This may be because I was in a 9 year relationship in which when I was told to choose something and it was never the right answer. That being said, what I was choosing was to be with her.What we did meant nothing to me, that we did it together was everything. So she was choosing, sure, but that is a lot of pressure on one person over time.
Well, I am not writing this to look at what I was doing to others. I am looking for my relationship to preference and what is causing me to loose my voice in relationships and possible in my life. As we all know, if you are reading this I assume you know, we attract what we put out, and if I put out no preference well, what am I going to get?
I feel this lack of preference has close ties to my relationship with money. As a kid I don't really know what the economic temperature was to be honest, I want to say we were on the poor side but my father, by the time I was 7 or 8, was in a union and my folks bought their first home when I was 11, that made them 28 and 29 with 3 kids, you do the math. we were always cutting back, and the two things that were told to me was "You'll get what you are given" and "You do not need that." These two phrases may have wreaked havoc on my life but what else is a young mother supposed to tell her kids? How much emotion was there for her? How awful it must have been to have to tell her children no.
Well, I learned a lot during those days and today I can not remember what I had that I really liked. I had some toys, I specifically remember a stuffed Bullwinkle doll I talked to a lot, one incident in particular where I talked to it about the violence in my household. These memories talk to me in a special way.
I was recently told to look at, and pay attention to "Little Marty" but when I look back at his life I can't see it. I mean I can remember little things but I don't recall little Marty having a whole lot of preference either. What the hell did I like? I will tell you I liked bonding with my dad, but it was always uncomfortable because I had nothing in common with the man. He would laugh at something and I would glom onto it as a way to win favor it was often at the expence of others, so that was never really in my wheelhouse..
How sick is that in retrospect?
There was one time, and I have no idea what caused it, that every time my father came home I would get so nauseous I could hardly stand up. I would not eat with everyone else but would go to my room and pretend to sleep until he settled in after dinner or left for his second job. I was afraid of him, but again I do not know what caused it. If I were to be honest with my thoughts it may have been that he held guilt or fear about something during those days that I was picking up on, he did cheat on my mother and I have the ability, for whatever reason, to be in touch with others in that way.
Those days I had a preference. A preference to not be around my father. That was driven by something bigger than me and I have no idea what. When it came to things though, I don't really recall liking something more than another. I had cars, and liked to play with them with my father because he like to play with them. Again, here is an experience where someone who is entertaining themselves is telling me how to be there for them and I am looking to help make their experience better.
I know now that my father, when he looks to me and says "Don't you remember when we..." fill in the blank, is really only looking at his experience, and the joy he had. "I don't remember that" is almost always my response. Is it because I didn't choose it? Was my entire life built around what other people wanted? I mean I live a great life, I am lucky and surrounded by people I love and that love me, it is honest and I am open but when I am in a relationship with others I take that passenger seat, because I don't have a preference for what, only who.
This in many belief systems is a wonderful thing, and actually helps me be strong because I am not attached to things so much. Even when I got diagnosed with MS I got on with it rather quickly, Why? because I am surrounded by people and love. Without a preference I can easily accept this new world and life. I have to live without a whole lot of grieving, because it, whatever it is, is. There is no denying that, so we move on. That is where not having a preference is amazing and has offered me strength in the face of adversity time and time again.
But where has it failed me? Not having a preference has been difficult in the face of strong women so it seems. It is hard for me to point my finger and say they are the problem because, if something is happening to me it is me that is asking for it. I would not really consider any of this a "problem" at all. actually it is great to be going through this, unfortunate maybe to loose people I feel so strongly for but I didn't learn something after a 9 year relationship crumbled, and so I am looking at it all again. I hope I am ready to learn now but you never know.
Strong women today in the United States have preference they know what they want and they fight for it. I offer no struggle. I actually help them get what they want, or at least I attempt to. I come second to strong women, but as I have seen I came second to what my father wanted also. I LOVE strong women, I am surrounded by them in my life, women that do not need anyone, that is something I want to support. Is that because I am weak? I don't think so but in the face of that strength I have a voice but no preference.
So how do I get preference? Okay I can fake it, which I have been doing for 40 years. I ask myself "What will garner me respect? and I do that thing. I found out recently, over the past 10 years, that I do not like a lot of things. I have been fooled into liking music, dancing, cars, travel, money, smoking, drinking, drugs... oh man you name it. I liked these things not because I actually liked it but because it was the thing the people I surrounded myself with all accepted as the thing we liked.
People have changed in my life a lot it should be said. I stopped drinking and using drugs in my early 20s, I stopped smoking in my early 30s. Those were special groups of course. I am surrounded today by people who love art. and I like it I can honestly say, but I really only like that art which is touched by something bigger. The artists that does the hard work of following intuition being connected to all that they are. Those are the artists that I am attracted to. The art world as a whole can just suck it for all I care really.
I get excited about making my pet portraits and home watercolors because I know they will bring joy into the life of people. That is what art does, and can do.
So again I see that I like not the thing, the art that is created, but the relationship it has with the world and the viewer. This is probably why I get excited about my Portrait Project, a project I still work on today but it is one where I go to people's homes and sit with them for 2 or 3 hours to paint an oil pastel portrait of them. I connect and am able to offer and receive love in this situation. That is my preference.
But again how can I have a preference for things, foods, actions, movies, music? Do I need that? Probably not, but that answer goes back to the problem I have with money and the thing I was told as a child "You don't NEED that."
Well fuck that! I want preference and I want to look at preference. I do have some prefrences so let's look at those.
I prefer good cooking utensils. I like things that are well crafted, I am not a fan of fancy things that are fancy for the sake of being fancy but utilitarian. I do not want to buy 3 spatulas in my life, I think I can buy one and it last me and it not be something that is ever "Out of style" because it is not being built for style, but built for a purpose. Actually I have my Ladle and my Spatula, they will both last me my lifetime, so my preference on that front is settled.
I want to know what I want. Don't we all? That is not easy for me having grown up in a "you do not need that" and "You will take what you get" household. I see that I want a relationship that is close, and whether it is physical or not doesn't bother me.
WHOA, so what I see is that I want to love, okay but I see that I have loved these two women, and probably many of my friends more than I love myself. I may have just stumbled upon an issue.
So if I am not loving myself and there is a preference to love others what am I diverting?
Understand I do love myself, I have no fear in saying that, but what is this need or desire to give so much to others. So much so that it is not an even exchange causing guilt, but I do not tend to have resentment, actually I blame myself when things go wrong. I am working on not apologizing for being me but the "I am sorry's" do still slip through from time to time. I do know that sometimes I apologize to get coddled, to be told it is not my fault, to get my myself in a lower position to be treated with a little pity and get what I want, to give to the person that I am in the presence of.
Why do I struggle like this. The women that left me loved me, that is obvious but how was I not enough, and I know I am enough, but why do I have to be here without them? They were amazing and I can not ever say enough about them, I did and continue to place them on a pedestal, because they are me. That is for sure! They have something in them that I see in myself or I want for myself, which is another box all together. My preferences are for people, special people, strong people as I see them from where I am. So where am I now that this pain and struggle is needed. I am hurt by people who love me and I either no longer believe I am worth their time or I no longer believe I am worth my time.
I would prefer to have my best friend back, that is a preference, although it is one that requires another person so I don't get to dictate that, again if I have no preference it can not be taken from me, but I have to see this as an opportunity not a lack of anything. This is something being done for me not to me.
I just took a trip to the store, and again I noticed how my choices were dictated solely by my MS Whal's Protocol diet (Here we go again with another strong women telling me what to do) and price. So I get the diet and price thing. I mean I have not been doing great financially, but I live under these strict umbrellas and thoughts. I think it is immature to eat food that comes in a foil bag, I do it on occasion but I have shame about it. Also I love a Coke Cola but again drinking this, to me, knowing it is filled with poison, doing this is just giving in to craving, addiction, and all the things that advertisers want us to fall victim to. I am so suspicious of advertising, and in the United State that is no small portion of your surroundings. So again is a preference a preference or what we have been taught to think?
When I was a Little Marty my dad would get frustrated at Credit Card Companies, not that he had a credit card, but he would argue to the television and tell me that it was a scam and only suckers got credit cards, "If you don't have the money to buy it you don't need it."
There again I do not "Need it" that's the reason I did not go to college for a bachelor's degree. I didn't have the money nor would I have ever had the money, so I thought. So there I was learning all about money from a couple that was always cutting back. My needs were a burden, or they would have been had I had any. I think that I realized my older sister, who was smarter than I when it came to school and grades, not when it comes to empathy or people, but how would you grade that, was the one that wanted and received. When she received, I would naturally get something because we were only 11 months apart. I would be quiet and respectful and I would receive as residual of her receiving.
Our birthdays were only 11 days apart, and I don't know why or how that relates but, I have a lot of shame about my birthday. I avoid it but maybe want it to be a big deal. I have no idea what I feel about my birthday but I am sure it has something to do with preference. My ex-girlfriend, the one I was with for 9 years, she figured it out, I wanted an experience with her. She was absolutely right, I did. I loved her, still do to this day, I will never stop loving anyone I loved, I don't understand how I could, so of course I wanted to be with her doing something, I could not think of anything better.
So there, that is what I like, that is what I prefer, to be with and to share and experience. But I have always known that, so how AGAIN do I tap into the preferences that I can have with me every day?
How can I prefer one restaurant over another, the food is more delicious when I am with someone I love. Is there an answer? I mean I come across top 10 reviews all the time these days. With the whole social media world throwing out click bait every time you look up its hard to miss. They mean nothing. Do I know the writer and their tastes? No. So Why the hell do I want to know his top 10? Okay it is for tourists, read yelp and a few top 10s and boom, now you are off to experience your life. I can't imagine doing this but I know when giving a recommendation, I will pit my thoughts up against a few top 10s or yelp, I am disgusted by myself when I do that but how the hell do I say "Find someone to share it with and go any damn place you want." cause that is what I want to say. because one fuckin pizza is no better than another at a certain point. Living in Chicago that's the big talking point, Pizza. Giordano's, Uno or whatever the fuck. Maybe side by side there are differences but really, at that level its all the same nbd, or so I think.
But again here I am touting the values of not having a preference again, man this is pervasive.
So I don't want to go around being a guy that know's the right answer to "Who has the best deep dish" I really think that would suck. But what about my time, here is the issue, my Best Friend who decided to take leave of our friendship, said I had more adoration for her than she had for me (or something like that), so is that about how I decided to spend my time with her, was I in the quantity field and feeling it was quality because I found myself doing for her? I really can't see how someone couldn't take advantage of me, I mean I will say yes to those I love and have love me in return. I can say no when I feel like I do not want to do something but in this case I did, for the most part.
Ahhh here is the truth. I was feeling like I didn't want to do a few things on the grand scheme, I felt I needed space in the friendship also, but I didn't want to lose it. Today I fear that may be what happened by not taking those steps to create space on my own. I loved her, sure, but I was beyond having a crush on her as I will admit, and had to her, a long time ago; 18 months or so. This is where I need to hold fast to preference. I can not just give my time up. Hell, but how hard is it to drop some insignificant thing I am doing to go to the aid of my friend.
WOW! Is that some white knight bullshit or what? And why is what I am doing insignificant?
So here is what I figured out so far...
- I have little preference other than spending time with people I respect and love
- I happen to attract and connect with strong women (and men but lets stay focused)
- Strong women have strong preferences in the United States today, maybe
- Doing things for strong women is not a way to gain preference
- My time needs to be more important to me than their needs, relatively
- I probably want to be needed, but strong women don't do that
- I probably really want to feel needed by myself
Let's go over those last two points, I worked those out in my head but don't really think I wrote about them yet.
I realize that over the past few years I have given a lot, but really I do give a lot, and have my entire life. But I have given an extraordinary amount to a very few select people more recently. This is because I love them, sure. I am not stingy with my love either, I love my friends I love my family and even acquaintances that I happen to be with, at the time I am with them I love them, deeply. I believe that is because I love myself and I know that we are all connected and so the experiences I have are given to me so I like to be 100% present in those situations.
I am not exactly sure when the problems in my relationships arise because I ma not on the reciving end of my treatment, but I know if I could love myself to the extent that I have loved these two women I would be in a much different place than I am today. This reads to me as wanting to do two things need and be needed.
Remember, I grew up in a place where I didn't "Need" things. So, to ask of my friends for favors when I may like to have help, what ends up happening in my head is a conversation about how much I may, or may not, actually need this help. On the one side, I am fine, I am always fine there is nothing that I can say I actually NEED. Life might be easier if I had a little help but I wouldn't want to inconvenience them for that. Once again crushing my preference, preferring not to prefer.
This lead me to a story where I, having a flair up of my MS asked of my best friend, you know her, for a ride. She lovingly excepted and I started to walk, which was difficult in my position, so she wouldn't have to drive over a rough patch of road between our houses. This frustrated her and she yelled at me to let others come to me, this made me cry, because I don't let others come to me. I don't know why I have learned this but immediately following that incident her seat belt alarm started to ding and it became the most important thing for me to put on my seat belt. Her response was that it would turn off shortly and not to concern myself with it but, again, it was all I could do was focus on getting my seat belt on. She again responded sarcastically that we wouldn't want to inconvenience the car. Again I cried, I couldn't help but see that I was second not only to her but to her car and I realized that no matter how much I loved myself I was not giving myself that love and was worried way too much about either how I was being perceived or what I was supposed to be doing.
So how does all that add up to wanting to be needed? Well, here I was needing someone and they were there lickity split and I was just not allowing it because from where I was sitting I was not important enough to have someone want to help me. And if the assumption of what is going on outside is a reflection of the inside there is a bit of disconnect here. I have, on the outside, help. That is available to me on the inside but I am rejecting it. lowering my value not feeling worthy of being offered help and on the same token I am willing to drop what it is I am doing to help those I love. My preference being to give rather than receive in this case.
Fucking Hell! I haven't even started talking about Shame, Guilt, Fear or Addiction yet, this is going to be a lot.
So where is my preference getting fucked up? Why am I giving more than I am open to receiving? am I closed off to the Universe as well? who holds the card and why am I not wanting to be heard?
Well that last one might be easier than the others my dad was a "Children should be seen not heard" kind of a guy and even as a child I agreed with him. Today I am no child and I have amazing thoughts but still don't always stand up for them. again this comes down to the question "Do I need to?" and more often than not I see that I don't, rightly or wrongly.
I have little or no need to convince others I am right, I have no desire to be right at all. I am always right for my own sake but I needn't believe or convince others of any ideas. life is not about being right it is about living and more to the point, as far as I am concerned, it is about loving. That again goes to the preference questions, I have no preference for any one idea over another in the grand scheme.
What is your favorite season? Who cares, I always said autumn just to have an answer. Then I heard someone say "The next one" Meaning she was a fan of whatever was about to come. I thought that was brilliant, and solved my problem, not that it was my answer, but I was able to adopt it as one that was closer to what I felt than autumn. actually I don't care about seasons. Why should I? It is just weather after all. Same thing goes for colors and numbers, for me having a favorite doesn't make a lick of sense at all. But then again, I have no preference.
I often find when I do adopt a favorite it often quickly fades from my awareness and I then become attracted to other things in that same arena. All things like that except people. of course people change but if they are bettering themselves no one has fallen out of favor from me. of course people change in my life relationships change or fade but I hold love in my heart for all those that I have met and cared for.
So this still leaves us groping for answers as to why I have no preference.
I have an ideal, and ideal me, it had always been almost what I am. There are times that I don't know who I am at all, especially times like these where I am challenged by those that I love.
I am going to tell you I want a home, a house, I want to buy a house. I would love it to be in Chicago, where I was born and raised. I ask myself do I have a preference and I can not find one. I look at houses in my neighborhood and love them, others neighborhoods and love them as well. Where am I going to find preference?
I used to, and still do, say that "I don't live life I experience life being lived through me." well if I don't start to figure this out I may loose all the wonderful people in my life as they feel they are taking advantage of me and my immeasurable kindness and love.
More on preference to come I am sure