Draw the Line

Throughout my life I have been told many things about how I should deal with difficult people. I’ve been told to “be the bigger person” by being the first to apologize. I’ve been told to be nice to so and so, to be accepting, to be patient, to be kind. I even tell myself these things, to just deal with certain people. In many situations, this is good advice. But where do we draw the line? At some point, we have to think about ourselves, and our own well-being. I came across this quote recently, thanks to Facebook sharing:

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I think that this is 100% true. There are certain people, no matter if they are family or friends, who are not worth being around. There are some people that cause so much emotional damage, stress, drama, physical damage and I truly do not believe in associating with such individuals.

I have had people in my life who have caused me tremendous emotional pain and stress that I decided it just wasn’t worth it anymore. If I made one wrong move, or said one wrong thing my life would practically start to fall apart because of this person. I cried, I stressed, and I got ulcers, intense headaches and depression. There were absolutely no benefits that I could think of to make me stay close with this person.

I know that it seems harsh to cut a person out of your life. But I truly believe that in some cases, the benefits outweigh the loss. I no longer have this stress in my life, and I have no regrets about it. I’m happy, and currently have no emotional pain. I had to think about myself, and I’m glad that I did.

Heart & Soul

What do you really truly love to do? I think it’s difficult to place it. We think of what we love in different terms. We think of what makes money. We think of our current jobs and place the things we love about it. But do we really truly love it?

In college, I studied psychology. I really, truly love psychology; but I’m not actually using it, I’m not taking it further. I don’t want to be a counselor, a psychologist, a psychotherapist, etc. Last night I had an epiphany. It’s that I really, truly love to write. I love getting my thoughts out. I love educating people about interesting things. I love having discussions about said things.

If I really chose to take something I love as a career option, I would write. I love it deep down in my soul; the core of my being loves to write. I don’t know what the next step is… besides to keep writing.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. It always has been, even when I was single, even when I was depressed. There is something magical about a day devoted to love. The one thing I hate about Valentine’s Day is the people who hate Valentine’s Day; people who call it “single’s awareness day.”  Yes, media advertises Valentine’s Day as a day for couples to celebrate their love, a day for proposals, a day to have a first date.

How I have always seen Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate LOVE in general. I give my mom a Valentine, I text people I care about, I make cards for people, I give people candy, I remind EVERYONE I love that I love them!

The way I see it is, Valentine’s Day is shitty and depressing if YOU make it shitty and depressing- just like any other day. If you think love is worth celebrating, celebrate it! Bake things for people, go out with a friend, send cards, and buy candy. Make a date for YOU! There is nothing depressing about loving yourself.

Life is about attitudes. If you have a shitty attitude, life sucks. You can change it in an instant. You can even choose to ignore Valentine’s Day. It is a regular day where people still have to work, after all. Just don’t shit all over everyone who DOES love Valentine’s Day. We get it, you’re single, you’re sad, and you want attention too. Either keep it to yourself or change your day by changing your attitude.

Fetishism & Exhibitionism

Continuing with my Valentine’s Day theme, I thought it would be fun to talk about sex. But what’s better than talking about plain old sex, is talking about weird sexual disorders! Fetishism & exhibitionism are some of my favorite sexual disorders. These disorders are under the category of paraphilias. A paraphilia is a “type of mental disorder characterized by a preference for or obsession with unusual sexual practices.”

Fetishism is a disorder where a person is highly aroused by a non-living object, or a highly specific non-genital body part. We have all heard of people with foot fetishes. It’s something funny that we joke about, but I’m not sure people realize the intensity of a fetish. It isn’t just a person who really likes feet. It’s a person who literally gets aroused by feet. These people fantasize about feet, have sexual urges towards feet, and actually achieve orgasm by interacting with feet in a sexual way.

Exhibitionism is my absolute favorite paraphilia. Exhibitionism is when a person experiences intense sexual arousal from exposing their genitals to an unsuspecting stranger. All disorders have a certain intensity about them that I feel needs to be emphasized. A person with exhibitionism can literally achieve orgasm at the sight of a stranger being shocked at seeing their genitals. They fantasize about exposing themselves to strangers, and they have urges that they act on. This can obviously be a very distressing disorder. They can be arrested for exposing themselves in public, and they can earn a terrible reputation for being a freak. This can affect all aspects of a person’s life. They can be fired from their job, be an outcast among friends and family, and literally go to jail. Unfortunately, since this a disorder, it is not a behavior that can just be stopped.

What I always wonder is how people come to have such strange sexual desires. Maybe in fetishism there is an association made with an object. Maybe a person with a foot fetish had some pleasurable experience with feet; maybe this person has highly sensitive feet and has associated all feet with sexual pleasure. With exhibitionism, maybe the person was walked in on while achieving orgasm and associated the element of surprise with sexual pleasure.

However it happens, sexual disorders are more serious than people take them in popular media. People suffering from a paraphilia have to seek help to stop their behaviors. I am not saying there is anything wrong or disgusting about these people. They are people with an unusual problem. They might need or want help or they might not. It doesn’t bother me if you get off on feet. If you have a foot fetish, I hope you get a pedicure for Valentine’s Day and enjoy yourself.

Theory of Love

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought my blogs could have a more focused topic for a while, love! We can all relate to the topic of love, we all feel love. We love our pets, families, partners, blankets, coffee, food… I’m not talking about our love of inanimate objects…this time. I’m talking about gooey love between two people. First of all, I want to share my favorite quote by Harry Harlow:

“Our assigned mission as psychologists is to analyze all facets of human and animal behavior into their component variables. So far as love or affection is concerned, psychologists have failed in their mission. The little we know about love does not transcend simple observation and the little we write about it has been written better by poets and novelists.”

No one can pinpoint what love is, why we love who we love, what makes love work, etc. Psychologists have developed theories about types of love. My favorite is Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love. I made a cool diagram just for you:

Made by me in Excel

The corners of the triangle are different facets of love. Many people consider intimacy to be sexual. Intimacy is actually talking, sharing things about yourself, and being close with another person. Intimacy by itself is friendship. Passion is where sex comes in. Passion involves physical attraction and sex. Passion by itself is infatuation (or a one night stand). Commitment involves a decision to be together, either for the time being (a short term relationship), or for an extended period of time (til death do us part).

The sides of the triangle make up the types of love you get when you combine the corners of the triangle. We can make it into a math-like equation:

  • Intimacy + Passion = Romantic Love (Ohhhh you’re so sexy, ohhh you’re so smart, ohhh I’m so in love with you after a day and a half…)
  • Passion + Commitment = Fatuous Love (A decision to be together, based solely on attraction… this doesn’t end well, in my experience.)
  • Intimacy + Commitment = Companionate Love (I honestly see this type of love as a best-friend love rather than a relationship type of love.)
  • Passion + Commitment + Intimacy = Consummate Love… the whole package. This is the picture perfect relationship; a decision to be together and stay together, attraction/sex, and talking/knowing one another.

In marriage, commitment is a facet of the relationship that can buy time while rough patches with intimacy and passion are worked out.

Obviously making love into a math-like equation isn’t romantic. It’s a way of studying love and relationships. We can see what works and what doesn’t work so well in a long term relationship; we can know what we are looking for. When it comes to who we love and why we love them, I guess it’s up to us.

Finding Faith

With most things in life, we take examples from our immediate family. We see what love is supposed to be like. We learn how to communicate… or we don’t. We see what relationships or marriages are supposed to be like. We may learn negative things as well. Some may gather that violence is a normal part of life. Some end up questioning life. Why get married if my parents were never happy? Do marriages ever work? I question a lot of things… and based on what I have grown up with in my immediate family, marriage looks… less than impressive. This is why I think we need to expand where we find our examples. We can’t just stay in our little bubble of family or friends. We need to take examples from elsewhere. No, I am not saying movies or fairy tales or reality TV. God no. Just pay attention. Do you ever see a little old couple at a grocery store holding hands? When I see things like this, I notice it, and I take time to appreciate it. People DO grow old together. Just being where I work gives me faith in people and relationships and marriages. I get to see older couples caring for each other and doing things together. I sit quietly and watch and think to myself about how amazing and wonderful it must be. I feel grateful just getting to see these things. I can’t help but realize how much I want that.

Cookie Cutters

I keep wondering when I will be able to live my life for myself. I guess I have a faint idea. When I get a job, save some money, and can live on my own. This is my personal definition of adulthood.

I can’t help but wonder that even when this happens for me, will I even be doing what I want to do? Every time I think about something I want, personally, I feel that I am looking over my shoulder, wondering what my family will think of me. For many families, including my own, there is a certain order to things.

We graduate high school, then attend college, and get a high enough degree to do something with it. Next, I am assuming, (since my sister and I have not yet been to this point) find a man (or someone), date for a while, get married, have babies. Oh but wait. Before the dating for a while or getting married part, it will take about a year and a half for my family to even approve of this someone I happen to love. Joy!

So what if I want to do things differently? I have enough hesitations about marriage, what if I don’t want that? But then I do want babies. Oh dear me. I will have skipped a crucial step. I can already see the looks I will get. I can already feel my ears burning from my entire family talking behind my back. Yes.

I guess what I am wondering is why we are supposed to follow this cookie-cutter way of life. I grew up being told that we should do what makes us happy. I was never told, “Do what makes you happy, but please submit a draft and wait for our approval and if we deny your happiness draft, please revise.”

I am accepting of people’s choices, I can only hope that no matter what kind of choices I make, people will be accepting of mine.