Archive for October, 2012

You Are What You Love And Not What Loves You Back

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

You are what you love, and not what loves you back.—Jenny Lewis

This is a lyric from a ditty by Jenny Lewis, and it has has taken my brain hostage. This little quote, the song’s hook, is on a tape loop in my head.

Lewis is singing about a stuck, mutually exploitive relationship, but I keep finding different shades of nuance in this quote.

You are what you love, and not what loves you back.

In a way, it’s a torch song. I’ll love him forever even if he never loves back, because he is part of my soul. It gives a little nobility to unrequited love.

You are what you love, and not what loves you back.

What attracts you? Who do you fall for when you fall in love? That person is mirror of your needs and self image, whether or not the love is reciprocated.


How Pessimists Count Their Blessings

Friday, October 26th, 2012

At least I’m not internally decapitated.

Thanks to my husband for this one.

I remember exactly the context in which we first heard the term “internally decapitated,” but out of respect, I will leave that out of this discussion. I don’t mean to be flip.

But wouldn’t you agree that internal decapitation sounds like a huge, gigantic, monumental bummer? I mean—you’re alive, yes. And that’s good. Your story isn’t over, as it would be with external decapitation.

But still…

Internal decapitation.

Yikes.

Makes a regular crappy day sound like happyfacerainbowsallthetime, don’t it?


By Choosing Not To Have Children, I _____

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Would raising children make the best use of what you bring to the world, or would not having kids do that? – Carolyn Hax

As Oprah used to say, frequently, raising kids is the hardest job in the world. And I don’t argue with that. (I wouldn’t dare.)

But choosing not to have kids has challenges of a different kind–not the least of which is censure from a segment of society that assumes you must be selfish, self-centered, or in arrested development.

My husband and I are childless by choice and have some very good reasons for this, which are none of your beeswax. Fortunately, I am past the age where people want to debate our decision with me, but you can’t imagine how tiresome that was. Here’s a hint, people: Asking someone who has chosen not to have kids if she fears regretting the decision someday is uncool. Duh. It’s not like we haven’t considered that. Would you ask a woman who does have kids if she fears regretting that decision?

Not having children is challenging in that your life is not mapped out for you according to the needs of your children. You have to take full responsibility for your own life trajectory, which can be oddly daunting. And you have nothing to distract you from complicated adult relationships. I know a lot of marriages crack under the pressure of parenting, but a lot of other relationships probably last because of the needs and distractions of children.

But I really like the quote from Carolyn Hax, part of a response to someone wondering how to decide about having children, because she acknowledges that some of us are better off contributing something other than our DNA to the world.


Stop Moping And Join The Party

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Life is a cabaret.—Fred Ebb

Hey, sad sack!

Yeah, you.

You know something? You’re kinda getting on my nerves.

This whole Eeyore thing? No fun at all.

Do you even know how to have fun? Do you know what brings you joy? Or are you going to trudge through life like it’s a chore?

Stop it.

Life is a cabaret, my friend. A goddam cabaret. So come on. Hurry up. Join the fun.

Oh, I’m sympathetic to depression, tragedy, and hard times. I’ve wrestled with all those things.  But the key word is “wrestled.” I fight back. I fight back hard. And fighting back includes finding joy. Finding it. Not waiting for it.

I’m on a solo road trip this week. Yesterday I was in Nebraska. That’s right. Nebraska. And it was a friggin’ cabaret.


Intimacy Is Good, But What Is Intimacy?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

The opposite of loneliness is not togetherness, it’s intimacy ― Richard Bach

I’ve never read Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and probably even mocked it back in the day, when it came out. It just sounded so silly. But here is a very wise quote from its author. Of course. Doesn’t everyone know the feeling of being lonely in a crowd? (Does everyone? Or is this more of an introvert thing?) You needn’t be alone to be lonely.

Intimacy is the opposite of loneliness, I get that. But that takes me only halfway to enlightenment. The trouble is, I can’t put my finger on what intimacy is. It’s one of those words that I understand on a cellular level, but struggle to define.


Would You Rather Be a Meteor or a Planet?

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. — Jack London

This quote is a little wordy to be pithy, but it popped up on my Facebook feed today (via You Gotta Believe) and hit me in just the right spot. Which is not to say it hit and felt good. Actually, it kinda hurt.

I’m no Jack London, but this is exactly how I feel. I want to live a brilliant blaze. Complacency terrifies me. I want my life to be a thrill ride of some kind. I hate real roller coasters but love the roller coaster of life. Even when things are horrible, at least it feels like living to me. When everything settles into routine, I am restless and unhappy. I feel deadened, bored, suffocated.

In the abstract, this doesn’t sound terrible, does it? I mean, don’t we all want to live life to the fullest? Carpe diem, mi vida loca and all that?

The problem is, this philosophy of life requires churn. It means that the minute things get comfortable, you want them to be uncomfortable. Except that comfort is uncomfortable, so what do you do then?

I should have outgrown this already. I’m old, and should settle down into my cozy, curmudgeonly dotage. But I chafe in comfort. Rage against the machine. Fidget for whatever comes next. This can be hard on people around me, who don’t understand why I can’t just sit still and be.

I can’t.

Is the superb meteor really better than the permanent planet? Meteors can be awfully destructive, and a lot of planets (well, at least one that we know of) support life.

Do we even have a choice in such things? Or are planets …


It’s Just a Bunch of Crap

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

I blog for World Mental Health DayIf one’s bowels move, one is happy; and if they don’t move, one is unhappy. That is all there is to it. — Lin Yutang

Nice to hear the secret of life boiled down to crap, eh?

I don’t know the quote’s context except that it came from a book called The Importance of Living. And according to one review of the book, “Lin Yutang’s ideal is the ‘scamp’ – an amiable loafer who wanders through life, learning, loving, living. ” 

And sure, I can see this as a credo for that sort of carefree fellow. Actually, I think Dean Martin has said something similar. And he was nothing if not a scamp.

It’s refreshing attitude. So simple. So free from angst and navel gazing and rumination. Happiness is a warm..never mind.


Why We Should Choose Change

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Nothing ever changes if nothing ever changes.

PsychCentral asked people on their Facebook page for their favorite motivational quotes and this one came up a couple of times. I’ve never heard it before and I like it.

I tend to get frustrated with people who complain about problems without ever doing anything different to fix them. There’s a sort of wishful/magical thinking about that, as if a problem should simply respond to your discontent and solve itself because you want it to.

My frustration is actually totally uncool. Unkind. People are naturally resistant to change. Of course they would rather gripe. It’s only natural. Change is hard. Inertia is very powerful.

But is that true for everyone all the time?


When Love Just Doesn’t Add Up

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye. — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.*

Certainly what makes us love is often invisible to the eyes of others. How often have you said, “I don’t know what she sees in him.” (Or vice versa, of course.) No, you don’t. You can’t. Love is intensely personal.

And sometimes even  the lovers themselves can’t see the why behind the emotion.


 

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Recent Comments
  • Starcke: I think Pascal quote has a less obvious; more important meaning. To me he is saying men too often change...
  • JB: He never actually says you have to be alone, or that it is an inability to be alone that is the cause of...
  • Barb: Just read a great book,’The Antidote’ by Oliver Burkeman that is about this subject. Kind of Seneca...
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