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i don't know what's wrong with me
but i bet it's hard to pronounce
by maigen thomas (@Maigen)

I took off from the airport on an evening not long ago knowing something was wrong. Oh, nothing was wrong with the plane, it was a beautiful lift off and gentle bank over the baseball game currently in progress below. I had just felt something deep in my heart hurt, and I didn't know what it was.

After the first tear dropped down my cheek, despite my best efforts to hold it in, the deluge started. All through boarding I cried, without shame or caring that my fellow passengers were all passing me - seated on the aisle in the fourth row, you can't miss the crying girl. People got instinctively quieter as they passed me, then a few rows past they carried on with their lives. Happy, sad, dying, they had no idea, and frankly, neither do I.

I'm happy *and* sad. Living *and* dying. Everything and nothing, and while I realize a lot of my irrational emotions stem from having two XX chromosomes, I think I create the rest of my problems all by myself. To narrow it down, I think I'm allergic to love.

Not that I haven't tried it. When I first tasted it, it was the most delicious thing I've ever tasted in my life. I thought it would be the only flavour I'd ever need, forever and ever. When that flavour was taken away from me, I thought I would die from the lack of it. I've experienced many varieties of the flavour, some bitter, some sweet, most varying somewhere in between.

It wasn't until last year that I understood what love actually means. It means to give your heart without expecting anything in return.

And, literally speaking, just because I understand that concept doesn't mean I apply it. Understanding love doesn't mean that when you've been broken up with you stop having feelings for the person who hurt you. Understanding love doesn't stop you from sleeping with someone you know is wrong for you, it merely allows you to detach yourself from feelings to embrace a desire for comfort and warmth (or sex) from someone convenient. Understanding love doesn't stop you from 'accidentally falling into' a relationship - forsaking true passion for being content with having activities and views in common with a buddy you decide to rub genitals with in bed.

Understanding love also doesn't stop you from hurting those who care about you. It doesn't mean you'll value or give a chance to those who have feelings for you.

Being human means we're fallible, and frankly, fallible is an overstatement. I'm often wrong. I get trivia right, I enjoy writing and conversation, I have excellent taste in restaurants, and I'm really good at a few things I do. But my choices in love don't reflect a great sense of intelligence. If I actually looked back at some of the relationships I've gone into, supposedly with eyes wide open, anyone looking in from outside would assume I'd just tossed a coin and said 'fuck it, I'm doing it anyway'. I don't make good choices.

I don't know the science behind making relationship choices, though. If I understood it, then I might know why I consistently choose the people who eventually make me crazy, feeling pressure to be something I’m not; instead of choosing those who are willing to take me as I am, faults and all – and do the same in return. Instead, it seems that every time I date a guy, I narrow down my choices based on sexual chemistry, physical attraction, whether or not they’re “Good on Paper” and what I perceive as 'pheromones'.

Then, I proceed to pick the wrong guy. Every. Single. Time. I realize it, too, just entirely too late. But, what do I do then?

I’m setting some rules.

For starters, I have to learn to be honest – first with myself, then with them. I can’t be someone I’m not (at least not for extended periods of time!), so Being Honest with myself involves making the distinction between being in a relationship because it makes ME happy, or being in a relationship because it makes The Other Person happy.

The second step is to Communicate with that person exactly what I’m feeling without sugar coating it. Not that I want to be hurtful, but sugar coating is essentially a lie, and it’s unfair to both parties.

The third step is to stop hanging on to “What Could Be” and accepting “What Is”.

The last and ongoing step is to Never Settle. I have my issues and problems, but just like everyone other person on earth, I’m pretty fabulous – I should be happy being me. I should never accept anything less than exactly the same from anyone I choose to date. And even if I’m alone, it doesn’t mean I’m *not* fabulous, it just means there’s not someone equally fabulous that I’m currently dating.

In setting these ‘rules’, I don’t assume that I’ll fix anything I’ve done wrong, but I hope that I’ll learn from my mistakes in the future.


Maigen is simple. is smart. is wholesome. is skeevy. is spicy. is delicate. is better. is purer. is 100% more awesome than yesterday. She';s traveling the world and writing about her experiences with life, love, yoga, food, travel and people. Mostly people. Because they';re funny. hear more of her random thoughts @maigen on twitter.

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alex b
5.24.10 @ 9:21a

I wouldn't be too tough on yourself for making "bad" choices. The truth is, you made the choices which seemed fit to make at the time; the end result opens a temptation to look at said decision(s) with meaner hindsight than necessary, but if your choice felt authentic to make, then that's that. There's no way to change your choice, all you can do is learn from it, and let your evolution tweak your future decisions.

Then, you see what happens all over again.

As for sugarcoating, yes, it's a lie if you don't tell the truth. However, there is a way of choosing your words and expressing your message with a kinder intent, and not pleasing the other person. Tempering yourself for the sake of not causing World War 5 isn't necessarily sugarcoating.

adam kraemer
5.24.10 @ 3:53p

Right. "Tact" is not the same as "lying."

That said, sounds like pretty good rules. Alex is right; it's not about worrying if you're settling or not. It's about learning from past relationships in order to figure out what you need to avoid in the future ones. I mean, think of it this way - everyone picks the wrong person until they don't.

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