I talked to my great friend Amy last night who is one of the most self-realized, on-the-ball people I know. She's ass-cool, super-tough, brilliant, and has that "pick yourself up by the bootstraps and do what ya gotta do" mentality that I admire so much. Anyway, she's at very a neat place in her life. She's 30, in the middle of PA school (she's studying to be a physician's assistant / nurse practitioner), and she met this amazing guy Brent who has a 4-year-old kid. They just moved in together about 5 months ago and totally redid their place and Brent's kid totally digs Amy. I asked Amy if she ever gets overwhelmed and felt like she wanted to just run the hell away and go sell hot dogs on a beach somewhere, and she said "every once in a while." I asked her if she was content, and she said, "Jill, you can have everything you want in the world. You just can't have it all at the same time." This moved me.
Like, I wish I had my old Evelyn Situation band now that I'm older, wiser, more sophisticated musically, and also more confident and comfy in my skin. But I had that band almost 10 years ago... and I have the confidence now. I should be happy I had the chance to have either of those things EVER; who cares that they weren't simultaneous?
(Gotta be honest. I just re-read that paragraph. Sounds like horse-pucky. I want these things simultaneously. Who am I kidding?)
Anyway, here's part of the conversation Amy and I had (reprinted with permission (and persimmons)):
Jillicious says: Can I ask you something?
Aimarillo TX says:sure... shoot.
Jillicious says: Are you happy in Arizona? Like, do you ever think, "crap, I've gotta get out of here."
Aimarillo TX says: I think "I've gotta get out of here" all the time. I almost did leave for grad school. I was convinced I wasn't going to stay here. But you have to weigh all your options and consider the pros and cons. And so I ended up thinking my best option was to stay here.
Aimarillo TX says: Fuck, I hate the political conservatism of this state. I hate the pollution. I hate the sprawl. I hate how I'm on fucking medication every day of my life in a sometimes futile attempt to control my allergies here.
Aimarillo TX says: Yet, now I'm in deeper... Brent's here, and his daughter lives here, so as long as I'm with Brent, I'm here in AZ.
Jillicious says: And do you resent that on any level?
Aimarillo TX says: My options are shrinking, and I hate that in a sense, but at the same time, I can't complain because I decided I wanted a partner in life, and he finally shows up, and this is my compromise.
Aimarillo TX says: You may be able to have it all, but not all at the same time.
Aimarillo TX says: I don't resent it because I think of most things (if not all things) in life like this:
Aimarillo TX says: Whatever you achieve or attain or obtain, there is something else you have to give up, not master, not experience.
Aimarillo TX says: There's always a trade off, so it's just a matter of priorities.
Jillicious says: Hmmm. You're one of the few people I can think of who, in my mind, doesn't feel that "When am I gonna be set??" feeling. Yes? No?
Aimarillo TX says: I guess sometimes I think, "What will life be like when I'm finally done with school? Will I hike more? Will I appreciate more? Will I goof off more?" I regret not focusing more on music and learning how to be a kick-ass singer. I regret not doing theater for the past many years... but those regrets can't be very regretful, because I've filled my time with things that I decided were more important at the time.
Aimarillo TX says: You can't have it all... at once.
Aimarillo TX says: Just think of it that way.
Jillicious says: that's really fantastic!
Aimarillo TX says: I'm on the cusp of a new life, and I get jittery as hell...
Aimarillo TX says: I am used to being a completely independent spirit, and now I'm tied (happily!) to a man with a child and an ex-wife. And I'm thinking about having a baby - it's gonna happen in the next five years if my body (and his) cooperate.
Aimarillo TX says: I never realized quite the way I have lately how FREE and INDEPENDENT I am, and I cherish it. It is very scary to think about giving that up. What if I don't like motherhood?
Aimarillo TX says: What if things with Brent don't work out? What if, what if?
Aimarillo TX says: But I have to take a look at things and say, "I've had this, I've enjoyed this, and now I want something else... so I have to give up this to get that... and that's the way life works.
Jillicious says: So you don't feel like you're gonna miss out on being independent? Like you're gonna be losing a part of yourself? Like that wacky part of Amy who could just do whatever she wanted whenever she wanted is gonna be gone because you're gonna be tied to one place?
Aimarillo TX says: I am SOOO gonna miss it. But the biggest fear is that I don't know what it's going to be like, being tied down.
Aimarillo TX says: I know I will maintain a huge part of my independence because that's who I am, but it will be seriously tempered. This is a huge part of the reason I only want one child - lets me be a bit more mobile than if I had more...
Aimarillo TX says: yet, think of it this way, Jill...if I DON'T become a mom, other parts of me that are just as much me as my independence will never be expressed.
Jillicious says: I just worry that I'm "selling out" on myself. I've worked so hard to be independent and tough and to be able to lift my own heavy stuff and to take on the heavy stuff of others, too... but then when it comes down to it, I feel like I'm just another needy clingy girl who's not that good at faking otherwise.
Aimarillo TX says: Isn't that sad, too?
Aimarillo TX says: This is the problem with defining ourselves too strictly... then we feel like we aren't free to be anything else.
Jillicious says: you are amazing.
Aimarillo TX says: It's okay to admit that you're human and have human needs and sometimes that means you're going to want someone to cling to and be your rock when you feel shaky.
Aimarillo TX says: If you don't admit that, you are denying a part of yourself... and THAT'S "selling out."
Jillicious says: You sum up years of my pondering in a simple, elegant sentence. Fuck you! :-D
Aimarillo TX says: hahahahahahaha!!!!
Aimarillo TX says: Like it sprang from my brain with no thinking for years, right?
Jillicious says: Like, I just keep wondering when I'm going "to arrive." What's the next thing? Big career move? Teaching? Marriage? Kids? Moving? A new job? Getting signed to a record company? What?
Aimarillo TX says: Here's the thing losing my religion taught me:
Aimarillo TX says: it's OKAY to feel a little shiptossed. If you feel secure all the time, it's only an illusion. With time, you get used to feeling unstable, and then unstable becomes ... normal.
Aimarillo TX says: Jill, I went through the exact same thing you just mentioned years ago right before I met Mark.
Aimarillo TX says: I felt like I had to be strong all the time, that no one should be able to get to me or have to support me, that I wanted to maintain control all the time.
Aimarillo TX says: I discovered that it's a total sell out - A COP OUT - and just plain deluded to think you're the one person in the world who shouldn't have any needs or vulnerabilities.
Aimarillo TX says: There's nothing wrong with that. You don't want to show them to every person on the planet, obviously, but you can't forge a meaningful relationship with anyone if you can't let them see that part of yourself. Mark - bless his soul - really helped me see that, and frankly, that's probably at least 85% of the influence that made me fall in love with him.
Jillicious says: But then I worry that I'm a burden.
Aimarillo TX says: If you are, so what?
Jillicious says: But then again, I also know how good it feels to help out or give support to someone who needs it...
Aimarillo TX says: How many people in your life do you care about who are "a burden?"
Aimarillo TX says: And do you think of them as such? Probably not, even if technically, they are.
Aimarillo TX says: Absolutely.
Jillicious says: It's just like my gift philosophy. Or my massage philosophy. I can buy you gifts, and I can scratch your back. You cannot do the same because I will assume you are miserable and doing it only out of obligation.
Aimarillo TX says: People who love you are eager to help you in your times of need.
Jillicious says: But I don't *need* a gift, and I don't *need* a massage. And if I did, I'd go out and buy one. I think I have a hard time accepting kindness from people. Coolness, nifty-ness and close comeraderie are one thing, and I welcome and embrace those things. But if it crosses a certain line, I get wiggy.
Aimarillo TX says: Jill, you are an emotionally responsible person - you don't needlessly fling your shit around for other people to clean up. There's a way to be emotionally responsible and still be emotionally honest. Denying your needs is not emotionally honest.
Aimarillo TX says: Perspective is rough.
Aimarillo TX says: But with time and practice, hopefully it will get easier.
Aimarillo TX says: The more you need something, the harder it is to ask for and accept. Am I right?
Jillicious says: Lemme think about that.
Aimarillo TX says: I decided a long time ago that my ultimate idea of what's "romantic" is a man doing things for me that I'm perfectly capable of doing myself... yet might not want to.
Jillicious says: yeah, I guess so!
Aimarillo TX says: You like that?
Jillicious says: Yep!
Aimarillo TX says: Yet, I think that what defines love goes even deeper. I think it's easy to feel warm and gooshy about the stuff people do for us to ease our burderns but we could do ourselves.
Aimarillo TX says: It's SCARY to ask for or accept help with things that we CAN'T do for ourselves, or to let others see that we are STRUGGLING with something.
Aimarillo TX says: So that doesn't feel so warm and gushy. It feels needy and clingy and scary and like we're "a burden" and why should anyone put up with us?
Jillicious says: Exactly!! Why would anyone want to put up with that when they have their own crap to worry about? Like they need extra crap? MORE crap?
Aimarillo TX says: But you have to learn to let people in.
Aimarillo TX says: Otherwise, all your relationships are you being the mom - the self-sacrificing mom.
Aimarillo TX says: And, Jill, we both know you get tired of that. You start to resent that, even though you do it to yourself.
Jillicious says: YES! RIGHT!
Jillicious says: Like, I can't think of much I wouldn't do for someone. I would give any one of you guys a kidney without even thinking about it. I kid not.
Jillicious says: But I don't want people to do things for me. It makes me uncomfortable. I am simply unable to comprehend that someone would do something nice for me just because they feel like it. I know how good doing nice stuff for people makes me feel-- it's a purely innocent gesture of spiffiness looking for absolutely zero in return -- but I can't fathom that someone else would think of me in that light... like, "Jill needs gerbera daisies today for no reason." WTF? And when I do nice things for people and they give me lip, I tell them, "Deal with it! Suck it up!" Maybe that's what I need to hear to get it through my thick noggin.
Aimarillo TX says: There's a child in you that needs to be held and loved and taken care of, and that child just weeps and screams and throws tantrums at times. You should pay attention when you feel resentful and angry because it means that part of you is throwing a tantrum, and rightfully so...
Aimarillo TX says: because you haven't been PAYING ATTENTION to her.
Jillicious says: But there's that whole burden thing. It's unattractive to cry and bitch and moan and throw a tantrum. Why should I subject anyone to that? Why shouldn't I control that impulse? Who wants to put up with that? I would think, if someone knew that I was about to throw a tantrum and then chose not to, they'd be thankful that I just saved them work. (Yet, if someone cried and tantrummed all over me, my only reaction would be listen to figure out how I could make it better.)
Aimarillo TX says: You shouldn't subject EVERYONE to that. We both know people who do that, and we both know the effect that has.
Aimarillo TX says: But you should have a select few (or maybe just one) who you feel comfortable to show that part of yourself to.
Aimarillo TX says: (Have I gone too far with the "inner child" talk?)
Jillicious says: I never really understood the whole "inner child" concept, really.
Aimarillo TX says: If there is no one who fills that role at the moment, do it for yourself.... break yourself into "adult" and "child" and listen to all parts of yourself. The competent independent caretaker can listen to the child.
Aimarillo TX says: and then when you've learned to give yourself an audience, you'll accept that those who love you are more than willing to do the same.
Jillicious says: Maybe I just haven't found someone I feel comfy like that with. Jeremy right now is the person, but I know that soon I won't be able to depend on him for that stuff.
Aimarillo TX says: You've learned to trust Jeremy through years of familiarity and experience... but that doesn't mean he's the only person (guy?) who can be that for you.
Aimarillo TX says: I feel dumb sometimes when I cry all over Brent and get frustrated and unreasonable about things, but Brent seems to withhold judgement, accept that we all have times like this, and that it will pass.
Aimarillo TX says: He just supports me when I'm being dumb, and it passes. I am confident that he knows I am usually very strong and reasonable and competent, but no one is like that all the time. We all have our down times, and we shouldn't be shamed for those times.
Aimarillo TX says: Shaming yourself is just as bad - maybe worse - than shaming someone else for having times of "weakness" and vulnerability and unreasonableness.
Aimarillo TX says: Granted, you don't want to throw this on someone on the first date, but if you're going to share your life with someone, you shouldn't have to hide.
Jillicious says: yeah, but I don't shame someone for exhibiting those beautiful, vulnerable, human moments... I'd feel like, at that point, they've "let me in." It's an honor, not something to shame, condemn or be annoyed about. That they trusted me enough to show that.
Jillicious says: I think mayhaps I'm afraid to show that vulnerable part of me because I feel like they're gonna bolt for the door as soon as I need something.
Aimarillo TX says: You can't pretend you never have desires, needs, and vulnerabilities.
Aimarillo TX says: We all have them.
Jillicious says: I don't know why this all sounds so obvious coming from you, but it's all so puzzling to me.
Aimarillo TX says: Well, I'm glad my questionable wisdom was able to clear it all up for ya! LOL
Jillicious says: You are one of the most self-realized people I know. I admire the fook out of you!
Aimarillo TX says: no way.
Aimarillo TX says: stop.
Jillicious says: absolutely!
Aimarillo TX says: Besides, you are the most playful person I know, and I feel like I am constantly struggling to enjoy the fook out of everything imaginable like you do.
Aimarillo TX says: Like we two are sitting in the sandbox of life and I am scritinizing a single grain of sand, unable to see all the amusing things going on around me, wondering why you're laughing like an idiot all the time.
Aimarillo TX says: hee hee
Aimarillo TX says: I WANNA LAUGH LIKE AN IDIOT!!!
Aimarillo TX says: You are so good for me.
Jillicious says: And you so good for me.
Jillicious says: THANK YOU FOR RULING THE PLANET!
Jillicious says: (and thanks for the kind words.)
Aimarillo TX says: They are more than kind words. I mean them 100%.
Jillicious says: Speaking of which... as you were typing that, I was looking at an email I got from Chris. Today we went over our friends' house, and they have a bird, and we took a million pictures of the bird and yelled "bird! bird! bird! bird!" all day... and just now he sent me pictures of the bird and I'm still screaming "bird! bird! bird!" So yeah, I guess I do manage to find sheer bliss in the super-small. I'd die without the ability to do that. It is pure, unbridled, undiluted joy. Nothing fake about it. I love a bird. ;-)
Aimarillo TX says: You and Anne Continelli are my "play heros." You are full of whimsy and fun, and Anne is full of humor and fun. You see all the play in life and Anne sees all the humor in life. And between the two of you, I am constantly reminded to laugh and not take shit so seriously.
Aimarillo TX says: I love that about you!
Aimarillo TX says: And on that note, I must go. Brent did make dinner - a rarity - and I am completely blowing him off. I'll check back later if you're still awake. Can't wait to read your next installment.
Jillicious says: You rock the house! thanks for the yap... enjoy your dinner!
Aimarillo TX says: thanks, I'm still reading your last entry... more later.
Jillicious says: okeedoke!