Thursday, June 24, 2010

Breaking up

There comes a time in every break up, when you suddenly stop hearing the onslaught of excuses, the world goes still and you find yourself thinking: fuck, I am going to end up a strange old spinster with cats, living above my best friend’s garage and being invited for pity-dinners by all my happily married friends. The eccentric - and by then safely asexual - token gay at the table, that all their future kids think is hysterically funny and confide in about their teenage crushes. It is usually at that point that I start to cry.

That is, of course, if you are the breakupee, and not the breakupper. I realised the other day that I only really ever think of the breakups in which I was the breakupee. They form my whole frame of reference. In fact, I only consider the relationships in which I was broken up with proper relationships (the kind that get a whole finger when you’re counting). Which makes sense, I suppose. Because much as any decent person will claim they hate to be the bad guy, and they hate to hurt other people, it is much, much worse for the person who wasn’t expecting it and didn’t want it to happen: he or she was the partner who was more involved and more invested. The relationship meant more to them. And the breakupper, no matter how lovely, feels a sense of relief.

But there was an interesting twist in Friday night’s scene. Out of nowhere, it forgot to shatter my self-worth. I felt the usual shock and despair, obviously, and disbelief. And that nauseating feeling that I was about to lose someone who meant so much to me and defined so much of my life and experience in the past few months. The loneliness that pounces before the door has even closed behind him and the frustration that all the shared moments and imagined futures were for nothing. But not once did I think I had screwed up, or, as per previous self-flagellations, that I deserved it and it was obviously going to pan out that way.

Have I reached the end of teenage angst? At 26, have I finally grown up and learnt the Oprah (or was it Buddha?) lesson of valuing oneself and not taking things personally? It was a much healthier relationship than I have been in for years. Easy-going, natural, respectful and equal. Perhaps healthy relationships translate into less damaging breakups. Which is counter-intuitive, as there is more being lost. Or perhaps the man in question, a gentleman to the end, just put more effort into softening the blow, so the bruising will take longer to show. Whichever it turns out to be, I am going to hold on to the fact that my flat is too small a place to start collecting cats.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Noticing the happy person in your body

I have been told by three different people in the last month how happy I’m looking, and by the cleaner at work that I’m looking healthy (which, obviously, I assumed meant fat) The strange thing is, I hadn't noticed feeling particularly happy. I'm not unhappy at the moment, but I do have my usual background stress buzzing away in my head. And the propensity to overthink anything that could make me spontaneously happy hasn’t gone anywhere, either.

Which got me thinking about the bizarreness of not realising you’re happy, and then on to the nature of personality. How we feel about life is determined almost entirely by our own personality type with very little to do with external circumstances. Whether it’s chemical or spiritual or genetic, the point is the whole world is filtered and adapted so much by the kind of person we are that what we perceive often bears no resemblance to what others perceive. Think of the boyfriends you’ve had who you thought were fantastically wonderful to the utter disbelief of your friends.

And in the case of a depressed or judgemental person, or a bully, that personality type is abusing the experiencer within it as much as it is abusing others. It is the personality that makes us unhappy. So we are removed from our personalities; like they are behaviours and patterns and filters that float about out there annoying us about ourselves, or annoying us in other people.

And the experiencer is always the same. Simunye, the Hindus are right.