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Below are the 25 most recent journal entries recorded in Caseman's LiveJournal:

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    Saturday, January 2nd, 2016
    2:35 am
    2015's Best Games

    So 2016 is here and I guess that officially means I cannot put off making my 2015 lists any longer. I wanted to get to so many games that I just didn’t have any time for. I still haven't dived into Sword Coast Legends and I feel bad for missing the biggest game made by my dear friends at n Space. If I haven't done so yet it’s just because I want to give that game the time it deserves. After listening to the Giant Bomb GOTY discussions I really want to play a number of games they discussed, like Soma, Cradle, Hacknet, and Elite: Dangerous. Some games I did play but are too small or one-note to make this list, like Regency Solitaire, Cibele, Emily is Away, Grow Home, or Tap Titans. A couple I played and really liked but they just didn’t make the cut like Guitar Hero Live or Battlefront. A number of games are on my “would really like to check out from this year” list like Fallout 4, Just Cause 3, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, and others. But I gotta stop giving shoutouts to games outside the list (Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate!) and get down to the meat of it. Here are my 10 favorite games from this year.


    10. The Beginner’s Guide


    I think this year is the year that proves that these small interactive storytelling games are here to stay. I have incredibly high hopes for this genre inside VR, but that’s next year’s list. This game and Cibele hold similar places in my heart for different reasons: they’re both intimate pictures of a part of someone’s life. Maybe the distance I have from The Beginner’s Guide edges it onto this list because Cibele made me really uncomfortable to look back on the person I was in that time in my life. But I digress. Davey crafted a very intimate and visceral look into the heart and mind of a game developer. Of a creative person. Of someone generating content for the Internet. Of so many of the things that I have always found so incredibly fascinating in others. I honestly feel like I could write a lot more on this game but I won’t do that here. This is all without talking about how this guy made The Stanley Parable and had a very intense experience following that game’s release. This is without talking about the larger questions of interactions in the digital age. This is a great game. You should play it. Talk to me when you do.


    9. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt


    This game is such a testament to good QA and quest design and worldbuilding by a relatively small studio that it would probably be higher on this list if I had ever found the time to dive deeper into it. I think that a lot of what draws people to open world games, and open world RPGs in particular, is the feeling immersing yourself wholly into another world. I think that The Witcher did this better than any other game this year. The game is huge, but it’s huge in the right way. This isn’t Assassin’s Creed map full of icons pertaining to the same repeating activities over and over again, it’s a world that feels alive and real and full of possibility. I’ve heard a lot that the seams in that start to show, and that it does ultimately get fairly repetitive, but my time with the game left em superbly impressed with CD Projekt Red. Its also worth mentioning that it might be the first big game to launch on both of the new platforms that was actually stable and ran well.


    8. Life is Strange


    This is another game I have not finished yet but I can’t help putting on this list. Just enough interaction and fresh mechanics to not just feel like another adventure game in a post-Telltale world. Fantastic writing, acting, soundtrack. Great art direction. A lot of people don’t like the first episode but I think it does a fantastic job of setting up the narrative and getting you to give a shit about these characters while raising enough questions to propel you forward. I’ve been spoiled on things I haven't seen yet and it just makes me want to see it more. I think the way the narrative and the time rewind mechanic interweave is fantastic, and is exactly the kind of thing that works best in an interactive media. I look forward to finishing this (hopefully soon) and seeing where this story goes, but for now it sits nicely near the bottom of my list.


    7. Everybody’s Gone to The Rapture


    I don’t care if it’s a walking simulator. I don’t care if it had a run button in it that I didn’t know about until after I beat it. I don’t care if the ending was a bit wanky. This game is, by far, the best one of these interactive environmental storytelling games I have ever played. I very nearly went back to platinum this game after I beat it, but I didn’t want to ruin the world that I just explored by gamifying aspects of it. I didn’t want to turn this thing into a checklist after it had been such an incredible experience. This was the first game of 2015 that made me cry. This was the first game of 2015 that I sat down and played through in one sitting. It’s gorgeous, the soundtrack is incredible, and the story that it's telling is such a great meeting of small-town interpersonal dynamics and science fiction with some great love stories and just enough humor that it creates something larger than the sum of its parts. I went onto message boards and subreddits after this game came out and engaged in the fucking ARG. I spent hours trying to decrypt hidden messages in the game. It’s so easy to dismiss this as just another walking simulator, but beyond the simple mechanics lies a fascinating world beautifully presented.


    Just wait until they port this shit to VR.


    6. Destiny: The Taken King


    The Improved Guy Hammer for Best Expansion Pack definitely goes to The Taken King. I know my old roommate has been hot on this game from the beginning, and I tried like hell to get into vanilla Destiny, but it just never took root for me. This expansion fixed almost every irritating thing about the game and added a ton of great content. I still think the game is either balanced towards group play or people who have spent way more time playing console shooters than I have, but I think Bungie’s recognition of how deeply they dropped the ball with Destiny at launch and this xpac’s movement towards fixing that deserves a spot on my list.


    5. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void


    StarCraft will always hold a special place in my heart. I still have banners hanging on my wall from the 2011 MLG Orlando tournament. There is simply nothing like it in gaming today. In a world full (FULL!) of MOBAs and shooters, Starcraft has kept the RTS space alive in spectacular fashion. Sure, the pro scene has kind of fallen to the wayside while pro LoL and Dota have taken the reigns, but there’s still nothing better than watching a close match finally fall to a single small choice or unit control. All that being said, this is all about the campaign and hoo boy what a campaign. It takes a lot of the best stuff from the previous campaigns: overarching progression, powers, and unit selection, branching paths, spectacular voice acting (holy shit John de Lancie. holy shit) and just turns the fucking anime up to eleven. The missions are varied enough that they never really feel repetitive, and they don’t ever seem to force you down a particular build path once they start opening up more units. It’s easy to see where they learned from previous installments in the series and really iterated on the mission types from those games. Of course, the mechanics are rock fuckng solid, as ever. But the story.


    The fuckin story, y’all.


    I was pretty sure that Metzen had used up the last creative bone in his body around the time he was writing the trainwreck that was Diablo III but now I’m totally certain that they need to put that man out to pasture and find some fresh blood because hoo boy is this shit flat and derivative. If you’ve played a Blizzard game in the last decade, you’ve probably already seen this story so you’re not really missing much. They don’t even have the courage to commit to the end of the game, retconning something really important in one of the most cliche after-credits sequences I’ve ever seen. Brad talked a lot about this game in the GOTY podcasts and I can’t help but agree with every word he said. But despite all of this sillyness, I had a lot of fun playing this game this year. I’m happy to see StarCraft 2 wrapped in a ncie bow and sent on its way. Bring on the next Blizzard RTS.


    4. Undertale


    The most recent addition to this list and probably the most surprising for me. I, like everyone, saw the hype for this game when it dropped and just turned my nose up at it. Yeah, it was made by Toby Fox, a guy most notable to me for Homestuck. Yeah, it had a pretty cool oldschool RPG aesthetic. But it just couldn’t possibly be the masterpiece that everyone was calling it, right? For the first hour or so, it’s not. I can’t help but feel now that this is on purpose. Not just so the later parts are surprising, but also so it’s certain that you’re committed to the game and whatever it throws at you. This game is fucking hilarious at points. It’s honestly pretty terrifying a couple times. It’s incredibly sad and deeply thought-provoking. It’s so many things while still being an EarthBound-style JRPG. It’s only a few hours long. It has what might be my favorite soundtrack of the year. It’s so many things that I don’t feel like I can talk about without spoiling them.


    It’s got Napstablook and you laying on the floor feeling like shit and floating through space while listening to music. There are a number of moments where I just sat there staring at the screen trying to really comprehend what was happening and what was being asked of me. It does absolutely everything that a great game should do: great story, great presentation, plays with expectations, and does things only an interactive medium could do. The hype is real, you should play this game.


    3. Batman: Arkham Knight


    Okay. Right. I know. This game was a broken mess on release. This game set the bar for how broken a game could be at release. But between the fact that it came free with my video card, ran well on my machine, and was the first of these Batman games that I completed, it totally won me over. This is a subjective list and my experience with this game was fan-fucking-tastic. I loved the Batmobile. I loved the story. I spent a lot of time with my jaw on the fucking floor looking at the environments in this game. It is such a tremendous shame that all most people saw when they looked at this game were all the flaws, because at the core of it you are the NIGHT, people. The Arkham series set the standard for open world combat, and this one is no different. Fights feel better in this one than any of the other ones I’ve played. Fluid and crunchy and responsive, if a bit repetitive in the end. The flexibility you have in how you approach those combat encounters is also fantastic, second only to my #1 game. Mark Hammil fucking crushes it as the Joker. The last couple hours of this game are probably my favorite ending to any game this year, and I just talked about Undertale.


    I see its flaws. I understand people’s problems with this game. But Goddammit, I fell in love with it and saw it through to the end. In a year that I was hard pressed to find time for videogames, that says a lot.


    2. Rocket League


    This game is perfect. It’s a 10/10. It’s fresh and original while somehow being dead simple: It’s football with cars. It’s so incredibly easy to pick up and play that you can invite a buttload of people over to your house that have never played it before, set up a bunch of displays and consoles, and have some of the most fun you’ve ever had playing a videogame. Blocking a pass and scoring a goal at the last second is just pure joy. Getting deeper and deeper into overtime is intense and stressful in all the right ways. The controls are tight and responsive, the gameplay is balanced and polished to perfection. Rocket League is the best multiplayer experience I have had in a long, long time. I look forward to having it again.


    2015’s Game of the Year:



    Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain


    I lost sleep over this game. More times than I would like to admit I looked at the clock to notice that it was almost 5 am and I absolutely HAD to go to sleep. It’s been said by many but this game set a new standard for open world game design and mechanics. Not to mention enemy AI and character animations. Anything feels possible in this game. I can’t tell you how many times my back was against a wall and I felt like there was no way out, only to throw some weird Hail Mary and find that the game could totally deal with it and in fact had a whole set of mechanics built around it.


    I’m not blind to the story problems in this game, though I really had zero problem with the twist that everyone seems to hate. It’s a freakin Metal Gear game, after all. I recognize that there are a ton of real problems with Quiet, but I loved her arc enough that I ignored Kojima’s weird pervy bullshit. I totally recognize that Konami totally wrecked shit with this game, both behind the scenes and with all the post-release shenanigans. Like so many others have said, despite ALL of this, this game is just one of the most incredible ever made. I put more time into the campaign of this game than anything else on my list, and I don’t regret a single moment of it. This is my favorite game to come out this year, and the game by which I will measure every open-world action game to come. Kojima’s magnum opus is a game befitting the legacy of a crazy, weird, ambitious creator’s last game with a dying studio. I can’t wait to see what he does next.
    Tuesday, October 20th, 2015
    3:45 am
    The Social VR Landscape

    So my dad sent me this book:

    and it's pretty great. I'm not done with it yet, but I have had a lot of thoughts about it, especially as it relates to my last entry. The first half of the book is all about how technology has evolved over the last 20-30 years, and what impact it has had on the workforce. Mostly that computing power has changed what skills are valuable, and how that change has evolved as information technology has gotten more and more powerful. It's really fascinating stuff to think about, especially looking forward(!AI!). The second half of the book, which I've only just started, explores the skills which computers are going to have a very difficult time replicating in the near future, the first of which is Empathy.

    I realized that a lot of what I was talking about, that sense of alienation, comes from a lack of a sense of empathy in the Internet today. Honestly a lot of what I've been thinking about since The Incident and my subsequent feminist revelations, has been empathy (or a lack thereof). For a long time I was fascinated (in a horrific car accident kind of way) with the actions of Internet movements like GamerGate and the Men's Rights Activists. Namely the unspeakable harassment and violence carried out on women around the world based solely on something they said or did that wound up in the spotlight of those groups. It struck me as completely unfathomable that these people could cross a line into doing these things to another living soul. So I thought that maybe if I could understand how such movements formed, I could understand how people got to the point where they felt justified in committing these horrible acts. I think the parallels to the current national sense of fear re: Islam and terrorism are obvious. Carry out certain symbolic acts of aggression upon highlighted targets and other individuals in those groups will think twice before sticking their head up and saying something. But one of the things that this book talks about is that not only is empathy a deeply human skill, but one that has been measurably in decline over the past few decades. Geoff cites a lot of studies about the rise of text messaging and email as the sole means of communication between individuals, and how those methods of communication stifle any sense of empathy between the individuals communicating. I believe this is the kind of thing that could probably be debated, I know a lot of people who think otherwise, but I think presupposing he's correct leads down some interesting roads.

    For starters, it's interesting to look at the demographics of the groups I mentioned earlier. It's my demographic. Late twenties to early thirties white males. The same people who grew along side the digital revolution. One of the things that Mr. Colvin mentioned that keeps ringing in my head is that people are increasingly avoiding using telephones to make calls. I know I for one hate calling people. I think that this probably has a lot to do with growing up in a way that nurtured a text-based communication skill set in me. I know that the way that Elise and I talk in person lacks the depth of how we talk in text or chat. This is something we have to work on as a couple, so that's all I'll say of it here. But based on the habits and upbringing of the people I'm talking about here, it's not too outside the realm of possibility to think that there might be some correlation between growing up a gamer and having a severely diminished skill in empathy.

    That's another thing that Geoff Colvin says repeatedly in his book: empathy (and other social skills) while inherit to the human experience, are not just some innate thing that you either have or your don't, they're skills that must be cultivated and practiced. It's here that I think the burgeoning field of Virtual Reality comes into play.  It's here that I think of this demo created for the Playstation VR experience: Summer Lesson. It's easy to look at that game and just dismiss it as being a creepy anime-girl-leering simulator. But I remember something someone (sorry for lack of citation here) said in a podcast: Sitting in proximity to this woman in a virtual space felt almost too intimate. It made them feel uncomfortable to have a (completely virtual) person trying to initiate eye contact and intimate conversation with them. I think this is a key example of what makes VR experiences different, and why they will play an important role in how we relate to each other in the coming years. Something about the immersion and level of realism in this new VR tech conveys a sense of presence that no other tech before it has been able to do. There's one other demo to consider here, and I promise I will get to a point eventually. The Oculus Toybox Demo is an incredible glimpse into what VR offers for social interaction. I think watching that might give you some idea as to why Mark Zuckerberg immediately bought Oculus, because he knows that this tech will be key to the future of social interactions online. Even without any sort of facial expression and very limited hand gestures, two people are able to interact with each other within a virtual space in a way that has never been seen before. It's important to note that 2d video representations don't do a very good job of relaying that sense of presence that I mentioned before. Those two people feel like they are IN that space, as it takes up the majority of their vision, and their physical bodies are portrayed there within that space via the Oculus Touch controllers.

    The implications of this are something I haven't been able to stop thinking about for months. It relates to my earlier questions about the nature of social interaction online in a profound way, though I don't yet know to what level. The lack of real facial expression in the virtual models certainly hurts their relate-ability as a human avatar, but I think the choice to have the model be wearing the goggles as well is an incredibly smart one, as it's much better than a vacant, hollow-eyed face. Regardless of the lack of a facial component to their communication, I think body language goes a long way to relaying a lot of social information between the two individuals. Even better is the ways in which those interactions can be played with, as demonstrated by the scaling down of one of the participants in the later part of the video. Removing the avenue of facial expression and being able to control individual scale are things not easily done in the real world ( or laboratory) setting. I am completely fascinated by the idea that this virtual space might allow for generating entirely new avenues of social communication between people. I want to measure, in a controlled setting, the level of empathy generated by communication in this virtual space as opposed to face-to-face, or audio-only and visual-only communication. My theory is that this technology is going to bring us closer than ever to the intimacy of face-to-face contact than we have ever been in the realm of cyberspace.

    So to tie this all together, an idea I've been kicking around in my head for the past couple hours is trying to game-ify empathy. A VR developer could create some kind of game wherein you have to glean the emotion state of a virtual person in order to progress. This could take the form of the interrogation sequences of LA Noir, or maybe some sort of party member mechanic in an RPG or something. I don't know, game design isn't really my thing. I do think, however, that we have to data to create virtual companions that could relay, with a high level of detail and accuracy, how humans relay their emotional state. The research into the details of the human face and how it portrays the emotional state of the individual has already been done. Geoff goes on for a bit about the concept of micro-expressions. These are ways in which the many individual muscles in our face move when we are feeling a certain way, even without our knowing it. I think the tech is probably a long way from being able to relay actual human facial muscle movements, but I think the modeling and animation could be done on virtual character models, or perhaps motion-captured to the same end.

    Colvin's whole thesis seems to be based around the idea that computers will be able to do a great deal of the menial work of our lives in the not too distant future, and this means that we will be forced to cultivate the skills that computers will NOT be able to do, at least not within the next couple human generations. I think our best bets for doing so are by using that same technology to help ourselves along towards that goal. What exactly that will look like, I'm not entirely sure yet. What I do know is that I would like to be involved in doing the research that is necessary in making it a reality, and pushing the technology forward.

    Thursday, October 1st, 2015
    2:57 am
    Nostalgia
     So I recently mentioned on twitter that one of the tracks from the new CHVRCHES album was "pure nostalgia." It brings me back to a time in my life so wholly different from now, a time when I wrote here. A time before twitter. A younger Internet. it really seems sometimes like the more powerful part of nostalgia these days is the bitter and not the sweet. I miss so much about my highschool days, but the more I think about it the more I realize that what I miss is the people. The sense of belonging, of having a circle of friends that cared about me, that I loved more than anything. We experienced so many moments as a group, we all leaned on eachother and celebrated with eachother. We were TOGETHER. Our social network was so much smaller than the ones we have now, but they meant so much more.

    Maybe it's too easy to blame the technology and the social change its brought about. I feel like people still do all just hang out in person, have giant groups of friends that actually, for real, no kidding, care what the others feel and experience. My fear is always that it's me. That I'm not cool enough for the group. I used to be the guy surrounded by friends, now I'm the guy that barely spends any time with another human being outside of those I work and live with. High school was the time that I was free to devote all of my energies to cultivating those kinds of friendships, and all the people I wanted to be around did too. We got out of school at 2 fucking PM. I don't even wake up until noon anymore. We had the whole damn day to get up to no good. Now I'm up at 2 AM, alone in my living room, typing words at a glowing screen that no one will ever see.

    Even the online experience back then felt like it had more of an audience than it does now. I type things on twitter ALL. DAY. that I never get any feedback on. I used to have conversations with people in the comment sections of these entries. Christ, I used to have Real Conversations with people. I never talk about anything I really care about with anyone anymore. The things I prefer to consume now are things like Giant Bomb because so much of what they do is just people who are passionate about something sitting around and just shooting the shit about it. That's the whole site, that's why they're considered the best. Listening to other people have real conversations has replaced having any of my own.

    Life now is just an exercise in floating through the majority of my day to get to the moments I care about. Burning time, always looking for something off in the future that will make me feel anything real. Human beings are social animals, but all I ever feel in social situations anymore is awkard and afraid. Self concious as hell. I mean, I guess I always have to an extent but, I had enough evidence that people actually gave a shit about me to believe it. I'm always so goddamn worried now that I'm bothering people. That I'm being to friendly, or too aloof. It probably doesn't help that I really don't like anyone I work with. I'm on a much smaller team, and everyone on it is really damn strange. Also we're the red-headed stepchild of the company, so no one gives a flying fuck about us unless something goes terribly wrong. So I'm alienated at my shitty, meaningless cubicle job. Not the first person in the world to ever express that notion.

    I find moments that make me feel things in videogames and television shows. Songs, podcasts, books on flipping tape. I have to experience emotion by proxy, because I don't have the mirrors of other people in my own life to feel anything real for myself.

    This is supposed to be the social age. It's not the information age, everything is about social now.
    And I am so lonely.

    Can it be that this is really the consequence of social networking? Computers & the Internet were supposed to make things easier so we could spend more time connecting with eachother, but then we moved those connections onto those same computers. Tiny injections of dopamine from likes and retweets and faves have replaced face-to-face contact. Social Networking has removed the humanity from the social animal. The way that people treat eachother online is such a weird, twisted, alien version of how we treat eachother in real life. The cruelest, most vile, hateful shit gets flung around like it is fucking nothing. It's all I can do to become cynical, because the alternative was just utter despair.

    I want to believe that maybe VR is going to make a dent in that. Maybe re-introducing some humanity back into how we communicate will bring us back to eachother. If people can enter a virtual space as themselves, realized avatars that can relay the nuances of human communication, maybe we can start to feel a connection with those we communicate with online. Maybe it's a pipedream, but I think it could be a wonderful consequence of an emerging technology.

    Because I don't want to abandon technology. For all of this, I wouldn't take back any of it. I still think that instantaneous global communication can help to erase the borders between us, but we must take care that it doesn't replace our humanity, our social needs, with clicks. Because I know how wonderful it can be to feel like you had the eye, for an instant, of someone you really admire. When some celebrity (I don't even know what that word means anymore, but I digress) likes or (hallelugiah) replies to some dumb thing I tweet at them, it feels amazing. The moments we used to wait outside of concerts for, they can happen in a much easier way. But that access  is a double-edged sword. Putting aside the online harassment I mentioned earlier, even in an environment where everyone is behaving, it's impossible for so many people to have a real connection with one individual. I'm sure that the people that have 'won' the social networking game feel a different kind of lonliness, but I can't help wishing for an audience.

    Because all it ever feels like now is shouting into a void. I always feel like I have so much to say, but no one is ever listening. It's like the party is too crowded and everyone is shouting over eachother, trying to be heard. The things you have to do to stand out on the Internet now require making it a full-time job. The only way to really connect in a sea of people is to build yourself a soapbox out of toothpicks. Newsroom talks a lot about this, and maybe the creator's attitudes towards the Internet rubbed off on me, because it seems like I feel this way more often than not.
    Friday, May 25th, 2012
    5:17 pm
    Good move, Universe.
    Was not expecting that much passion.
    Everything with her has been new and fresh, including this.
    She is such a woman. Not a girl.
    but Gods we felt like teenagers for a few hours.
    Just on the edge of control, just barely able to keep our clothes on, our passion in check.
    I am growing into love. Not falling.
    It is SO much better this way,

    We found our fill, we finally sated the beast of passion, and then something else happened.
    We started talking. I started looking at her.
    Where the hell have you been? How do I know you so well?
    Hers is the face I've seen in my dreams.
    Every part of her fits me. Mind, Body and Soul.
    That.. I have not experienced. Not like this.
    She's MATURE, she's responsible, independent, strong. She knows what matters.
    She's passionate and just incredibly talented. Her art strikes chords with my very soul.
    This girl, the English girl, a chance meeting ten years ago. This is something special
    This is something worth doing right.
    Old me would be finding some way to see her every day. Old me would have told her I love her by now.
    Would be calling her my girlfriend.
    That's not how I want to proceed now. I want to chisel out a strong foundation with her, forge a strong friendship with her.
    Patience now could lead to happiness for the rest of my life. That has to be worth it.

    If it doesn't, that's alright too. I've found a soul mate. She connects with me on levels a very few people have: Ben, Kyle.
    She shows me things, things I haven't seen, haven't really looked at before.
    The way she sees the world is similar to mine in some ways, but so different and so beautiful in others.
    The things she says sometimes take my breath away.
    That has NEVER happened before.

    I'm so excited for what this part of my life has in store. I'm so excited to get to know her better.
    I'm at the very start of something wonderful. I will do this right this time. I will not lose sight of myself.
    I will not lose sight of love.

    Thank you.
    Thursday, May 24th, 2012
    8:36 am
    You can't pull shit like this now.
    Not now that I've grown ok being alone, now that I'm starting something new.
    You can't call me crying, tell me it was all a huge mistake.
    It's Too. Fucking. Late.
    You made your bed, you have to lie in it.
    This has been a problem with you the whole time I've known you.
    It's reflected in everything you do.
    You just won't take responsibility for the decisions you make.
    Everything always has to be someone else's fault.

    You can't even see it when I spell it out for you.
    Every reason you tried to give me why you're broke now and can't pay me the money you owe?
    Your. Fucking. Fault.
    You don't go out to Ybor every weekend drinking for 3 months and not spend stupid amounts of money.
    You've gone to see Avengers FIVE times. You went to Phantom, you bought Diablo 3.
    You did Levique instead of finding a job. You spent $250 on that new shiny phone.
    You need to grow the fuck up and take responsibility.

    The world is not going to coddle you like your parents did. When you fuck up, it will come down on you hard.
    Grow from it. Learn from it. Stop blaming the world, blaming everything else.
    I love you. That will never change. But we're over. That was YOUR decision. I made the effort, I did the work.
    You didn't.
    I can't be responsible for your happiness anymore.
    Monday, May 21st, 2012
    12:25 am
    I will love.
    Sunday, May 20th, 2012
    2:17 am
    For Posterity:
    Forgive me if I repeat myself.
    Here's my thoughts: Every step for us has to be as slow and deliberate as this has been so far. Our caution, our honesty has got to continue if this is going to be done the way I think we both want to see it ideally work. Slow and steady.
    You and I both have lives we have built for ourselves. Spaces of solitude where we can be with ourselves and be ok. We cannot lose that by falling in to each other. 
    This is as new to me as it is to you, so forgive me if I say things that probably seem obvious to that bug on the wall. I think we should date. Go out and do things, stay in and watch movies. Plan time together. I think that's what we should do, and do it for a while. Then a while longer. Keep taking it slow, letting this thing we have build itself organically.
    Leave room for the rest of our lives. Keep doing things for ourselves, keep spending time alone sometimes. Never, ever stop talking about this, about us, about how we feel. Never stop being able to say the things that are uncomfortable. Never be afraid to tell me something, Elsie. Please.
    We've taken things slow up to this point. I think every single step along the way should be with the intention to continue that same momentum. Kissing you could change some things, but it doesn't have to change everything. Because what we have right now is exactly what has to be maintained to make any of that other stuff work.
    You have been an absolute blessing to me. I will return that by being as Caring, Trusting, and Respectful as I can be. I am committed to our friendship, and I understand that every bit of yourself that you share with me is another step away from comfort and close to being able to be hurt. I will not take it lightly.
    Thank you, Elise. Thank you thank you thank you. I cannot even begin to adequately express to you how grateful I am to you. For Everything.
    1:06 am
    Keep this frequency clear.
    Things with Elise and I are progressing. In a way that scares us both.
    We are doing everything in our power to maintain control, to keep our heads above water.
    We've been burned by diving into attraction before.
    It's not easy to be in control of my emotions in that context. But it is better.
    We are talking about things that have to be addressed.
    ----------
    had to take the time to clear my head before continuing this.
    the theme for Elise and I has been proceeding slowly and with caution
    but we are standing on the precipice of the next step for us.
    up to this point i have hugged her
    she has kissed me on the neck when she left.
    our physical intimacy has been conciously limited.
    because we know we have to take it slow.
    but our mental connection, our click has been stronger every day.
    neither of us yet knows what this means.
    but we are certain we dont want to repeat the same mistakes again.
    so as we take this step, these are the things that i must mark here
    things that must be laid as the foundation for what we are slowly becoming.

    our slow momentum will continue. every step will be taken slowly
    and openly. and talked about. discussed, understood.
    the bad and the good.
    we will not lose sight of ourselves.
    we can enjoy eachother but we cannot lose sight of who we are,
    why were doing this in the way we are
    and how important this is.
    slow and deliberate progress.
    Uncoerced Discourse Towards Consensus.

    I feel like I am on the path that could lead me towards knowing love.

    this has been and will continue to be a decision. a choice.
    i will not take any steps forward without doing what i am doing now.
    coming back to solitude, stepping away and really evaluating.
    questioning my motivation, my hopes, my fears.
    -----------
    Back inside.
    So this is the picture in my mind:
    She and I will allow ourselves to affirm this attraction. I'm going to kiss her the next time I see her.
    We will not dive into this. Into eachother. Away from ourselves, our lives, our wounds.
    I will allow myself to feel. I will not allow myself to stop thinking.
    I am going to continue thinking about me, about my life.
    Love myself enough to put myself first.
    School is still my priority, despite the fact that I gave myself this summer to breathe.
    That means that when I go back, I will be back full force. I will be ready, willing, and able to continue building my intellect.
    I will continue building my friendships. My relationship with my family.
    I will keep following my passions. Philosophy. Feminism. Art.

    I'm ready. For this small step. And I will stay on the next precipice until I am damn sure I'm ready again.
    This is how this is supposed to be done. I will learn from my mistakes and actually fucking apply that knowledge.
    I know who I am. I know what I want. I know my intentions.

    Your move, Universe.

    Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
    1:15 am
    "You may be in a positive state of mind because your plans are unfolding on schedule now. But something is gnawing away at the edges of your awareness, no matter how upbeat you are feeling. Instead of attempting to ignore your pangs of uncertainty, explore the origins of your current doubts. Expand your thinking to integrate your fears; once you adjust to the new landscape, you should be able to navigate around the shadows of your subconscious without being afraid of the dark."

    Dude. What the hell.
    12:48 am
    "Your insatiable need to understand the deeper significance of things is sufficient to slow you down these days."
    Yes. Yes it is.
    I need to understand Elise. Why she is here, where we are going, what this relationship will ultimately be.
    I use relationship only in the loosest sense. Two people communicating, relating with eachother.
    Talking.
    She and I talk a whole fucking lot. We have pages and pages on facebook, and I broke 1000 texts this month.
    We have that click bell hooks wrote about.
    that "mysterious sense of connection that may or may not have anything to do with love."
    It is mysterious. There have been such a number of coincidences between us that it has to mean something.
    But what?
    That I don't know yet.
    We are taking it slow. I am taking it slow.
    It took some pushing from her for us to even meet.
    It was strange, but it was also good. I'm very comfortable around her and I know she feels the same.
    Our hearts are similarly broken. Which is how this began. Which is why we're so cautious.
    Not only because we were burned in the past and are afraid of being burned again,
    but because we are both in a very emotionally vulnerable state.
    I keep saying we because we've communicated a lot of about things and I feel like we're on the same page.
    (though part of me is still afraid of being lied to)
    I don't want to hurt her. More than anything else, really.
    But I don't want to drive her away or lose the friendship we've formed.

    There has to be a deeper reason we've found ourselves in eachother's lives.
    We have a great spiritual connection. We see a lot of things the same. She has such a great heart, and an old soul.
    Tenish years ago I had the hugest crush on her. She is beautiful in a lot of ways.
    I don't know if that's where we'll end up. Romantic relationship. There are a lot of complications surrounding that.
    She's still technically married. She has A FOUR YEAR OLD DAUGHTER. Slightly big deal.
    We have very different taste in music. Very samey taste in a lot of other things. She doesn't play videogames.
    Did I mention she has a daughter?

    There are reasons to not continue down this road.
    But I think our caution and patience will pay off and lead us just where we need to be.
    If we end up just friends, which is still a bigger possibility now than the alternative, I will welcome it.
    She has brought me back to myself, and surprised me with her deep wisdom so many times in the past month. Patience. Understanding. Compassion.
    Like I said we click very well. We communicate very well. I just love talking to her.
    We are progressing, but slowly.
    I brought her with me to sidesplitters. It was awkward at first, as meeting someone youve talked to extensively online usually is.
    But we slowly got more comfortable as the night went on, and ended up just sitting at talking until 3 am.
    It's very casual, it's very friendly, and its been great for both of us.

    Lord I'm rambling AND repeating myself. I didn't sleep much last night.
    I will write more about her. Probably Thursday night since we are scheduled to hang out that day.
    I don't know where its going, all I know is I'm making sure to stay conscious of how I proceed.
    Carefully.
    Monday, May 14th, 2012
    1:52 am

    So.
    This was originally going to be a big long deconstruction what is happening with Elise and I.
    But Sammy called me tonight.
    Drunk.
    Crying.
    Scared.
    Alone.
    I made her a promise I would be there if she needed me. So I was.
    I went over there. Saw her new apartment. Saw all those things that used to make up half my home.
    She still hasn't stopped running. She still can't face a lonely apartment.
    She asked... no TOLD me that I was going to stay the night.
    "This is what's going to happen."
    Whats funny is she probably expected that to work.
    I owe her a small comfort. Some one to talk to.
    I am not her fucking servant, thanks.
    I told her I would stay for a couple hours max. See her off to sleep, then go home.
    She was so drunk. Smelled of nothing but booze.
    I laid with her while she fell asleep.
    On the bed we used to share. Next to the girl I used to love.
    and I felt NOTHING.
    nothing but pity for her, sadness that this emptiness is ultimately what she decided.
    I stuck around for a while. Made sure she was asleep, which didn't take long since she was so drunk.
    I went out to her computer and wrote this, and left:
    Part of my heart is still here.
    But its the part that is broken.
    I'm sorry you ran to him.
    I'm sorry things turned out like this.
    You didn't listen to me before, and this pain never healed.
    Listen to me now, Samantha.
    For your sake. Please.
    The pain you felt all those months ago?
    The dues you think you paid?
    You were mourning something else.
    You were mourning a death. An important one.
    The death of who you used to be.
    When you met me, your dreams were still young.
    Your heart was still mostly unbroken.
    Your spirit was still aflame.
    Its part of what drew me to you.
    My role was to bring you into a new version of yourself.
    To show you the joys of this world.
    To hold you through the sorrows.
    I showed you a different world. I pray some of it stuck.
    But I also showed you the flaws in your plans,
    the cracks in the walls.
    In a way I'm sorry it had to be that showed you these things.
    But I'm glad it was me to help you deal with them.
    I know I hurt you.
    I am forever sorry.
    But sometimes it takes a real pain to bring us back to ourselves.
    Losing you has brought me back to my center.
    To a place I built long ago.
    You never had the chance to build that place.
    You have to begin this work now.
    I thought I could be there with you.
    I thought I could build our life together.
    But your foundation was weak, you never found your true strength.
    You HAVE TO find it now.
    Stop running. Stop hiding.
    No booze, no escape, no empty comforts.
    Face this enemy. Face your own fear. 
    The sword is already in your hand.
    Your fear has just hidden it from you.
    You are, and always have been, a warrior.
    So stop running and Fight.
    ---
    I've told you before that I have seen to the core of who you are.
    That's not something that happened overnight.
    The rush of lust, of new love, of empassioned adoration...
    it makes everything seem right. Seem perfect.
    It's a chemical mask. It's a wonderful experience, but it hides the truth.
    If you heed no other thing I say
    If you listen to no other advice I give you
    Listen to this:
    BE CAREFUL WHO YOU LOVE.
    You are a wonderful, beautiful person.
    Inside and out.
    Settle for nothing less than that person who brings out the best in you.
    For that person who will be there to catch you when you fall,
    and show you that even in falling you were beautiful.
    Decide for youself who he (or she) is before you meet them.
    Do not settle. Do not fall for empty promises.
    Do not lose your heart in lust.
    Recognize the difference.
    A month ago, it hurt me that you ran to him because he turned you on.
    It was selfish.
    Now, it hurts me to see your pain.
    Because I cannot be here to comfort you.
    I have found my foundation again.
    It took you tearing down every wall I had built.
    It took me facing myself, alone, naked of any armor or protection.
    That is the battle that has to be fought.
    Had I not, I would not have been able to do what I did tonight.
    To see you vulnerable. To lay next to you on the bed we shared.
    To smell your musk, to feel your warmth.
    It would have killed me.
    I can do it now because I am far removed from what we were.
    I am me again. I need no one but myself.
    I pray to any diety that will hear my cry that you find the same strength.
    Because no matter what pain you may have caused me,
    you gave me so much more love.
    In the end, that is what matters.
    I will always love you, Sammy.
    But I cannot save you from this. From yourself. No one can.
    I will be here to pick you up if you fall. 
    I will be here to nurse your wounds.
    But I will keep sending you back into this fight.
    You have never been just who you are to me, Sammy.
    You have always been your potential. Your highest self.
    It's time you got to know her, and to love her.
    You have all the love you will ever need inside yourself.
    Find it. It is waiting for you. As soon as you stop running.
    I just got home.
    I was mad, for a bit.
    Angry she left me to go fuck some guy. Angry that she hadn't listened to me when I said he would do nothing but break her heart.
    Angry that she had lied to me. All the old angers.
    But I moved out of anger so quickly I surprised myself. Brought myself back from that mindset, corrected myself quickly.
    Because none of that matters now. She is a person in pain. All I can do is help comfort that pain without enabling her escape.
    She has to deal with this. Will she?
    Who knows.
    I have my own life now. I have my own worries, my own battles to fight.
    Life moves on.
    Thursday, May 10th, 2012
    7:46 pm
    What a fucking weird conversation.
    First off, it still amuses me how I end up being right about things 99% of the time.
    Calvin, everything he was to you, everything he stood for, destined for failure. That is NOT how you start a relationship.
    I hate to say I told you so but...
    Then after that... the things you say still amaze me.
    I asked you to tell me what it was that made you believe we weren't ment to be. I asked you why you lost faith in us.
    I was expecting you to talk about the big fight, about me saying I wasn't going to marry you.
    Which you still seem to not understand the context of but whatever.
    But telling me that you just didn't find me as sexually attractive anymore? Giving that weight to why you left? Really?
    Sorry hon, but there are so many things wrong with that, I don't even know where to begin.
    Tell me these things? Communicate with your partner about a loss of interest? Then we could work on rekindling that spark.
    Sexuality is not the measure of a long-term relationship.
    I dunno.. that doesn't seem like a cause to me. It seems like a symptom.

    In the back of my mind, and actually spoken aloud for the first time today...
    The possibility of us in the future.
    When you asked me "Do you want me back?"
    I really didn't know how to answer that. It's a fairly loaded question.
    Do I miss you? Do I miss our life? Do I miss the comfort, the certainty, the love?
    Of COURSE I do. Every minute of every day.
    Does part of me want you to just come back to my arms?
    It would be lying to say no.
    Do I really believe that we could be together right now with everything that's happened?
    Abso-fucking-lutely not.
    But.
    Always but.
    There was something about us. I don't care if you can't see it from where you're sitting.
    I don't care what anyone on this planet has to say about it, because they are not me.
    We had something special. Once upon a time. Before I got scared. Before we fell into bad habits.
    Part of me believes that you'll come back one day.
    When both of us have grown. Become Independent. Become full within ourselves.
    Hell, maybe not even in this lifetime.
    But I knew your soul the MOMENT I met you.
    That is so rare. That is why I pursued you and never gave up. That's why I knew we had to be together.
    I'm sorry for my role in fucking us up. And I did. There is no denying I did a SHIT job being your boyfriend a lot of the time.
    I was mired in patriarchy. I was stuck in my head.
    I wasn't mature enough in a lot of ways.
    I never really understood what being in a relationship entailed.
    bell hooks hit the nail on the fucking head (as she often does) when she spoke about society teaching us that love just HAPPENS.
    The romantic fairytale is that love overpowers us. We have no agency in who we fall in love with. FALSE.
    The fairytale continues that when we fall in love, everything just falls into place, the relationship just happens naturally. HOO BOY.
    That was a big wakeup call to me. That's been my attitude towards.. well.. EVERY relationship I've been in?
    And its been a big factor in what's COST me Every. Single. Relationship.
    Obviously, it takes two people working on the relationship to keep it going, but I sure as shit wasn't one of them.
    Most of the time.
    My ability to work to keep a relationship going once I finally realized "Oh hey, im doing a shit job being a boyfriend" shows me that I am capable of doing that work, but it is usually too little too late.
    But your inability to forgive me, that is on YOU.
    I woke up to all this shit. I finally realized the damage I was doing. I finally finally put myself in your shoes.
    And before we ever had a chance to grow back together, you found him and left.

    So do I want you back? Not right now. Not really.
    Honestly, what I want is what I told myself we were.
    Maybe more then I want YOU back, I just want to feel like I did when I believed in us.
    When you believed in us.
    I'm a human being, and I don't like being lonely. That will change. I will be okay being alone.
    I've always enjoyed my alone time in the past, I just have a huge excess of it now.
    I will I will I WILL
    AS GOD AND MYSELF AND EVERY FUCKING PERSON WHO EVER READS THIS AS MY WITNESS
    I WILL DO THE WORK NEXT TIME.
    I am through losing relationships to SOLVABLE PROBLEMS.
    There are far too many people on this planet who lose true love to dumb, unavoidable bullshit.
    I am far too good of a person to not live up to my potential.
    And THAT is EXACTLY what true love entails.
    ......
    Epiphany.
    I get it. I REALLY get it now.
    This has never been about making you love me.
    This journey has not been about defining love to find it in someone else.
    This has been about recognizing how I need to love MYSELF.
    True love is a peculiar kind of insight through which we see the wholeness which the person is—at the same time totally accepting the level on which he now expresses himself—without any delusion that the potential is a present reality. True love accepts the person who now is without qualifications, but with a sincere and unwavering commitment to help him achieve his goals of self-unfoldment—which we may see better than he does.
     That's not how YOU should treat ME, that's how I need to treat MYSELF.
    Good lord why is it always one simple little thing that makes everything else make so much more sense?
    Turn the finger around, Bob.
    Its me. its always been me. From the start.
    This has never been about loving you or anyone else. I have to give MYSELF TRUE LOVE.
    I recognize my own true potential. I recognize that I am not there. I forgive myself that. I will not not NOT give up.
    I will grow more fully into myself. I will push myself. I will become
    The Next Greatest Version of the Grandest Vision I Have Ever Held About Who I Am.

    Its okay.
    I'm okay.
    I made mistakes.
    I'm sorry.
    But it's okay.
    I'm human, I'm still growing, I'm still becoming.
    Sometimes I will slip. But I recognize the mistakes, I recognize the sin.
    Get up.
    Try again.
    Be better.
    I do forgive myself.
    I really do.

    Remember this. Always remember this. Love yourself. Love yourself first.
    Care, commitment, trust, knowledge, responsibility, and respect.
    1:16 pm
    So Many Quotes

    In friendship we are able to hear honest, critical feedback. We trust that a true friend desires our good.

    -134

    Committed love relationships are far more likely to become codependent when we cut off all our ties with friends to give these bonds we consider primary our exclusive attention.

    The more genuine our romantic loves the more we do not feel called upon to weaken or sever ties with friends in order to strengthen ties with romantic partners. Trust is the heartbeat of genuine love.

    -135

    Genuine love is the foundation of our engagement with ourselves, with family, with friends, with partners, with everyone we choose to love.

    -136

    ...abuse irreparably undermines bonds. … When we love rightly we know that the healthy, loving response to cruelty and abuse is putting ourselves out of harm's way. ...[we are socialized to believe] everything must be done to save “the relationship.”

    -137

    ...it is more fulfilling to live one's life within a circle of love, interacting with loved ones to whom we are committed. … Satisfying friendships in which we share mutual love provides a guide for behavior in other relationships, including romantic ones.

    -138

    Forgiveness is an act of generosity. It requires that we place releasing someone else from the prison of their guilt or anguish over our feelings of outrage or anger.

    -139

    Our willingness to make sacrifices reflects our awareness of interdependency. … Mutual giving strengthens community. ...we can begin the process of making community wherever we are.

    -143

    Love allows us to enter paradise. Still, many of us wait outside the gates, unable to cross the threshold, unable to leave behind all the stuff we have accumulated that gets in the way of love.

    -147

    ...the only alternative to not turning into a conventional macho man was to not become a man at all, to remain a boy. ...to them, a relationship was about finding someone to take care of all their needs.

    -151

    The privilege of power is at the heart of patriarchal thinking. … The fact that this sadomasochistic power dynamic can and usually does coexist with affection, care, tenderness, and loyalty makes it easy for power-driven individuals to deny their agendas, even to themselves.

    -152

    When someone has not known love it is difficult for him to trust that mutual satisfaction and growth can be the primary foundation in a coupling relationship. … The practice of love offers no place of safety. We risk loss, hurt, pain. We risk being acted upon by forces outside our control.

    When individuals are wounded in the space where they would know love during childhood, that wounding may be so traumatic that any attempt to reinhabit that space feels utterly unsafe...

    -153

    To practice the art of loving we have first to choose love—admit to ourselves that we want to know love and be loving even if we do not know what that means.

    -155

    Choosing to be honest is the first step in the process of love. … Once the choice has been made to be honest, then the next step on love's path is communication. ...the first responsibility of love is to listen. … Listening does not simply mean we hear other voices when they speak but that we also learn to listen to the voice of our own hearts as well as inner voices.

    -156

    Setting a time when both individuals come together to engage in compassionate listening enhances communication and connection. When we are committed to doing the work of love we listen even when it hurts.

    -158

    Living in a culture where we are encouraged to seek a quick release from any pain or discomfort has fostered a nation of individuals who are easily devastated by emotional pain, however relative. When we face pain in relationships, our first response is often to sever bonds rather than to maintain commitment. … many people fear getting trapped in a bond that is not working, so they flee at the onset of conflict. … They flee from love before they feel its grace. Pain may be the threshold they must cross to partake of love's bliss. Running from the pain, they never know the fullness of love's pleasure.

    -159

    Acceptance of pain is part of loving practice. … When love's promise has never been fulfilled in our lives it is perhaps the most difficult practice of love to trust that the passage through the painful abyss leads to paradise. … This labor of love is futile only when the men in question refuse to awaken, refuse growth. At this point it is a gesture of self-love for women to break their commitment and move on.

    -160

    When we practice love, we want to give more. Selfishness, a refusal to give acceptance to another, is a central reason romantic relationships fail.

    -162

    Giving generously in romantic relationships, and in all other bonds, means recognizing when the other person needs our attention. Attention is an important resource.

    A useful gift all love's practitioners can give is the offering of forgiveness. … Forgiveness opens us up and prepares us to receive love.

    -163

    Love is an action, a participatory emotion. Whether we are engaged in a process of self-love or of loving others we must move beyond the realm of feeling to actualize love. This is why it useful to see love as a practice. When we act, we need not feel inadequate or powerless; we can trust that there are concrete steps to take on love's path. We learn to communicate, to be still and listen to others. We learn compassion by being willing to hear the pain, as well as the joy, of those we love. The path to love is not arduous or hidden, but we must choose to take the first step.

    -165

    To return to love, to get the love we always wanted but never had, to have the love we are not prepared to give, we seek romantic relationships. We believe these relationships, more than any other, will rescue and redeem us. True love does have the power to redeem, but only if we are ready for redemption.

    -169

    Few of us enter romantic relationships able to receive love. We fall into romantic attachments doomed to replay familiar family dramas. Usually we do not know this will happen precisely because we have grown up in a culture that has told us that no matter what we experienced in our childhoods, [...] romantic love will be ours. We believe we will meet the [partner] of our dreams. ... We wanted the lover to appear but most of us were not really clear about what we wanted to do with them—what the love was that we wanted to make and how we would make it. We were not ready to open our hearts fully.

    -170

    If you do not know what you feel, then it is difficult to choose love; it is better to fall. Then you do not have to be responsible for your actions. ...we continue to invest in the fantasy of effortless union. We continue to believe we are swept away, caught up in the rapture, that we lack choice and will.

    -171

    "To love somebody is not just a strong feeling—it is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go."

    -Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

    ...it is more genuine, more real, to think of choosing to love rather than falling in love.

    To be capable of critically evaluating a partner we would need to be able to stand back and look critically at ourselves, at our needs, desires, and longings. ... We fear that evaluating our needs and then carefully choosing partners will reveal that there is no one for us to love. Most of us prefer a partner who is lacking than no partner at all. What becomes apparent is that we may be more interested in finding a partner than in knowing love.

    -172

    We are all capable of changing our attitudes about “falling in love.” We can acknowledge the “click” we feel when we meet someone new as just that—a mysterious sense of connection that may or may not have anything to do with love. However it could or could not be the primal connection while simultaneously acknowledging that it will lead us to love. How different things might be if, rather than saying “I think I'm in love,” we were saying “I've connected with someone in a way that makes me think I'm on the way to knowing love.” Or instead of saying “I am in love” we said “I am loving” or “I will love.” Our patterns around romantic love are unlikely to change if we do not change our language.

    -177

    We fail at romantic love when we have not learned the art of loving.

    Often we confuse perfect passion with perfect love. A perfect passion happens when we meet someone who appears to have everything we have wanted to find in a partner. I say “appears” because the intensity of our connection usually blinds us.

    -178

    Perfect passions usually end when we awaken from our enchantment and find only that we have been carried away from ourselves. It becomes perfect love when our passion gives us the courage to face reality, to embrace our true selves.

    -179

    Not only do I believe wholeheartedly that true love exists, I embrace the idea that its occurrence is a mystery—that it happens without any effort of human will.

    -180

    ...we may meet a true love and […] our lives may be transformed by such an encounter even when it does not lead to sexual pleasure, committed bonding, or even sustained contact. […] True love does not always lead to happily ever after, and even when it does, sustaining love still takes work.

    All relationships have ups and downs. Romantic fantasy often nurtures the belief that difficulties and down times are an indication of a lack of love rather than part of the process. In actuality, true love thrives on the difficulties.

    -181

    The foundation of [true] love is the assumption that we want to grow and expand, to become more fully ourselves. There is no change that does not bring with it a feeling of challenge and loss. When we experience true love, it may feel as though our lives are in danger; we may feel threatened.

    -182

    “A soul connection is a resonance between two people who respond to the essential beauty of each other's individual natures, behind their facades, and who connect on a deeper level. This kind of mutual recognition provides the catalyst for potent alchemy. It is a sacred alliance whose purpose is to help both partners discover and realize their deepest potentials. While a heart connection lets us appreciate those we love just as they are, a soul connection opens up a further dimension—seeing and loving them for who they could be, and for who we could become under their influence.”

    -John Welwood, Love and Awakening: Discovering the sacred path of Intimate Relationships

    The essence of true love is mutual recognition—two individuals seeing each other as they really are.

    -183

    “True love is a peculiar kind of insight through which we see the wholeness which the person is—at the same time totally accepting the level on which he now expresses himself—without any delusion that the potential is a present reality. True love accepts the person who now is without qualifications, but with a sincere and unwavering commitment to help him achieve his goals of self-unfoldment—which we may see better than he does.”

    -Eric Butterworth

    The rugged individual who relies on no one else is a figure who can only exist in a culture of domination where a privileged few use more of the world's resources than the many who must daily do without. Worship of individualism has in part led us to the unhealthy culture of narcissism that is so all pervasive in our society.

    -214

    12:54 am
    "you cant text her and get the golden answer that will make you feel better. Find a reason for tomorrow to come without her. She has found a reason for it to come without you. It might not even be clear to her, and it might not even be a good one. but... the lines keep darting through space."

    Damn. Universe providing this soul for me to help me remember.
    I have to let go. Sammys not my comfort anymore.
    I guess its just habit. Or addiction. Or something.

    The idea that it's not something I _have to_ understand didn't cross my mind.
    Where the hell did Elise come from anyway? Of all the people to pop up in my life and provide me with context, with reminders...
    The girl who sat behind me in English almost ten years ago?
    Someone who, in the grand context, I barely knew?
    Life is strange sometimes.
    12:11 am
    Thank you, Universe.
    Its always good to remember I'm not alone.
    Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
    9:39 pm
    I miss the companionship. Like Kyle said when he was here.
    Having someone to come home to, someone that cares about you, someone to share in your story.
    I just want to tell you about my day. I just want to sit with you and hear about yours.
    The simple things.
    Four years of always knowing (almost) everything you were thinking, feeling, doing.
    Four years of having someone to go to, that I know wants to hear about my stupid crap.
    That's what I miss now.

    Sure affection, the physical comfort of another person, that lack is apparent as well.
    But there was just something about our conversations that made me so happy.

    I have friends. I have a lot of friends. I spend entirely too much time on facebook these days because I am leaning so hard on my friends.
    But it's just not the same. Like Kyle said it's about context. Someone who has been with you every step of the way for years.
    Friends can't replace that.
    It's about the emotional investment too.
    I don't know. I continue to miss you.
    11:03 am
    I am not anger
    I am not bitterness
    I am not jealousy
    I am not fear
    I am not regret
    I. Am. Love.
    Monday, May 7th, 2012
    7:29 pm
    "I was so comfortable with our life. I loved being able to go out, do whatever, and know that you were at home, waiting,  supporting me. I hate that I realized we weren't going to progress any further.  I hate even more that working through the superficial issues of our relationship exposed the one problem that shattered us. You were my foundation,  you kept my head on straight , sane and responsible for four years. Now i feel like my foundation has been ripped out from under me. Ive been afraid to let myself miss you because i couldn't deal with that pain the first time i was faced with it. So i ran and crawled up inside my friends.  In a boy.  I clung to him, and he to me, until i stopped sleeping and began to clutch.  It was too much too fast. And now we are backing away so we can deal with our breakups. But it was like pulling a bandage off a wound that never healed. It festered. And hurts all the more. I'm scared because im alone.  There's noone coming home. No animals.  I don't know what to do with myself.  Nor can i try to find the strength to figure out how"

    Damnit. Damn. It.
    This is exactly the pain I was trying to save you from, this is EXACTLY what I said to you when you started running away.
    I still don't know what problem was exposed outside of your inability to forgive me.
    I said one hurtful thing to you when you had one foot out the door and you never let it go.
    Whatever, it doesn't matter now. You're gone and we're done.
    But now you're heading down the scariest path of all, having to deal with your life alone.
    I long to be there, to guide you, to comfort your pain...but I can't be.
    I don't think you're nearly as done running as you think you are. You have not felt nearly half of this pain.
    To be honest, I hope its not as deep as mine was... is. No one deserves that.

    I don't know where you and I will end up after all is said and done. We can't be together right now. I recognize that much.
    Though part of me still wants you back, wants this to all be a nightmare.
    I have come too far to fall back into comfort.
    We share so much history, so much love, and still trust. We can be friends. But when and how, I do not yet know.

    Love is transformative, transcendental. It does not end, because it is infinite. The nature of a relationship can change, a person can change, but love is always there. It is the human experience of the divine spirit. After infatuation and lust, after anger and pain, through fear and betrayal, there is always love. It is only how much of that love we choose to experience. The darkest parts of our life, the deepest depths of pain and loneliness are necessary. Necessary for growth, necessary for true understanding and appreciation. We have to learn from this, Sammy. We have to grow. We have to recognize our mistakes, our mis-steps. We cannot leave this relationship bitter and regretful, we must leave it transformed. Because we touched something real. We knew, for a while, True Love. Neither one of us was ready for it. I have to fully realize the transformation I am only beginning. I have so many habits, so many old fears that I need to confront and wash away. I have to take everything I have preached, everything I have studied and believed for so long and apply it ALL of the time. You have to grow into yourself, into your life, find yourself. I have seen you, the real you. I know your potential, your true self. I know the love you are capable of. I know the true brilliance that lies just beneath the surface, waiting for the chance to be seen. I know also the pain you carry with you that keeps you from realizing it. I hope that someday you will see yourself as I have seen you. I hope we understand someday what role we had to play in each others' lives.


    I love you. Always.
    Friday, May 4th, 2012
    11:47 pm
    I miss you
    I can't will it away
    Going out into the world, living these distractions, this is supposed to make it better.
    Everything reminds me of you, and I feel that lack. Every victory is less without you here.
    No amount of justification, of deconstruction, of judgements and understanding,
    Nothing makes this lack disappear.
    I still have a hole in my heart.
    Make it stop.
    Get Out Of My Head.

    This is perhaps the lesson for me. One among many.
    This feeling cannot be explained away.
    All of the things you were supposed to be
    We were supposed to be.
    How can everything I felt to be true for so long be a lie?

    I'm sad because I lost you, but having you can't fix it.
    Nothing fixes it.
    "Nothing made losing them ok, I just learned to continue living."
    Why is this the ending that ruins me? Why is this the relationship that breaks me?
    I recovered so well from Amanda. I took everything since her in stride.
    Something keeps bringing me back here. Something keeps ripping this wound open again and again.
    Why you? Why this? Why here? Why now?

    Why can't I let you go?

    I'm probably not well versed enough in this but I have to do something.
    Care: I always cared ABOUT you, maybe I didn't care enough FOR you. When I finally found what caring meant, what the depths of my illusion had been, the damage was too far gone. So you say.
    Commitment: I was committed to in word and deed. Maybe my stray thoughts, and honesty about them to you did more damage than you wanted me to know. I never acted on a feeling, I never allowed those thoughts to stay. I wanted you, always you. Always.
    Trust: I bloody well trusted you. To my own demise, I trusted you. You trusted me to not hurt you. And I did. I am eternally sorry for that.
    Knowledge: I tried to let you see me, to ask the questions, to know you and let you know me. This changed over time and we grew apart, and afraid to let the other see our true self, until we got to where we are now... when sometimes I look at you, or your actions, or words.. and I don't know who you are. Because you changed so much and I didn't see it. I'm sorry I looked away. I'm sorry I hid away.
    Responsibility: I... I don't know. I shirked my responsibilities as your partner. I was overwhelmed at having to be your one rock. I was afraid of being solely responsible for your happiness. You fell away in this department too. Responsibility to me, to be honest. Honesty includes saying the things that are hard, that might hurt the person you're telling it to. We used to be so good at that. What happened?
    Respect: I did not respect your differences, I tolerated them. I assumed my way, my belief, was better. I didn't understand what that meant until very recently.

    I can't give that the reasoning it deserves, maybe after I finish the book.
    All I keep seeing is that the changes that needed to be made, the problems that were occurring, are all things I have started to recognize and change in myself. You saw it too. Why couldn't you forgive me?

    ...Why can't I forgive myself?
    Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
    11:38 pm
    You miss me?
    Too Little
    Too Late
    Friday, April 27th, 2012
    6:22 pm
    Smile.
    I don't need anyone.
    I love me.

    8:05 am
    If I could stop missing you, that would be awesome.
    Stop waking up in the morning wondering where you are
    what you're doing
    how you're feeling.
    I really wish I could stop dreaming about you
    Every. Single. Night.
    I've got it fucking bad.
    I miss you so much.
    Monday, April 23rd, 2012
    10:29 am
    Your words echo through my head.
    You ignored your responsibility to clean up the mess you had made of my life
    "Because I have a social life"
    in the same conversation you admit to me that you're running
    you're denying
    you're afraid of your new "friends"
    I'm rushing you to pack?
    Life is rushing you to pack. Because you have avoided dealing with this for so long.
    Don't point the finger at me because you can't deal with the consequences of your decisions.
    Yes I packed up your desk. Your Computer. Your books.
    Because you weren't going to.
    You kept saying "I'm gonna pack tonight," then running off to your new friends
    Staying out till 6 am drinking
    "Partying like there's no tomorrow"
    Well guess what? There is a tomorrow.
    You do have to deal with this.
    You do have to pack your shit.
    You do have to get the hell out of this apartment.

    I think you finally saw last night what having you here every day is doing to me.
    I hope you understand the patience and understanding I have shown you.
    I will never understand how you can be upset that I don't want the man you left me for in my home.
    Whether I'm here or not.
    There is a cold callousness to your words and actions these days that continues to surprise me.
    You just keep running, keep avoiding, keep looking the other way, keep pointing the finger.

    One day, you will find yourself alone with this darkness you have been running from.
    It will be all the stronger for your having avoided it for so long,
    and I will not be there to save you.

    I hear inklings of it, even now. Cracks in these walls you have built.
    Your cognitive dissonance cannot stand forever.
    I only hope you survive the fall.
    Thursday, April 19th, 2012
    6:35 am

    how can you say your'e lonely?
    how can you be so cold?
    so naive?
    you have him. you have comfort.
    i am _alone_
    so alone it keeps me up nights.

     

    dont fucking tell me shit like that.

    Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

    Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
    11:10 pm
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/30434682@N06/3800181560/
    I wish I could tell you what lies behind my smile
    the exquisite pain of knowing I'll never again feel your touch
    how I wish this part of me was still dormant
    how I wish I could tell you, show you what its doing to me
    I haven't been alone in this way for eight years
    Eight
    Years
    it's so unfamiliar, so alien
    to know I have no one to run to
    no arms to wrap around me
    no lips to kiss me
    no one to hold my heart
    I have so much love.
    I am so much love.
    But with no one to share it with, love is nothing.
    Love is a verb.

    Loving myself will never be enough
    No one wants to be alone.

    But I have to be, because this pain isn't nearly gone.
    My heart isn't nearly mended.
    All you need is love?
    Love is not enough.

    I am love. I've always been love.
    Yet here I am, alone.
    Why does everything have to be temporary?
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