the emotional labor of love

there was a meme that a facebook acquaintance (a woman i think is rad) posted earlier in the week that i attempted to make a thing on my own wall. one person was to post the meme, and then someone else would write something they loved about their friend and then post the meme on their own wall, with the hopes of setting off this wonderful chain reaction of love and admiration across facebook. the OP got a lot of well-deserved, awesome comments.

after i posted it, my good friend T reposted it and found that the majority of her respondents were women. out of maybe 6 or 7, only 2 were men. she reflected that perhaps men are reluctant to post things like that because they’re socialized not to feel their feelings nor to express them to women, especially female friends who are partnered. this began a brief dialogue between the two of us about doing the emotional labor for men in our friendships and romantic relationships. it got me to thinking about my own relationship patterns.

i wrote this:

yeah, it becomes a thing where you start sorting out and explaining and untangling and guessing and armchair-analyzing. i am, quite frankly, worn out on this. i think i need to move into a place where i SHRUG when men expect me to drag their feelings out of them and help them sort through. it’s one thing to ask a *friend* to do this *with* you. it’s another for it to be the expectation.

to clarify: this tends to be an A-1 issue for me in romantic situations or situations that could go that way. friendships with men that are clearly platonic or that are more surface don’t seem to be as tricky for me, but i think that’s because i’m able to draw a firmer line.

then i remarked that this seemed like the beginning of a blog post. 😉

i discovered sometime last year that my tendency in romantic relationships is to take on the majority, if not all, of the emotional work. this is particularly true at the beginning of a relationship. i spend so much time and emotional/mental energy trying to sort out how he might feel about me, what i might mean to him, where he might see things going (if anywhere), making excuses when/if (more likely when, in my case) things don’t quite gel or he acts in silly, thoughtless ways. it is exhausting work, trying to figure out where you stand with someone and doing most of the communicating.

it’s my own choice to engage with this, of course, and i’ve had to learn how to communicate directly about how i feel and what i need and want, and about what’s not acceptable friendly behavior. being direct doesn’t always feel good. but i’ll tell you what – ripping the band-aid off is much easier than the agony of being treated poorly in the long term. i’ve had situations where later on, i’ve realized just how much of an emotional bullet i dodged because i chose to walk away from people who couldn’t be bothered to be open with me or to respond to my requests for communication.

i’m a pretty intense person – both friend and partner – and i recognize that not everyone can hang with that. i don’t think i’m for everyone. BUT – i also refuse to apologize for my sensitivity and need for honesty. i deserve that as a minimum. i’ve spent a very long time disparaging myself because i couldn’t grow a thicker skin or detach from someone. nowadays i try to acknowledge when and where i hurt and then learn from it and move forward. and i also try to enjoy good times without getting wrapped up in things i can’t control, like any future outcomes.

there’s a lot of personal stuff i could write here, but i’ll just spare you that. you should probably read this article, though. if you want to be a good friend and a good partner to someone, you have to be observant and thoughtful for those relationships to succeed. you have to do your part. you can’t expect the other person to carry the weight of the relationship. if you’re not invested in or concerned with your stake in a relationship- whether platonic or romantic – you end up communicating that in your thoughtless behavior or in your silences. your lack of commitment comes through, even if you think you’re engaged. if your partner doesn’t feel heard or appreciated, it is probably because you haven’t tended to some need they have. or even asked what that need is.

sigh. it’s a hard road and so much of it is wrapped up in feelings of self-worth and identity. it’s been a long process trying to figure this out for myself and it’s still a struggle. but mutuality in all relationships is necessary and it’s what we owe the people we care about.

 

Advertisements
the emotional labor of love

black lives matter, remembering hiroshima and nagasaki, and some other small bits

some of these articles may be a little less timely, but i’ve read a lot of excellent stuff recently.

last week was the 70th anniversary of the bombings of hiroshima and nagasaki. i’m not even sure what to say. i read a lot of survivor accounts last week. absolutely heartbreaking. frightening. angering. i recommend googling “survivors of the atomic bomb” or something like that. read through what you find. we must remember these stories.

“black lives matter: a new movement takes shape” – international socialist review contextualizes the black lives matter movement. excellent.

Continue reading “black lives matter, remembering hiroshima and nagasaki, and some other small bits”

black lives matter, remembering hiroshima and nagasaki, and some other small bits

oh hai

giphyit’s been a minute. i’m currently beating the heat at my favorite coffeeshop around the corner and starting to change my position on buying an air conditioner unit. i’m pretty sure my apartment is at about 90 degrees right now. clothing is totally optional.

anyway, here’s some stuff i’ve been looking at over the last few days:

Continue reading “oh hai”

oh hai

short bits for today

ghostworld

i’ve been meaning to post for the last few days, but i’ve honestly had zero energy despite reading amazing/horrible stuff that i’ve wanted to share. i want to keep up my posting momentum, though! so here are some links for your consideration.

donald trump needs a better research team – so trump managed to score some more press by posting to twitter a ridiculous image of himself, the american flag, and some… nazi soldier. the tweet has since been taken down. as someone with two degrees in history and an MLS, i can do some good research. BUT more importantly, as someone with a fucking brain, i can tell you that if you’re going to use an historical image, you MIGHT want to make sure you’re using the right one. you MIGHT want to do some fact-checking. also, how frightening is it that trump is leading in the polls?!

some white artist decided she should make a statement about white privilege and violence by recreating the michael brown crime scene. proving once again that white people will do anything to make a buck and exploit people of color.

more and more women are being arrested and it seems like a lot of those arrests are made when women defend themselves against their abusers. it’s a war on women, people. do not be fooled. and women who report assaults in prison get re-traumatized through unwarranted punishment. amme voz writes a magnificent blog about her re-entry into daily life after being incarcerated.

something positive: kate willaert’s uncool artblog is actually pretty cool.

check out this splendid cincinnati band, dream tiger.

riot nrrd resources! this is awesome! zines, anyone!?

trip to nyc anyone? these small libraries look so cool!

happy tuesday, y’all.

short bits for today

the worst 65 hours

june 29th cover of the new yorkeri think almost everyone can say that the last 4 days or so have been incredibly rough, even if you’re not in charleston. i’ve spent a lot of time writing angry screeds and occasionally crying. but my emotions, i’m certain, pale in comparison to the kind of grief and anger those who have lost their loved ones in the charleston murders and those who feel the effects of racism and white supremacy on a daily basis. you can know a lot intellectually about white supremacy; you can read all the history books and the critical race theory literature. but when something like this happens, you can see for yourself the human cost of this kind of terrorism. Continue reading “the worst 65 hours”

Image

trigger warning, or why i don’t need to be a feminist anthropologist this time

info_overloadusually i want to be caught up on current events. i don’t want to miss anything. even if i often feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information i consume via social media, blogs, podcasts, youtube, whatever, i press on, convinced that missing something means i’m not as informed as i could be. and not being the most informed person makes me feel dumb.

but i’ve come to the conclusion that there are some things i just don’t need to read, hear, or see. i’m trying to be more selective about the information i consume. do i need to know everything firsthand? Continue reading “trigger warning, or why i don’t need to be a feminist anthropologist this time”

trigger warning, or why i don’t need to be a feminist anthropologist this time