Treat Others… And Yourself

A long conversation with my boyfriend this early morning gave me huge insight into something.

I enjoy writing, particularly fan fiction and my opinions (gee, what gave the latter away?), but it dawned on me less than half a day ago I’ve been writing fan fiction for twelve years – nearly half of my life!

I never put thought into it or considered it a hobby or noticed it becoming one. I don’t recall what sparked it. All I remember is I started shortly after I watched “The Little Mermaid” when it came out on DVD in 2006, when I was 12 years old. It was the first Disney movie I ever watched, and what introduced me to Disney to begin with. I don’t remember that being any sort of inspiration, but it’s closest I can think of as a reason I may have started writing.

There were other hobbies I tried to develop later on, but I failed at them, despite genuinely liking them. As it turns out, it’s not always a bad thing to be selfish.

When I wrote, it was always for myself. Even if I made it public, and I do enjoy sharing, I was still writing for my own sake. I did it when I was bored or had some random idea pop into my mind. Most of the stories I write are kept private. As a pre-teen, I kept it secret partially out of embarrassment because they weren’t good (not to suggest my more recent stories are), but being a reserved person even back then, I didn’t care for anyone to know anyway.

But when I start drawing or playing some games or learning languages, it was for other people from the start. Drawing was sparked by my then huge love of Winx Club and jealousy of others’ amazing art, and the goal was becoming skilled enough to create fan art to share with the fandom. After finding the Sims community, I played the game more and more to create stories to share with the community. I first began learning another language in second grade, but when I got older and tried to study on my own, it was for the sake of being able to communicate with other people, not because I wanted to study. And I should mention I hated writing too… when I was forced to do it.

None of those reasons are necessarily bad, especially not the last one. But the pattern there is I became miserable with those hobbies because I was doing them for other people’s sake, not my own. Yes, I truly liked them, but they reached a point of solely being done to share with other people for their enjoyment. I stopped caring about my own. Realizing that, it’s no wonder they eventually died when I tired of trying. Yet, I never tired of writing stories, nor can I remember ever feeling burned out. I once wrote eight pages in a day. In the huge world of literature, that may be amateurish at best, but for me, it was a big deal because I wasn’t trying to.

This is not restricted to hobbies either. I did poorly in a number of things, particularly school, because they were for the sake of pleasing someone else. For a while, I succeeded in school over, but after a certain age, being a people-pleaser became too exhausting to keep up and I stopped trying so hard just to hear some praise that meant nothing to me because I didn’t want to do it in the first place, nor was I getting anything valuable out of it. Yet, I’ve discovered I am good at finding friendships, as I’ve made friends even when trying to avoid it, and I am good at holding my own relationship. But I am good at those things because although they involve other people, they are still for me. My friendships and my relationship make me happy, which is why I’m rarely hesitant to and very much enjoy doing things for my friends and my boyfriend. And the reason I hold them so highly is because they care for me. What I got out of friendship is love (platonic and romantic) and happiness I didn’t find elsewhere (please forgive the cavity-inducing sweetness). And I clearly have no problem sharing my friendships with the world!

Of course, there’s such a thing as priorities and some things have to be done, no matter how dreadful they are. This is not about that. What I’m referring to are things that are optional (yes, that now includes school). The truth is I have missed those hobbies. I miss when I did draw in my sketchbook, drawing either from imagination and tips I read, or trying to recreate a specific picture. I miss when I played video games because they relieved my boredom and I was interested in continuing the game’s story, not trying to create a story from the game to upload (though I have been slowly getting back into this one). I always hated studying, but I did like to try reading books in other languages after some weeks of classwork in my language classes, and much of the time, I could. I didn’t care I couldn’t understand what it was actually about (because I couldn’t translate quickly). I just enjoyed I could read it. I once got fun out of reading an Italian dictionary when I was still taking Italian class in tenth class, and I used to play around with DuoLingo, an app for learning languages, for the fun of the games. There may be other hobbies I’ve dropped as well, but I don’t recall them.

All along, the burn out wasn’t from doing too much, but from trying to give so much. During most of my childhood, I heard how “giving to others is a gift in itself” and “it’s better to give than to receive”. Maybe there’s such a thing as too much giving. As I said, I rarely am hesitant to give to those I care most about because I also enjoy sharing. It’s much simpler than I’m making it sound. It makes more sense to go through so much effort for someone you really love instead of dozens or hundreds of strangers you’ll never meet.

My boyfriend asked me if there’s any way to reignite those former hobbies. After realizing what I did, I think there may be. If I choose to try picking one or more of them up again, I have to remember who they’re intended for: me. They’re for myself and my pleasure. If I make them public, it’s because I want to have another place for them, not because I’m after attention and recognition. I realize those can be good motivational tools for some people, but I’m clearly not one of them. For me, hobbies are much more fun when it’s my enjoyment I have at heart. Thinking only of myself is selfish, but this is not exactly hunger I’m talking about. I’m talking about pastimes. I’m positive no one’s getting hurt.

However, I don’t think I’ll ever overcome the shock of taking twelve years to discover this. I now fear for what else I may be oblivious to. Can I trade this “identity crisis” thing for some more sketchbooks?

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“Ex” Them Out

Something I subconsciously do on occasion is compare my relationship with my boyfriend to my “exes”.

I don’t like to refer to them as that because none of them were real relationships, but it’s the simplest to say. I say I subconsciously compare because these thoughts, like several, are random and usually pop up late at night when I can’t sleep for one reason or another.

At the time, I felt like I wouldn’t move on, that I’d keep wondering “what if”, that I’d never get anything better out of dating. You get the idea. Now, I genuinely feel like it doesn’t matter at all they once crossed my path and, to an extent, it feels like I never did meet them. On top of that, I feel like I would’ve been miserable if any of them had lasted.

The best example I can give is the one who came right before my boyfriend. To sum it up, even if he didn’t make me miserable, his lifestyle would have. Long story short, his time schedule was so constantly full, in the year we spoke to each other, we never once met in person. Going by what he told me, his life was full of business, constant travel, a lot of people, and very little down time. Nothing wrong with that lifestyle, but I hate traveling and I am not a people person. I’d only be going along with it because I’d have nothing better to do and didn’t want to be alone constantly. There’s no way I’d be happy.

In somewhat of an inverse, I’m the busy one while my boyfriend is often free, but I still make time when I can. Really says something that we live in different states, and can still manage to see each other every week or every other week, but that’s besides the point (my ex lived in the next county over!). I am a lot happier with him than I was with my ex, and he’s told me more than once he’s happy to be my girlfriend.

The other exes either only wanted sex and no real relationship, never made it off the dating website, and in one case, wanted kids later on.

I used to think of my exes as stepping stones I just had to take to get to my boyfriend, but now, I don’t even feel like that. If someone asked, the truest thing I could probably say is I dated around, found my boyfriend, and that’s it. Maybe it’s somewhat cold to say, but it does feel like they never existed to me, or never entered my life. That’s probably the very best way to feel about exes.

If my boyfriend ever becomes an ex, which I hope to high heaven never happens, he’ll probably be the one I consider “got away”. Unlike the others, I would’ve actually had something meaningful with him, and thus, a reason to really be heartbroken about. Of course, simply wanting a long relationship isn’t a good reason to keep it going if it’s failing, so letting go would be for the best. But in a way, I still feel like we’re in the “honeymoon phase” (how long do people say that lasts?). Early this morning, when we were discussing these thoughts I have, I told him, “Half my soul would die without you.” Dramatic? Maybe. True? Yes.

When I lost the first ex, my heart was broken for a week. When I lost the others, I was sad for a day. If I lose my boyfriend? That’s a pain I only want to know in my nightmares. And not even then.

In truth, I shouldn’t make these comparisons to begin with and I feel upset with myself that I do. My exes aren’t bad people. They just had ways of living that didn’t work well with me, and vice versa. This isn’t a rant about how evil my exes were because they weren’t. But I’m happy and very relieved they’re little more than distant memories. I don’t care about “what could’ve been”. I care that I have a loving boyfriend, and I’m happy now.

He’s also the reason I now believe in this quote. ❤

Ending One Chapter Starts Another

I know I’m probably going to eat my words somewhere down the line, but this year is already starting off well. And that means something since it didn’t particularly end well.

My job as a cashier is a seasonal position, so after a certain date, I was supposed to be let go. Key word: was.

I learned today it’s planned for me to stay on the team after the seasonal period ends, although it’s probably news I wasn’t supposed to learn this early. When I was working today, I confided in the supervisor on duty it was a concern on my mind, but I didn’t want to come across as a nag for daring to ask the manager in charge of it. She told me to ask anyway since we’re allowed (my workplace has an “open-door policy”, which means you can speak to any manager or supervisor you want at any time if you need something) and since I was already at work, I swallowed my fear and asked when I went on break. The answer was yes. When I returned from break, I very happily (but quietly) thanked the supervisor for encouraging me to do that. She was happy for me.

I work my first job and I didn’t fail at it! I still marvel at being able to hold down a job, so to learn I’m keeping it blew me right out of the water!

The other goodness for 2017 is, although it was unneeded, I got a reminder of just how strong a certain person’s love is for me. The circumstances that revealed it weren’t so pleasant and I have enough humility to admit those circumstances were my fault. No, I’m not asking for a cookie. The end of the matter of was when he became hysterical over me and sobbed for about five to ten minutes. Few things have crushed me with so much guilt as when I realized I caused that. To top it off, he called himself pathetic for crying and pushed me away when I tried to comfort him (after asking for me to do it just two minutes ago), insisting he didn’t deserve it. Let me make that clear: I hurt him, but he was crying over me. He was hysterical over the person who hurt him because he believed it was the other way around and he’d hurt me.

Before that happened, he’d been prepared to wait all day for me because he didn’t yet know I’d already left home. Now, I’ll admit that sounds stalker-ish on the surface, but these plans were arranged and agreed to, and he didn’t have reason to believe they changed.

I’m fortunate to have someone who loves me so much, he deems me worth having an emotional breakdown over, and right after I hadn’t been so kind to him. I deserved that guilt and, really, so much more than that. He once said I spoil him because I often pay for much of our outings since I have a job. He’s wrong. He spoils me with so much love and patience like that. I genuinely love him and I don’t plan on putting him to a test, especially when I know all too well the misfortune of not having people who love you or have your best interests at heart.

I already know the happiness won’t last and there are some difficult times coming up. In fact, there’s one I’ve been aware of for a very long time. But I’ll have to face it when it comes and knowing I have the above, I’m not afraid of it anymore because it’s not a problem I created. For now, however, I’ll simply enjoy the joy ride.

Love Doesn’t Hurt

Originally, I wasn’t going to write this because I feel like I share too much at times. However, I wanted to write something, and it was either this or a post about how two-faced people get away with everything. Frankly, I’ve had enough of the world’s mean-spiritedness for one day, so I chose this instead.

Today is mine and my boyfriend’s anniversary! We have been a couple for a full year and known each other for 18 months in total.

There’s a somewhat odd feeling with it.  I knew the day would come, yet I’m still surprised it arrived. I didn’t at all feel like we would break up, yet I’m shocked we’ve been together this long, despite that a year, all things considered, isn’t a long time. Sometimes, I wonder if it’s still that “honeymoon phase”, where a new couple is in love and fawning over each other constantly because they’ve only been together a short time. Neither of us have ever been blind to other people or aspects of our lives, however, so I doubt it.

Yes, I think I’m making it obvious I’m still really inexperienced when it comes to relationships. Or rather, when it comes to good relationships.

I feel like I have a weird way of being in love. I don’t swoon, my heart doesn’t race, and my palms don’t sweat. Instead, it’s when I think about losing this person. I’ve experienced heartbreak once and it hurt very much for a week. It wasn’t the most painful thing I’d felt, but it certainly isn’t something I’d want a repeat of. However, I never experienced it again, even when I cut ties with men I developed feelings for. I can only assume my heart locked itself up, although it doesn’t feel that way. I can’t say I’m curious enough to want to find out.

Similar to my best friend, my boyfriend has become a big part of my life and happiness, and he’s one of the few healthy parts of it. With the kind of family I grew up in, that’s a very good thing. He’s not a therapist. He’s not fixing me. Without trying, he’s shown me over time something I wish had been told to me as a child: love is not supposed to be painful! I can imagine my life without him, but I don’t want to. I question myself a lot, but I believe the day I became certain I loved him was when I did picture losing him and felt pain. The image of him being absent from my life hurts.

I’m willing to bet there is someone several years older than me who’s reading this and rolling their eyes, thinking to themselves, “This silly 22-year-old thinks she knows what love is”. Maybe I don’t know as much as someone 10 years my senior, or even 5. What I do know is love is not meant to hurt. Love is caring, love is patient, love is kind, and love is gentle.

If I say this to him, he will tell me he’s undeserving of it and he’s not special, which is very much a lie. He is very special and deserving and wonderful to me. Were technology advanced enough for a mirror to exist that allowed people to see themselves through others’ eyes, I would show him just that to let him see himself how I do.

I’m going to end this with a quote that’s become a favorite of mine: “I wasn’t planning on loving you, but I’m happy that I did.”

And it’s truly one of the happiest unplanned events of my life.

My First Valentine!

Happy Valentine’s Day! I had a wonderful day!

My boyfriend and I agreed to get together for today. Admittedly, the weather wasn’t favorable, but when is winter ever favorable for outing plans unless you’re doing winter sports?

The plan was only to go a buffet and, later, a bakery, but we filled in the time between with a bit of shopping. The buffet was great, although it was busy! The wait staff didn’t get a moment’s peace! I guess that’s standard for Valentine’s Day. I only had two plates, but he had five! And he still finished before I did, although his plates weren’t as full as mine after the first.

We were in the buffet for an hour. After that, we went around, looking for belts and razors for me, and a pair of gloves of him (because I’ll be darned if anyone’s hands freeze on my watch!). The belts were easy to find, but it took a few more stores to find the razors and gloves we were after. We also window-shopped around a game store for a little while. Just to see if there was anything new.

The bakery was great! We each had a slice of chocolate mousse and it was one of the most delicious desserts I’ve ever tasted in my life! I took my time eating mine because it was so good! He took some jello for later in the evening. Apparently, jello can spoil within an hour if it’s not refrigerated. I didn’t know that.

We got the gloves for him after the visit to the bakery and that was it. It was time to go home. I waited with him until the train came, we kissed goodbye when it did, and we left. Honestly, as much as I wanted to get out of the cold, I was still kind of sad we had to split ways. It’s the same way I feel every time we have to go home.

Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays because it’s supposed to be a day about love, but this one will probably always be my favorite for being my first one where I had a valentine. The year is still very early, but I’m going to consider this as one of my favorite days of this year.