It’s another raw and rainy day. Spouse has been sick, but working from home, so I’ll get to listen to House of Snot for the second full day (and then an entire weekend awaits. Oh joy, oh bliss).
I’m “dead”, and today I’ve already let go of 2 more relationships that have never worked for me, but because of complicated family-ish reasons, Letting Go of them seemed somehow “unthinkable”.
I feel… empty. Tired. Depleted.
I feel compelled to do Thing related to F. Even though I also hate everything even connected to the idea of it.
Today is a good day to try to figure out what’s going on.
My relationship with F — now that I think about it — resembles my (just-ended) relationship with L: Back in the mists of time, when we were both much younger and very different people, we had a relationship that actually made sense, and sort-of-kind-of-worked.
Both F and L are [Myers-Briggs] Judgers, so they enjoy telling people what to do, how to do it, and why they need to do it Their Way. I’m a [Myers-Briggs] Perceiver, so I decide for myself what I will do, and I expect that other people will be the best judges of what they themselves should do. I almost never give advice, and I rarely seek advice from others; I’m bemused by people insisting that they “know” what I should do. And yet, since both of my parents, my most-annoying-brother, a lot of my aunts and uncles and cousins, my in-laws, most of my bosses, even Spouse… are all J’s, I’ve always been living in a J world.
= = =
Thing would involve giving something to F that would require a lot of painstaking creative efforts on my part. Normally I would enjoy doing that. In fact, I did do a bunch of similarly-involving creative projects that I gave to L. Who did not, in any way, appreciate them. She didn’t even acknowledge receiving them, but I know she received the package they arrived in because she did thank me for something that was part of the package (but only incidentally).
When considering what to write to both F and L about, just in general, it’s been increasingly difficult to think of anything, at all, since they never respond favorably to the stuff I care about. I dread writing to them. And when I see a message from them in my in-box or on my phone, my stomach clenches and my head pounds.
If we’re not friends now … and clearly, we aren’t… and the heyday of our friendship was 30 years ago (if not longer)… why am I still sending them stuff I’ve lovingly crafted?
And once I’ve done that, why am I surprised and hurt that they don’t appreciate any of it?
= = =
F and L are both cis women. They’re both [Myers-Briggs] J’s. Although only one of them is older than me, under certain circumstances, they’ve both acted as if they were my social mentors.
Am I unconsciously replaying an old life script with them? Am I behaving as if they were my mother? My godmother?
Hmmm, that’s actually possible.
Art was perhaps the only thing I cared deeply about that my mother also valued, but… she didn’t really like the art that I made all that much. In fact, she “encouraged” me to do projects she conceived of, and then she “guided” me through learning the skills, and the actual work involved. She did give me the credit, but… nothing of the design elements, nor the overall concept, were what I would have chosen to do. And I certainly would never have standardized them, as she made me do.
Everything Art-like that I do… is one of a kind. I don’t repeat things. But I didn’t figure that out until many years later.
= = =
What does any of this have to do with F and/or L?
F is a hoarder, like my mother. F collects art, but doesn’t appreciate individual pieces for themselves, only because they’re part of More Stuff. If I go through all the effort of Making Thing, and sending it to her, it’ll go into a drawer and never be seen again. She probably wouldn’t even say anything nice about Thing.
= = =
Besides one of a kind, I like my Art to… solve an actual problem I’m having. That’s why I have a tag on the blog for “Art & Design” — because for me, they’re usually intertwined.
The stuff I’ve been sending L… is part of conversations I’m having with The World. Trying to figure out relationships.
When I’ve received any feedback at all, it ignores my Art stuff, but gives me advice to pass along. I don’t know if my efforts are invisible to her, or boring, or unsettling. But what I do know is, we’re not engaging through my Art, which is something she’d expressed an interest in us doing. And she’s never reciprocated with her own stuff (which she’d said she would do).
We’re not connecting at all.
I read somewhere that Art is about connecting. I think I’ve been trying to use Art to connect with people that… I cannot actually connect with.
At least my most-annoying-brother told me, straight out, that he doesn’t like Art. (Which boggled my mind, but I did give up trying to connect with him through Art. Eventually, I gave up altogether.)
= = =
What if Art is like Friendship, which, Captain Awkward wrote about thusly:
“Friendship is a relationship between two people who feel a mutual spark and connection. It’s not a “zone” where you banish people you don’t want to have sex with but don’t feel comfortable ditching because they have no obvious deal-breakers. Meeting someone and figuring out that they are One of Your People is magical and awesome” [emphasis added]
What if everything in my human-social life has been way too hard for so long that I’ve almost forgotten it’s possible for it to feel “magical and awesome”?
SOMETHING THAT IS WORKING… FEELS GOOD.
I grew up in a human-social environment where almost nothing ever felt good. I calibrated my original algorithms on shitty data: Garbage In, Garbage Out.
When nothing ever “feels good”, with particular people… we’re just not a good fit for each other. Art (or Design) can’t “fix” that.
And that’s okay.
= = =
I want people in my life who want to be in my life. People I enjoy spending time with, who enjoy spending time with me. Curious, creative, engaged-with-The-World people. People who feel joy and delight, people who are playful and whimsical and silly. People who are fun.