Monday, March 11, 2013


(Wheee two months!)

I was deep in serious conversation with the Object of Affections the other day and he said something that precipitated an epiphany around a subject The Bride and I have been debating for a very long time. 'I've always thought I'm pretty self-sufficient,' he said, 'but I have realized I'm really lonely.' And then it all came to me in a big whump--what the fuck does that even mean?

When someone says they're self sufficient, or they "don't NEED anybody" (as Lithium is very fond of saying whenever I am feeling particularly insecure of my place in his life), what exactly do they mean? I've poked and prodded and probed and usually it seems to come down to 'I won't make myself vulnerable to anyone'. On the face of it, that's a pretty worthy ambition to have. If you're not vulnerable, then you can't be devastated by someone (which is usually what's happened to make people wary of letting it happen again). This makes eminent sense. Only, it is also fairly impossible.

Think about it. What does it mean to be completely emotionally independent? Does it mean that you never call anyone when you're having a bad day? A good day? A bleh day? Does it mean you never think of any person when you need comfort? Does it mean you never show your emotions to another person? And, most importantly, in the case of people who say they have always been like this, does it mean you never have done any of these things?

For most of us, we have some sort of bond with our families. Maybe only one parent, maybe a sibling.We had at some point, a best friend, a gang of brats we played gully cricket with. A cousin who visited one summer and we spent hours talking to. A first love. A latest love. Homo sapiens is a social species. That's how it is defined; that's how it evolved and that's WHY it evolved. So why must we constantly try and deny this? There are some people who have has horrific lives of abuse and loss and they cannot say they had these things, and we tend to see that as tragic. Then why do we act like this is something we actively want to encourage, like it's a state of being that should be worked towards?

Because we're terrified. Heck I'm terrified. I live in a constant state of low-grade terror--that occasionally spikes up to high grade terror--because of the number of people I am vulnerable to. But somewhere along the way I realized the vulnerability is the flip side of love. In some ways the definition of loving someone IS giving them the capacity to hurt you. And they usually do, but that doesn't mean they don't love you, or even that they meant to. Sometimes, as happened with Boytoy recently, when he decided he's ready to find a real girlfriend and move out of our fake relationship, it's entirely incidental and even you know it. And you know, all the naysayers who told me this was a mistake because he was going to move on and I'd be hurt will be nodding right now, only if I hadn't let this happen I would never have had all the love he does give me still.

But I digress (as always heh). So what happens is there is a whole generation of people who hold their "self-sufficiency" high like a flag and drown alone in their loneliness, because they cannot even admit to themselves that they ARE lonely, let alone begin to do something to make life better. And that's what I told OA. How can it be strange for a thirty-year old, like me, to feel the pull of companionship? In my case, I would really love to make a plan that doesn't have to come with an inbuilt potential date of termination. In my case, when I'm plummeting to the depth of the pit where my demons live, how can I not want a hand to hold, a warm body breathing steadily next to me, or even in the next room? How can we persist in believing that this is abnormal and weak? There is no shame in needing companionship, in seeking a partner, in "settling" because you don't want to be alone. We are not programmed to be alone--we're just telling ourselves that because we're scared.

As for the the other ways to look at self-sfficicency, The Bride has done an excellent job of summarizing our views.


  1. I think emotional self-sufficiency is as achievable as finding utopia. Which is to say, its that special place some of us would like to be, but in reality, it is pretty darn non-existent. Because, we're born to socialise, to depend one each-other, to relate, to reach out, to feel. And anybody who is busy trying to tell themselves that they're free of that or are working towards being free of that are pretty much trying to turn themselves into a rock, no?
    I think theres a fine line between not making yourself vulnerable and being what people mistake to be emotionally "self-sufficient". In past relationships (friendships/companions included) Iv worn my heart on my sleeve, been unabashed and made myself vulnerable and gotten buttfucked for it. But my lesson from these experiences hasnt been to shut everything/everyone off and be self-sufficient (because thats impossible, for me) but to be cautious in how vulnerable I make myself to whom. I think that is entirely possible, and as we grow older we learn to take charge of what we're feeling and how to deal with it..
    Have I rambled on, on a tangent?

    1. can an elephant ramble on a tangent? Ah philosophy at 530pm on a Monday ;)

      Yes I agree about being careful. But it's also true that all the care in the world cannot save you from being hurt. To wit Dragon. And people can sometimes inexplicably change, like Chocolate Boy. What you do end up doing is fucking your own head sometimes. Maybe there's a balance to be found between fucking self and laying self out to be fucked? I dunno, I'm still looking for it! And in case of depressive people like me, the companionship is literally vital for survival!

  2. hat does it mean to be completely emotionally independent? Does it mean that you never call anyone when you're having a bad day? A good day? A bleh day? Does it mean you never think of any person when you need comfort? Does it mean you never show your emotions to another person?"

    Just came to me - maybe it means, being able to go short whiles without close contact with said person without going to pieces?

    Though in terms of my marriage, I can do this peacefully now, but I believe my marriage was in a much better position when I was in the emotionally dependent phase, missing my husband intensely when he was away to the point of being disconsolate.

    1. Haan this was my point about being unable to function without someone. But the point is that people seem to think that missing someone intensely=being unable to function without them. Which i find weird! Though granted it can stray into that space, which is why my experiment with Boytoy.

  3. I read the Bride's post and came here. I think I can get by without cooking/cleaning etc, but I'd die if I couldn't be a drama queen. I mean, it's obviously not good for you in a very 'scientific' way or whatever if you are going to be weepy-eyed because someone left you blah blah, but I think it makes sense to live that way if you are made that way. We're all emotionally dependent on other people in varying degrees, I think and that's probably good. I mean, take that guy in 127 hours. He wouldn't have lost his hand if he'd answered his mum's call, no?

    1. oo i never saw that movie heh. but. yes my point exactly