Thursday, June 25, 2009

A few thoughts

Change can be a slow process, especially when you're talking in terms of human personalities. It feels like change SHOULD occur at the speed of thought; I want to be different, so I become different. But who we are as people is imbedded in our minds, in the hardwired neural pathways that make us who we are, so deeply that change never comes as easily as we want. And so we struggle and flail against these ingrained personality quirks, and we make progress at a glacial rate. But the inability to change fully, immediately, feels like failure and therefore slows the progress even further. We are Br'er Rabbit fighting the tar baby, pushing so hard to change without realizing we are simply enmeshing ourselves further into the problem.

This is not to say change is impossible. I fully believe that with determination, belief, and the power of a strong will, we can alter those things about ourselves that make us feel incomplete or off-kilter. Habits can be broken or formed with enough effort. Still, even the strongest of wills can be eroded by the frustration to be found in slow progress.

Why all this focus on change and its frustrations? I'm dealing with certain personal issues, things about myself which push people away, and my inability to make it different NOW has brought me to a dark place. This dark place is familiar, one I visit often (though less frequently with each passing year; further evidence of the possibility of change). Most of this is internal. I berate myself for being this way or acting that way, for numerous quirks that I feel limit me as a fully realized person. But this internal struggle evinces itself in outward expressions: surliness, a general air of depression, a shortness with those in my small circle of friends.

I have a friend. This friend is, in relative terms, a new friend. I'm not known to be extremely outgoing, and meeting new people and making new friends is difficult for me. But I connected to this new friend quickly, and have come to care for the friend deeply in a short period of time. This care is in no way romantic or anything other than a connection between two like-minded people. For a long period of time this friend and I often spent time together, and it was always light and fun and full of laughs. Recently, I've begun to sense some distance between us, a cooling if you will. Nothing hostile, nothing intentionally hurtful, but a growing feeling that things are changing. THIS kind of change happens quickly, often without warning. Changes out of your control seem to come out of nowhere and can take your legs out from under you with little or no effort.

When I first sensed the change, I flailed and worried, trying everything I could to prove to myself I was being paranoid or was just simply wrong. And I'm still not denying that this could simply be me conflating two unrelated issues, i.e. my own personal demons and a change in circumstance for the friend. It wouldn't be the first time (I'm a perpetual self-blamer). But the longer it goes on, the more convinced I become that this is a genuine change in the tenor of our friendship, and I attribute this largely to my own shortcomings. I feel many things very intensely. I like to affect a laconic air most of the time, keeping my words sparse and my emotions in check, but internally everything feels immense and immediate. When it comes to my expression of care or concern for people, I have few filters. I am intensely in favor of those I care about. This intensity can push people away when they confuse it for other things, like romantic feelings. And the more they back away, the harder I try to pull them back in, which only serves to complete the loop. Loss and isolation are my biggest fears, but no one creates those circumstances for me faster than I do.

So I'm telling myself to back away, to let it go and have enough faith in myself to believe that my friendship is valuable, and that a little time and distance can restore what I feel slipping away. I choose to believe that I'm valuable to this person, and that when the friend sees that I'm capable of backing away, the concerns he/she has will be diminished and we can return to the lighter days. And if I'm wrong and the distance has nothing to do with my intensity (I'm often a negative narcissist), then distance won't hurt anyway. It will allow time for the circumstances which have created this situation to resolve themselves while also allowing me to return to a more level, positive state of mind. It's not easy, like any change, but it's worth the effort.

Thanks for reading (if there are any of you left). I promise in the future to return to what you're used to here, wacky shenanigans and hastily written short fiction. On a less serious note, I'm currently working on a new story that I'm pretty excited about, so watch this space if you're a fan of my writing.

4 Comments:

Blogger Rod Cruz said...

Honestly, you're one the best friends anybody could ask for. There's a reason I'm asking you to be my groomsman!!

Trust, everything is going to be fine. :)

3:59 PM  
Blogger The Bagboy said...

And I can honestly say, without any hyperbole, that you are one of the kindest people I have ever had the honor to call my friend.

Plus you have a wicked awesome singing voice, which I totally respect. Mad respect, yo.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Crystal Arcand (3Stairs) said...

Wow, are you sure you haven't been a fly on the wall in my head? I know your intensity of feeling and your strong loyalty to friends. Hang in there, buddy. It's a sucky place to be in right now. I think you're awesome - that makes up for everything, right? ;)

7:47 AM  
Blogger Work With What You've Got said...

Oh hai. You updated. I feel I should get an e-mail telling me when this happens.

Anywhoodle. I am going to toss out the possibilty that this is just the ebb and flow of life and not a change, so much as part of the cycle you have not seen yet, but wil see agian.

Love you. Am also a huge fan of Rod Cruz. Two of the Best Men indeed.

(OMG you guise. My word verification is "penizz". LOLLERSKATES. Amiright? *writes on Cash Handler's toilet roll*.)

9:26 PM  

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