Tuesday, July 10, 2007

But if I Lose Myself, How Can I Save You?

That’s a line from the song “Casualty” by the Lovehammers, a Chicago band I’ve been listening to recently.

That is also a line that has been running through my head for various reasons. Huhmm, I’m trying to figure out the best way to continue here. I think it’s the process of ‘saving’ someone that bugs me, and also, it’s so easy to use the excuse that you need to ‘work on yourself’ or be afraid of losing yourself as a way to end a relationship and not let others get close. I think I’ll start there.

I don’t date much. There have been guys I’ve liked, and who’ve liked me, and we’ve gone out but the whole intimacy and letting people get close thing scared me. Basically, I wasn’t opening myself up to be hurt again. The last guy I went out with was probably two years ago and when we started getting close, when I began to realize I liked him, really liked him, that was the end. The joke with my friends is that I received three marriage proposals before I was twenty-one, and I did. Though only one of the men was entirely serious, the other wanted sex (I told him no ring, no sex, he gave me a ring next time we met) and the other needed a wife to get promoted at work. But each time as much as I crave stability and a family of my own, the proposal ruined the relationship.

The thing with the last guy I went out with opened my eyes though. “I have to work on myself,” I said. “How can I connect with another person if I can’t connect with myself?”

He basically called bullshit on that idea. Relationships are about teamwork. No one has a firm sense of identity, and even the best of times people have stuff they need to work on. We’re not all saints nor are we meant to fully support and ‘save’ ourselves.

I wondered how I could be there for him when I wasn’t sure of myself, and in that process was denying HIM the chance to be there for me. I think it’s such an easy way to end a relationship, a total cop-out. Why face what could be the real issue when you can say, “It’s me.” I really never realized all the people I had shut out who WANTED to help me later in life. Maybe I just wasn’t used to it, who knows. For the most part, it’s kind of paranoia that they are being nice because they want something though. I never notice when a guy is attracted to me either. Those are signals I can’t pick up on – feelings of affection to me. My friends smack me upside the head for not realizing, but I never learned. A guy has to come up to me and be straightforward or else I just won’t get it. I’m no Columbo- I don’t pick-up clues too easily.

But that notion of saving someone else also bugs me. People do need to ‘save’ themselves as it were, you can’t force it on someone. The girl R. I talked about before. When the worst fights occurred at home her mom let me stay with them, be it on the couch or later the spare room when R.s brother went into the military. It was a respite. Their family had issues as well and the father didn’t like me too much, but R.s mother fought for me to stay when I needed to. It helped a lot.

After college I stayed with R. for three months in our own apt. I paid half the rent, cooked, bought groceries. We were roommates. I usually say she had completely changed at that point, but I think it was more that I did and could see her for the real actions that I talked about earlier – her real nature. It was a horrendous three months before I moved to NYC. When I left, she screamed at me, “You can’t leave me, I saved you! Where would you be without me, I saved you!”

That pissed me off to the nth degree. I thought she was a friend, but she was thinking she was my savior. We were equals in that place, I paid the rent, the deposit (which she screwed me out of later). It was her mother that let me stay at their house in school, and I’m eternally grateful for that. But her saving me?

I’m not looking for a savior anymore because if it’s anywhere, it’s within myself. Personal savior, that’s what I like. But to say you saved someone is a bit too high-and-mighty for me. Remember, I grew up in the church. There is one savior, and it is a personal savior from sin.

I think that’s why the line bugs me. First, it’s presuming that you can’t help someone until you help yourself (or the fear that you’ll lose yourself) which is false. You can help someone and yourself at the same time. Also, others are there to help you as well. It’s a back and forth. To say otherwise is a cheat and a cop-out. And the second is the notion that others need saving. This led to the whole missionary complex that wiped out so many rich cultures. People may need help, may need to see that hope, the last little fairy to fly forth from Pandora’s box, is still out there among the demons. But when it comes to saving, it’s up to them to discover if they need it and how it can happen. And it doesn’t have to happen alone. Others can band together and help each other out. You need to learn to allow others to help on the quest. That is really hard for me.

As for the rest of that song- there is good to it or else it wouldn’t be in regular rotation on my computer. I particularly like this part of the chorus:

Persistence, Resistance
Once man can make a difference
The battles inside of me –
The fights begun but not yet won
And I won’t become
One more Casualty.

I figure that sums up my philosophy pretty darn well. I’ve begun the final battle over my past, and I will not be another casualty.

Rock on y’all.

Image from http://www.singeruniverse.com/


Amel's Realm said...

Nice post again, Vic!!!

When it comes to "saving" someone, I made that mistake once. Turned out the person didn't want to be saved by me. I learnt it the hard way. People who don't want to learn the lessons WILL NOT learn the lessons until they're ready. It's like "The teacher will appear when the student is ready."

And I AGREE with you. Even when you're struggling to help yourself, you can still help someone else.

When it comes to R's words about her being your savior, it's really disgusting!!!

GOOD LUCK in your love life, Vic!!!

Chewy said...


Last night I watched "Now Voyager" with Bette Davis and thought of you. (Weird how blog stuff enters real life.) Anyway, Bette's character has a dominating and repressive mother. Bette gets treatment, goes on a voyage and falls in love...

Victorya said...

oooh Chewy! I like that! As I'm taking my first vacation in three years and going away for a couple days. Maybe I can find love too. . . .huhmmmm. . .what timing :)

Amel - you're right. The teacher won't appear until the student is ready, I like that. People need to realize what they want to do, or have an inkling of the question they need to ask. It's an important lesson too. I'm going through this now with someone, I'll have to write later (at work) but I finally confronted her about how depressed she is and she told me yes, I feel trapped and alone and cry all the time and completely powerless. But she's just ready to admit it now, not take the next step and it's hard for me to not try and 'save' her when I care for her. But the more you push for somethings the more you can push them away, which is the worst thing if they truly need help.

Amel's Realm said...

Hey, "sail away" and enjoy your vacation, Vic!!! It'd be WONDERFUL to have your first vacation in 3 years. HAVE A BLASSSTTTTTT!!!! ;-D

OK, I'll be waiting for your post on the topic you mentioned. No worries, I'll be popping by every now and then anyway he he he...:-D

Victorya said...

Yeah, I leave thursday return saturday, but it's something! OMG, I can't wait.

Yeah, I've been putting off talking about her. No one in real life knows I blog, lol, but it's been a real rough time asking her how she really feels because it's hard to be around someone who exhibits all the signals of how you were. At least we have a dialogue going.

heavenabove said...

Right you are about one having to save themselves. Sure others play a role but ultimately it is up to the individual. One example: legally ordering addicts into treatment -it just will not work if the person doesn't want it to.

For me about 5 years ago was when I finally saved myself. What a change. I look back and can't hardly believe the crap I used to put up with, and give,including in dating relationships! Since then I have dated once for about 1 month (B4 that I always had a boyfriend). The guy said he was gonna come over one evening but didn't show up until 3 days later. No explanation. I would have liked a call saying he wasn't coming over. I wasn't mad or hurt, I was worried and confused. I decided that I just didn't want to deal with those crazy feelings you get in those situations anymore-frankly, I am afraid of those feelings.

Amel's Realm said...

I'll be missing you while you're gone. You're such a prolific writer and you always write deep stuff, too.

My close friends and hubby know I blog. I've put my blog link in my Friendster's profile so any friend in Friendster can look it up, but I'm not too sure they will. I began writing a blog in Friendster but nobody really read it (or nobody really commented it). That's why I moved to blogger, to reach out to more people he he he...

I understand what you're going through. I once tried that, too, to another friend. I didn't try to save her, but I worried about her too much since I didn't want her to do the same mistakes I had done. But she pushed me away 'coz she didn't want a "watcher/patrolwoman" he he he...she felt that I had "haunted" her too much, I guess. A few days ago she still thought I worried about her too much, but then I rectified the situation. I told her that I had stopped worrying too much about her and I hope she won't feel "choked" by me anymore.

Wish you LUCK with your friend!!! I know it's hard not to want to grab someone from jumping into the ravine...you have to know the right timing and the right way to do it. Otherwise the other person might see you as an intruder.

Victorya said...

Heaven - congrats on getting yourself out of both situations! It's just plain confusing and hard and so many conflicting things. Reality is not an easy thing to face.

Amel - (hug) ugh, can't wait for the trip, already I've gotten a call that someone tried to activate a credit card in my name and I might be bumped from my first flight, lol, trying to let it roll off my back.

Amel's Realm said...

Yep, reality is confusing as people can be so different. Different pasts, different scars, different fears...

HUG back!!! ;-D

Hey, it's CRAZY that someone tried to use your credit card!!! Still I wish you a PLEASANT and FUN holiday!!!!!!!!! ;-D

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Fear of committment, mistrust of others; all pages torn from the same book, bonny lass. Understandable too. I was engaged FOUR times, ran away every time. I was almost thirty before I married, and only because he didn't believe it when I kept telling him I wasn't capable of feeling love. Baggage, eh? I don't do needy, either. Pushes too many wrong buttons. I "saved" my mother countless times, pity she couldn't save herself. If someone doesn't want to be, they can't be. End of. Helping others is fine, just be certain they want to be helped first.

Have faith in yourself Victorya, everyone else in here has! ((hugs))