Thursday, April 15, 2010

It Never Was But it Never Matters

Losing friends is part of life. All life on this planet ends in its time. People, animals, plants - relationships. Ultimately, they are all doomed to death.

Some things die in natural course. Some die before their time. But all things die.

There were people who lived hundreds or thousands of years ago. Not a single person on this planet today knows they were ever here. But they were.

There was a time when they were alive and living. And when they died their life continued in the memories of those who knew them. But then those who knew them died, and their life could only live on in those who had been told about them. And then those who had been told about them died. Fewer and fewer people talked about them. Until nobody remembered they were here. All that become known was that someone was here. But nobody knew who.

The physical death of a lover is devastating. Some people never actually recover. The best they ever manage is to continue in their own life. But they don't really live it anymore. The grief just doesn't go away.

They are lonely.

I won't say it is more or less painful, but when the lover lives but the loving has died it is very much like physical death. There is grieving. And some people never actually recover.

We're lonely.

I have been told by many people recently that if someone truly loves me, then in time they will let go of anger/hurt/whatever negative feelings they have and return to me. And if they don't ever return to me then they probably never really loved me in the first place.

I know they mean well, but does making me think they never loved me in the first place supposed  to make me feel better? The only remaining joy I have of my lover turns out to be a lie? That means there are no happy memories.

When Blue-Eyed Boy was very young - couldn't walk or use many words - I had him with me in a store. He was fussy. Life gets awful samey when you're sitting in a shopping cart. And for people that young samey can get bad in a hurry. But before his fussed too much he saw something fantastic: a giant wind-up jumping Tigger toy. It was being demonstrated. Wind it up and it would bounce its head a few times and then do a big flip. Blue-Eyed Boy thought that was pretty cool. And by letting him hold on to one and play with it I was able to complete my shopping in peace.

I had no intention of buying the toy, so it never really belonged to Blue-Eyed Boy. But you all know what happened when I finished shopping and finally put Jumping Tigger back on the shelf? Blue-Eyed Boy was upset.

Now I have been lucky with Blue-Eyed Boy. He has only thrown one tantrum in his whole life. That was a difficult time, but we got through it well enough. It took the most difficult time out I've ever experienced. I sat with him. We were BOTH in time out. And maybe that's why he never had a tantrum again. He knew he was not alone.

But losing Jumping Tigger was hard. Blue-Eyed Boy had come to believe Jumping Tigger belonged to him. So having it taken away was not a matter of him not getting his way. It was like losing something he already had.

He didn't throw a tantrum. But he cried. He cried a cry he had never cried before, and only repeated since when we lost animals due to illness. He was grieving.

Did it matter to him that the toy had never really been his? That poor communication on my part had helped him misunderstand? No. That didn't matter at all. What mattered is that he had believed he had something precious. And now it was gone. It broke his heart.

There are those who probably disagree with what I did next. We were actually more than a mile away from the store when I stopped the car to try and talk with him. Then, crying myself, I turned around and went back to the store and bought Jumping Tigger. Blue-Eyed Boy still has it. Hasn't played with it in more than ten years, but he still has it.

That was the only time anything like that ever happened with Blue-Eyed Boy. Since then I have been careful to be more clear about what is - and what is not - his.

But why is it so wrong for me to feel the same way about a lover?

Does it matter their love was never actually mine in the first place? No. Because there was a time I was convinced it was. There was a time when I sat in my shopping cart content with what I believed was mine. And now that it has been taken away - - - - -

I'm grieving.

So go ahead and tell me I was never loved in the first place. The proof is that my plea for reconcilliation has been ignored. Not even a "no" answer. Just silence. Like I don't exist.

It doesn't matter if they never loved me. Because I believed they did. And now they don't. And it hurts. And I always feel like crying. And I don't know how long it's going to take to recover.

I'm lonely.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Would the Real Me Please Step Forward

I think I've mentioned before that I have played a few online games in which I get to be a whole new character other than myself. Some of them can be quite fun. Some not so much so.

What I find most enjoyable are the people I meet. Yes, we're all telling fantastic lies about ourselves - mostly with regard to our appearance. For even if we confess our age (which I kind of do - I give a decade) our visual images are generally young - and quite good looking. Mine is compared to the real life me anyway.

I've met people from a variety of occupations and countries. And ages. One of the people I've met is a young psychology student from somewhere in the eastern side of the United States. I actually know the state, but will grant her further anonymity by not revealing it. She said she read about people and their online behavior in one of her classes. There have been studies made. (Of course there have been studies made. There's always a study.)

Not surprisingly, the studies reveal that people are often more the way they want to be when playing these online games. Shy people often find themselves with arm loads of friends. And I suppose weak and powerless feeling people become dominant in the war games. (She didn't say that one. I'm guessing.) Followers must become leaders and I bet some leaders even become followers. And then there are the gender swappers.

I asked this question of her: So, if being online removes the barriers and fears I have in real life which prevent the real me from displaying to the world, does that mean I'm more real online than in real life?

Her answer: In way, yes.

What online has done is remove the visual aspect of who I am - which ultimately has little (nothing) to do with who I really am.

I believe this. Kind of.

For what I look like, and my physical gender, both directly affect my behavior in real life. If my body has limitations then I have limitations. There are places women and can go but men can't, and places men can go but women can't. There are socially accepted behaviors for women which are unacceptable for men, and the same in reverse.

She asked me to close my eyes and envision myself. Who do I see when I look at the me inside my body? In a cooperative mood, I began to list about six to eight character qualities I think I have - but rarely display - in my real life. As I listed them I felt a chill on my arms. Why? Because many people online have used those very words to describe me - without prompting of any kind from me. In real life I don't often get these compliments, even with prompting.

That conversation made me feel happier about myself online. And I realized just how many people online actually seem to like me. And if all of this mumbo jumbo about the real me showing up online more so than in person, then perhaps I am as kind, caring - and likeable - as I wished I was in real life.

Also makes me wonder about the people who are complete assholes in these games.