Graduation, and chemistry

Gradtuation

I’ve graduated, as of about a month ago actually. I actually did it. I actually completed something major in my life. I even received the diploma in the mail. Wow!!

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You’re damned right I put pipe cleaner spiders on my cap. :)

With any luck, I will soon be a cum laude graduate – I had received a C in one of my classes, and at the risk of sounding like a pretentious douche I was admittedly skeptical. I had received As and Bs on all of my assignments up until that point, so a C grade didn’t make any sense… as it turns out, the professor had a brain fart, and somehow the wrong grade was entered into the final transcript. I should have an A in the class. She’s submitting a grade change application and I should soon have a high enough GPA to have cum laude status, which I am really proud of! So, here’s to closing my undergraduate chapter, and opening the doors to new beginnings, new opportunities, wherever life happens to take me…

Chemistry

Currently I’ve been reading what is, so far, turning out to be an amazing book – Love 2.0 by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson (ISBN 978-0-14-218047-1), which explains to us that everything we think we know about love is wrong, as explained by science. It’s really resonating with me, and as much as I hate to admit, it and some concurrent life experiences are making me less cynical in my views of love, sex, and relationships. I’m still analytical to a fault about everything… but I digress.

I’m only about 50 pages in but so far I’ve gathered what her definition of “love” is – positivity resonance between two or more human beings, regardless of shared history, pre-existing bonds (if any), level of intimacy, etc. That when two people seem to really “click”, their brains will literally synchronize; studies have revealed that when people are so emotionally in tune with one another in one of these moments of “positivity resonance”, the participants’ brains will be firing in the same areas, and sometimes one brain will predict the actions of the other! It is your mirror neurons going into overdrive, it seems, that drives what Dr. Fredrickson describes as “love”, and that love doesn’t have to happen with someone you are “close” with, that love can happen between two strangers. Love is, she describes, our “supreme emotion”, and she goes on to say that we need it like we need oxygen, food, and water – it is a nutrient essential to us as sentient, emotional beings, and that going too long without love has substantial and quantifiably negative health effects.

I’ll stop reiterating what’s in her book – you can buy it yourself if you want. For now, I’m just going to expand on her thoughts and findings, as it’s made me realize some things of my own.

It has happened to all of us – you meet someone you just immediately “click” with. Cerebral synergy, positivity resonance, being “on the same page”, whatever you wish to call it, we’ve all been there, where you just immediately seem to “tune in” to one another and strangership seems to skip the acquaintanceship stage entirely, and you jump right into a more intimate, friendly situation. This is regardless of romantic inclinations, but it can obviously apply to both.

Why the hell does this happen? How can this happen?

I’m not, and never have been, one for “love at first sight”. But I do think that millions of years of evolution could absolutely give us the biological and psychological tools necessary to form incredibly strong bonds with other human beings in relatively small amounts of time. Are these bonds superficial and ephemeral; is their purpose linked to short-term survival strategy, hard-coded in our ancestral DNA? Are these bonds sustainable? Surely it seems counterintuitive for something that came about so quickly to last more than a short while – it’s what we’re conditioned to believe, at least. But let’s break it down, let’s distill it to a suite of biological and chemical interactions within ourselves with evolutionary context. That’s all “we” are, after all, whether you wish to accept it or not.

It seems that effective communication combined with effective internal and external awareness – awareness of your own actions and how they interact with the actions of another person, and how they both resonate with one another – can make people’s minds open up and be more receptive to what Dr. Fredrickson calls “love”. There’s also a definite body language component to it… facing somebody full on, exposing your “vulnerable” torso and abdomen to them; as it turns out, when you are comfortable around somebody, your ribcage expands slightly – surely we notice this on a subconscious level. Micro-expressions are also important, subtle facial cues that you don’t notice on a conscious level, but they provide cues as to what the other person is really thinking or feeling. Eye contact is perhaps the most important, as those micro-expressions are hard or even impossible to detect without some level of eye contact. Eye contact can induce the release of one or many hormones and/or neurotransmitters, oxytocin being an example, which may trigger a chain reaction of neurochemicals, all resulting in you becoming more receptive to the other person. These things culminate in that synergy, positivity resonance, feelings of genuine happiness and companionship, feelings of being accepted by someone else – a sense of having your own well-being cared for by someone else, while you care about theirs.

When you look at it this way, to me, it makes sense that it could be sustainable in the long-term. Why would our evolutionary history dictate we invest so much complexity and energy into something that would be ephemeral? Think about the downsides of a strong, yet ephemeral, bond: heartache, regret, longing, confusion. That doesn’t seem beneficial, though we must be careful not to think teleologically, here.

Think of all the friendships you’ve made because you and another person, say, someone you sat next to at a lunch table at school one time, just really hit it off, and remained friends ever since. I can think of my own personal relationships that started off with very rapid positivity resonance. In fact, one of those relationships – forged entirely over the Internet, mind you – will be ten years old this month, and I still consider her to be one of my two best friends in the whole world. WOW. What’s our secret? Well, I can’t really say. Internet-facilitated relationships lack all of those physical, biological, and chemical cues, so something else must be at play, here.

“Neuroplasticity” gets thrown around a lot, and it’s typically used to allude to the your brain’s ability to “rewire” itself, form new connections, and reinforce old ones. Maybe this has something to do with it? Forming new connections and retrofitting them so that they interact with our existing interfaces for “love” and “positivity resonance”, so that even in the absence of microexpressions et al, we can still get those same feelings as if we were in the physical presence of the other person. It does make me wonder, however, how we perceive such virtual interactions and what sort of “internal” criteria we have for what triggers a “positivity resonance” response, and what doesn’t. Furthermore there comes the issue of not ever really knowing if the other person is on board – is the positivity resonance not actually resonating at all, but instead is one-sided? Something to think about, something to look into, something to maybe try quantifying. I’ve just had too many profound experiences with fostering amazing relationships (romantic or otherwise) in the absence of continuous physical presence, so I am skeptical of claims that positivity resonance et al can only persist when you are physically near each other.

Things to think about. I think I’m done for now. Need food.

Re: love

Been feeling a bit philosophical tonight, so of course I philosophize about what everyone has philosophized about at least once: love. No, don’t worry – I’m not ~falling in loooove~ or anything – god, no! So, no, that certainly is *not* an explanation for my unusually elevated mood tonight! Instead, this just comes from good conversation with a good friend, and, well, they seemed to like what I had to say. So I’ll see if you Netizens of Facebook will humor me for a moment.

I don’t claim to be an expert on these things, and I certainly don’t expect anybody to take me as such. Shit, my love life thus far has basically been a series of wonderful, fun-filled relationships with incredible people, that inevitably fizzle out into the ether, reasons being that we either both stop “feeling it”, or, what has honestly happened with every single relationship of mine (in combination with other factors, of course): I get bored. Yep. It’s me. The lowest common denominator is me. This is partially why I’m single by choice… I don’t want to subject anybody to myself until I get my kinks worked out, until I learn to love myself as I love others, and to love others as I love myself. My little heart has ADHD, it seems, and it simply isn’t fair to anyone else to subject them to that. It’s cruel, honestly. But shit, I’m 23. So, on the other hand, I think my affections are *supposed* to be a little bit “hyperactive”. But, I digress. This is not at all about me lamenting about my previous failed relationships – I refuse to speak ill of my past partners, especially publicly on Facebook; they are good people (I dated them for a reason!) and are undeserving of such.

Love is wonderful, until one gets bored.

Which brings me to my main point… nobody is perfect. We all knew that, of course. But a mistake that people so commonly make about love is that they perceive it as this passive phenomenon, something that simply happens and you roll with it and everything is wonderful for ever after. The reality is that love is active. Love requires cultivation in order to survive. To quote Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”: love is a verb, love is a doing word. I would wager that you could get, maybe, maximally, 70% “there” passively. But who wants 70% of their partner’s affection in a relationship? You have to work for 100%, you have to work to give 100%, you have to cultivate your passion for one another… and you absolutely cannot do it alone.

It doesn’t matter if you are on the giving or receiving end of affections – they need to be fostered. This also applies, however, to unrequited love. The disappointed party often continues to unknowingly foster their feelings for the uninterested person by repeatedly pursuing them, while simultaneously the uninterested party may be inadvertently cultivating the other person’s feelings by A: not being straight up about how they (don’t) feel for the other person and B: not giving them enough space, which, chemically speaking, means enough time for neurotransmitters and hormones to “calm down”. I don’t know the source off the top of my head, but I have read in the scientific literature that emotional pain seems to stabilize after around three months. Personally, I find comfort in the knowledge that emotions are simply a result of neurochemical processes in the brain, and that they are fleeting at best. They are largely responses to external stimuli. You can, of course, prolong these processes by cultivating them. “True love”, or when those processes are not fleeting, is in my opinion a result of general compatibility, communication, and good, successful cultivation of those lovey feelings.

But what constitutes cultivation of passion? Really, in my opinion, if two people are truly interested enough in one another, any sort of interaction with one another will count as cultivation – initially, at least. We’ve all experienced it: being reciprocally interested in someone is as if your emotional wavelengths coalesce. Any perpetuated activity with one another will be fostering both your own feelings for them, and their feelings for you. The novel experience of a new relationship is in part what makes this so exciting. Humans seek novelty, it’s part of our nature. It’s *fun*. Best of all, it’s virtually EFFORTLESS!

This works, of course, until one or both of you end up distracted, bored, both, or something else entirely. This is where love goes from passive to active. This is where you have to work at it. Maybe “hanging out” isn’t working as well at keeping things exciting as it did in the beginning of your relationship – of course not, you two (or three, or four… hey, I’m not judgin’ polyamorous relationships) are used to each other and the experience has become less novel. You get used to the love flowing freely and effortlessly, but unfortunately that is hardly ever the case long-term. Now you have to work for those feelings, and relative to the ease of that “honeymoon phase”, it kinda sucks!

Love shouldn’t ever be a chore, but it is certainly an action; it is an activity. If you don’t enjoy actively loving your partner(s), then you are doing it wrong. Or, alternatively, you are simply no longer interested even on a neurochemical level, and you should move on. Sometimes boredom happens on a basal level and there isn’t much one can do about it – your brain simply checks out from the other person, and what’s done is done. That is okay. But what I am saying is that boredom in relationships, in my opinion, stems largely from our human tendency to be LAZY.

I repeat: I firmly believe that LAZINESS is a relationship-killer.

So, pay him or her that unexpected compliment. Tell them you love them, even though you “know they know”. Spend active, intentional time with one another. Don’t just “be” in the same room as one another, be *with* each other. From a more nerdy perspective: try some “brain hacks”! Do things that encourage oxytocin (the “love hormone”) release/production: eye contact, physical intimacy – CUDDLE. Physical touch is so important for human pair bonding.

Again, I don’t claim to be an expert. I could be talking entirely out of my ass, here. If you’re still reading at this point – kudos! I’m almost done, I promise!

Finally, something that I feel is so incredibly important to note: there is nothing intrinsically wrong with splitting up with somebody. As I stated before, sometimes love just dies, and THAT IS OKAY. We as a society need to ditch this notion that splitting up is always, without fail, the “bad” outcome, the “sad” outcome, the outcome that implies that you and your partner(s) gave up, that someone must be at fault. The reality is, despite love requiring cultivation and attention and WORK, sometimes the chemical processes in the brain are truly temporary, and there is nothing wrong with that. Appreciate the good times, and realize when the neurochemistry has run out. Don’t drag a dead relationship out any longer than necessary. Accept the end of a relationship, and try to frame it as something that is NOT intrinsically negative. It’s just a fact of life. Be happy to have experienced one another, be happy to have brought one another love and joy, and realize when it is best for all parties involved to move on and begin a new chapter in their lives. Humans are not monogamous by nature. We are not birds, we are mammals, and broadly speaking monogamy is a relatively recent convention in human society. We are not necessarily meant to mate for life – a lot of this is social convention and little more. Certain conventions may have root in our evolutionary history, others not. Regardless, we are above the need for typical animalistic survival strategies, and our sapience (hopefully) allows us to overcome our primitive predispositions we may have about things.

Love must be cultivated, and that is okay. Love may also die out despite said cultivation, and that is also okay. Respect the neurochemistry, fuck social constructs (or not! DO YOU!), and love freely.

<3

I fucking love music.

I fucking *love* music.

I basically am listening to music of some sort during almost 100% of my waking life. If I can, and/or if it’s feasible/won’t distract from what I’m doing, I absolutely will. Silence has its time and its place, but for the most part, I’d much rather fill silence with music.

Sometimes – like just five minutes ago – I will turn it up and just dance my ass off in my apartment all by my lonesome. Because, hell yeah, dancing to some awesome music, losing yourself in it, is just an amazing feeling.

To be perfectly honest with you these MUS294 classes that I’m using to fulfill my AHI requirement are probably my absolute favorite classes I’ve taken during my undergraduate career, outside of a handful of select biology courses and organic chemistry I. It’s so incredible how music influences OTHER music, how genres form, and how those genres and influences permeate our culture, and how you can see these influences EVERYWHERE. Just, like, wow, dude.

To me, music is the most effective medium of human emotion. Almost anyone can create it (to some degree of quality), and almost anyone can appreciate and relate to it. Because of this I have my own personal little hypothesis that someone’s taste in music is heavily influenced by what kind of music resonates emotionally with them.

Anyway. I LOVE MUSIC. Who’s with me?!

Holy Jesus I’m going to graduate

So, these past few weeks have been spent meeting with beloved biology advisor Theresa Del Vecchio (who I seriously owe cookies or something to, my god), who has been tirelessly wrestling with Oracle Peoplesoft (LOUIE, NAU’s enrollment et al. management system) so that it recognizes my academic requirements as being met. The issue being that my writing class, BIO365W, is not on my catalog year for one, and for two the class has literally not been offered before the Fall 2014 semester. So, according to LOUIE, my junior-level writing requirement was not met.

Sounds like an easy enough of a fix, but each time Theresa would substitute 365W for 326LW, LOUIE would get confused and then go on to say that while my writing requirement was satisfied, that I was missing a SINGLE biology credit (when in actuality I have MORE than enough). Back and forth, LOUIE kept flip-flopping between these two states of academic requirement dissatisfaction.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, today she finally nailed it down. It’s funny, because as convenient as the computer software makes the process of signing up for classes, it still lacks the uniquely human trait of sentience. Any human advisor would have looked at my transcript and thought “yeah, while a little unusual, this is fine, all the requirements are met, these classes are viable alternatives and there is no issue preventing Miss Chapman from graduating,” while LOUIE instead saw a scenario that went against everything it was ever taught.

Anyway, BEHOLD!

dat GPA
dat GPA

I am so gross.

Ugh.

I am oozing virulent goo from my mucous membranes.

Rhinovirus infection, nasopharyngitis, acute coryza – whatever you wish to call it, it appears I am sick with the common cold.

I guess a positive of being sick with a cold is that a common side effect is a loss of appetite. If nothing else, it’s convenient – I have almost zero desire to eat for the vast majority of the day. I can go all day without a single meal and my body hardly even complains. I’m saving time and money! Of course, anorexia is bad, so I am forcing small meals down in the evening… but the convenience cannot be ignored!

This post serves as a vehicle for my bitching, and not much else. Sorry guys.

I am super gross.
UGH

Adventures with Pastebin

I’ve taken it upon myself to go through some random entries on Pastebin to see if I am able to find anything interesting. I’ve pulled these mostly from the “public pastes” section which updates fairly continuously, but there is one from the “trending pastes” area.

Here’s what appears to be an apology to some girl; it reads like a high schooler wrote it:

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Here’s another love note:

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Someone’s Pokemon party sheet:

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Someone’s message pertaining to reporting a douchebag on Facebook:

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A whole to-do on #opKKK, this was from the “trending” page (there is much more than I am displaying here):

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Fun stuff.

We are all dope fiends.

This is actually something I had written up several months ago, but I still feel it is worth sharing, so here goes:

At the base level of every human’s psyche is a raging dope fiend.

Think about it. Literally EVERYTHING WE DO is in pursuit of that teeny, tiny, little reward we get from doing something that elicits the response. That little rush of dopamine et al in the brain. Feeling hungry? Eat a snack. Dopamine! Yay! This is your brain’s way of saying “this is good; keep doing this please”. Everything we do in life is in pursuit of that little rush, that little micro-reward.

Technology has advanced over the ages to give us more of these micro-rewards for less effort. First, we had the printed media – books, newspapers and such. You read, you turn the page – yay! Turning the page is satisfying; it gives you a little reward. Then we got the radio. You turn the dials and your favorite music comes on – yay! Next up is television. You surf through channels and find your favorite show – yay! Now we have computers. Computers are very, VERY big “yay!” machines. Each button you click elicits a “yay” response; it responds, it does what it is supposed to do, and that is satisfying. Each Internet link you click (that works, of course) gives you some sort of reward (most of the time), like a funny cat picture, or an awesome song or video, or a sweet videogame, or an interesting news article, or a solution to your homework. To expand on this, think about when you click on a link and it DOESN’T work, when you receive a 404 error or the like. Ever realize how irrationally angry you can get, if only just for a split second? You didn’t get your expected fix; it’s like you got bunk dope from your dealer.

We’re growing so accustomed to this little-effort little-reward system technology has put into place for us, and I can’t help but wonder what’s next. Now, I’m not saying it’s some sort of sinister conspiracy or anything. As I said before, literally everything we do in our existence is in pursuit of this little dope rush. Social interactions, eating, accomplishing any sort of goal no matter how big (getting a paper published) or small (getting out of bed in the morning), sex, making a purchase, making a sale, evading danger, sleeping well, scratching that one really hard-to-reach scratch on your back, blowing your nose… the list truly goes on and on.

Life is all about that little dope rush, whether you like it or not. It’s what has kept us alive and it is what keeps us alive. Now, of course, some people want even MORE dope, and because of that they will use drugs, either occasionally, very often, or somewhere in between. Honestly, that’s fair enough. We’re all after the same thing, anyway.

Sex is weird.

Oh, I bet I have your attention now, huh? Let’s get started.

Sex is weird.

I mean, I guess it’s kind of obvious, even to people who have never engaged in sex of any sort. Some might argue that it’s even weirder to sex-naive individuals but I think you can only really appreciate the weirdness of sex after having had it once or twice.

But, sex is really fucking weird. Let’s think about it for a moment. Let’s think about sex in general.

It’s a deposition of genetic material from, typically but not always, a male to a conspecific female. That is literally all sex serves to do. It serves to exchange bits of genetic information, kind of like an internet handshake, only… well, not. The bits of genetic information get together and make sure everything is a-okay before furthering communication i.e. continuing the reproductive cycle. Even then, things could (and frequently do) go wrong.

Reproduction is a very difficult process, honestly. Lethal genotypes are extremely common – mismatched chromosomes are the leading cause of miscarriage.

So here we are, dedicating insane amounts of energy to a process whose odds aren’t necessarily in its favor. We invest so much in sex, biologically and psychologically speaking. Huge amounts of resources are required to upkeep our sexual facilities – women require a certain percentage of fat, typically around 10% of their body mass, to menstruate and maintain a regular menstrual cycle. Then there’s the expenditure involved in seeking a mate that’s actually willing to copulate with you. How much time do you think we’ve all spent just trying to court someone, only for it to not work out? Yet, we do it anyway. We are programmed to pretty much drop everything we are doing if sex is on the table.

Then, of course, we are blessed – or cursed, depending on how you approach it – with higher thinking capabilities. While in the animal kingdom there are “simpler” methods of sexual reproduction, like birds for example, where they do a little courtship dance, they rub their bits against each other, and the deed is done. The actual copulation lasts a few seconds. Other animals will mate for huge amounts of time, but for the most part, it’s a very quick and dirty process in the animal kingdom. It makes sense that it would be. The quicker you can deposit your genetic information, the more quickly you can get the hell out of there, lest you be vulnerable to predators.

Then there’s us and our cognitive abilities. Oh, brother. We take courtship to a whole new level. There’s the ritual of dating that most of us have participated in at one point or another in their lives, getting to know someone well enough so that maybe you’ll both agree to touch your mouths together. Maybe, if you’re really comfortable with them, you’ll agree to reveal your naked body to them – a non-issue in the animal kingdom – so that maybe you will allow each other to touch each other, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get to that magical point where you will rub your meat bits against each other; in typical heterosexual cases you are literally sticking a meat tube into a moist meat cavity. Lovely. If you’re lucky, you’ll do that for long enough to trigger a chemical reaction in both participants, a reaction that has physical and psychological ramifications. Then sometimes you go to sleep.

What the fuck?

It gets even crazier! Sometimes the whole courtship thing is skipped entirely, and for whatever reason, two consenting humans will simply decide to have sex with each other without knowing each other at all! It goes against everything we are conditioned to, yet it happens all the time. Sometimes the people involved are doing little more than, for all intents and purposes, using another human being as a masturbatory aid, with no real regard to the other participant’s satisfaction in the ordeal. Yet it happens all. The. Time.

Finally, to top it all off, we exploit our own bodies. We’ve figured out how to get all the happy fun times out of sex, without any of the negative consequences. Babies? Pfff! That’s what any of the NUMEROUS methods of contraception we have discovered are for! Some of them involve physically preventing the genetic information from coming into contact with one another, while other methods involve ingesting molecules that manipulate your body’s reproductive functionality. Some methods are simply taking advantage of your own reproductive cycle, because us smart monkeys have that shit figured out.

Now, we aren’t the only species known to use contraception. Male langur monkeys have been observed eating papaya, which contains chemicals which act as contraceptive agents to them.

It all sounds like so much work in addition to being wildly counterproductive (since the point of sex is to reproduce), yet here we are. We are extremely sexual beings. We have changed the role of sex in our species from being solely about reproduction to being mostly about pleasure and the exploitation of our own and other’s bodies. Sometimes our compassionate and altruistic traits reveal themselves, and we go about this meat-maneuvering activity with the other person’s pleasure in mind, making sure that their organic love buttons are being pressed in ways that they enjoy, in ways that may trigger that chemical reaction, that fixed action pattern lying anxiously in wait in our brains. The fixed action pattern that can leave you pregnant or impregnating, psychologically attached to the sexual partner, or both.

Most of the time, however, we just get our rocks off and go about our day. We are selfish creatures always looking for a cheap high. Sex, orgasm, feelings of love and intimacy are all the result of chemical reactions in our brains. We feel compassionate and altruistic toward certain people because it gets ourselves high. We are raging dope fiends, always looking for our next fix.

Might as well get your fix with someone else.

Guess who’s back?

It’s been a little over a year since I scrapped the whole damn site. Too many security vulnerabilities associated with outdated software that was too much of a pain in my ass to fix piece-by-piece, so, I’ve just started from scratch after backing up about 20 gigabytes worth of old data dating back to when I was 14.

I’m 22 now, for those wondering. Twenty-two years old and two semesters away from graduating with my biology degree and, given any luck, at least one publication with my name on it. Yup, I’m doing the science thing for real. Crazy, right? I’m like, kinda succeeding and stuff. Neat! For a while I just thought I was gonna rot on the Internet living with my parents for another ten years or so. Thank heavens that’s not the case!

In some ways, nothing has changed, while in other ways, everything has changed. I’m certainly not the same person I was a year ago when I flipped the proverbial tables and scrapped everything. I’m also definitely not the same person I was when I first started this website, shortly after my 14th birthday. But at the same time, veterans who have managed to stick around this long (so, basically, a few of my friends) will be able to tell that I’m still the same Cat, just leveled up.

From here, I suppose I’ll post my latest Big Post that I’ve posted on social media elsewhere. It’s a biggun, and it’s a decent update for y’all who care about my life and such.

Disclaimer: This is very long and personal and I will not be offended if you choose not to read it.

I suppose it’s been long enough and that I can tell y’all what’s been going on in my life. Many of you already know what I’m about to say, many of you don’t. I’d also like to share an epiphany of sorts that I’ve had recently because, well, I want to write it all down, and maybe it’ll help someone out. Maybe I take myself too seriously. Maybe it’s all just a bunch of bullshit. You don’t have to agree with any of it. I’ll just write it out and let you be the judge.

I do not have a significant other, a special someone, in my life anymore. It’s okay. Please don’t be sad for me. It was truly, honestly, a mutual decision, and we are still good friends. I promise. I know, a mutual breakup has probably happened, like, five times in the whole of human history, but that’s what it was for us. We decided to “quit while we were ahead” so to speak, so that we didn’t end up hating each other. This happened a while ago.

It was definitely the right choice for the both of us.

NOW, before I go ANY FURTHER, if ANY OF YOU MOTHERFUCKERS TAKES THIS AS AN INVITATION TO MESSAGE ME AND FLIRT WITH ME AND TRY TO GET IN MY PANTS, STOP IT RIGHT NOW. I WASN’T INTERESTED BEFORE, AND I AM NOT INTERESTED NOW. DO. NOT. DO IT. If you are a potential mate, I WILL LET YOU KNOW MYSELF. So, if you haven’t heard from me, if I haven’t come running to you begging for your love and affection… PLEASE get the message and hang up the fucking phone.

Sorry, that was harsh, but believe me, it was necessary. Moving on.

My point is that I’m going to “do me”. To be perfectly honest with you, I haven’t really been truly single for the past seven years of my life. I’ve gone virtually my entire adult life so far with someone to depend on for emotional, social, and sexual validation. I’ve never really experienced life as me, by myself, as an adult.

This is where my little revelation comes into play. I’m not going to assume that this applies to anybody but me as that would be a really egotistical thing to do. But this way of thinking is working for me, and I’d like to share it on the off-chance that someone else enjoys reading it, or, better yet, someone gets some sort of helpful insight from it.

As much as I might try to hide it, I’m still human, and I still have basic egotistical needs. Specifically, I need validation. In my mind, I picture a little triangle, equilateral of course as each need is of equal value, and with each point representing a different need. The needs are, as I alluded to earlier: sexual, social, and emotional.

Social: I need to have somebody to talk to, to exchange ideas with, someone to keep me company. I need validation of my presence within a community.

Emotional: I need to feel loved and cared for by someone.

Sexual: I need to feel attractive to somebody, I need to feel wanted.

What I had been inadvertently doing was, for the past ~7 years, relying on ONE person to fulfill all of these needs, to give me all three types of validation. I mean, why wouldn’t I? It was easy, and it kept me satisfied. Because I was doing this, I was also subconsciously basing my own sense of identity on my being with them, if that makes any sense. It wasn’t their fault, not at all. This was all me. I just wasn’t even aware that I was doing it.

So, needless to say, when I found myself without anybody, I experienced a bout of soul-crushing sadness. I had never felt so alone, so empty. I wasn’t receiving any validation like I was used to, and of course I’m the type to hole up and shy away before reaching out for help. I don’t like people knowing about my problems. I want everybody to believe everything is fine, all the time.

So I remained sad. I reached out to the wrong people and got my feelings hurt. Then, after some few days, something “clicked”.

I am surrounded by wonderful, loving, compassionate, beautiful people – my friends, family, even (and at times ESPECIALLY) colleagues – who give me all the emotional and social validation I could EVER need.

All this leaves “empty” is sexual validation, which, in my opinion, is the most shallow of the needs (but again, equally important), and also the most easy to fulfill. Don’t get your hopes up – I’m not gonna suddenly become extremely promiscuous, as stated above. But the other needs require some amount of investment by another party; emotional validation requires someone else to ACTIVELY care about you and empathize with you, while social validation requires someone to ACTIVELY care (or pretend to care) about what you have to say, what you contribute to your community, and spending time with you. Does that make sense? Sexual validation just requires someone to let you know that they find you to be an attractive specimen. Hardly any investment required. Post a sexy picture to Facebook and let the “likes” roll in –bam, sexual validation. It’s easy.

With that being said, I would like to thank my wonderful friends and family for always being there for me. I lack the capacity to properly express how much I love and appreciate you guys. Even when I’ve been shitty, you’ve been solid. I cannot thank you enough for that. I love you guys so much.

There you have it, my little coping mechanism for finally being single. Life is funny, life is strange, but life is also wonderful and full of surprises. Life is good.

I’m doing me. I am happy.