‘Faith’ is one of my favourite songs from George Michael, I still can’t quite comprehend he’s gone. The message of this song is something that always resonated, through all the crappy relationships I had, and the good ones that went bad in the end, that we have to have faith in the future, faith that things will work out in the end – because if we don’t we’re going to give up. And giving up is something I refuse to do. But continued optimism is hard, really hard.
I’ve used the tag ‘faith’ in this blog, so for those looking for an article on religious faith, this is not going to be what you’re after, I’m an atheist, so I won’t cover anything relating to religion at all, you will want to look elsewhere for that.
I’m struggling with this whole having faith thing at the moment, so I’m turning to prose as usual, it’s what I’m best at I guess, writing stuff down. Not that I’ll write all of what I’m thinking and feeling on here of course.
Thing is, having faith that things will work out takes a lot of gumption: you need to be an optimist and you need to be brave. Really bloody brave, because you can guarantee things are not always going to be smooth sailing, and you can guarantee there are probably more than a few bumps (or should that say rollercoasters…) on the way to things working out. Being brave is something I can do. Mostly. I asked a friend and colleague to rate how brave he thought I was out of ten. Seven or eight he reckoned. He’s probably right. I’ve certainly done lots of brave things this year after writing about it at the end of 2015 [blog link], and in one area in particular. Mostly I think a lot, then I dive into a situation all of a sudden, I do all the thinking first before I jump. But quite often I just dive in without thinking, I follow my instincts and don’t always weigh up the pros and cons, sometimes it’s the only way to go. Life’s short, what the hell. And also, sometimes the alternative is unthinkable, which can be rather motivating.
Following your instincts is easy with safe things like work. But with things involving strong emotions, it’s much trickier, and I’ve only recently starting trusting those emotion things again [blog link]. I wrote a long time ago about rediscovering emotions [blog link], about learning to feel emotions for other humans after having been in the ‘deep freeze’ for so long. Those same emotions have woven themselves into my life, pretty much without my permission because this definitely wasn’t the plan, and I’ve spent the past however long (longer than you might think) getting used to living with them again. And yeah, I still like that guy.
In a previous blog, I questioned whether it was scarier to start something with someone or whether the ending was scarier. I still think starting up something is scarier, but I finally stopped ignoring how I felt. Ignoring feelings isn’t always very productive, and it can get in the way of normal human interactions (which are needed, particularly when you are in unavoidably close proximity to someone you have feelings for). Besides, if the feelings are real, and aren’t just temporary, transient and superficial, they don’t go anywhere and simply get stronger with time. Which makes them more difficult to ignore. And they do get in the way.
You’ve two choices in that situation, continue trying to ignore how you feel, or attempt to do something about it. The latter is difficult, without question, more so when you’ve years of being let down and disappointed behind you. I have the choice to walk away and live with the ‘what if’, or I could make the choice to dive in, be brave and have faith that there’s a maybe. It’s true, I might get hurt, I might get let down again, and I might be disappointed if things don’t turn out the way I like. My instincts say this won’t happen, but that doesn’t mean they’re right, no matter how much I want them to be.
Being single is safe, it’s easy, you don’t get let down, you don’t get hurt, you don’t get your heart ripped to pieces and stamped on. There are no arguments, nobody gives anyone the silent treatment and you’re in control of your world. You have your space and you know what is happening at all times, so you don’t have to spend time wondering if you’ve been forgotten about, or abandoned, and you never wonder if they’re having an affair or if they’re simply drunk in a ditch somewhere. Being single absolutely rocks when you compare it to all that. So even thinking about stopping being single is a big step, and frankly I still think I’m marginally crazy for contemplating it. A potential partner isn’t competing with other people, they’re competing with your comfort zones and your sense of safety. That’s infinitely more of a challenge. To be fair, any guy who’s not an alcoholic and isn’t going to have an affair is already ahead of the game. What an awful thing to write.
Having faith and being brave is one thing though, but putting it into practice is quite another. Being brave means you could get hurt (again), it means you could be disappointed (again) and you could end up with a complicated mess to sort out (again). Being brave is all very well, but how do you know if it’s worth it? You don’t, that’s the problem. That’s why it’s called a leap of faith, you have to leap into the unknown, into the really bloody scary potential bundle of problems, and have faith it will work out how you want it to. Being brave does not stop you being shit scared of making that leap of faith.
Attempting to do something about how you feel can end up being so clumsy it’s ‘almost’ amusing, and this is both mortifying and a tension reliever, as it makes you laugh at yourself. I’m so crap at this stuff, I really am, and I felt like I was out of practice until I realised that I’ve never actually tried to do this before. I’ve not made a deliberate effort to get to know someone before. Sure, I’ve made the first move before (and been less than subtle too), but at Uni, and when I’ve been damn sure of the response (I’m looking at you JT!). Now, in the real world, it’s weird, it’s different, and my confidence has been shot. No, not a clue what I’m doing.
Of course, what’s really helpful (depending on your definition of helpful) is having a friend who will do a variation of the ‘my mate fancies you’ thing without you knowing…then tells you about it afterwards. No really, she did….and it was mortifying. Apparently he blushed. I’m not surprised. Turns out she facilitated a clearing of the air, sort of, and what might have passed for flirting. I think. See, out of practice.
Anyway, I’m still not much clearer as to what comes next, but the only way to find out is to stay put, to not run away or kamikaze, and to not fret or worry. Patience is something I’m great at when I feel secure. When I’ve no idea what’s going on I’m less good at being patient. But I’m working on it.
So, somehow my life now involves patience and having faith that the future will work out somehow. Having faith and trusting that one person. I’m not going to sit by and do nothing, not at all, more I’m trying not to worry, to not panic and to just relax, be myself, and assume things will be ok. Somehow. Which is a challenge for me, because I could easily get hurt again. That’s the challenge for 2017 I guess: to learn to relax, to trust another human, and to take the leap of faith that things will work out for the best.