Tag Archives: relationships

Speculating Damaged Goods

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If I could be a jar on any shelf, I’d like to be the jar of speculoos cookie spread that you keep in the cupboard next to the crunchy peanut butter. I know how much you love your peanut butter but I think you’d rather have speculoos despite your aversion to sweets.

Plus, peanut butter is a safe bet — everyone and their mother keeps it on hand. I’d rather be your special treat; your guilty pleasure; the one you can’t get enough of; your sugar high; that sweet taste left in your mouth; the creamy, sugary goodness that keeps you coming back for more.

Unfortunately, when taken off the shelf and consumed, I’m not all that good for you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The thing about sugar is that it causes highs and lows: I will bring you up only to bring you right back down with me — not on purpose, of course. It’s just the way I was made and packaged. Damaged goods, if you will.

When did damaged goods get such a bad rap anyway? I remember going to the Pepperidge Farm outlet as a kid to get a discount on goldfish because the boxes were dented or had expired. I’ll have you know that the goldfish always tasted the same. So what if a heart has some minor bruising, tears or dents? You’re getting a deal on what’s inside: an enormous amount and ability to love without which, that same heart would never have been in a position to get bruised and dented in the first place. Damaged goods might be the result of high passion but at least you can be sure you’re dealing with someone who loves all in.

I understand if the highs and lows that come with damaged goods don’t suit your taste buds. I don’t blame you for wanting to reach for the old tried and true peanut butter. There’s a reason why every mom’s go-to lunch is a PB & J sandwich oozing with gobs of peanut spread: it reliably satisfies hunger for long periods of time — much longer than speculoos cookie spread ever could.

But speculoos is just so damn good it’s hard to say no.

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Is it Love or Is it Lust?

“If love is all you need, why do we want something more? If love is the answer, why are we so unsure?”

I wrote these lyrics months ago when I was single and questioning love. I’ve since fallen in love and I’m still questioning it. It seems like no matter who you are, whether single or taken or somewhere complicatedly in between, we are all questioning our love statuses. Or maybe it’s only those of us who have been strung along and dragged down the path of bruised and broken hearts who are insatiably curious.

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Is it love, or is it lust? Inquiring minds would like to know. In a recent musing with my best friend about love vs. lust, I came to the conclusion that those of us who have been through the relationship ringer are incapable of knowing the difference between love and lust. We will always question and we will always feel conflicted. The inner cycle of contradiction for those who have really had a time of it goes something like this: the gut instinct assure me it’s love, the fickle heart taunts me to go big or go home and the rational mind yells at me to slow down. So where exactly do my best interests lie when instincts can be wrong, hearts break and if it were up to rationality, I’d never take a risk?

It seems to me that after being repeatedly broken down by love, we’ve lost the ability to trust the most important person in a relationship: ourselves. We don’t trust that we will make sound decisions in love and  we don’t believe it when we tell ourselves that we are capable and deserving of being loved; thus, we are completely unsure if you are the perfect fit for us or if you really are a good guy. And we definitely don’t believe you when you tell us you love us.

How can you be so sure of love let alone be so sure you love me? You fell so swiftly and so hard that it couldn’t possibly be love. It must be lust. You couldn’t possibly have simply fallen in love with me just like that because I’m such a great catch. No way – it’s lust you’re mistaking for love. You didn’t ask me to be your girlfriend to make sure you locked it down; instead, you asked me to be your girlfriend because you wanted to ensure a steady shag. You couldn’t possibly be laughing at my jokes because you think they’re actually funny.

There’s just no way you love me.

Not only am I skeptical, but I’m also jealous. Jealous that you can love without inhibition – that when you fight for love you’re fighting because you are love’s champion, not because you could never put aside your pride. Jealous that you had good experiences in love – so good that you know how to be a friend to someone you’ve seen naked and that someone still wants to be friends with you. Most of all jealous that you don’t sit there tormented by this inner dialogue.

Sometimes I wish I had never been hurt so that I could feel how it feels to love, no questions asked.

Troubleshooting

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There is no troubleshooting life. There is no Help Wizard. And unfortunately, I’m not savvy enough to make the error messages in my head disappear. I keep clicking the little x in the top left corner of the box but the same message reappears: Something is off. Yes, as a matter of fact, I would like more information. What is that something and where is the on/off switch?

This is my first attempt at really writing. I’ve been writing songs for over a year now but the thoughts circuiting my brain have grown too large to be limited to 3 minutes and 30 seconds. I need more space and time to figure out how to turn that something off on – that thing inside me that is off but has somehow had enough power to hold me back.

Writing seems to be the only thing that can move me forward when my system fails. I can ignore it all I want – read advice columns, play silly games, or click the minimize box – but the error message remains, blinking in my toolbar until I face it head on. The only Force Quit option is to write…to open the documents slowly, sift through the data, and spit out words that offer an explanation, even if they only make sense to me.

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Every model is different – I have to keep telling myself that. I’m an upgraded version from who I was two years ago and he is completely different than my old worn out hard drive. He doesn’t overheat when things get hard, freeze when he’s tired, or crash when he simply can’t take it anymore; he is a quality, reliable find. Still, I can’t help but remember what happened with the old machine every time I stroked a key too hard or raised my voice because it just.  wasn’t.  working. I will never forget how he gave up and threatened to leave me alone so many times.

The scars are stored, buried now under new layers of happiness, but filed forever nonetheless. All it takes is one simple search item followed by a strike of the return key to recover them and I can’t will my fingers to stop. I tell my mind to quit dwelling in past folders but it won’t obey my commands. Instead, it processes new input by comparing past and present data and uses it to predict the future. These faulty analyses will not hold up long term. They can’t. Of course the past can be helpful for learning, but it can also be destructive if we wallow in it.

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I refuse to wallow. I’d rather troubleshoot with words.