I didn’t write last week on purpose. And I don’t have much to say this week either.

For as pitiful as I’ve felt over the last couple of weeks, I’m doing a great job of not collapsing into despair or anything. I like being melodramatic here. I hold myself to a certain standard of minimal bitching and no pity parties when I’m around people, but a part of me wants to be able to let go of my self-restraint and ask for pity or love or whatever. Does that make sense? Part of me wants to be an attention whore, but my only outlets for that are Katie/Mom, and this blog. When I make melodramatic statements here, I usually completely mean them.

My brain isn’t working well enough to write today…..

Oh, and happy Halloween. Woo hoo.

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I'm a young, childless widow who is trying to figure out the best way to deal with the world in light of my late husband's suicide. It's harder than I ever imagined it would be, but somehow at the same time I am still alive and even happy sometimes.

9 thoughts on “36”

  1. Hm. Ideally. This all goes back to adjusting to being single – I would never have even thought to really complain about this before. But I miss being able to say, “I’m having a shitty day, will you tell me I’m pretty?” or “Why do you like me? I’m not really that great am I?” — and have the person to whom I’m saying it actually care that I’m having a shitty day and assure me that they love me and that I’m important to them. I know that I ought to be satisfied with the value that I have assigned to myself, and in the knowledge that I do have family and friends who love me. But I would like to be able to ask for verbal affirmations without coming off as annoying, self-pitying, weak, etc. I would never ask for non-verbal affirmations (but they would also be welcome). I’m not sure if that answers your question or not.


    1. As far as “self-pitying” and “weak” are concerned — maybe the shoe fits. Only limited amounts of compassion are available from others, so sometimes you have to make up for it by pitying yourself. Weakness is just part of the human condition; nature didn’t build us to be like cartoon superheroes. I don’t know about the “annoying” part, though; we’re all pretty needy when we’re young, and it’s probably for the better, so why get annoyed — unless the person just really doesn’t care and would have preferred to hide it.

      Approval-seeking brings people together and impels people to accomplish stuff. How many people say, “I’m tired of being alone [or ‘in this crummy relationship’]; I’m going to find someone to share my life with who appreciates me” or “People think I’m lame, but I’ll show them! When I’m done accomplishing this great work, people will think I’m awesome”? By being unabashedly needy, you push away the people who won’t appreciate you, and you give opportunities to the people who do appreciate you to fulfil your needs, which makes them feel useful and wanted. What other standard of usefulness is there, but what makes people happy; and who is to say one source of happiness is better than another? There are a lot of sources of happiness out there that seem kinda bizarre, and require a lot of effort on the part of others to fulfil, but people don’t stigmatize them.

      Cats like to be petted; if they didn’t, who would keep them around? Some people prefer dogs to cats because they’re needier, while others prefer the less needy animal. It’s just a matter of personal preference. What’s annoying to one person is desirable to another.

      Our culture doesn’t always approve of how nature has molded people to be, and tries to get them to conform to some unrealistic and undesirable image (in this case, of strength and independence), but what else is new. Some of the most sensitive people I know, who feel deeply wounded on the inside, are the ones who try to maintain a facade of strength; I would prefer if they could show vulnerability, but they’re afraid. Anyway, thanks for the chance to dispel the myths.

      It’s convenient to be pretty, but progress comes from ugliness. However, there’s no sugarcoating the fact that agents of progress have a tough lot in life. At any rate, though, attraction is partly a result of liking someone’s personality; once someone decides “this is the person for me,” one tends to want to also say “this person is attractive” in order to reduce cognitive dissonance. The converse and the contrapositive are also true.

      Anyway, beauty standards are very subjective. To tell someone “you’re pretty” is just to say “I like you, so I prefer to believe that you’re pretty” or “congratulations, you’re average, and therefore likely to be desired regardless of whether average is optimal”. Whoop-de-do.

      Non-verbal affirmations — hmm, those tend to be pleasant, and sometimes there’s just no substitute for them. Actions can be a lot more satisfying and meaningful than words. It’s nice to not only have someone say “You’re attractive to me as a friend/lover” but prove it.

      “I know that I ought to be satisfied with the value that I have assigned to myself, and in the knowledge that I do have family and friends who love me” — how do you know that? It would be convenient to be satisfied, because then no more work would be required. But you’re NOT satisfied, which is another way of saying, you have ambitions to get more than what you have now. Ambition is respectable; and voicing one’s desires can sometimes be enough to get them met, but not always.


      1. BTW, what do you mean about dispelling myths?

        Ultimately when I say I want people to think I’m pretty, what I really mean is that I want them to like me. Which reminds me of the passage in the Tao that says something about how when you care about what other people think, you make yourself their prisoner. THIS is why I think I ought to be satisfied with the value that I see in myself, without needing gratification from other people. But like you said, this doesn’t work all the time so I seek outside input. Sometimes. šŸ™‚


  2. Here are some verbal affirmations of your coolness, though:
    * Anyone who blogs is at least somewhat cool, because most people just post to Facebook (a medium where posts are quickly buried from view) or emails (a private medium that keeps messages from being viewed by, and thereby benefiting, the general public). Bloggers provide a greater public service.
    * You actually ask for what you want, rather than expecting people to read your mind. The socially inept appreciate such clarifying explicitness.
    * You’re willing to play obscure board games (a lot of people are close-minded to anything beyond Monopoly, Sorry!, chess, and the other usual suspects)
    * You appreciated Matt’s good qualities (a lot of people didn’t)
    * You don’t mind taking quizzes like the RIASEC

    If I knew you better, I’m sure I could list more…


  3. I think it’s hard to not be at least somewhat dependent on approval from others. When you detach from desires (such as the desire for approval), you miss out on some of the pleasure of the desires being satisfied. So like in the movie Parenthood, it’s a question of whether you prefer the roller coaster (of exhilarating satisfaction and agonizing dissatisfaction) or the merry-go-round (of calm, dispassionate detachment).

    Personally, I’m riding the latter these days, but the roller coaster was cool at times too. The problem was, it sucked more than it was good, just like a real roller coaster. You spend a lot more time standing in line in the summer heat than you do actually having fun. https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Parenthood#Dialogue


  4. I’m not cut out to live by the Tao. I do care what other people think of me. Especially people I like.

    I like you, Erin. And you’re pretty.
    I like that you like obscure games, too.
    And you’re so talented at so many things but not snotty about it.


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