The Economy of Feelings
I still stand by my previous claim that I am a Magical Fucking Unicorn, but if I’m completely honest, sometimes I’m sort of a shitty Magical Fucking Unicorn (MFU, if you will). Sometimes I forget that I am an MFU at all. In my lifelong process of trying to be an adult, I am trying to constructively analyze my less positive tendencies, you know, like eating a family sized bag of Cool Ranch Doritos in one sitting and trying to quantify my friendships. Just to name a few. The Cool Ranch Doritos I can chalk up to just lacking self control and the fact that they may or may not put some sort of addictive substance in the Dorito dust. The quantifying of feelings and friendships has required a little more soul searching.
Contrary to what some people may tell you, I am actually not that nice. I pride myself in kindness, but I would be lying if I pretended I was not kind, in part, to get people to like me. I want, desperately, to be adored. I have this obsession with being the favorite. It’s only recently occurred to me that “favorite” isn’t really a thing that exists. (Except for when you’re talking about pants. Everyone has a favorite pair of pants.) Favorite is just an idea people throw around pretty loosely that really just means “person/thing/idea that I like a whole lot”. I guess, what I am trying to say, is that you can have more than one favorite. I might even go as far as to say that you can have an unlimited number of favorites. Now, I’m sure most people figured this out forever ago because it seems pretty obvious that you can love a lot of things at one time, but I just figured it out the other day when I allowed myself to buy BOTH Cool Ranch Doritos AND Flaming Hot Cheetos because I realized I didn’t love one more than the other and that I didn’t have to.
Let me tell you about a horrible, horrible game I play in my head when I’m feeling sorry for myself, which is more often than I would like to admit. I imagine myself in a building that is on fire with everyone I know inside of it, including me. Who would save me? I go through the list and slowly but surely pair everyone off. In this uplifting scenario, no one will save me. What I’m getting at when I play this game to torture myself and my sense of self worth, is that I am no one’s favorite. Which is true. I am no one’s singular, ultimate favorite. Because favorites don’t exist. Not to mention that this is an utterly implausible scenario, so why the fuck do I waste my time imagining it? The lengths I will go to find the deepest depths of my self pity are embarrassing.
I am learning to understand that love and feelings are complex and dimensional, not linear. There isn’t a ranking of love. My friends and family love me an immeasurable amount, they love their spouses and other people in their life a different immeasurable amount, and that has no impact on the feelings they have towards me. This is something that is very hard for me to understand or believe. I always mistake affection as being a limited resource. A part of the supply and demand chain. On the other side of that supply and demand chain is my affection, which feels unlimited. And you know, in economics, that when the market is flooded with a lot of something it decreases in value. I assume that because I carelessly toss my love around to anyone who will take it, it isn’t worth much. In my mind it creates this economic imbalance where I am trying to pawn off this cheap shitty product (my love and affection) while desperately trying to obtain a limited resource (everyone else’s love and affection).
I used to have this theory that people who love you make space for you. Not necessarily physical space, but metaphorical space. I still think this is true, but that I misunderstood before. We don’t remove things or squish them to make space for people, we just create entirely new spaces for them altogether. What a relief.
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