A couple things have been going on in my life.
A few weeks ago I told one of my good friends that we couldn’t spend time together any more. I was in love with her, and she had a boyfriend. I had been spending time with them, lying to myself and to her that it was just about being friends. I’m not sure what woke me up exactly, but I realized this was stupid. I had to get out of this situation. So, I wrote her a note and haven’t talked to her since.
A few years ago I did the same thing — fell in love with a girl who wasn’t into me, and spent years trying to be her friend instead.
Where am I going with this? I think my point was something about learning from mistakes. Like, “cut losses fast” or something like that. But what I really want to say is, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I listened to what my mind was telling me instead of what my heart was telling me. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to be better, smarter, toughter, more successful than everyone around me, because I was hurt and learned to deal with pain by anesthetizing myself.
I’m trying to feel my heart right now. Literally, not metaphorically. Not cut-myself-open-with-scalpel literally, but feel the physical sensations coming from my chest. I wonder if there’s really a connection between feeling that and your emotions. This is the kind of thing they don’t talk about in science class but maybe they should.
I think pain is selfish but sadness is kind. I got really tired of my mind going “me, me, me, me, me” all the time. It’s kind of amazing. I’d think I’m the most important thing in creation, the way my mind goes on about me — what I want, what I need, what’s best for me, how things are going for me. It’s so boring. Who cares? I think that’s why I need to feel my heart, because I think letting down my guard and letting my feelings wash over me is the only way to not be so perpetually self-absorbed.
I feel like I’ve made a lot of decisions for the wrong reasons. When I think about what I really value, what I look back on and have positive memories about, it’s always people I care about. Some of the best times of my life were when I was on Tuesday Magazine in school, because we were all hanging out together doing what we loved. I miss that. My brain always makes things more complicated than they need to be. The simple answers are the best ones. But I can’t navigate on simple answers unless I’m willing to feel, because that’s how it works.
At the end of the day, values aren’t abstract concepts. Values are living, breathing things; I care about my values because I care about them. I haven’t been feeling enough for the last four or five or six years, and I really regret it. But I’m tired of regret. I’m tired of being angry and arrogant and using that as fuel. It’s worked for me for a long time but I think I’m at the end of the line with it. I think the replacement fuel is compassion. I’m not sure yet how to tap into compassion and use that the same way I used anger, but I think I’ll feel my way through.