Only the Darkness Can Filter Through.

I was 29 years old and hanging out with the then girlfriend. We were at her house in the middle of the afternoon. She didn’t have any lights on. Her windows were open. The shades were up. Light from outside was coming into the room. She said she doesn’t usually have lights on in her room. She said preferred it that way.

Many times when I go to a friend’s house I’ll see that their front door is open, and maybe there’s only a screen door closed. If the door happens to be closed, it may not be locked and I’m encouraged to just go inside.

Those things confuse me. They always have.

No, it doesn’t make sense to you. It probably won’t. It shouldn’t.
It barely makes sense to me. But, let me explain.

My house always has the doors closed and locked. The windows are rarely open. The curtains are always down. This is what I’ve known for the majority of my life. It’s how my parents did things in the house. If I lift a curtain, it gets pulled back down. It’s what I was programmed to know as normal.

My life has literally and figuratively been locked away in seclusion and darkness.

Breaking my programming is not easy. Some of the sources of the programming are no longer around, but what they taught me still exists. Changing my normal to something else isn’t something I’ve found easy to do.

But, this isn’t just about doors being locked or windows being down, it’s a lot deeper than that. It’s about the people, places, and things in my life that have made me depend on darkness for comfort.

I’ve been in the shadows cast my more outgoing friends and family members. I’ve been the one that was noticed or picked last. My accomplishments only get attention when I point them out. There’s always been that dark cloud over my head.

I can’t flat out tell you that I don’t enjoy being miserable. I know that I enjoy being comfortable. Miserable is comfortable for me. Happiness confuses me. Yet, I enjoy happiness. I enjoy the feelings that I get when I’m happy. However, when I’m happy, I’m sure things are going to fall apart. Why don’t I assume that things will get better when I’m at my more miserable points?

Again, I’ll say that I’m sure this doesn’t make sense to some of you. I’m almost envious of that. Although, if you’re happy all the time, I’m confused by you. I’ve often wondered what type of delusional world that eternally happy people live in. Does it really exist? How are they oblivious to what I see and deal with? Or am I oblivious to what they see and deal with?

I don’t have the answers to the questions I’m asking here. You probably don’t either.

How can someone change 42 years worth of programming when so many situations that have caused that programming remain the same? How can I change what may not be able to be changed? If I can’t change some things, can I work around them?

I’ve written 10 entries this year. Some of them offered hope. They offered prospects of renewal in my life. They offered new chances. There’s a lot of good things happening for me right now. There really are. I’m very much aware of that and I have enough perspective to know that things are going (mostly) well for me. And yes, I did have to throw in that little hint of doubt. It’s because I’m constantly expecting everything to fall apart around me. The balance I’ve been seeking in my life seems to be there already. I see it as lots of little good things being canceled out by bad things.

Do I focus too much on the negative? Do I imagine the negative? What if things really are going great for me right now and I don’t know it? What if things aren’t going to fall apart?

Here’s some irony for you. My anxiety levels just spiked as I was typing that last paragraph. Yes, as I was discussing the possibility that my life might be going well, I got anxious about it. I think that sums up this entry very well.

Now that I’ve taken a few minutes to gather my thoughts as I wrap up this entry, I realize that what I said earlier is very true. I don’t have answers for my questions. I think I just have to keep going on this journey. Yes, my journey may be through darkness, but maybe one day there will be a window of opportunity and some light will filter through.

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Can We Begin at the End to Save Some Time?

It’s probably a good thing that I look at things from my past differently than I did while experiencing them. Maybe it’s a “hindsight is 20/20 thing.” Maybe it’s a case of me being tired of making the same mistake over and over again. Maybe it’s me seeing the same mistakes that I’ve made being made by others and that helps me recognize it. Whatever the reason is, it’s good to stop a behavior or pattern that is not beneficial to me. I’m not going to get into anything truly specific here, but if you know me well and you know where I’ve been for the past few years, some of you may be able to figure out some of what I’m talking about.

I’ve had a few relationships during the last few years. For various reasons, none of them have worked out. In some cases, I tried my best to get them back. Again, for various reasons, none of them worked out. No matter what I did, no matter how much I tried, no matter what I said, they never worked. Despite warnings from my own instincts, warnings from friends, warnings from the exs’ friends (yes, that’s plural), I kept trying. Sometimes one of the exs would tell me everything I ever wanted them to say to me. I would go back. It wouldn’t work. Nothing was solved. That pattern of behavior kept going and going and going. Until I absolutely could not go through it any more.

I don’t totally believe that the exs that came back and told me things could be different had any malicious intentions with me. I now believe things couldn’t have ever worked. In many cases, people break up because they just shouldn’t be together. There’s many reasons for a split in a relationship. I’ve had bad breakups and I’ve had some really amicable ones.

Sometimes two good people are just not good together. That happens. There could be a very good chemistry between them, or so it seems. But, maybe there’s a toxicity in the chemistry that dooms everything from the start. It may not immediately bubble up to the surface, but once it does, there’s usually no turning back.

There’s also people that are just toxic in general. They bring down the people around them. They leave the people they claim to love in shambles. They ruin lives. They may not mean to. But, it happens. Some of those people have significant mental and emotional issues of their own that need to be addressed. It’s unfortunate that they often don’t address them and continue to hurt the people they claim to care so much about.

Being the advocate for mental health awareness that I am, I am all for giving people multiple chances. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to do. Unfortunately, some people cannot break bad behavioral patterns.

I’ve made plenty of mistake in my relationships. I’ll make plenty more mistakes. And even with everything I’ve just said about toxic relationships and bad behaviors, I have a hard time saying that giving people multiple chances was necessarily wrong of me to do. I’ve seen people get a lot more damaged by failed relationships than I’ve been go back to the person that they were hurt by. I’ve been on both sides of the equation. I get it. I understand it. It’s not always easy.

The head and the heart are not always in agreement with each other. Heartbreak after heartbreak can happen and the brain may tell you not to go back, but that won’t always stop you. But, I can also tell you that it’s a bit empowering when you finally put your foot down and say “enough.” Until that happens, if the cycle keeps going, expect more heartbreak.

As I’ve said, I’ve been on various sides of this one. I’ve been the one pursuing an ex. I’ve been the one that starts something with someone only to have an ex show up and promise the world, end the new thing to go back to the ex and have it collapse all over again, if it even really started to take off at all, which it rarely ever did. I’ve also been the one that was left behind for an ex that keeps promising the world. I can’t get angry with anyone for doing it to me, I’ve done it. That doesn’t make it right, it doesn’t make it wrong, it just means I understand when (and why) it happened.

I do look back at my own personal history a lot. I try my best to learn from it. It may take me a while, but I usually do learn from it. I try my best to not repeat the mistakes. But, sometimes it does happen. I don’t know if it’s fortunate or unfortunate that I sometimes learn from my mistakes when I see them being made by people I care about. But, It’s good that I’ve learned.

Sometimes, in the cases of these doomed from the start, doomed from the re-start, and doomed from re-re-start relationships, there is no new beginning. There’s just time being spent until it ends again. That next ending may be emotionally worse than the first time. Something has to change. Actions must be taken that match (or surpass) the promises of better things. It’s been my experience that they rarely are.

There’s no winning. There’s no relief. There’s just sense of loss, regret, and heartbreak. It just keeps going. It’s an absolute zero. There’s no winning an absolute zero.