Learning to lose

Sometimes I am grateful God has given me such an open and loving heart. Often I am able to look around and feel his presence surround me. Other times it can feel like a terrible affliction. It may sound strange but unrequited love is not the worst emotional pain you can suffer when you can love intensely. It hurts, don’t  get me wrong. I think it’s just become familiar throughout my life. A far worse pain is loving so much that you are willing to relinquish your selfish desires and wish only for another’s happiness so you can maintain a friendship. Despite that you lose them completely and they slip through your fingers like sand, dust, ashes…gone completely except for the memories in your heart. That’s what hurts most of all. There must be a lesson in this for me, I’ve made this sacrifice more than once and it sucks harder every time.

Not all that long ago I figured out loss is my biggest fear. It’s important to know your biggest fear. It can drive you, make you act in ways that are counter to your character, honor or best interests. You need to be aware. My biggest fear used to be failure and for years it drove me to extreme lengths to be perfect, to succeed, to never make a mistake, to plan for every eventuality. To no avail of course, because everyone fails. In time I learned to embrace failure as a way to grow. I conquered that fear.

Now loss, another part of life has taken its place. I can’t get rid of loss. No one can. You just have to accept it. I used to try and avoid it, numb the pain away. I tried all the old familiar tactics. A shot of whiskey. Burying my feelings. Putting up an impenetrable wall around my heart. Of course none of them worked. I still experienced loss. So now when I feel myself trying to run away from situations that are going to result in loss I am always suspicious of myself. I don’t seek loss, but I don’t need fear of it to make me pass up everything I want.

When it comes I know I have to suffer through it. Sounds terrible doesn’t it? It is. It’s awful. It involves grieving. I had no idea I could cry so much. I spent so many years avoiding tears in my attempt to avoid the pain of loss, I guess I had a lot in reserve.

I cry a few times a day. The ugly kind. Sometimes I curl up in a ball and yell. I’m in pain and it helps. Afterwards I always feel better for a while. Until the next time. I bargain with God. I pray for it to stop. I try and pretend it isn’t happening or didn’t happen. I know that after a while the intensity of my grief will pass. It will become less of an open wound and more of a sore ache. This isn’t my first loss and won’t be my last. I’m learning that this is the only way to effectively deal with it. This is what I was trying so hard to avoid all those years. This.

In times like these I always wonder to myself why in the world I ever allow myself to love anyone. But the truth is I can’t help myself. People are so incredibly lovable. I know there are wicked ones. But so many people are good at heart. They are trying. They are searching. They are lost. They are flawed and still… they are breathtakingly beautiful. Yes when God made me, he designed me to love. I know how to do that better than anything else. It’s who I am. I am learning to let go and learning to lose. Despite my fear I am resolved to stay open. Despite my pain I will stay true. So many people lack love in their lives after all, surely someone out there could use some. I’ve got way too much inside to give.

I am a giant exposed nerve

It has been a very hard week for me.

I have said goodbye to a long term friendship with someone who has meant a great deal to me. I have had to stop all communication because this friend is unable to accept me as I am now. He cannot see that I am no longer who I was when  he met me and that I will never be again. That so many events have erased and destroyed our chances at more than friendship.

At the same time, I have been troubled by my film production class. I feel overwhelmed because every story I come up with gets shot down in class and time is running out. My documentary idea, for which I had such hope, was picked apart and now I am even more terrified that I will fail at my very first effort. I feel the pressure is overwhelming. I wanted to learn and enjoy this class. I so looked forward to it, I thought I would learn to love it. Maybe I could have if it was just about learning to use the camera to capture images and use it effectively. But we are expected to do that and make a real film as well, with a beginning, middle and end. I am going to fail this class and I am so heartbroken and upset about this. I have never taken failure well. It’s my single biggest fear in life and now every class I am so full of anxiety that I can barely get through it.

Today another student started making a bunch of comments to me during class, very mean, cruel comments, saying I was kind of a know it all, instigator person. I wrote her a note saying that I was actually terrified, I guess because in my panic I have been asking these challenging, panicky questions. I told her I can be a smart-ass when I am freaking out. I told her I was afraid and she said of what? Yourself? And I said NO, of this class and the teacher. I have zero real photography experience and feel like I am out of my depth.

So at the end of class she was getting really rude…saying things like that I was a know it all…which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Exactly the opposite in fact. I am pressuring myself and my teacher to tell me more because I feel so under-prepared.

I was very surprised by her attitude, because of all the people in the class, she has the most ambitious, beautiful, moving movie idea that sounds so stunning and blows me away, so I admire this person a lot. It was incredibly devastating to feel all this hostility. I told her how much I was enjoying seeing her work and she said “I bet you are” in this sarcastic tone of voice. So I said…”what’s wrong?” and she said “I don’t like fake people!” Her voice was just dripping with contempt.

I mean, I felt like someone had stabbed me in the heart. I couldn’t move. Everybody else had left the room. I just sat there, put my sunglasses on and cried for about 10 minutes and tried to pull my pathetic ass together so I could make it to my next class.

It just hurt so much. It was so unexpected. I didn’t do anything to her that I am aware of.

It makes me want to climb in bed, put the covers over my head and never get out.