, but I've been this way for so long, I don't know how to change it, and I certainly see the goodness in the things I hold dear.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Pain isn't something I deal with well, mainly because I'm not quite sure I ever really dealt with it before this year. This past summer did quite the number on me, emotionally and spiritually. I did a lot of amazing things -- like go to Belize and take an amazing road trip -- but I also had a lot of horrible experiences that I still haven't gotten over, a full six months later.

I lost some really close friends this summer. Some for reasons I can understand and respect, and others for reasons that are still totally unknown to me. The first is difficult enough to deal with, but at least there are reasons that I can make sense of. The latter are extremely hard to deal with, though. I'd go ahead and say that they're impossible to deal with, because I really haven't been dealing with them. My past six months, despite the good moments that happen every now and then, have largely been miserable.

I'm not okay with the idea of relationships ending. I'm not okay with there being separation or discord. It's kind of sad when you see two people who have stumbled with each other, emotionally or sexually, and you see that they're still friends and God has worked peace back into their lives. And yet here I am, not having stumbled with some of these people, and still being cut off from them over trivial conflicts or arguments that I can't even remember now. With the ones I've stumbled with, I can understand there not being a relationship anymore -- although it still saddens me, and I think about it every day, to be honest. I don't know how to let things go. I want friendships to be restored and for things to go back to the way they were before, desperately.

It's just been a really, really tough semester, and I'm finding it so difficult to write about. Usually my thoughts are much more coherent and I'm able to engage with the situation properly, but recently my emotions and thoughts have just been a mess. Just writing this note is difficult. Losing all the friends I did over the summer, whether it was through a sexual stumble, a petty argument or a reason that still eludes me, has completely destroyed me as a person. I don't really take joy in the things I used to enjoy. I went days and days without eating and lost a lot of weight. I even had thoughts of suicide that ultimately didn't lead to a suicide attempt -- thank God -- but which did lead to a pattern of self-harm in other ways (such as not eating, hitting myself until I was bruised or cutting myself.)

Ultimately, I just haven't dealt well with pain. I haven't dealt well with separation. I want these friendships to be restored, because the fact that these people no longer want to talk to me has basically made me feel worthless. If they want me completely out of their lives, it makes me think they want me dead. And if the people I love want me dead, why should I even be alive? I don't hate them -- I don't think they know how much it has hurt me, and how could they? After all, most normal people get over this sort of thing easily. I'm in awe of my friends who can sit by quietly as friends come and go, or who can go through breakups and divorces like they mean nothing. I wish I could be one of those people, but I can't. I'm a lot weaker than I ever thought I was, and I'm very dependent upon other people.

I'm not dying. I haven't thought of hurting myself in weeks. My life is pretty quiet and stable, for the most part. But there is just this underlying pain and sadness that I can't shake. There are friends who I keep thinking about constantly, and the thoughts just don't leave me alone no matter what I do. Thank goodness I don't have a computer in my apartment anymore, or I'm sure I'd be turning to pornography to aid the pain. At least this way, I'm dealing with it on my own without using lust as an aid. But it's very difficult to deal with on my own, and it's hard to write about, and overall there's just so much pain sometimes I don't know if I can stand it. I know this sounds melodramatic and I really am not crying or anything at the moment. But it's been a culmination of six months of misery and I figured I should start being honest about it and actually writing about it, and seeing what, if anything, can change.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I have come to the recent conclusion that most of my life revolves around the idea of waiting. It seems that way, at least. In high school I was waiting for college. In each year of college, I was waiting for the next year. Waiting until I could be an R.A. Waiting until I graduated. Waiting until I had a boyfriend. Waiting until that relationship fizzled out. Waiting until I traveled to Belize. Waiting for my road trip across the country. Waiting for graduate school. My life has, up until this point, seemed to revolve around waiting. I have great difficulty living in the here and now. Every situation I find myself in, I quickly become bored and begin looking for the next stage. I mean, I was looking at graduate schools fairly early in my college career.

And of course there is the sense that I am a Christian, and I am waiting on Christ's return. I have His grace and forgiveness for my sins (and boy, do I need it!) But I am still waiting on His promises. We all are, to a certain extent. Perhaps I'm thinking about the subject heavily because I've been going through a book called "Waiting" with my small group. Or that I've ordered (and am currently waiting for) the incomparable Wesley Hill's new book about the homosexual struggle, aptly titled "Washed And Waiting." It seems like waiting is a subject that is constantly on the mind of twenty-somethings. We're in a process of having officially "grown up" in the eyes of society, but we're still waiting on the day when we will feel that sense of adulthood and maturity.

I know I sure as heck don't feel mature all the time. Yes, I'm currently holding down a job (waiting tables, natch.) I'm pretty darn emotionally stable at the moment -- which is an accomplishment after the roller coaster year I've had -- and I'm paying bills, doing well in class and staying away from things like sex and pornography (for the most part) that tend to drag me down and start all these emotional issues in the first place. But even now, I don't feel quite like a grownup. Perhaps being at such an esteemed institution has me intimidated. My small group is full of medical students and surgery residents. My graduate classes are full of people who did their undergraduate coursework at Yale and Harvard. Just tonight I hung out with several students at a fellow student's house. They were in their early thirties. One used to be a lawyer before she decided she wanted to be a writer. She's also married to a neurosurgery resident. The other was once an editor for one of the biggest fantasy and science fiction publishing companies in the country. It's intimidating, and to be honest, I'm waiting for the day when I feel like I have my life and career as together as these people do.

And I'm also waiting for the days when my ramblings are more coherent and less spastic. But then again, this is a blog, and I don't think I owe anyone coherence and essay quality writing. And if you do want that, well, I suppose you will have to wait for it like the rest of us.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Well, it's been about three weeks since I moved up to Baltimore, officially. I'd say that it's been nothing but one awesome adventure after the next, but really, life has been a little boring. I took one amazing road trip up to New Jersey to visit a friend of mine, and I have to say that was one of the best weekends in recent memory. No matter what those dumb brats at MTV have done to it, the Jersey shore still is rather beautiful. Other than that, I've been doing pretty normal, boring things. Like finding the grocery store, or going to IKEA with a friend to find stuff for his apartment. By the way, I love IKEA.

Amazingly, I actually do love my neighborhood. I grew up in a small southern town and I went to college in a pretty quaint beach resort town. Baltimore isn't either of those things. It's gritty, crowded, and I'm living in a small studio apartment, tucked away in an alley (even though I totally admit that it's an alley in a pretty nice neighborhood.) I don't have a job yet, even though I put in applications for teaching, assistant teaching, and substitute teaching with the city school system two weeks ago. But beyond all of that, I actually like being somewhere that's a little more diverse and noisy. There always seems to be something interesting to see and do, and that's quite different from home.

One thing that the move up here has revealed is my severe perfectionist streak. I think my road trip over the summer was supposedly a good lesson about how life is never perfect, even when it's amazing, but I'm not quite sure I totally wrapped my head around that before I moved. I was totally caught up in the moment of having a second chance, and I really expected every day here to be perfect and for every single aspect of life to fall in place immediately and neatly. I think I'm pretty talented and prepared, most of the time, but I still sometimes think that it's possible for me to start something and leave my flawed nature behind.

I think that can be best exemplified by the fact that I got into a car accident five minutes into the city. It's ironic, in a way. I had several people praying for a safe trip, and even though I got into an accident, the damage was mild and I still ended up at my destination on time. So I suppose those prayers were answered. Still, I was personally really upset, not just because there was a potential for rising insurance, but because my "perfect" transition to Baltimore, well, didn't even start perfectly. At all.

And I suppose nothing ever does. I noticed throughout the next few weeks that pretty much every car up here seems to have a dent or two up here. Flaws are a necessary part of human nature. We're all extremely flawed, and frankly the moments where we are at our best are few and far between enough to be labeled "precious." I'm still having a difficult time removing my perfectionist streak. Just the other day I wanted to completely delete every note, blog post, and status update on my Facebook, and my old blog, that didn't include consistent grammar and punctuation. Even though I've grown and learned over the years, I like to eliminate the evidence that I was ever faulty.

And yet, while I'm here, I have to realize that I'm not perfect. Embracing my fallibility doesn't mean that I shouldn't attempt to change or grow into something better, but it does mean that I will be able to accept things when they aren't absolutely the way I had hoped or expected them to be. I may not get the teaching job I wanted up here, but I'm sure some form of work will come along -- right now I'm actually applying to be an administrative assistant at a temp services company, so wish me luck about that. And maybe I won't enjoy my graduate program as much as I had hoped, but I'm still going to get that degree at the end of it.

I have to start recognizing that none of us can ever be perfect, and none of us are ever in control of our lives. Even the control that we think we have is little more than an illusion. God really has supported me a lot over the last three weeks, and I'm praying that He continues to support and comfort me as the next two years reveals a lot more of my imperfections. I have to rely on Him, while accepting that the chaos may not always subside, but I can have a certain level of peace in its midst. As always, I'm excited for the adventures that are to come.