Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sometimes You're a Forest and Don't Even Know It

Everyone hopes for something. In most situations, jobs, relationships, friendships, opportunities, etc., there is some hope involved, and it’s usually a hope for the best. But what if you avoid hope in order to try to avoid disappointment? I do this, especially with my romantic relationships. As I’ve said before, this year is about finding myself, and I happen to think that the best way to do this is to stop my dating life for a year. But I think it’s important (and incredascary) to figure out why I become involved in relationships that are not healthy for me and that I am not happy in. I think it’s a number of things, but I have to agree with a very wise person that a major part of that is difficulty being vulnerable.

Vulnerability is a scary thing to me. A scary scary thing. In fact, I’m having a really rough time writing this post. My heart is beating insanely fast, and I have sweaty palms at this very moment. That’s called nervousness y’all. That’s what vulnerability does to me; it initiates my fight or flight response because it’s like a phobia I have. It’s like seeing a HUGE tarantula for someone with arachnophobia. I know that sounds a little extreme, but I am not kidding when I say that I break out in a cold sweat. Because in my experience vulnerability opens you up for hurt, and who likes to be hurt? Not ME. And I’m sure not YOU either.

So in order to avoid disappointment I avoid hope and expectation and by avoiding those I try to avoid vulnerability and hurt. Because if you don’t hope for something or make yourself vulnerable by showing that you hope for something then you don’t get disappointed or hurt, right? Wrong. Despite my wanting to avoid hope and expectations, they seem to grow up like a forest before I even realize it. So then I try to take a mental chainsaw to those hopes, those expectations that are only going to lead to doom (in my brain anyway). Yep, that’s negativity at its finest right there.

And I especially try to chainsaw the heck out of the hopes and expectations in my romantic life. I don’t want to believe that I want the same things that a lot of women want, that I want a husband and a family someday. I always claim that I’m never going to get married, and who knows I may not, but I want that family. I want to have children and know that I have a good man there to be a wonderful father and husband. I want to be with one person forever and have that happily even after. To me…it’s scary to admit those things, and I haven’t actually figured out why that is yet. It’s something that I need to work on.

But here’s the discrepancy, I want those things, but I date people who I am not comfortable enough with to admit those things. I keep them at a distance (there’s that vulnerability thing again), and I never tell them. I try to ignore my hope that maybe they’ll be prince charming, because apparently I’m a fairytalesque romantic, you know. And before I know it that forest of hope is alive and kicking   (if forests could kick), and I’ve opened myself up for hurt without even meaning to. This is the scary part of my post because most people don’t like to admit that they’re looking for something so serious. I mean, goodness, who wants that? But I do, and that’s a scary thing to admit, especially when you keep dating people who you’re not able to be vulnerable with like I do. It’s hard to keep accepting that you hope for prince charming (and yes, I realize that this “prince charming” is not going to be perfect) when frogs keep showing up, and not the good kind either. And it’s hard to accept that you hoped for someone so “bad” now to be that prince charming; I mean, really, who wants to accept that?

But as scary as hope, in my opinion, can be, it still creeps up on you, becoming a crazy huge forest before you even know it. Hope has taught me something though. It’s taught me that if I can’t share these hopes for a future and a family and happily ever after with the person I’m with then I’m not with the right person. And along the same lines, if I can’t be vulnerable with someone, even when I’m hurt, I’m not with the right person. Vulnerability is something I KNOW that I need to work on this year because, as I’ve said, this year is about personal growth, and how can anything grow if it’s shut off from the things around it all of the time? So I hope someday soon that I’ll be better able to be vulnerable with people, and essentially be better able to see the forest instead of only the trees. And, friends, that means seeing the bigger picture of vulnerability instead of seeing only the hurt that it could cause, that means opening myself up to being hurt but also at the same time opening myself up to things that could be amazing. I can always expect for things to turn out badly, but do I really want to always miss out on things that could turn out to be great?
Here's a quote about hope from my mom's favorite movie Hope Floats :-)

“Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it's what's in the middle that counts. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.”   

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