30 November 2007

Detached Rainbow of Emotions

I wrote some fairly volatile feelings in a post I may or may not ever publish. I did so in the midst of the biggest depressive dip I've had in a long while. I'm feeling a bit better now. I've even experienced a sort of detached manic stage today, coming off of the depression. Tends to happen. I try to temper those upswings, so I come out of them pretty even-keeled. I was even chatty--and maybe a little flirty--with the girl who cut my hair tonight. It was kind of fun, in a detached way.

That's my buzz word for the day: detached.

I've been through a very confusing relationship. It started normally enough, then got a little too intense too fast, as our kind tends to do at times (though I still surprised myself). Then we decided to back off a bit. He backed off way more than I had in mind. I didn't like going from talking every day and being rather close to hanging out only in decent-sized groups and acting like casual acquaintances. My perception of the depth or degree of friendship was a bit out of wack because we each interact with people very differently and have very different social styles.

So, as a result, I've been running through a wider gamut of emotions than I have experienced all at once for a long, long time.

At the start and through the "honeymoon" phase:

I felt passionate and animated by the new friendship and spark of attraction.

I felt soft-hearted and tender when he'd do adorable things or we'd talk about personal subjects.

I felt connected, appreciated and appreciative, loved and loving (at least in the shallow sense, which still feels nice!).

I felt motivated to do more, to be better, to trust more and let go more.

Then things got weird. And whether or not any of my perceptions have been accurate, my feelings since then have been:

I felt stung and hurt at being, as it seemed to me, so easily and quickly put on the back burner, once the idea of a more "romantic" relationship was decidedly (by both of us, strangely) not an option. And not even put on the back burner to simmer, but just to be done. Like the friendship had gone as far as he wanted or needed it to go, and without the romantic component, now it was business as usual.

I felt foolish for letting myself get as emotionally invested as I did in a brand new relationship.

I felt cheap for being that vulnerable and trusting, when I should've known the relationship didn't have the depth I imagined.

I felt angry at him for seeming too insensitive to understand why I needed to distance myself more from the friendship for a while rather than act like "casual buddies" until I sorted some things out.

I felt angry at myself for even being so selfish as to get involved with him in the way I did, when I knew he was trying to figure a lot out. I had told myself, "better me than someone who will use him and leave him or try to pull him into a romantic relationship." Hm.

I felt shallow and selfish to be hurt over it rather than simply saying, "I knew something like this was likely to happen, being his first such experience, and I always kept that present in my mind, even though I hoped it would be different. What did I expect? The kid's going through a lot right now and has no idea what to do with it all. He's younger, he's newer to all of this, and he has other things he really needs to focus on, and this is a lot to process all at once, especially since we had a mutual attraction going on. How is he supposed to know what to do with that kind of friendship?" Well, I tried, I think. But unfortunately, I think my own insecurities about my friendships reared their ugly head.

Yet through all of this, the exhilaration of the romantic spark, the vulnerability, the insecurity, the pain, I felt more "alive" and "normal" than I have for a long time. I felt sort of...dare I say...human. Frail. Passionate. Connected. Ha, oh my gosh! I think, just NOW, something makes a little more sense to me! "I hurt myself to feel." Ha! Um...just check this out if you have no idea what I'm talking about.

I feel more sympathy than I have felt for a long time. I understand now, I think, what some people in my past have gone through in relation to me. And even though I did nothing intentionally, I ache for what they have been through because I now know a little of what it might have been like.

The past couple of days have been different. I've had pretty minimal contact with said boy. He's moving soon, maybe for a while, maybe for not too long, but with him leaving, I decided to end the whole "let's not hang out until I sort this out" thing. I mean, I can deal with whatever I have to deal with for a few weeks until he's gone whether I like it or not. And rather than leave the friendship on this funky, distant note, or cutting him off entirely, I'll just deal.

And maybe for that reason, as a defense mechanism, or maybe because I'm so thoroughly emotionally drained, or both, I feel...detached. It's refreshing, in an odd way, to rest from so much feeling. But the detachment is a bittersweet medicine for me. I've remembered that the fantasy "perfect friend" does not exist and that I will benefit from investing more energy in various friendships which fulfill different roles and needs in my life rather than pining away for the one "complete" relationship. That's, I think, beneficial.

But there are sadder lessons learned. I feel like I have, once again, locked the armor back over my heart, a little harder this time, a little more cautious, the key put away but not quite thrown away because I hang on to a fool's hope that I will need it again someday. I've remembered the beauty and quickening of what I'm not allowed to feel because it's supposedly misdirected and immature. I have once again been slapped upside the head with the reminder that a same-sex relationship of a romantic nature just doesn't work from a doctrinal perspective. And though I thought I was pretty OK with that, I think I'm mourning it all over again since I've remembered what it feels like to wish it were OK.

Regarding the specific relationship, I have forgotten the sweetness of the physical closeness, the familiarity of his natural aroma, the tenderness of eye contact, the unjustified trust, the feeling that we have given ourselves over, just a little bit, to each other. I beg your pardon for sounding juvenile about it all, but while most people were going through this stuff in adolescence, I was wondering what was so different about me.

A few days ago, I missed these things, the sweetness of it all. Now I would miss it if only I still knew it. Those are concepts I can still appreciate enough to write about and remember like blandly fond memories but which now seem, once again, strangely and sadly foreign. Detached.

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