I'm not one for substitutes. I would rather have my first option or nothing, in most cases. Call me a spoiled brat, but I'm not talking the choice between Jimmy Choos or Payless (and I'll punch you in the face if you suggest that). I'm just talking about life's little pleasures. I don't want rain, I want sun. I don't want to lose, I want to win. I don't want to walk, I want to run.
There are a lot of people in this world, in my opinion, who are just fine with settling for second best. And if they are happy, more power to them. I, however, am not this kind of person.
The substitute for saying something is saying nothing. And this is where I fall into the substitutions list. Don't ask me why, but if I am unprepared for a conversation, I'm usually not very good at it. I'm not talking about the "Hey, lady, how do you get to..." questions, but ask me anything about how I'm feeling about anything, and I'll clam up. If I stuck my fist in my mouth, I would probably say more. But I cannot talk about it. Absolutely cannot. Unless you give me time to figure out how I want to approach the subject, I'll simply reply, "I don't know." Even if I know you aren't going to judge me for anything I say or feel. Some part of me feels unjustified to feel the way I feel. Or at least to communicate these feelings.
So, if you know how I'm feeling, consider yourself a bit privileged. It probably took me a long time to get there.
My lady (whom I have amicably divorced) spent many minutes diagnosing this issue as one of my "coping" skills. And the funny thing is, I had no problem spilling all of my emotional secrets to her. It is the people I care about that I guard myself from. That's so backwards.
I've spent the months since my lady intervention really trying to communicate. To let myself feel weak and to tell my "you's" how I feel. And that's the base behind it all. I do not like feeling weak. I also do not like feeling selfish. So when I feel like I am clogging time with my worries or feelings, I feel both weak and selfish. Which is all in my head.
Do you have to constantly argue with yourself? It's exhausting. I need a divorce from my brain on some days. To truly analyze a situation, I try to attack it from all angles, including what the other person is thinking. But there is no way to know that. There's no way to know what they are going to walk away from a conversation thinking.
And here is what I have dissolved from this conundrum: Everyone thinks about themselves. First. There is not one situation that we will face in life that we don't automatically think about how it will effect the "I" argument. In sympathy or empathy: What would I do in this situation? In anger: What if someone did that to me? In sadness: I would be upset, too. As a second thought, we will consider the other parties. But it is always the I that we will side with first.
We can call this self-absorbed or we can call this self-aware. Either way we are all self-focused. I find that having a balance is the biggest challenge. Because to be aware of myself and what I'm feeling, I have to give in to being a bit absorbed in my own self. I have to ignore the selfish feeling and allow myself to be just that. Selfish. And somewhere in the thought process appears the selfless side. Allowing me to be both selfish and selfless in the same wave of thought.
But does anyone else actually think like this? Constantly analyzing and comparing and justthinking? You can see now why it is hard to make a decision with this head.
Part of what I'm finding out is that it is relieving to know that most people don't walk away thinking of me after a conversation. They are thinking of themselves. Picture it like this: You walk into a gathering of friends feeling completely unattractive and wearing normal attire. Nobody is judging you like you are judging yourself. Isn't that nice? When you finally realize that you are only the center of your own attention.
No one is going to care about you as much as you care about yourself. Even the people who love you. They are incapable. I cannot enter your brain and feel what you are feeling just as you cannot enter mine. And so we are back to communication.
Communication is flawed. Not the language of communication, but the grey area between understanding and feeling. It does not matter what kind of support team you have behind you, most of the trials of your life will be fought and won within your own head.
The process is trying, exhausting. But the substitute for thinking is not thinking. I think I'll think my way.