Fred Luskin: “The Sea of Vulnerability” (plus personal thoughts)

Just came across a link to this talk about love, vulnerability, and uncertainty:

Very good talk right there. Very true. So much does wind up coming back to our own perceptions, which get skewed once we’re hurt or after we hurt others, making it tough to appreciate what we had and to move on in a more productive fashion. Lord knows I struggle on that one, having gotten so emotionally downtrodden by past experiences and what it’s done to me. But I do desire to cooperate with compatible persons and to enjoy what we can out of this life and our time together, because in my world that’s what makes life really worth living. Our tribes and our various relationships. I suppose not all could be expected to last. People keep reminding me that people come and people go but that’s no reason to see it as only a bad thing because they’ve gone. And I do struggle with that, knowing it’s true while also recognizing how painful losing loved ones is.

Last night on the phone my companion (i.e., most recent romantic partner who I’d been with for about 3 years) said that he hopes I’ll find a more compatible partner eventually and that he wants me to be happy. He’s more resilient than I am when confronted with such matters, and I’m sure an extra 10 years of living has helped out with that. I get so sad and worry about doors closing, but he sees it as opportunities for new doors to open on down the road, and that’s one of the things I love so much about him. He’s a sweet man. Jealous as the thought makes me at this time, I do wish for him to someday meet a woman who will bring him happiness too. Because he does deserve that, as he keeps saying is true for me as well. The best case scenario is that we’re able to remain friends.

I’m just so sensitive to feeling abandoned because I came up being taken away from people and missing them to where it just really messes me up. I spent so many years longing for certain members of my family and being moved away from friends again and again and having to get to know new strangers in new cities to where I came to feel like I was on a ride that I wanted to get off of. I wanted to settle down and belong among people who cared about me, but instead I grew so used to moving on and on that I got to where I became flighty and grew restless when I stayed anywhere for too long. What I valued wound up being undermined by what I grew accustomed to, and that’s been tough to reckon with now that I’m finally learning to settle down a bit. Most folks I meet have lived in a city their whole lives and don’t know anything else, whereas I’ve never known what that feels like and was always on the move. That kind of lifestyle can make it difficult for a person to learn to be a stable and committed friend when you worry that ties will just keep being severed again and again due to bouncing around so much. My lifestyle came with a whole other set of learning experiences, none of which prepared me for staying in one place and figuring out how to deal with devoting my energy to ongoing, in-person relationships.

Longevity…that’s the word I’m looking for here. I am not very familiar with creating long-lasting connections forged in one locality. When you’re picking up and moving on over and over, you can get to where you try not to get overly attached to people in an effort to protect your emotions. You can also get to where you don’t mind burning bridges so much because you probably won’t be around to deal with the ramifications of doing so. Those are troubling features that come with transient lifestyles. If you fail to set down roots, how do you learn to nurture connections in a deep and meaningful way? These are lessons I’m still reckoning with since aiming to settle down in the first city I’ve ever stayed uninterruptedly so long in. Definitely does come with a greater sense of vulnerability since I’m now stuck here dealing with whatever I create or destroy, intentionally or otherwise.

Part of growing up though. We don’t all learn the same lessons within the same amount of time. But whether we stay in one place or move around, love does what it will. It comes and it goes. It burns bright and sometimes fades away. All the moving around probably served as a distraction to keep me from feeling that sense of loss which seems so overwhelming now that I’m standing still.

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