I actually have no idea what I'm going to end up writing about. I've been in a really amazing place lately, or at least, for the most part, even though I have a lot going on that would usually make me feel hopeless.
This isn't going to be about that. I haven't necessarily been in deep thought or trying to overthink existence...but tonight as I was editing some photos I've taken over the last few months, I just got lost in the background of each immortalized memory. I wasn't necessarily reflecting on the flashbacks I had of the moments leading up to certain photos, or whatever I was going through in my life while taking them, but mainly experiencing this insane sense of sonder. I feel like I usually do have that anyway-the feeling that each passerby, each random face, is living another version of my own vivid and complex perception. I think it's good to be aware of that sort of thing. For me, it keeps me humble, to say the least. Although compared to this huge universe we're living in, and having the knowledge that we are the epitome of microscopic, I try not to feel small in a belittling way, or think about it in any kind of negative light.
I was thinking about all of the times that I've seen a stranger in an extremely fleeting scenario, like on the train or at the airport, (you get it) and in that moment had thought they were attractive, or noticed what they were wearing, or just had really any passing thought at all. But usually while I subconsciously evaluate their brief presence in that specific moment, they more often than not become another forgotten face later on. Thinking about this alone makes my mind wander more. So here's the rant, which is more like consistent rambling.
(*Mid-writing note: I think I'm going to try to divide this up into topics because I've only written half of what I'm thinking about right now and it's long as fuck...so if people do actually feel like reading my random middle of the night thoughts, then they can choose what's important to them. I don't know.)
According to the info-graphic from Funders & Founders, supposedly we interact/meet 80,000 people in our lives, not to mention the ones that we see once while we're out in public and forget within a minute or less of walking by. While you're thinking some thought about their appearance or behavior, they could be thinking a varied opinion based on your presentation as well.
Some strangers' faces aren't forgotten. I may not be able to pinpoint one exact stranger who has made an impression on me in this very moment, but I'm sure as hell that if I saw a stranger a second or third time that I'd notice. And that leads me to think: How many strangers have thought about me as we passed? I saw a post, I think on tumblr, a couple years ago, and it said something to the effect of: "Do you ever wonder how many strangers have seen you and thought you were beautiful or fallen in love with you?"
I think that's interesting, especially when you apply it to people that you do know personally, or are at least acquainted with. You probably guess that they think about you, especially if there is some kind of deeper feeling there, like love or hatred. Maybe you're a perfunctory phone call; someone they wish they knew more. Hell, maybe you're the surprise guest star in one of their sex dreams. And with a number as big as (on average) 80,000 people, think of all the people who have thought things about you.
The first thing I want to point out about this is something I've been thinking about a lot lately that relates to a lot of people's actions that have impacted my personal life. I grew up with a single mom and later on she married my step-father. I won't delve into the history of it all but essentially, the absence of my biological father in my life accustomed me to people leaving. That sounds darker than what I actually mean. A lot of things have changed since then and I've obviously met a lot of new people, even though I'm still young, but within the last two months I have been occasionally pondering the absence of someone who was a large impact on my life for the past two years. Well, at first it was about them specifically, but then it became something bigger-almost a blessing in disguise, I guess. One of these things that has opened up my mind a little bit is my placement in others lives-my influence. I don't like to focus on titles or labels or any BS like that, but rather the memories I create with a person, what I learn from them, and how they impact me.
When it comes to people who have left my life and basically vanished as if we never knew each other, whether the terms of this disconnection were positive, mutual and neutral, or torrid and have led to a lot of negativity, it used to bother me a lot because of the history of abandonment I've had in my life. I used to only think about the good memories with said people, and sometimes even suppress the bad ones...sometimes to cope, sometimes just to feel a little more numb. Now I like to balance the good and bad memories, but also concentrate more on what I've learned from interacting with that person.
I am rambling and I absolutely hate ramblers. To be direct, it is a way to move on from that vacant spot in your life. I used to hate when people would tell me to move on from my problems, and I think most of the time they mean it in a different way than what I'm trying to explain right now, but thinking about what kind of learning experience you've had from that person is a perfect way of moving onto the next one. This doesn't have to be in a romantic way, either.
The one thing that I will say that concedes everything I've said so far is something this guy I was with a while ago said to me after we had talked about some trauma I endured in my past. To justify what I'd been through, I had said to him, "It was a learning experience." I didn't mean it in the way I do when I use that phrase now, and in this case specifically what I had been through was not a learning experience (but I guess that's all subjective). His reply was stern but gave me something to think about:
"Not everything is a learning experience. You shouldn't have to learn from that in order to progress in life and make positive changes. Some things are terrible. You shouldn't let things that are in the past hold you back, but you also shouldn't deny they happened and deem them 'something to learn from'."
On another note, the next thing I thought about was what we teach other people. I do really cringe at my past relationships, mostly the romantic ones. Although this whole thing that I'm writing about isn't exclusive to romantic relationships, the example I'm going to use is, and I think it's kind of helpful, at least for me, on its own as well.
FEELINGS & PERCEPTIONS
I was thinking about my placement in peoples' lives, especially those whom I've been involved with and had feelings for-or at least, the people I thought I had feelings for. You hear it all the time, the phrase "young love". You see this commonly in movies, when the teenage daughter says she "loves a boy" and gets into arguments with her parents about her lover, and they retort in the most stereotypical baby-boomer-parent way, "You're too young! You don't know what love is." Even last December, which was almost five months ago, my best friend, Carly, and I were talking about the past and just reflecting on random memories, especially with different encounters that we had perceived as romantic at the time, and things we had felt for people that we considered to be 'love'. I counted quite a few people-some of which I had never even admitted these feelings to, or even been in a romantic setting with, etc.-that I would tell my close friends I "loved" or "was in love with". I definitely haven't told very many people I've loved them directly to them, but if I were to think hard about those past conversations with Carly, or how my heart used to flutter thinking about someone that I (key word coming up) THOUGHT I loved, there were definitely people I can now say I exaggerated my feelings for.
That's not uncommon though and it's not something I feel guilty about, although it makes me cringe in a kind of embarrassing way or whatever. I think it's okay to be young and experiment and learn about what love means specifically to you, because when I said everything is subjective, it really fucking is. And even if you're older, it's okay to be doing the same thing.
To go back to what I was saying earlier, in my opinion, all our consciousness is really made of are those things that distinguish us-feelings, memories, and things learned. It's only been a few months since my mind changed on this topic, where as before I was still fascinated by my affections for people; some that I didn't even deserve to fantasize over because of their minimal presence in my life, others who didn't deserve to be loved by me...
I feel like a completely different person in terms of my attitude towards the expression of feelings. Over the past few years when I really got into dating seriously or just even would catch feelings, I went through periods where I would either be zealous and super eager to find someone to love and to give my big-ass heart, but I also went through periods of complete cynicism-that whole 'love isn't real' bit.
There are people who really don't believe that. I disagree with them, but it's not up to me to decide which feelings are valid and which aren't. Whatever feelings that you acknowledge are real are your own, independent truth. The part where it does become wrong is when your truth negates a factual reality and you begin to do damage to the good things in your life.
For me, personally, I'd definitely say 90% of the time where I said the word 'love' in a romantic context, although it wasn't really about that large of a number of people, it was any of the following things, or a combination: infatuation, lust, admiration, curiosity, deviance...when executed into situations I've dealt with, it would be things like me meeting someone who was exactly 'my type' --
(NOTE: Until like last year I had a specific type and I would deviate from it but for the most part my initial attraction to a new partner would be completely based off of an idealistic mold I had made in my mind, which is just shitty)
--and like, maybe having one really fun night with them, whether it be in a platonic setting or ending up completely amorous, and then daydreaming about it progressing...like a snowball effect...when the entire thing was based on lust or friendly misunderstanding.
I'm only negating my own childish feelings towards people that I thought I've loved. It's my perception of my past, and of course that example definitely doesn't apply to everyone, but it stands for itself. It's kind of a summary of just how fucking loose my definition of love was. Like I said before, it's not wrong to not know what it is because it's not just something you can define on paper, it's actions, it's a look, it's gestures, it's communication...it can be everything and anything.
So a while has gone by since I realized everything I thought I had known and everything I thought I had felt was fabricated. I feel like a lot of people have this same epiphany as they mature. I think it's important to not mourn over realizing that certain feelings were enhanced by impulses and human nature. In the moment, you really do think you're feeling it. But that's the thing--No matter how young or old you are, how mature you think you may be, what you've been through, what you've learned, who you have felt things for, there is still MORE to learn.
In my battle with depression I've used a lot of different coping mechanisms that ended up doing more harm than good. Of course, because depression is a serious mental illness, it should be treated as such and not completely based off of one college girl's opinion of a semi-remedy that you are reading via her blog. What I'm trying to say though is that a lot of the times where I'm at my worst, I'll tell myself I have nothing to live for, and I end up feeling worthless and without purpose, when in fact I do have the drive deep down past my chemical imbalance, and I do have a purpose: TO LEARN MORE.
The LAST THING I WILL RAMBLE ABOUT because this is already way longer than I meant for it to be is more on a personal note. I've had so many conversations with people about love, whether it be in minimal ways, like about how a relationship is doing, etc., or in a hardcore, deep talk about existence and feelings. Sometimes I'll ask people who I know have had a past or have a current partner about their perception of what love is. I've gotten so many different answers and blended together they are fairly similar to what my own idea of love is, but independently they were all unique.
However, now that I've had enough experience with all of this and thought about it for way too fucking long, I know there are things that love is not, and it's important to instill these beliefs in people so they don't get lost in something toxic or futile.
"Loving" and "Being in love" are two different things. I know a lot of people who know this, and I also know a lot of people who do not, but these are so important. For those people who have had experience in the dating world, you may feel something for someone who used to be present in your life or was labeled an ex, and if you're with a new partner you might feel like this is wrong. But this is a total misunderstanding. It is completely natural to feel things for anyone, romantic or not, who impacted your life. But especially in a romantic sense, maybe they'll always have a part of your heart. That's okay. As long as you're not cheating or actively wishing that you were with them instead. Those things don't exhibit still 'being in love' with your ex, but they are a problem that should be solved before you move on.
Love is not dependence. When you love someone, there's always a sense of needing them in your life or craving their presence. That's okay. But obviously there's a very clear and well-known difference between wanting and needing. Dependence can lead to addictive behaviors, fairly similar in actions that substance-abusers may have. Obviously not as biological and concrete in nature, but needing someone to validate your feelings and happiness is a step towards forfeiting your autonomy. Real love lets you preserve your independence while also having someone who shares appreciation for it.
Love is not limited. ...not to a definition, a mold, a person, your past, your future, what people tell you, your opinions, others' opinions...love is abundant.
Love is not toxic.
Love is not perfect.
Love is not manipulative.
Love is not fearful.
Love is not predictable.
Love is not about being a martyr.
Love is not about looking to someone to find yourself.
Love is not status.
Love is not using protection as a disguise for controlling behaviors.
Love is not one thing.
4 those reading:
If you have questions you want me to answer publicly on the blog, you can comment them on any of my posts. If you don't feel comfortable asking publicly you can click here to contact me by email & specify if you want me to answer publicly or privately.
Welcome to my blog (again)! For one of my journalism classes, a semester-long assignment was to start a blog on a topic about which we were passionate. I chose horror movies because I am actually obsessed with them. I ended up enjoying keeping up with the blog so much that I decided to move it over to this account and continue reviewing scary movies. Enjoy.