Faking it

Subtitle: Going through the motions

It’s long and drawn-out — what do you expect? Skip to the last section for a summary, if you wish — this post is about not doing what you don’t want to do. I’ll kick your ass later. 😀

If there is a life lesson with which I am more familiar than any other, it is that joy and pain are not the slightest bit mutually exclusive. Yin and yang and all that hoopla — we’re always bouncing between one extreme and another, often simultaneously.

But therein lies a purgatory called quietude (that’s what I call it — it’s when you’re just hanging in there, waiting for the next thing to happen that will swing the pendulum in one direction or the other.) And that is where I have been finding myself, of late, more often than not.


When I talk about “going through the motions,” I don’t just mean pretending that you’re having a grand old time in the sack (see: pizza theory, the). I mean that it seems like we’re always trying to cover who we really are and what we really want, just so that we do not annoy or offend or, god forbid, make waves.

Because waves? Can pummel us, fill our lungs with water and, in essence, take us under to where we don’t know where we are or how we can escape. If we even want to, that is.

And I hate to sound like a petulant child, red-faced and clenched-fisted, stomping my feet and hollering like a demon, but I had one of those revelations recently that we waste so much time trying to care — or even pretend to care — and for what?

For this scenario, let’s use the example of exes. Something we’re all overly familiar with. 😉

Who hates hearing, “Let’s just be frie-e-e-n-n-d-d-s-s-s-s“? Who hates being JUST friends?

Because after you’ve broken up with someone (no matter who was the dumper versus the dumpee), y’all irritate the shit out of each other — more than ever. You realize all the things you glossed over that Really. Piss. You. Off. About. Them. To the point where you really ARE happy when they start dating someone else, as she will have to put up with their stupid shit and your phone will stop ringing. Back in the day that we had corded phones, we could at least fantasize about strangling someone with them. 😉


I had this grand revelation the other day, about how everyone on earth has been picked last for some sort of team — sports, academic, the lunch table where no one could approach the “cool kids,” etc. And how cruddy it can make you feel.

Despite no athletic aptitude whatsoever, I wasn’t always picked last for sports teams in school. I had an ability to blend in, to make everybody laugh, to talk to the “A” crowd and the “D” list equally. I had my things I was good at, of course, like serving a volleyball well. But when a ball was volleyed over the net right at me, I hit the dirt — I never wanted to break a nail (or get a concussion), so I sucked in that respect.

But I remember the coaches and even the kids who would genuinely compliment what I *could* do right. And I was so freaking happy that everyone wasn’t out to burn me in effigy for losing us a point, because I’d gained us another one earlier doing what I was best at.

It’s easy to forget what you’re good at when you don’t have anyone reminding you that you’re entitled to enjoy being you.


There are people in this world who can make us feel beautiful, who can seemingly heal us, who make us light up from inside. We shouldn’t spend time with anyone but them, if we can help it. Anyone who makes us regress, makes us fall silent, makes us choke back our words or our bile, should be avoided at all costs.

Going back to that “ex” theory, I have to admit that I am on great terms with some exes — it never set out to be that way, but it’s nice to have someone who “knew you when” and who would serve as a character witness for you any day.

I particularly like these folks because, while things didn’t turn out so rosy in the relationship, all I’d have to do is pick up the phone and tell them someone’s hurt/bothered/threatened me, and they would come running with billy clubs and two-by-fours to defend my honor and safety.

*mwah!* A girl needs guys like that — sets a great standard for what she needs to look for (again) next time around.

When you don’t have anybody singing your praises, you are liable to succumb to dating losers in the future (i.e., you figure you can’t do any better than them). For me, it’s a matter of, “If I introduce this person to X person, what would X think of them? What would X say to me the next day about my choice?” Given that X realizes he can, in fact, be replaced. 😉


Likewise, we have all “broken-up-but-not-really” with at least one person. What would X say if you took someone back?

An old friend of mine, Judy, used to say that mothers and best girlfriends are the least forgiving, in that respect.

Because it’s one thing to keep the details of your relationship between you and your significant other, but once the bridge has had gasoline poured on it and the match has been lit, we suddenly need to bleed the wounds with our friends and moms.

Because they will validate our worth and remind us that even though one person forgot we’re special, that doesn’t change the fact that we still ARE.

But then, after all is said and done, what if someone returns for an encore? I’m not saying that it won’t be a command performance. I’m just suggesting that it’s very difficult to trust someone and even want to be around them after you’ve become comfortable in hating their guts.

Hatred is tiring. You have to give it up for the sake of your mental health. But something I struggle with (see: motions, going through the) is how to keep an uneasy peace without falling back into that pit of hell that you may have so narrowly escaped drowning in?

We have a family trait in the grandfather’s clan (actually, more on the grandmother’s side, as it was the latter group that wasn’t so fond of the former), which is to shut off our emotions toward someone. Contempt goes away but skepticism and disgust are always ready to bubble to the surface if ever the that-person-no-longer-exists-to-me layer is fucked with.

Do you HAVE to set the bridge aflame, then, and get rid of it for good?


Getting off of the “ex” kick, I had a great friend for years. And whatever I did to piss him off, he stopped talking to me and rebuffed any attempts on my part to work things out. I was mad as hell at him for a long time for shutting me out that way — I wasn’t sure what I’d done wrong but if it was what I thought it was, well, I’d thought it could be worked out.

At the time, I was angry that he didn’t have what I’d considered to be the courtesy to just face me about it. To tell me to my face that this is what happened, this is why we can no longer be friends, and just go away already. I would have accepted that.

Yet maybe that is what formed me — maybe that is why I require no closure anymore. Slamming the door, nailing it shut and moving a large piece of furniture in front of it suffices as closure in my dictionary!

I can be cordial, cool, maybe even not-hostile. But while it doesn’t take much for me to warm up to someone, it takes a LOT to cool off. Everybody gets a second chance, in my world, too. But three strikes, yer out!


To borrow a phrase someone in my world once used in an entirely different context, it’s “self-preservation.” Once you’ve given your all and it wasn’t matched (theoretically) dollar-for-dollar, well, what do you do, take out an loan? And what if you have to declare emotional bankruptcy again? What’s the point in tempting fate?

Why not just move on and get a wonderfully clean slate where everyone can move forward as the persons they are? It’s not impossible to become better versions of ourselves — but no matter how hard we try, others are going to hold onto the version of us that we’d like to forget.

People like me keep (offline) journals that are just so full of the heartache we would never be able to othewise express. And I have come to understand my old friend who shut off the friendship so many years ago — I may not have agreed with the actions or even the reasons behind them, but I *get* how you feel when you just can’t go back to the minefield where you lost part of your heart.

By rights, I guess I can say I lost a part of my heart back there, too. Which makes me want to stay as far away as possible.


I am addicted to human-interest stories in the news. Not so much the “brights” — the bullshit stories about puppies and sunshine and rainbows and shit — but rather, stories of “Holy shit, dear goddess, don’t ever let something like that happen to me.”

Case in point: You have to wonder how much time this poor woman spent trying to pacify her crazy-ass husband (who set her on fire at her workplace right after the court order to keep his deranged ass away from her expired, for those of you who don’t click through).

Nobody deserves to be set aflame because they no longer get along with someone — that’s NOT the way to woo her back, asshole.

I’ve known far too many women who have their own personal stalkers, for whatever reason. Women who have changed their locks and bought new cars and moved and dyed their hair and did anything they could to get away from the craziness. I’ve dealt with and still deal with my own fears on that front.

This story broke my heart for that very reason.

I mean, how long did she live in fear before she finally got brave enough to leave him? How many bruises did it take for her to have on her body for the magistrate (or whomever) to grant her request for a PFA? How many nights did she suffer as he violated her, biting her lip till blood was drawn, just hoping and praying for a day when she’d never have to answer to him ever again?


Things were getting entirely too deep up there. I tend to forget this is a blog and not a tome. 😉

To bring this full circle, let’s revisit the thought of picking teams (and throwing the dead weight overboard) — we need to surround ourselves with people in whom we believe who believe in US. Someone who’s going to pay us a genuine compliment and encourage us to be better and better.

Someone who commands our respect, whose words and sentiments make sense to us and therefore mean the world to us because, if they think we rock socks, well who can argue with them because they’re so smart? 🙂

Moreover, someone who treats us like royalty and wants us to know that we deserve no less. Someone who sees the damage and destruction that’s been done to us and loves us more and makes us love OURSELVES more.

Someone who makes us stronger — into an individual strong enough to accomplish all the amazing things we were put on this earth to do. Into an individual who knows when to forgive small things with grace and yet when to walk away with our heads held high and our convictions intact.

Someone who wants us to feel something more than trepidation and disgust and even blahness — someone who wants us to experience the warmth of the sun so that we will recognize it when it shines on us again.

God, I babble with all the damn metaphors and double-talk, don’t I? 😉

The point being, in plain English, that we only need to only go through the motions insofar as it keeps us from lying in a coffin or standing in the unemployment line. But to walk away from things that we feel we have to do out of some sense of obligation rather than because we want to.

If we’re not going to learn/grow from or even simply enjoy/revel in our life’s activities, then we’ve become Hester Prynne, with a big Scarlet A — for asshat — depriving us of the unlimited joy out there in the world that’s there for the taking.

Like I recently joked to some friends, “No, I’m NOT going to (waste precious time humoring someone) because my 14 vibrators? Are not going to run themselves!”

Don’t you do anything that’ll kill YOUR buzz, either. … 😉

One Lonely Response to Faking it

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