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Friday, March 27, 2015

Narcissism

110,000 people have visited this site. Thank you. It makes me feel like I'm not alone.
kathyescobar.com


I've had more experiences than one person deserves, more lives than I should have had. I see people, endless lines of people, each living different lives, each making different choices, and I see myself in all of them. Or maybe I see them all in myself, how one simple act or decision could have left me on the same path that they're on, and how simple decisions drew me away from their path. Life is much more than poetic bullshit, and at the same time that's all it ever is. My life, my poetic bullshit.

I tell myself things to make me feel good, to make me feel special, because I am a narcissist. We all are. Maybe it's actually the truth that makes us special, not the lies that we tell ourselves. I like to tell myself that I'm special because many people who have lost themselves to heroin remain lost, but maybe the truth is that their not lost, just making different decisions, and taking different paths. I give myself accolades for making the choice to not use, but I don't hear many people who have never used standing upon soap boxes declaring themselves victors. Where are the accolades for the people who never made the choice to deviate from the path of sobriety? Do they have some sort of support group where they tell tales of how they were once offered an escape and denied it, where everyone sits in a circle congratulating them on their strength? Sobriety-Anonymous? 

The truth is that I'm not special, I was stupid, arrogant, weak. Now I crown myself victorious for conquering my own demons just like everyone else does everyday.  I defeated my own stupidity, somebody give me a fucking medal. Somebody notice that I'm special, because I see lines of people who are much more special than me, and I need my badge of narcissism. 

I set myself adrift on the tides of fate, so I may blame others for my mistakes. 

Poetic bullshit.



Friday, May 23, 2014

Relationship Police

Ian and Lisa White, 2012

I get so hung up on my own ego that I, quite often, overlook the fact that it is my own ego hanging me up. 

Today I looked in the mirror and firmly stated aloud: "I chose to be here." Then I followed it up by blaming another for my situation and shortcomings. This I think is normal but for me it's not ideal. Naturally we all gravitate toward situations that contribute to our self-confidence or comfort zone. Put quite simply: if something feels good we repeat. It seems so simple, yet can span such complex situations. Take drugs for instance: use can be repeated to the point of physical and/or chemical dependence. Just like sex, drugs or any other substance, situation or solution that lends itself to an instant comfort, things that make us feel good get saved in the reward center in our brains and carry a risk of becoming a compulsion. 

Being selfish has become a compulsion to many of us because it's both natural and requires the least amount of energy. Focusing on what we perceive as good for us both awards us with our desires and allows us to not expend the time or energy thinking of others. The problem is that we don't chose to live in isolation, but rather form communities and societies living together and amongst one another but thinking only of our own individual needs/wants. 

The rules and laws that we have put in place to regulate the actions of individuals are created to limit the selfish actions that can harm others. For example: if a man is late for an appointment he may be inclined to drive at speeds that are dangerous to those around him. The dilemma of being late belongs to the man, and others driving near him shouldn't be put at risk for his selfish desire to make up time. To discourage driving at unsafe speeds we've employed speed limits and have appointed people to enforce those limits and dole out repercussions to people who don't abide by the law. Nearly ever law or ordinance is designed to protect the masses from the selfish actions of the individual. 

But while we develop written law for our public actions, our private interactions are self-governed and this is where the majority of our violations against others occur. There is no law dictating the treatment of spouses, and no marital police waiting to hand out citations. We make decisions  and agreements with others concerning how we will treat and be treated and then hold one another accountable to those agreements. But does this system work? Many of our actions when in private differ from our actions whilst in the company of our partners. The way we act and interact  with people that we find sexually attractive can be compared to speeding: if we don't see a police officer around we usually allow ourselves to speed. Many times our behaviors while away from our partners differs from our actions when our partner is there watching. This becomes a issue in most relationships and is a major determining point in our decisions surrounding who we form relationship with. Trust is having a feeling that someone is doing the 'right thing' regardless of our presence or absence. We all would like to think that others can be trusted to uphold the law, but a short drive on the freeway will make you question this. When a police officer stations himself in an area most people will automatically and immediately apply brakes when first seeing him. When we're not under the watchful eye of authority we revert back to selfish behaviors. This can be seen in our personal lives as well, and many times the way we conduct ourselves would be considered 'speeding' in the presence of our partner. But this dynamic is unfair to our partners, because it forces them to be an authority figure and requires them to decide an appropriate consequence as well as deliver the punishment. But is this the reason we enter into relationships? No, we initially enter into relationships to form mutually beneficial partnerships

One reason many marriages fail is because we initially enter into marriage to be on a team with another person, both people working toward mutual goals. But once that partnership is formed we immediately begin to make one another an authority figure by keeping information from them. Just as many would not consider themselves on the same 'team' as a police officer enforcing the speed limits, this behavior makes it difficult or impossible to be on the same team as our partner. How can we overcome this hurdle and form lasting relationships with trust in the actions of our spouse? 

It begins, just as society did: with a meeting and discussion addressing problems and the collective decision to put boundaries in place. We sit down, talk about areas of concern and then determine 'laws' governing our actions and 'sentences' for our crimes against one another. And then we have to, not only, hold one another accountable but more importantly hold ourselves accountable. We need to remember that a relationship is partnership that we have decided to enter because we are better as a team than we are on our own. We then need to treat that partnership as a privilege and an opportunity for mutual advancement rather than self- serving gratifications. As the saying goes: "there is no 'I' in team" and I chose to be here. 




Thursday, March 20, 2014

Human Traffic

Today I ventured into the "wrong" side of town. There was a gloom hanging on to area, like wet pants heavily weighed down but still clinging on. Prostitutes and dealers stood on every corner, each trying to command the largest amount of real estate as my car approached. I allowed myself a quick smile as I thought of the amount of entrepreneurs here. The women would look as if they were excited to see me, like they somehow recognized my car, then when they saw I was a female their look would turn to disappointment or even resentment and they would continue to walk. A walk with no destination, but all with an end. As I was driving I began to look at them, to really study them. They were all so similar they could have been from the same family, sisters even. All the same shape, build and age, definitely the same age. They appeared to all be in their twenties, although I'm a poor judge of age at times. Then the obvious question became lodged in my mind like a thought to wide to pass without being broken down. If they were all the same age, and all "entrepreneurs" without retirement accounts paid for by taxes, where were all the thirty-something year old prostitutes? A quick scan of the dealers confirmed the same assumption: they were also of the same age range. The women began to blend with one another, each one exactly the same as the last. The shock came when I began to recognize them, each one had a hard look to her face, like a petrified and painted bit of sculpted clay, showing no emotion, showing only hard. Behind the hard eyes of each of them lay the same thing: nothing. It was that that I recognized. I knew that vacant place their stares originated, I felt that same hole in my soul. But which of us was in the wrong place then, them or me? While I took a journey far from my conceived path of physician, I never came anywhere near the reality or even thought of prostitution. But still I saw the look on them that I used to see in the mirror every day. It didn't occur to me until I had reached the safety and comfort of my home that the look I was recognizing was not familiar to me because we had some bit in common that other people didn't understand, it was familiar to me because I did understand it, and so did everyone else. I recognized them because they were human

Today instead of crying for myself I cried for them, for my sisters, for my fellow human beings.


As recently as 1991, police in a southern California community closed all rape reports made by prostitutes and addicts, placing them in a file stamped “NHI.” The letters stand for the words “No Human Involved.” (Linda Fairstein, 1993, Sexual Violence: Our War Against Rape, New York: William Morrow and Co.). 

The average lifespan of a prostitute in a major city in 34 years old. 
-aje.oxfordjournals.org/.../8/778


Monday, January 20, 2014

setting mutual goals



Lisa and Ian speak about the importance of setting mutual goals.


Love and Hate.

L. White Jan. 2014

I've pondered the meaning and definition of love, as I'm sure most have, many times. What is love, can it be defined and how are there different kinds of love? I think there lies a very fine line in between love and hate, more specifically; I believe the only people we can ever truly hate are those that we also love or have loved.

I've begun to think of people as magnets. Each of us with a north and a south pole, with the norths repelling one another and the attraction being held between north and south. This 'opposites attract' mentality is logical to me, as most of us seek to improve upon our weaknesses and share our talents. The only dilemma is that if we're all upright and properly aligned I imagine that our head would be our 'north' and feet be represented as our 'south' pole. This means that we would naturally repel one another if we got too close, unless one of us turned his or her world completely upside down.

l.white pictorial representation 2014


Many of us are willing to sacrifice for love, to turn our reality on its head and give up everything for another. The problem arises when we don't feel appreciated for that sacrifice, or when we're taken for granted. What we have a hard time grasping is that while our world spins and things get turned we grab ahold of our partner with a strong grip so that we don't slip away. This new grip on our partners makes them feel more confident and powerful, it gives them stability by allowing them to feel needed. The problem arises when the partner whose life is still upright doesn't match that need or grip as strongly. They are able to continue on as they did prior to the shift or upheaval because they are still walking walking around upright as they always did, to them the change has been in their partner, who undoubtedly feels more clingy and needy than they did previously.

I've had the occasion to be on both sides of this particular coin, and while I didn't behave as thoughtfully as I could have, the experience has given me understanding in my partner. When I was younger I moved with my partner at the time to a new location where I had a career already lined up and the camaraderie of coworkers while he had nothing but me and our relationship to comfort him. Eventually we became comfortable in our new city and recognized it as 'home'. Last year, nearly 12 years after that move, I moved again, this time with a new partner to a destination of his choosing and on his terms. The solution in both cases and for both parties is empathy. 

Spend the time to understand what your partner may be feeling and most importantly why. Try to imagine how you would act in that same situation and then remind yourself that situations are only temporary, your partner may be acting differently to you, but when a comfortable and familiar situation is achieved the person that may seem so foreign will return once their stability does. And we should remember that we could soon be turned upside-down ourselves!



To our newer readers, and veterans alike: questions? comments? curiosities? I would love to speak to you :)    lisadawnwhite@hotmail.com