Sep 21, 2016

Are Those People Your Friends?

Life has been... happening - to say the least - recently and that certainly got me falling back in a lot of things. I had a HUGE pile of letters from my penpals accumulated, waiting and basically feeding a stab of guilt inside me. A lot of things came together to make this happen, from my studies to all sorts of things in my personal life draining my energy and eating up my time. As I recently started reorganizing my time, I found myself thinking if things had fallen off the wagon because after the breakup I needed a time to settle back in my single ways, or if it has been actually happening for a while. As a matter of fact, I realized that for a while my pattern was that of a letter-per-year, and that was basically because I couldn't get my life properly under control. All this in spite of me having a filofax :-).

"Letter Writing Monday"
at a local Starbucks.
Stormberry's photograph.
This month I had an epiphany and decided to start making time for the things that are important for me. :-) My studies, clearly, are important to me, but lately they had been consuming all of my time. When I wasn't studying, I was too tired to do anything other than sleep. Thus it was clear that some me-time had to be scheduled. This is how my "Letter Writing Mondays" came to become a fixed happy date with myself, which have been working fabulously. :-) Maybe I'll write a post about those later on.

As I started grabbing the reigns of my life and live it the way I want to, making myself happier :-) other things I've been ignoring started to come to my attention. Among those things there was the question of friendship and how one experiences it.

What is Friendship?

Friendship is a particularly elastic type of relationship that, unlike romantic relationships or familiar relationships, don't seem to be bound by strict, well known rules. Friendship can't be defined in a cookie-cutter fashion because this is a free type of bond between people. Are two friendships alike? No, definitively no, and sometimes, something that can be allowed in the frame of one friendship might not be in the frame of another. And that's alright, that's how it goes.

But then, we all know about relationships dubbed "friendship" that don't seem to be so, that aren't... good. If friendship has no rules set in stone, how do we know this? How do we judge this? Often we don't realize we are in a relationship we call friendship, but something feels "off" or it's not working. We might feel uncomfortable or upset, and rationalize these feelings as product of our own fault for not being understanding enough, or supporting enough or we might even think that this thing will eventually stop annoying us. We swallow it because we expect to get used to it. But do we?

It might seem stupid, but certain things our friends do don't have to be put up with. Relationships aren't perfect and people don't fit exactly to one another, so it's expected that some things will require negotiation and compromise for the benefit of all. However, there are things there that are not that small, and turn out to be very important for us. These can be seemingly small things, but when they bother us it's because they have a meaning for us. It's not the thing, it's the principle.

The things that bother us do so because we feel, uncomfortable, neglected, disrespected, used, cheated, lied to... you name it. So, as free form as friendship is, it does have - if not rules -characteristics that make friendship what it is. Friendship is based on Love, and feeling good matters in it. Friendship is positive for us and helps us grow as human beings.

Can We All Be Friends?

Though we'd like to think so, truth is that not everybody can be friends. It doesn't mean that there are people who just can't have friends. Indeed there are some people with unfortunate attitudes or personalities that keep them from establishing or enjoying friendships, but that's not everybody's case. Most people usually have characteristics and skills that allow them to connect with different people and make friendships. Curiously, as we start making friends and cultivate them, we grow and change, learning not only new, exciting traits from our friends, but also developing new traits as well. We could say that making friends makes us better at making friends. Our experiences, both the ones we share as the ones only we experience internally define us and enrich us. These things probably decide how we make friends from then on, how we approach them, make the connection and keep them. It also can define those "small things" that can make or break a friendship, teach us about our limits and not only make us more tolerant, but also show us what are those things that make a difference. It is also possible that through friendships we learn new boundaries, adopt them, as your friends "teach you" about the value of this or that, the meaning of this or that.

However, in spite of all your friendship-experience, and even if you are the sweetest, most lovable person in the planet, you probably won't be able to be friends with everybody, and that's ok, because some people just don't click together. That doesn't mean that they are bad or mean, it just means that they don't click. If you have penpals, you know about that: there are people who are so great on their profiles, and they are awesome on their e-mails, but when the letter arrives... nope, you know it's not going to work. Sometimes, it even works in paper, but once you meet it all falls apart. That last case has never happened to me, personally, because all the penpals I've met are FABULOUS. My penpals are all super-awesome, that's the truth :-) The reasons for people not to click are many. If it happens, hey, it happens. You are not a failure and they are not monsters, it's just a case where you are Star Trek and they are Star Wars. It's alright, not the end of the world.

When in a friendship, even in an ongoing one, we must always consider those things that are important to us, that tell us something about the other person and the quality of our friendship. Those little, personal "markers", to call it somehow. Some of these could be:
  • Manners
  • Tolerance
  • Way of speaking
  • Available time or availability for the friendship
  • Activities you like to do alone and those you like to do with friends
  • Punctuality
  • Honesty
  • Trust
  • Dependability
And the list of possible small little important things goes on and on and on. If we know this we get a better chance at understanding why something might bother us about someone else. If tolerance is important to you, it's understandable that a friend who makes any sort of discriminatory comments might bother us, even if those are not directed to us or the group we belong to. The markers are not fixed, and these won't be all important to you for the rest of your life, but the meaning behind the marker is. For instance, manners and punctuality might stop being markers for us, but the respect that they mean will still be something important to you.

Do Friendships End?

In the end, a friendship is a relationship, and as such, yes, it can end. This is not just a matter of friends losing contact and fading away, but friends can also break up, and this is something that must be considered when we hit a point with our markers or with something bigger. And it makes sense, why would you keep relating to a person you no longer feel connected to? Why keep calling "friend" a person, and give them your time, your thoughts and your energy when it only makes you feel uncomfortable, when it only drains you? And here it's ok to be selfish and think about what are you gaining from the friendship. If you don't feel the love, if you are not growing, if you are not feeling good... hell, what are you doing in that relationship?

Stop the romantic, self-denying notions of beautiful selflessness, where you should look forward only to give and sacrifice yourself for others. Friendship isn't a platoon of the army, where you are supposed to give your life for your country. Friendship isn't about denying yourself for the sole benefit of the other person - well, actually no healthy relationship should be about that - so don't force yourself to do so.

From personal experience, I can tell you that breaking up a friendship can be as painful or even more painful than breaking up with a romantic partner. At least, personally, I have suffered quite a lot each time I have broken up a friendship - no matter how toxic it was, and how much better I knew I would be without them - than what I suffered after breaking up with any of my boyfriends. It hurts, and it's supposed to, though if it doesn't pain you, that's alright too. It's been a long time since I've been heartbroken or suffered after a breakup with any guy, and I guess that doesn't make me a bad person.

Breaking up a friendship happens and it's needed. It's a decision you must make, where you must consider what's are you losing with staying and what are you losing with leaving.

A person I never thought would be an important friend of mine is Ellie. She and I have very different political standings and opinions, and both of us hold very strong positions. I didn't like her very much in the begining, but as we started talking and getting to know each other, share other topics, we became friends. Though our opinions and positions are important for us, it didn't break us but made our friendship stronger, because we realized we are also both tolerant and we can listen to each other and take from the other's position elements to bring growth to our own. We started understanding each other's position and that enriched our thinking. We also learned not to jump for each other's throats, and so concentrated more on all those millions of topics we shared.

Here's a case where a marker of mine changed, but not the meaning behind it.

Currently I'm struggling with a different decision about a friendship of many years. Before, as I was so snowed up with other things, these things that bothered me about her were just nagging little things that I always booked up to "that's just the way she is", and I simply adjusted to it. But as I started making changes recently to live more my life, and the way I want to, I realized that adjusting to her things wasn't a solution for me. I woke up to the realization that this wasn't the type of relationship I wanted. Honestly, it made me realize I felt neglected, like I had to take her disrespect and constantly reminding her and nagging her about our friendship. When I woke up to ths realization, I felt very bad, so I devised a little test to prove myself wrong, but all it did was enforce in me the sensation that here I'm the one working to make things work. She's nice otherwise, and very pleasurable to be with, but does it worth it?

Perhaps a while ago it was, when I was paying less attention to these things, but as I'm working to improve  my life, this is suddenly something I'm not willing to continue taking. It might take me some time to get to a final resolution about this matter, but for starters, I recognized the problem. Now I'll work on it.

Sep 11, 2016

A Plan to Get Back on Track

Picture by Stormberry. Still on the Bullet Journal Project.
The last period of the year at the University starts and I've managed to enroll in two classes, one of which is the last subject I need to pass to complete my studies for the Finance diploma. I'm so close!! I'm excited and full of energy and hope, but at the same time I remember the hard lessons learned during the past period, where here and there I sometimes lost sight of my schedule and then got lots of work to do. My schedule was quite packed, I must admit, and there were days where I worked myself close to an aneurism (so to say), with so much I studied and how hard I did my summaries and readings. This meant also that some things had to give and me left behind, neglected, and the ones that got the worse of my lack of time were my penpals.

Picture by Stormberry. My post bag :-)
This time around, I decided to make time and give some priority to my lovely penpals, and all the people that had been writing to me, for over the last year and start replying to them. I wasn't going to feel guilty again when opening my P.O.Box and finding a letter in it. So, since my studies had not really started yet, I decided to use the time and get back on track with my penpals and start replying to them. My pile has been going thinner and thinner as I reply to my friends, managing already to send out four letters, and then this very weekend finding the time and the energy to reply to seven friends! Wow, that's quite a feat for someone like me, who usually takes a couple of days to reply to one letter. :-) I normally write the very way I speak: I just don't shut up. Really. But this time I tried to practice some restriction and gathered my thoughts better for the benefit of my friends. :-)

However, I have many penpals and it's not fair to either of them for me to reply to them only once a year or so, just because I'm studying. Of course, my penpals are the best penpals in the planet: all of them beautiful, sweet and understanding girls, but still, they are important to me, and I should show how much they matter to me by carving out time to be with them. This is how an idea occured to me: I'll have a "Letter Writing" day every week. And since now I don't have German on Mondays, what better than make myself a "Letter Writing Monday"?

Picture by Stormberry. Starbucks' coffee and letter
Last week I decided to go after work to a Starbucks' coffeeshop that's close to my office, basically to decide it the place could work for me for some studying. I've been thinking about spicing up my study time by once a week taking myself to a different place, close to work, so I could get to study without having been drained first by the traffic jams one always finds at that time of the day. This Starbucks is quite loud, so it would hardly be ideal for studying, not to mention that it tends to be quite packed, but as I sat there writing my letters with a cup of Latin American blend of Espresso Roast, I realized that the place was perfect for this. And that became a seed of an idea that slowly took roots in my head until the decision of a "Letter Writing Monday" was born.

On Tumblr I follow a lot of blogs that have to do with studying, and lot of them show pictures of notes, summaries, mind maps, neat desks and notes covering tables with a laptop here and there, and a trademark Starbucks cup. Not many of these talk to you about programmed down time, and down time is needed. So, I need to reply to my friends, and I need to plan in a break in my schedule, make time for classes, studies, readings, and yes, me-time with letter writing, friend-meeting and movie nights.

I still haven't thought about installing a particular date for meeting with my friends, whom I haven't seen in quite a few weeks now, but to begin with the new period, I'm setting my letter-days and my initial study days. :-) All the rest will come around.

Oh, BTW, on the matter of the Bullet Journal, I'm about to finish my notebook, which will complete my project. I have been thinking about making a video about it, my first, because it might be too much for photographing and then writing a post about it. Who knows. As it is, there are nice parts of it, and parts I didn't like so much. My planning system with have a little variation for next year - and not only the new binder I'm planning on getting. But we shall see about that.

Aug 25, 2016

One for UBER

Taken from
Yesterday I had to run an errand. My dear friend Shimmy Gin is getting married and I had to get them a wedding present (which had been hinted to me quite a couple of times). The store where they had their Wedding List (or how are these things called???) was relatively close to my work, but not so close as for me to go there walking (I could, but really, that would have easily taken 45 minutes in each way to get there), so the sensible thing to do was to go there either by taxi or by UBER. I've been using UBER for quite a while now and have been very satisfied with the service. So, yes, I ordered a driver from UBER. Now, normally you don't need to mark into the app the pick up point (unless you want another) because the system knows where you are. So I entered the destination and requested the car. One was assigned, I went out of the building... and waited. There car was supposed to be there but it wasn't. Oddly the driver didn't call me. They usually do, when they arrive or are close to. This didn't and I had no way to contact him.

Then he called me and told me he was there, in an alley. There are no alleys here. I told him I was in front of the building, so supposedly he drove there but I didn't see him. It turns out he was at some other place. Ok. There is a park in front of my building, and the driver said he was at the other end of the park, that I must have typed down the address wrong. I didn't. Furthermore, he wasn't going to get around the park and come and pick me up. Unheard of. He asked me to cancel the trip. I tried to but the system wasn't letting me. Then I received an SMS from UBER telling me the driver cancelled my trip. Ok, that was unpleasant. I took a cab, went to get the present and on the way back I ordered an UBER, which came quickly to pick me up, and took me without any problems back to the building.

THEN I check my e-mails and there's a charge from UBER because I cancelled a trip 5 minutes into it. REALLY???? I tried to get in contact with them, but my app doesn't have the "Help" button the e-mail talks about, and the link to the site gave me no way to contact the company either. I got so mad, like you have no idea. Well, maybe you do. So I went on Twitter and ranted their heads off. A couple of hours later they replied, though I saw their replies only today. They got in contact with me, gave me an e-mail, I sent my complaint and they fixed it. They fixed it.

Yesterday I was so upset and was about to close my account, but today they solved it. It's still bad that they offer solutions that are not appliable. My phone is a Microsoft Lumia, and runs Android (as fas as I know), and if there is some particular problem with that... well, it's UBER's problem, not mine. The help site was also very unfriendly and sent me to those oh-so-Microsoft kind of pages where you are cut from anyway to place a complaint, but make you click through a list of "problems", none of which actually fit your problem, only to lead you to a dead end of "replies" that don't really do anything for you. That should be fixed as well.

I had to scream on Twitter to get attention, but once I grabbed hold of their attention, things went well. I just don't want to keep screaming my digital lungs out everytime I get wronged. They need to improve that.

Aug 24, 2016

Coffee Jitters

Taken from the internet, but such a
long time ago I don't remember.
It wasn't supposed to be a post a month, but oh well, this is what you get, so be grateful. Today's post is about something I like a lot, and which bit me back on Monday: coffee. Now, I love coffee, I really do, and though I don't always drink coffee (I drink surprisingly quite a little compared to how much I like it) when I do I like my coffee strong. Well, you - dear reader - probably know me enough to know that I drink quite strong coffee. For those that don't know me, I drink strong coffee. Strong enough to be barred from graveyards when I drink coffee (though I don't see why would I drink coffee in a graveyard... oh wait, I thought of why would I!), because in case I would spill some on the ground, we could end up with a Walking Dead situation.

Foto taken by me. Studying for
Promotional Mix.
Anyway, the last two weeks I've been terribly busy, with so much studying and summary making and for the test I had for my different classes. And the papers... hell, that wasn't funny at all. Somehow this period was quite stressful for me, even though I enjoyed very much two of the classes I had. On Sunday I had my last test, and after that I was elated!! That wonderful feeling of freedom that you can only experience when you have been submitted to a lot of studying, that amazing thing that tells you "You don't have tasks for today, you can do as you please". Oh that wonderful feeling! So I wrote to a friend, spent a lot of time laying in my bed, with my feet on pillows, my head on cushions, reading novels and magazines, while with the TV on, half listening to the thousand and half crime stories of Investigation Discovery Channel... That is... That's what I want to do the rest of my life. That's what I'll do when I retire :-). - Ok, I keep on derailing from my intended purpose, which is the thing about the coffee jitters. - So yes, the week was looking up fantastic. I mean, sure, on Monday I had a German test... but that's a language test and I always do good in those. No biggie! Except...

It all started around 8:30 to 9:00 am. I had some work to do, and I wanted to start to write to another dear, dear friend of mine - no time like in between school periods to catch up with all your accumulated penpal letters! - however I was feeling a little pain in my right hand. I'm right handed, but usually, when my hand hurts is my left hand, and that's due because I use the mouse with the left hand. Though ever since I use only and exclusively laptops at home and work, that has stopped being a problem. In other times, when I overexert my hand at writing, the pain is much stronger and it goes all the way up my arm. This wasn't so bad. I presume this could have been the case because for the last subject I studied, I made all my summaries using fountain pens, and these make you apply less pressure on the writing.

Taken from
So, the thing is that my hand was hurting, so I decided not to start writing to my friend at once, but give it a little rest, and meanwhile make myself a coffee. I use a French Press. The one I have now is different from the one I used to have (and which I believe remained with Kari), basically because it's a 4 cup one, instead of a 2 cup one (it says "2 cups", but really, it's only like a mug). I'm still learning the measures with it, so getting a perfect coffee is still a bit challenging. I've been thinking about buying myself a smaller one, and pack this up and keep it for when I'll have my own place (which hopefully won't take that long). I've made some coffee some weeks ago and it was week. On Monday I decided I would use my capacity and make about 2 cups - this 4 cup one is FAR larger than  the regular 2 cup ones, and seems like it could brew 3 cups - so I measured up the coffee and went down to the cafeteria and poured hot water into it. Back at my cubicle, I poured myself a lovely mug of coffee and sipped it with delight. then, when I finished my first cup - it went down surprisingly fast - I poured myself the second cup only to notice that it wasn't quite as much coffee. In fact it wasn't even a half cup. And THEN I started feeling like crap.

From somewhere on Google
My hand was still hurting for being exposed to fifteen days of 6 to 9 hours daily of writing, with several bouts of 2,5 to 3 hour continuous writing. I needed something for that - like getting a bandage - so I went from my floor to the floor where the doctor's office is. Using the stairs. Not my brightest moment, I'll admit. Hell, everything was spinning and shaking! Then there was the all encompasing nausea that wouldn't let me be. While I waited for the nurse to bandage my wrist, I was scared shitless thinking that she would notice I was sick as hell, and might say something. How was I going to explain that I drank a brewed-to-kill cup of coffee? It was pretty much O.D.-ing on caffeine. I would have made plans to leave for home, but I had a test on Monday - German, remember? - and I had to write that down. However, with all that caffeine in my bloodstream, I just couldn't concentrate. Could hardly work, and definitively couldn't write to my friend or even check on my homework.

Taken from Google.
Like any normal person today, I googled "coffee jitters", and sought for ways to get them over. The curse of this era, google offered nothing good, save from some posts about yeah, this is what the coffee jitters are, and do you want some advise on how to get rid of them (Me: yes! please! now!), yeah well... (me: now! now! now!), the jitters are produced by... (me: *scrolls down furiously*)... nothing has ever been proven to actually help with coffee jitters. In my case, my jitters went as far as taking away all my apetite, and also made me sleepy. I tried to drink water, but that didn't seem to help. I did notice how they lessened when I ate some, particularly stuff like breads. I did notice that walking and slow, deep breathing helped quite a lot. Be it as it may, I was on jitter effect all the way to 8:00 pm.

Needless to say, I've spent the last two days (including Today) avoiding coffee. I already feel the need for it. It's not like I never had some sort of jitters before, only I have never had deadly jitters in the past. Sure, my heart has sped up in the past. but I've never been that shaky, unsteady on my feel, or so sick to my stomach. That was a new and unpleasant one. So, the things I learned from this experience are:

  • Jitters are real. And they aren't funny, they are bad.
  • Internet isn't really has helpful when you actually need help. Like when dying from coffee jitters.
  • Fountain pens are actually much better for writing. They reduce the amount of pain you end up suffering from unholy amounts of writing.
  • Jitters can last a hell lot of time.
  • Things that help with jitters: walking. Staircases don't help, but walking of flat, horizontal surfaces do. Breathing slowly. Eating some carbs, like bread.
Well, this post wasn't really intended to help anyone, and I guess it has fully succeeded in that department. :-) Hope you have a good one, while I sip on my large cup of water, and wait until I'm brave enough to face the coffee again. And meanwhile, I'll perch up my feet and read.

Jul 24, 2016

My Two Cents on a Silly Argument

Kat von D
This week - or did it start last week? - a little celeb-drama broke out between two formerly good friends: Kat von D and Jeffree Star. I had heard of Kat von D through the show Miami Ink, where she was a tattoo artist. After some time she left the show and that tattoo shop to open her own shop in Los Angeles, where she also started her own tattoo reality show known as LA Ink. The shows were both quite good, and as we centered more on Kat, we got to see more of who she is and get a broader taste of her bold, dark style. Then the show kind of faded out and the next time I heard of her was through youtube beauty videos, where her make up line was mentioned.

Kat von D liquid lipsticks
The beauty vloggers I saw use her products praised it, and it did look good, but as I saw the packaging of the products were very Kat von D, reflecting her bold, tattooed, dark style, which, well, I'm not so much into make up, but een if I were, I doubt I would buy any of them, because of the way the packaging looks. She has a line of lipsticks that come in thick, studded, black tubes that truly make a statement about her style. If I had to explain his difference, I would say hat my style in this particular matter would be more like an animé drawing - softer, barely there, just suggested - while Kat von D's style goes more for the comic drawing style, full of details and with bold lines. Too bold for me.

Jeffree Star liquid lipsticks. Picture taken from
The some of the same beauty vloggers I follow used another brand of make up called Jeffree Star. This brand belongs to this Jeffree Star. I didn't know it at the time, but he used to be a huge social media personality and a musician. When I saw the products from his line, I was sure I would definitively never buy them, again, because of how the containers look. These are just too sparkly, shiny and... Barbie pink.

Anyway, from one end to the other, neither Kat's line nor Jeffree's was for me. And, again, it's ok, I hardly use make up, and when I do I go for drugstore brands, Oriflame and KIKO Milano.

Jeffree Star. Picture from
Recently, Kat von D posted a video where she let people know that Jeffree and her were best friends, but that he had let her down in many ways, the last being that she found out that he had a friend of hers (whom she introduced to him) design the logo of his brand and then never paid him. The case spiraled out because it seems that there have been several drama cases with Jeffree star recently, where he often lashed out against his fans and other people in a quie nasty way, and then often erased his own comments. This didn's sit well with many people, many making ccomments about it, videos about it and then distancing themselves from his brand. The final straw, however, was Kat's video. Jeffree was forced then to reply with a video of his own, bands were formed and the topic went viral. (For those who know about them. Both Kat and Jeffree are relatively small names compared to other celebrities and their very public dramas.) The videos and comments and posts about the matter haven't ceased since, teams being formed, and all that.

I have no real reasons to take part in this drama. I've seen both videos and I saw faults in both of them. I personally think that Kat von D was a bit classier, but she also did a measure of gratuituous bashing. Jeffree on the other hand, felt like making excuses, presenting "evidence" where things didn't quite fit. And throwing heaps of trash on Kat. Whatever the case, Kat's seems more sound than Jeffree's, specially since so much dirt has been surfacing from him recently, and the way Kat also framed her video.

From this whole thing what stuck to me was the feeling Kat shared in her video, about breaking up with a friend, and the sense of betrail that comes from having someone you consider a best friend to abuse of your friendship and thinking so little of it, of you, as to scam your friend and walk away. This case, this part cut very close to home for me, as I remembered my situation with someone who used to be my very best friend of almost 20 years. Breaking up a friendship can hurt much more than breaking up with  significant other, because you actually expect your friends to be eternal, to be there forever, to share forever. Breaking up with a friend comes with heartbreak as well.

Whomever is right in the Kat-Jeffree case, I believe it's not out place to judge or take parts, but as we witness the case we can see a fallout that comes with pain, with sad hurt as a relationship ends. For good or for bad, it must hurt them. If they were really good friends, if they were really close, if they did loved each other, it hurt them. They might be right about each other, they might be better without each other, just as I'm better without my toxic best friend, but the gaping wound that's left after ripping out a friendship takes a long time to heal.

Jul 3, 2016

My Birthday

My birthday was a couple of days ago, and my schedule was so tight, that I didn't get to celebrate it as I usually do, with my friends. It wasn't so bad, though I do was quite tired, what with work and then the German classes. but my coworkers got me a cake (and eggnog cake!), and then, when I got home I had a galss of wine for myself. Honestly, it was wonderful. I was alone in the kitchen, at night, with a glass of wine and feeling so incredibly self indulging, it was wonderful. Little after, I thought how there's people who get depressed for this very situation. For me, it was beatiful, fantastic and the type of experience I want to have more of. It's not the first birthday I spend celebrating alone, and these both experiences remain in my mind as amazing ones.

Every experience affects you in the way you choose. Maybe you are sad because you choose to see things that way. Maybe. In any case, it's worth thinking about that.

Jun 20, 2016

Catching a Partner - What You Might be Fucking Up

First, before you ask me, yes, I'm still doing the Bullet Journal Project, no, I won't blog about it right now, and yeah, I think it's not my thing, but I'll keep doing it until I finish the notebook. So, what do I want to blog about today? I want to blog a little about people. Yes, you know, one of those posts.

I actually do have a couple of cases in mind that had me thinking for quite a while, but I don't want to make specific mention of them - mainly to protect the innocent - but also because through some of the paralelysms I've found, I realized that a more generic kind of post may help others. But then, lets see if I can keep this on a pattern fashion rather than a story.

Sometimes it can be difficult to actually understand people who are different from us, and I don't mean, like they speak a different language, come from a different culture or have a different sexual orientation, but people who have a different life experience or a different view of life. It doesn't mean that you can't respect them, but lets face it, it often is difficult to actually put yourself in their shoes and understand where they come from. For example, for a meatlover, it can be really difficult to understand the eating choices of a vegan. It doesn't mean that the meatlover can't respect the vegan's choice, just as the vegan shouldn't have any trouble respecting the meatlover's choice, BUT when it comes to understanding each other, it can be difficult.

Through the years, I have been witnessing a quite interesing battle as a complete outsider, in the lives of several people about a think I have little grasp of: the desire to marry and have children. Though in my younger years I firmly believed in that sort of goal, as I grew up (basically from my 20's on), I grew out of that... "goal", and soon found the prospect of such a happening as a quite horrible, shackling event. Thus, though I've been there - in the desiring phase - as I see others dreaming and planning and getting all happy about marriages and kids, my first instinct usually is to try and jump in to save them from catastrophy. I don't, obviously, because it's not my place, and what for me sounds much like a life sentence, for them might be the best thing in the world.

The topic of forming a family, finding your One and all that, is constantly bombarded on us, and we are exposed to this message 24/7 and on every sound and surface we see around us. It's in the advertisements for detergents, food, clothes, drinks, and it's the topic of loads of songs, novels, movies, self-help crap, series and TV shows, documentals, reality TV shows and many, many other stuff. Though with some people it seems to "naturally happen", others struggle a little with the whole thing. And a lot of people put a really lot of effort into it, even to the point where they work so hard to keep up denial and try to salvage what can no longer be salvaged. Others stand on another end, single and desperate because of it, curiously showing their anxiety about it in different ways. Some try to act cool about it, but with a degree of aggressivity that belies their efforts. Others are openly depressed by their state and slowly edge to the point where they will claw into anything willing to take them in. Honestly, all three of them are scary because it's clear that none of them are happy, and you must wonder whether they'll be able to be happy when they reach their coveted goal.

On one successful case I know of, there was this person who was crazy commited to their partner. Like, really, crazy committed. This person I knew was up to give up everything for their partner, no questions asked. Ok, maybe some thinking and process was needed for some of the hardest parts, but this person basically forfeited their own believes and opinions to basically match those of their partner. Probably not a healthy thing, but the person was happy and seemed balanced. Then they discovered that their partner wasn't taking them seriously, and cheated big time on them, while actually planning on going serious with someone more to their way of thinking. Some will say that this person I know, was asking for it (no, they were not) because they deformed themselves and became a puppet for their partner. Actually, as I slowly came to understand, this person was actually acting under what they perceived as commitment. Misconstrued or not, they tried to make something work by working hard themselves and trying to accomodate the other person, while at the same time trying to negotiate aspects they found necesary for the other to accept.

From this person I learned that often this commitment thing isn't the key, or not as we superficially understand it. Commitment should be a measured thing where you know very well how far are you willing to go, how far can you ask the other person to go, and be ok with it. Commitment should also be about not forcing something that doesn't work to keep up just because you can't imagine your life without it.

This person, after the break up with their partner, spent some time being single, and took the chance to use it for introspection. Through this period, this person purged from themselves many of their toxic asupmtions and predispositions, and learned to love themselves as they are. A new partner came into their lives and now they are to get married.

While this was happening with this person, I realized that they shared characteristics with other people who were struggling with their single status, and getting quite desperate about it. From the aggressive people who yell it and post it on every surface, how they hate this or that type of jackass or cocktease, to those wrapped in gloom declaring that they are no longer willing to date people who are not going to take it seriously, because they are tired of people using them, I stopped to wonder why while all three types want the same thing (form a family), why some get it and for others the chance seems to forever elude them. It's kind of though, specially when one considers how I myself are not into marriage, not even into relationships and I have been in a couple of serious relationships where my partners have actually seriously considered marrying me. Even though they knew I was going to say no. Because I warned them.

So, I was thinking, what is the first person doing right, or what may I be doing right to get where the other two types don't get? The reply is quite difficult, because there isn't a recipe to this. There's no charm to use to make sure the person you are having a dinner with will turn to you and propose or look at you with dove eyes and recite a song from Bryan Addams. But perhaps there are a couple of things that maybe could help. Maybe. Emphasis on maybe. That's the operative word.

I imagine that, if I wanted to get married right now, I wouldn't find a single person to do that with. So, when your family asks you "when are you going to get married" it's such a stupid question to aske, because actually getting married isn't like starting a diet or joining a gym. Getting married is a two-people decision, and you can't (or shouldn't) make decisions for others. Also, it wouldn't work to get married right now because then I would be out on the hunt, looking for a husband or a wife, and that alone - that hunt-for-a-spouse vibe - would probably scare away any potential partner. Just think about being at the other end of that laser objective: there is a person who barely knows you, who wants you to commit for life with them. And want you to be responsible about it. Maybe even dishes lines like

"I'm not willing to waste any time on something that's not going to be serious. I want to marry and I want to have kids."

Or maybe a charming line like

"All men are just jackasses/All women are just whores who only have one thing in mind."

Do you know what that looks like? It looks like danger. A person pushing this hard at the begining can be expected to push harder through it. Potential of happiness? 0. A person like this looks more likely to end up on an Investigation Discovery show like "Who the F**ck I married", or any of those about crazy people commiting passional crimes, or killing family members. In my experience, men are not so prone to dish out lines like those on the first date, but some cases have been documented.

The thing here is that not everybody is so desperate to get a ring on their finger, and when people go out on a date, or meet others - aside from the potential hook up - they are on an exploration mission. They don't want to commit right at the begining because they first want to get to know the person. I would say this is pretty clear and desirable. A partner that first wants to know you before becoming an issue, is a smart partner.

Then there's the other component: the desperate hunter is looking for a spouse. They have already all figured out: weekend plans, vacations, the housing, the number of kids, their routine... the only thing missing from their fantasy is the partner. So basically they look for someone to fill the slot - no pun intended. From the other side, this feels like it doesn't matter who you are or what you may want, because it has all been planned out. And you know that you would be to blame if you don't comply to the script. Your role has been casted, all you are expected to do is play it. The person isn't interested in you, but in your role. They seemingly don't give a rat's ass about you. And as they show love and appreciation, you can't keep from wondering if it is real or part of their role.

So, for once, before you keep on bitching about your life, take a second to look at the situation from the other side. You might get surprised.

I believe the first person succeeded in their goal because they took the goal off the table, it wasn't their priority anymore, and their new partner got to meet them open, unpretentious and with no pressure to commit. They got to meet the person, not the expectation.

In order to be in a relationship, first you must love yourself, otherwise you are unfit to love others. You also must understand the relationship and what a relationship is. You have to understand your particular relationship, and how it evolves and where it goes. Just because you want to move faster or slower, it doesn't mean that's how the relationship is going.

A lot of people step into a relationship, but keep on thinking with an individual mentality. It's all about what they expect, what they feel, what they plan. They put effort into it, try to take it this way and that, and don't actually stop to consider the other person and what the other person is putting into it. They just rule and bulldoze over everything that doesn't comply with their plans. They might even call that commitment. That's a lot of imagining, keeping your head in the clouds and not doing anyone a favor. You must understand the relationship you are in.

Also, you shouldn't be afraid to break something that's not working, and trust me, I know how hard that can be, but we must realize that it's much better to be free and able to live ourlives ourselves, under our own rules, facing the world as it comes on our own, than staying with someone who gives us more grief than joy.

It's curious how the people who are so desperate not to be alone are also the most selfish, individualistic and uncapable of empathy you can find. So yes, maybe you are all sad and alone and thinking why God left you alone, while you are not considering that despite your bitching and efforts and even your lucky charms, books, spells, and all your gadgets, God is actually pulling overtime helping a lot of unfortunate people to avoid falling into your destructive hands.

Think about it.