Monday, January 28, 2008

Stapling all my traits together doesn't make a whole

I was fortunate enough to get a piece published at Indie Bloggers today. If you haven't been there before, I would definitely recommend checking it out-- they publish a new post everyday, and they are phenomenal snippets of writing-- plus, you can submit a piece of your own that you may be especially proud of!

I was lying in the bath, hair floating about my shoulders, as I often am during such conversation.

"I sometimes get scared that you love me for what I do, not who I am."

These words are not fair, I know. Especially to the one person who shook me to my very core within a few encounters by his ability to see beyond the idiosyncracies I put forward.

However, sometimes your past is the easiest thing to fall back on, especially when you feel it tapping you on the shoulder every so often.

I was in a relationship for over six years. It becomes a little hard to sum up exactly what that relationship was. It was not a bad relationship in the sense of exploitation or cruelty. There were times of laughter, comfort, peace. 

It sounds cliche, especially with all this time in which to amass hindsight, to declare there to have been something missing. But, really, that is the most accurate way of summing it up.

I don't believe for a moment that he didn't try to love me. I don't know if he was ever that far below the surface, if he always had that fear of drowning, and I just wasn't able to see it at 18, at 20, at 22, or if he just began treading water at a certain point.

The way I see it, he loved the idea of me. I am indeed a good idea on paper. I'm pretty. I'm sweet. I make people laugh. I'm smart. I'm ambitious. I'm social. I'm a firm believer in random acts of kindness.

However, I am more than just these traits stapled together. I'm spontaneously insecure. I sometimes care more deeply than I even know I'm capable. My mind and desk get cluttered. I sometimes need space and I sometimes need to be immersed. I have many ideas and many opinions. I find beauty in random moments that I want to share.

The clearest example of how the idea of me was better than the actuality emerged in one of my more prominent traits-- my intelligence. Whilst he would brag about having a girlfriend getting her Masters, and joked about how I was to be his future sugar-mama, he was less accepting of the realities brought about by this, realities such as ideas and opinions. I was accused of unfairly using my intellect in what I viewed as mere debates, as though it was something I was obliged to turn off when it inconvenienced him. While his athleticisms were to be celebrated, my brains were to be only displayed at the appropriate occasions, for apparently no one likes a know-it-all, even in the context of an intellectual conversation. 

It sometimes takes a while, but eventually you figure out when your intelligence is just being recited off as another trait to make for a better piece of arm candy.

Maybe that's why I fell headlong this time around. It was that surreal for him to know that my sensitivity also meant the occasional tear, my intelligence meant the occasional disagreeing opinion, and that was all okay, for that was me. 

Not just the convenient pieces taped together. 
The whole thing.

Still, I worry sometimes. I throw myself wholeheartedly into the role of "good girlfriend", complete with spontaneous favours, meals, backrubs, always shaven legs, then get scared that if I get too busy and fall off this "good girlfriend" wagon, the bubble that contains his image of me may pop.

At those times, I need reach my hand around and give the back of my head a big ol' smack. 

Because there is no bubble.
There is only me. 


Clueless Cat said...


Lovely piece, I especially love the opening sentence :)

Lisa said...

Congrats on the IB feature!

I do the extreme opposite thing. I show the crazy and every last ugly thing about me early into any relationship. That way I can weed out the people who wouldn't stick around in the long run anyway, and I save us both the time and effort.

A good self-smacking never hurt anyone. Although don't do it too hard. That brain's worth millions.

"Because there is no bubble. There is only me." Couldn't have said it better. :)

P.S. Any chance you could publish your rss feed full instead of partial?

r.xo said...


Such a lovely piece, demonstrating admirable self-reflexivity.

I was the same way in a relationship back at that age. Neither of us were perfect, but the burden of that proof always lay on me -- the imperfect one de facto. How much of my soul that one exhausted. I wish I were smart enough to have slapped the back of my head back then! Hindsight teaches valuable lessons :)

Ant said...

Um, is everything alright? There's lots of reflective bath-time blogging going on here, and it kind of sounds like you're trying to convince yourself of something...

Maithri said...

"There is no bubble.
There is only me"

And you're wonderful ;)

It is our complexities, our shadows, our light and shade which turn us from cardboard cutouts... into art.

Keep writing your loveletters.

We need them,


lspoon said...

I love this. It's so hard to throw away the person we were before we meet the person who makes us better.

Hope said...

I really loved this post. (I feel like I am constantly leaving you the same comment!) But I did. Greeeeat title.

And congrats on Indie Bloggers!

captain corky said...

Congrats Princess! It takes a lot of insight and courage to be able to look at yourself like that.

Ashlie said...

You are very eloquent. And such good grammar! I should take lessons....

Congrats, I loved your piece. I think it sums up what a lot of girl/women feel....

Jess said...

I saw that piece! Congrats!

I love the imagery in this post.

Yoda said...

Congrats on being featured on IB!! You rock.

Your posts are frikkin' awesome and it doesn't help at all if you're blog crushing on someone to read about how they are the EXACT person you've been looking for all your life.

OMG, that sounds almost stalker-ish and creepy. So I should stop :-p But you know what I mean, right?

sequined said...

This is so well said and absolutely relatable. I think I'm similar, though I hadn't ever considered it enough to set it down in words like you have. Great work, and congrats on being featured on IB!

A Margarita said...

Lovely piece. I feel those same insecurities - I hope to one day be in a relationship where I am fully appreciated.

EF said...

hey there my dear, i see ya hanging around other blogs, so i thought I might attempt my best pigeon imitation and wander by your coffeeshop. I like it!
Think of your traits as parts of a wonderful collage of you- and only you need to be happy with the picture it paints (although some recognition is nice). I lean towards "lisa's" advice, set the bar low and then imprsess later :-)
if they are still around, it's a keeper!

Jamie Lovely said...

Congrats :)

You are a fabulous writer, Princess!

Psychgrad said...

I get frustrated to no end when a debate with someone about a topic turns into being teased about the way I speak or my perspective/ideas being "psycho mumbo jumbo" (yes, it's actually a quote). Seems to be the tool people use when they can't win the debate -- might as well attack the person.

It seems to me that if "realities such as ideas and opinions" that come along with your intelligence are not appreciated, it's a clear sign of a poor match.

I'm with Lisa -- I try to make sure to show my bad traits early on. If you still like me when I'm gross, it could work.

Carrie said...

This was fantastic.

It sums up that 'shared-delusion' theory of relationships. I mean... what's the point of being in an intimate relationship when you're always playing a part?

You got it right girl friend; couldn't have said it ANY better.

Surfergrrl said...

Congrats!!! That was a beautiful story...I'm verklempt...

All Mod Cons said...


I thought there was no spoon? Or is that something else?

distractedspunk said...

Yay for IB!

And I know exactly what you mean. I almost worry that if I stop being the perfect me/whatever I am, the guy I'm with at the time will decide I'm not worth it. But for some reason, even with all my foibles and issues, this one still wants me. Stupid distance.

I absolutely adore you, and I wish we lived closer so we could hang out, because I think we'd spend hours just talking.

Miriam D said...

Yay for you! I think you deserved it, it is a wonderful piece of writing.

brandy said...

Congrats on IB. Also? I get what you are saying here. Sometimes people like the broad strokes of you, but not the details. I'm glad you are thinking about this, and willing to give yourself a little smack when you know you are off course.

PrincessPolly said...

zeloYou sound a lot like me - except far more intelligent . . .

PrincessPolly said...

i don't know why it says zelo at the start of my previous comment, sorry!

Sheila said...

PP: "I'm spontaneously insecure. I sometimes care more deeply than I even know I'm capable. My mind and desk get cluttered. I sometimes need space and I sometimes need to be immersed. I have many ideas and many opinions. I find beauty in random moments that I want to share."

Me: Ditto!

Congratulations on the Indie Blogger published piece!

The Ex said...

Oh yay, I love this post so much. Also, is it just me but why does indie bloggers badge say "I am A indie blogger" when it should be "I am AN indie blogger"?

Beth said...

You're not on a "good girlfriend wagon," sweetie - you're in love and doing what comes naturally when you love someone.
Be yourself. You're a treasure - every last bit of you!

(I'm going to check out that Indie Blogger piece.)

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

It sounds like you are (again) like my neice; an amazing young woman, a whole lotta woman, a woman who is a treasure but can also be intimidating to a man who needs to be needed. My neice married a guy who thought he could handle her having her PHD (and his hoping to one day), but he could not. Thankfully, she finally found a man who appreciates her strengths (even if they sometimes make him feel inadequate.) It's a lot of work sometimes, stroking the male ego without being insincere or sacrificing something of your own. Your man today must be really special to "man enough" to appreciate you :)

Airam said...


Congrats on the Indie Bloggers post! I'm not surprised though ... I think you're such a great writer!

Jocelyn said...

Oh, yes, and when you stop even wondering if you should even try to be appealing, attractive, special--and you just ARE--then you're really there with each other.

Courtney said...

You remind me so very much of myself. Sisters in insecurity- or something like that.

eric1313 said...

Your intelligence does make you wonderful, don't doubt that for a second. Maybe it's the medium.

But, I do believe it in my own life. Intelligence, imagination and personality are just as sexy as any physical attribute.

I once got into a tif with "someone" over this. She said that all men dislike smart women. I was agast at such a blanket statement being tossed around so casually, especially by an enlightened person of high education. She even said "OK, all except you", to which I replied, "great, from a blanket statement to a patroninzing exception to a blanket statement". A partner, be it friend or lover, who you can debate and be blown away by is invaluable.

I know it's a majority opinion, probably, but unfair to finer examples.

Just be happy that you are the total package. And as I said before, the people in your life are lucky to have you.

And your writing is so good! It was great before--as you must know--but now, it's phenomenal. And it's getting better right in front of my eyes. Poof! Like magic. The scenes you conjure before the senses are ravishing, to put it fairly.

Gold star for you!

ana said...


How is it that your posts are always mind boggling awesome, they make me think, they make me relate, and they make me smile.

"It sometimes takes a while, but eventually you figure out when your intelligence is just being recited off as another trait to make for a better piece of arm candy."

Love it.

La said...

Yay! Congrats! Excellent piece!

Who? Me? said...

I feel the same way and I'm married. I know my husband loves me for me and all the stupid, and sometimes mean, things I do. But after every silly tirade I always ask him if he still loves me. He always says yes. Your SO will too.

Ashley said...

this was just amazingly brilliant and i just found your blog and i think you are just wonderful.

"there is no bubble. there is only me."

i love it.

Libby said...

pp - this was one fantastic piece of writing. you flatter me saying i have perspective? i send it back to you, threefold.

you're fantastic.

willbraden said...

congrats! I just had a piece on there right after yours I think!

DG said...

You couldn't be cuter if you tried. I heart you :)

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

You made my
Random Blogdom Quotes
, feel special. :D