on mussels and ball-peen hammers

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So I feel the urge to be somewhat serious and thought provoking in light of the great blog I read today from my new myspace blogger friend. Will, I totally heart you.

I would love to write as well as he, but alas: I am not the writer that he is. I’m not really up on current events, so I can’t blog about that (not without sounding like a jackass). I do, however, know relationships and myself though, so I thought I would talk about that.

Until recently, like in the last year or two, I never really put much stock in relationships. I have no friends that I talk to (until yesterday!) that I went to school with, or have known for a very long period of time…here I’m talking 2-3 years. I have had two major relationships, both lasting less than five years, and other than that they last about three months and I’m out. I’m not sure if this is because I have the attention span of a gnat or if because I make poor choices when it comes to friends and dates, but there it is.

So last year, I went on this retreat thing with a few of my coworkers. It was meant to be a bonding experience among us, and that happened, but what happened to me personally was far more profound. I realized that, contrary to what I always beleived about myself, I am good at relating to people and forging connections…all it takes is a little honesty, vulnerability, and understanding.

MusselSo I started thinking, why is it so tough for people to be honest and vulnerable with each other? I see in my friends and people I’ve dated, this deep seated aversion to being vulnerable and just speaking our minds. With anyone. When you get to be a certain age, you’ve been shit on so many times in so many ways that most of us resemble those mussels you find on the beach that you can’t crack open without a) a chisel or b) a ball peen hammer.

The result of all this anti-vulnerability is that we stay locked up and hidden so that before anyone even has a chance to get to know us, we’ve already kicked them to the curb because we think they’re not capable of “getting us”. Like somehow someone we don’t even know is going to walk right into a relationship with us and know exactly what our feelings are at any given moment on any given subject.

I read a really good book the other day called Fierce Conversations. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it. It’s partly a book on good leadership and communication, and partly about how to talk to someone and make it real. It talks about coming out from behind yourself in a conversation and saying something that matters. There’s so much that goes on in our heads that we don’t say. Today, I had a whole conversation in my head between me and my boss, featuring a very eloquent and well-spoken 2N and a very apologetic and regretful boss. That conversation has yet to take place in real life…why? Because I’m a scaredy cat.

Recently I had two mini-relationships back to back with guys that weren’t able to commit. Not that I’m totally unafraid, but what I realized was that while I know how to be in a relationship, I don’t really know how to build one. When you’ve only had two, and they both kind of happened by accident, you don’t get a lot of practice in how to start one from scratch. The net result is that I ended up breaking it off both times because I couldn’t keep putting what I wanted to get from a guy on the back burner. I’m not ready by any means to get married or anything like that, but I am looking for someone who can make room in their lives for me, without being afraid.

Anyway I’ve been rambling on, but the point I’m trying to make is, that being vulnerable with the right person can be so awesome, and you never know how someone will take the brutal truth until you say it to them. As the book said, everyone in life wants one person that will be completely and totally honest with them, and I’m trying to be that person for my friends and the people I meet. So I guess when I call you a jackass, I hope you know that means I like you a lot. 😛

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