Monday, November 9, 2009

Was I the Only One???

I tend to view my role as being the person who is always strong. It is very rare for me to allow people to see me weak. The few exceptions are my family (particularly my mom) and within the boundaries of a relationship. Very rarely will I be "weak" around girls, even my closest friends. A couple of my best friends have seen me in vulnerable/weak states on very rare occasion. In part this is because I have been betrayed and really hurt by some of my closest girlfriends. But mostly it is because I view it as my responsibility to be available to my friends to be strong for them when they need me to. And being weak compromises my ability to be strong for my friends. Over the years I've gotten really good at putting on a smile, even when I feel broken inside. And in some ways I've done this the past couple months through my blog. I have used this blog to process my thoughts & feelings and to use it as an opportunity for me to grow as a person. I have also put on a brave "face" and likely appeared less affected than what many of you may realize. The very few people (primarily my mom, brother Josh, and best friend Mandy) who know where my heart is and has been, realize that while everything I have blogged about recently is true, it is also not the entire story. So, in an attempt to challenge myself and work toward "self-realization" I have decided to make myself vulnerable in a way that is not easy or desirable to me.

I recently listened to a song off Jordin Sparks' newest album (Battlefield). It seems to eloquently and perfectly capture the thoughts and feelings I have experienced over the past couple months. Some are thoughts and feelings I still experience, others I have experienced at some point. But what these lyrics represent to me is vulnerability and brokenness, which is a reflection of my recent experiences.

So, below are the lyrics for "Was I the Only One" and an intimate look into my vulnerable heart.

--When you told me that I was a star in the sky
Baby, I believed every word
And you seemed so sincere, it was perfectly clear
'Cause forever was all that I heard

And every little kiss from your tender lips
Couldn't have been a lie
I fell heart over head without a safety net
I don't understand it's goodbye

Was I the only one who fell in love?
There never really was the two of us
Maybe my all just wasn't good enough
Was I the only one, only one in love?

As I walk down the hall I see the place on the wall
Where the picture of us used to be
I fight back these tears 'cause I still feel you here
How could you walk out so easily?

And I don't understand how I can feel this pain
And still be alive
And all these broken dreams and all these memories
Are killing me inside

Was I the only one who fell in love?
There never really was the two of us
Maybe my all just wasn't good enough
Was I the only one, only one?

Tell me what I'm supposed to do with all this love
Baby, it was supposed to be the two of us
Help me 'cause I still don't want to believe
I was the only one, I was the only one

I was the only one who fell in love
There never really was the two of us
Maybe my all just wasn't good enough
I was the only one, the only one

I was the only one who fell in love
There never really was the two of us
Maybe my all just wasn't good enough
Was I the only one, the only one in love, oh

When you told me that I was a star in the sky
Baby, I believed every word--

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Relationships are about...

"Relationships are about knowing what to give up for each other and knowing what to hold onto for ourselves" (quote from One Tree Hill Season 6). The profoundness of this quote struck me as soon as I heard it, because I feel it illustrates one of the most difficult aspects of a relationship. Within my most recent relationship, I did not know what to hold onto for myself. I was too selfless and accommodating. At times I felt like Kirk didn't know what to give up for our relationship and had a tendency to be selfish. I realize that on the surface people may assume that I am saying Kirk is at fault for being selfish (because for the most part selfishness is seen as negative) and I was in the "right" because I was selfless (because this is viewed positively). However, this is not what I'm suggesting. I'm suggesting that he and I needed to learn from one another and I needed to learn what to hold onto for me and he needed to learn what to give up for us. According to this quote, each individual must know when they need to be selfless and when they need to be selfish. It is achieving this balance of selflessness and selfishness that allows the relationship to thrive.

As for myself, I am by nature too accommodating and selfless. It was much easier for me to just give in and constantly attend events with he and his friends because in part the alternative was to just stay in. He and his friends are VERY social. As a graduate student I don't really have the time to be so social (fortunately while we dated I was only taking two courses which enabled me to be more social than normal). I think even more importantly, by nature I am an introvert and am energized by being alone or in small groups, with one or two other people. This does not mean that I do not enjoy being social or going out with friends, and my friends can definitely attest to that. But it does mean that I am not energized by social activities among large groups of people (like most extroverts are). *NOTE: On the Myers-Briggs temperament type I am an ENFJ (extroverted, intuitive, feeling, judging) personality. I have learned to become more extroverted over time. However, initially when I took Myers-Briggs I was an INFJ. So by nature I am intoverted.* So constantly going out with he and his friends was exhausting and emotionally draining for me. I neglected my introverted nature and there were negative consequences of doing so. Often when we went out, Kirk and I would have a lot of fun through the night but I tended to pick insignificant tiffs at the end of the night. This really frustrated Kirk, and understandably so. During our relationship I was unsure why this happened. But upon reflection I think it was a result of me being emotionally drained. Going out every weekend and even sometimes both nights in a weekend was too much for me. It was contrary to my introverted nature. I didn't realize the importance of "holding onto" this for myself. And had I been better able to do so, I think our relationship would have benefited.

This is just one example of how my selflessness had a negative impact on our relationship. Had I been more aware and been more selfish, I would have realized I needed more low-key nights in and either chosen not to attend some events or asked Kirk to stay in with me instead of going out. (Probably a little of both would be reasonable). It is my hope that through this reflection, I will better know what to give up for the other person & our relationship and know what to hold onto for myself. I have learned that I sometimes need to be selfish, because contrary to popular belief, that is just as important to individual and couple well-being as being selfless. I have learned the importance of knowing what to hold onto for myself.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Over the past couple months I've turned to music as a source of refuge and validation of my experiences and feelings. A song that I have always LOVED is "Hallelujah." One of my favorite music artists, Kate Voegele, has recorded a version and I actually got to see her perform it live this summer. The song is beautiful, inspirational, and moving. But it was not until after the break up that I really listened to and processed the lyrics. There's a line that seems particularly salient to my life.

"And love is not a victory march, it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah."

This line has really resonated with me the past couple months. Mostly because I have been experiencing the "cold and broken" aspects of love lost. I think anyone experiencing heartbreak can easily relate to this line. However, it is important not to take the phrase out of context. It says love is...a cold and a broken HALLELUJAH. By definition, Hallelujah is an expression of praise, joy, or thanks. I interpret this to mean that there are times when love is difficult, heartbreaking, and complicated. But even when love is hard, it brings joy and reason to give thanks. And in my opinion, that is a more powerful message than providing validation for someone experiencing a broken heart. Because it suggests that being in love is not always characterized by a feeling of victory. It sometimes is a sense of loss or even failure. BUT even at what seems like the "lowest point" love is worth it. Even when being in love seems frustrating, difficult or even exhausting, it is still superior to a life without love (which may be characterized by stagnation). In my own opinion, being in love is often characterized by high, highs and low, lows. Personally, I'd rather experience more intense lows if that means I also get to experience higher highs. I'd rather experience a lower low if that means I experience those lows with the love of my life at my side. Because at least if I have intense highs and lows, I know I'm living life and not just living in stagnation.

So, while I was initially drawn to this lyric because I felt that my heartbreak could be characterized as "a cold and broken Hallelujah," I've come to realize that it is actually an eloquent expression of my own understanding of love. Because, I can't imagine a love that is anything less than a cold and broken Hallelujah.