Friday, January 30, 2009

ARTIST WAY: WEEK FIVE (and addendum)


I thought last week was hard with the reading deprivation. Last week was a cake walk compared to this week.

Weeks one through four looked a lot at re-discovering the things we used to love to do, exploring people or events through our lives that made us stop doing those things we love, and tentatively trying to do them again, in baby steps. Nice, gentle, nurturing with some challenges thrown in.

Week five makes you get real. Week five make you take a good hard look at yourself. Although those people and experiences in your past have contributed to you being stuck now, the only person who keeps you stuck is you. (Or, well, ME)

Week five is about telling the truth. And sometimes the truth is hard to face.

Like how I'm constantly saying I need to break my Diet Coke addiction. How by drinking too much Diet Coke, I don't drink enough water. How sometimes I'm too jacked up to sleep. But the truth is: I like being wired! I like constantly moving and being busy. I like being able to say: "I have so much going on now! My days are packed from beginning to end!" And if I stopped drinking Diet Coke, then maybe I couldn't be so busy. Maybe I'd sit still. And if I sat still, then...I'd be sitting still! By drinking all this Diet Coke, I can stay stuck in this mindset that I have to rely on an outside source for my movement, my inspiration, my resolve. And I don't really have to rely on myself. So I keep drinking it. Even though its bad for me.

And then there was the night we went out to eat 2 weeks ago. It was me, Isabella, and her neighbor Ellen. Ellen was talking about this guy who she dated in high school, and then again after they both graduated from college and lived in the same town. They eventually went their separate ways. He moved to another state, got married, built a little life for himself. Then, out of the blue, he contacts her through her Facebook page, says he's getting divorced, and he's been thinking about her all these years. She's talking about this guy, getting all glow-y and excited about it, and contemplating moving to another state to be with him.

Isabelle is talking about this guy she's (sort of) dating. He's kind a big wig in her industry. He travels a lot and teaches classes and is super smart and interesting. And he calls her whenever it's convenient for him. Never when it's convenient for her. As a matter of fact, she's very rarely ever able to get a hold of him. When it's not convenient. For him.

And me -- I'm talking about Nerd. Nerd who I'm not dating. But I'm more than friends with. I think. Maybe. Sort of. Kinda. But boy does he make me laugh!

I was sitting at this table, eating wonderful food, with these two smart, beautiful, funny, great girls, and having the most ridiculous conversation. None of us, not one of the three of us, was in a real relationship. Yet we were all hanging onto our fake relationships and talking them up to each other. What the hell is wrong with us?

This week, I thought about this a lot. The truth is, I like my fake relationship. I like that I don't have to think about somebody else when I make plans. I like that I have nothing to lose because I have nothing invested. I really like to laugh. He makes me laugh. He's a great guy.

But...am I cheating myself out of something more because I stay stuck in a fantasy that this nothing is really something more? Many of my married friends talk about how I need to invest more time into this relationship and he should, too. And I let them talk as if it's not actually a fake relationship. I think it makes THEM feel better. (And see? See how easy it is to blame somebody or something outside of yourself? Instead of facing your own responsibility?)

Then there's the issue of Nerd, himself. He's a guy. Let's face it. He's not sitting at home pondering if he's being fair to himself or fair to me or fair to his friends. He's probably eating a sausage sandwich, drinking a beer, and watching "This Week in Science". (Did you think I was going to say football? He's a NERD!)

The whole point is: the three of us are stuck in our fantasy fake relationships, even though we ALL know they aren't real. Because it's easier that way. Because they are bones to throw to family and friends who keep wondering when we are going to settle down. Because we truly do like the people the fantasies are built around. And because nobody is getting hurt by any of this. Except maybe ourselves?

Oh, my head hurts.
**Ok, I just read what I posted earlier. And I wanted to point out that even though my post seemed to imply that I had a rough week, swimming around in a pool of existential angst, I actually had a great week! Even though it's tough to admit to yourself that things-in-your-life you-feel-you-have-no-control-over may, in fact, be things-you-have-chosen-subconsciously; it's also very enlightening.
It's easier when you can say to yourself: "Hmm. Maybe listening to Guns and Roses and drinking a bottle of diet coke while I drive home from a yoga class is counter-productive. Maybe I should listen to Jack Johnson and drink water." And then if I go and listen to Axl Rose and chug soda anyway, at least I realize it was my choice to do so. And I can accept it and forget about it, not feel guilty later on that night.
Or if a friend asks what Nerd and I are doing this weekend, I can just say "I don't know. We didn't make any plans and I don't know what he's doing." Without feeling like I need to spin it somehow.
And once those things aren't weighing on your mind, life is a little sweeter. I had a sweet week!

3 comments:

Heather said...

Sometimes the fantasies are just prettier and easier to digest than the truth. I've been guilty of this (still am).
I should pick up the Artist's Way book. I'll have to hunt it down. Sounds very useful and introspective.

spleen said...

I think that all that really matters in life is that you are generally enjoying yourself. It's surprising how much of that is a challenge when there's more than one person to account for....

Loved your post, btw. I have so many things I need to face myself. I need to get this book.

Lace said...

Whew, no lie... that post wore me out.

Just BE HAPPY. You being happy is all that stinkin' matters, my friend!

& you are so sweet(and also maybe a tad nutso) to 'want to be me'! :) I'll post when I have my big shop update!

Have a great weekend!