Monday, May 5, 2014

I'm Not Okay, I Promise

I'm really not doing okay. I went through a breakup and it sucks and I'm not gonna go around acting like I'm okay. I was very serious when I said that you'd see the biggest drop in writing quality that you've ever seen from me. Out of principle, because I'm NOT a suck it up and deal kind of person, and if something's wrong, you're gonna see that reflected in everything I do. My productivity level at work has dropped by at least 25% and I don't intend to do anything to fix that.

I'm flashing back really really hard to Colby. Really hard. Like I'm four years out, graduation was four whole years ago but now suddenly it's all flashing back to me really hard because my boyfriend isn't here anymore. He saved me from Colby. I felt like I hopped into his orange car and he started driving faster and faster and the next thing I knew we were far far far away from Colby. I hung out with his friends and social circle and it was so not Colby. Not that it was perfect because I did have some issues with some people. Okay I honestly didn't fit in with them all that well because it was all about iphones and computer games that I don't play, but it was so not Colby and that in itself is one of the biggest accomplishments ever.

I had this big logical epiphany a couple weeks ago and was thinking about all the reasons we weren't compatible, how I let that stuff slide and how we ended up where we are now.  I realized how messed up my standards were after getting out of Colby and how a lot of the qualities I valued were things that weren't as hard to find as I thought. I remember telling my friend when my boyfriend and I first started dating that he didn't assume I knew anything that the average person doesn't know and he didn't hold me to any kind of higher intellectual standards because of where I went to school. He didn't have a cause he was gonna pressure me about. We could enjoy curly fries together without him questioning whether it was wasting a lot of the potato to make curly fries (like my college friends would say). And for a while last week I was thinking that even though these qualities are important to me, they're not all that hard to find. But now I'm really starting to question that again. Because the fact is - he was a non-pressurer for a lot of things. Okay, in the end there was pressure about getting a job and traditional values and work ethic and I did feel like he wanted me to be someone I wasn't, but he didn't pressure me about a lot of stuff in general. And is that really an easy quality to find? Is that level of not caring what someone else is doing something I'm ever gonna come across again? Sure, I wished we could have talked more. A part of me thinks I might be more compatible with someone who likes to talk more because I like to talk a lot, but another part of me is like, would someone who wants to have lots of deep conversations be as equally non-pressuring? I mean that - do these things even coexist? Because if they don't, then non-pressuring is my top priority and I'd take that over anything else. ANYTHING else.

I really felt that I'd rather be with someone who has opposite beliefs but doesn't push them than someone who has the same beliefs as me but pressures me to do more about stuff than I want to. The problem is that we're not as separate from out beliefs as I thought we could be. Our beliefs aren't just about who we vote for or what causes we care about - they're in everything we do, and they were just too opposite. That's what I said last week. But then I had a dose of Colby and was like, wait a sec - okay, maybe our beliefs were too opposite, I'll buy that, but I honestly still feel like I'd rather be with someone who has opposite beliefs but is more neutral/uninvolved with them than someone who has the exact same beliefs as me and is gonna pressure me to do a bunch of stuff. Non-pressuring is still at the top and he did mostly have that quality and it only takes one drop of Colby, one ounce of those memories, to start feeling trapped like Colby is the fucking world and start to think that maybe non-pressuring is a rare hard to find quality and I never should have let him go. Never.

Yes he broke up with me but I basically drove him to that point by demanding an answer about how he was feeling, so we sort of both did it, so I can say that I shouldn't have let him go because I did push him away in the end even if he technically did the dumping part. Why the hell did I let him slip away?

What no one seems to accept about me and about the Colby situation was that I had MORE of an issue with the socially-aware subculture of Colby than I did with the mainstream culture. That's honestly where most of the pressure came from. It came from the people I was told to go to when I had problems with the Colby culture. I don't think the mainstream culture was any better, and I'm pretty sure I would have faced other equally bad things if I'd been part of that, but the two cultures were equally bad for me - it's like the whole school drinks a lemonade that most people like the way it is, and there's a subculture of students who don't like the way it is and are working to make it less sweet. And I want it MORE sweet. I think it's not sweet enough to drink and I fucking hate it and I'm always told to go and bond with the other students who hate the lemonade even thought they're all working to make it worse for me. Seriously, that's where all the pressure to go to events and have dialogue and being told what to care about came from - the socially aware subculture not the mainstream culture. Everyone tries to steal your resources at Colby - not physical resources like money or things, and I'm not even talking about time, although time is a big one. People see that you're passionate and try to direct that passion to what THEY think you should be thinking about. They tell you what to fucking CARE about and what to talk about on your own free time!!!!!! Everyone told me that I'd have so much freedom in college but that was a fucking lie. I couldn't do anything that actually mattered to me at college and I couldn't be me. So many people tried to reach out to me when they saw I was angry but then they just ignored my issues and started trying to direct me toward their causes that had nothing to do with what I was saying at best and at worst went entirely AGAINST what I was saying because I'd be talking about the pressure to go to events and have intelligent conversations and being told what to care about, and they'd be like, That's great that you're angry with Colby culture, now come to my event and let's have an intellectual conversation while I tell you what to care about. It went like that so many times and everyone thought that hating Colby would give me some deep insight on the human condition and when I told them that no, I fit in just fine in the real world, my life was wonderful before I came here, the issue really is just about Colby and this is the worst fucking thing that's ever happened to me, they just drop it. They just have no interest in me. They didn't CARE about me, they only cared about the passion that they thought they could fucking STEAL and put towards their own cause. And you're never allowed to care about what you want to care about - if you do speak out about something, everyone's just like "How can you care about A but not B." I was never allowed to have my own priorities so I just chose not to say anything about anything ever because people would just judge me for caring about one thing over another.

I don't know why it's all coming back now. My friend said something about how Colby kids would feel like they'd done their share of good, they'd be like, well, I recycled so now I'm entitled to do something bad or to not do something else good. You know what? My problem with that is not the justification, but the fact that we even need justifications. Because where I come from, we could do all the bad stuff we wanted and we didn't feel guilty about any of it and we didn't have to do anything good to earn it. That became a problem for my boyfriend and me in the end because he was okay with society deciding that school and work are important and you have to earn stuff from those things, and I really need to be with someone who feels entitled to just go out and have fun and do lots of things WITHOUT earning them, whether by having a job or by attending a discussion group about an issue. I once read an article in the school newspaper about students complaining about small things and it mentioned that students do get really involved and care about issues and stuff, and it honestly made me sick to my stomach that there was any need for that justification. I will complain about whatever I want to complain about and I would have NEVER chosen Colby if I had seen this article and felt like I'd have to earn my right to complain by first proving that I care about bigger issues. I can care about whatever I want to.

My boyfriend made it feel okay to do this from the beginning. I could FINALLY listen to whatever kind of music I liked and not feel like I had critique it or dislike because of social issue problems. I absolutely love this song called "Suds in the Bucket" by Sara Evans but it's so anti-socially-aware Colby that I would have never felt safe mentioning that I liked it at college. I love mainstream pop and Disney Channel and teen movies and I could finally enjoy that stuff in a guilt-free pressure-free environment with my boyfriend.

But then trouble started because there were lots of other things we didn't agree on, and "That's Nikki!" turned into an annoyance instead of a cute thing. But back when it was a cute thing, I felt so valued. Our poetry professor was trying to make a point one time about being original and she asked us how we'd feel if someone wrote us a generic "Roses are red, Violets are blue" love poem, and students said that they'd be unimpressed because the person obviously didn't put much time into it. But I disagreed completely because I'd just thing it was so sweet that someone wrote me a love poem no matter how good or original it was. I hated the way everyone valued being smart so much. I never care if someone's smart or not. I'm just looking to be with people who make me feel good and who I can have fun with, and any love poem would make me feel good. I loved all the sweet lines that my boyfriend later felt embarrassed about - when I asked him which superpower he'd pick and he said "Does being with you count?" Or the cute fights we'd get into like, "No boots in bed!" "Yes boots in bed!" "No boots in bed!" "Yes boots in bed!" and on and on like that. You just can't do that kind of stuff with smart Colby kids. I hadn't had that kind of fun for years. I really hated the whole "They have to be smart and mature" thing about dating. I'm not mature and don't want someone who's mature, I want someone who's young and wild and free and wants to run around and celebrate it.

And it scares me because I don't have that safe nowhere-near-Colby feeling anymore. What scares me is that the things that weren't compatible about us seem incompatible with all the things that were. Like, if I find someone who shares more of my interests and likes to talk about lots of different things, someone who will enjoy discussing things on a deeper level...will we still get to do all the cute silly stuff that my boyfriend and I did? One of the things I enjoyed best in our relationship was that I felt free to be silly and I never had to act smart. Are being silly and not liking to discuss things in depth related? Do I have to choose one or the other? Shortly after I left Colby, I wrote that before college, I used to admire passion in people, but Colby taught me that passion=pressure and now I would only date someone who has no interest in anything because that's the only way I wouldn't be pressured. Not to say that my boyfriend had no interests because he had plenty of interests, but he didn't have that level of passion where people normally start pushing others to get involved. And that's what scares me - if I find someone who has the same values as me in terms of not caring about work, what if they start pressuring me to quit my corporate office job when I want to keep it because I'm getting paid well? I want to feel free to quit my job, but not pressured to. And if I do meet someone who cares about the same stuff I do, someone who supports what I do not just because I'm their girlfriend but because they also support and agree with the same things, doesn't that mean they're also gonna pressure me to do more stuff? Look, there were times when I tried to discuss certain issues in songs and movies and he had no interest in responding to me, and that was a bit annoying. But the fact that I can enjoy those songs and movies without feeling like I have to analyze them or notice anything wrong with them is way more important to me. I'd much rather not get to ever discuss these issues than feel like I have to discuss them and can't just sit back and enjoy the movie. Granted, some stuff my boyfriend avoided saying because he didn't want me to know how opposite our views are, which bothers me, but I also know he just didn't like to talk as much as I do, and I keep thinking that if I find someone who has all of the interests and values that would be more compatible than mine, they're going to pressure me.

And it's hard to talk about because a lot of people don't respect my values on this. My mom in particular has never really accepted just how important the non-pressuring thing is to me. But the fact is, I'm willing to give up a lot for it. I would give up all deep conversation if it means I won't be told what to care about like I was at Colby. Okay, that would suck because I love talking, but still. I feel like some of these traits just don't coexist in most people. And if that's true, then non-pressuring is still at the top for me, and he had that trait, and I pushed him away by demanding that he had all these other qualities too. I started needing someone who believed in some of the same things I believe in rather than just tolerating my beliefs, but maybe I shouldn't have needed that. Maybe that isn't compatible with non-pressuring.

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