I’ve spoken in great detail on this blog about my journey to love myself, love other people, deal with the ugly and very real things in my life that have shaped me.
It’s really easy to talk about the past. It’s easy to dissect the past, but when you are confronted with a person trying to find out what you want and offer it up to you, it becomes overwhelming, scary, and your reaction to this is one of fight, flight, conflict and confrontation.
I met someone via Match.com, and he had the nerve to not even have a photograph on his profile. But for some reason, I continued to talk to this person online, and we eventually went out. Before we went out, he did send me a photo.
He wasn’t bad at all.
So let’s fast-forward.
I don’t know if the last couple of years of dating has made me a nutcase…
Ok, it has.
Spending time with this person who is actively trying to get to know me, has made me catch myself being secretive, scared, and sensitive. I feel him approaching my space, but in a way other men half-assed at, but didn’t really push.
His questions about what I do, my family and friends and how I feel about things made me feel as if he was being nosey and intrusive.
Which made me question myself while questioning him and his intentions?
Why did I have this reaction?
Well, he’s trying to get close to me. In fact, he’s said plainly. “I’m trying to get to know you. I have to ask you questions.”
And while I pride myself on the relationships I’ve had in the past and my relationships with family and friends, as of late, the relationships I have with people are based on some very clear boundaries.
Right now, there’s one friend I’m avoiding because we exchanged words around Christmas and I just blew up.
My family dynamics are strange, I love everyone from a distance. I’m hundreds of miles from my nuclear family and when I go home to visit my parents, I spend a lot of time with my friends or my favorite cousin. My father chooses church, my mother stays trapped in the house because of her mental illness. My home hasn’t felt like home in decades, and I find solace in the spaces of my friends homes and whatever degree of normalcy they bring.
So the idea of someone being in my space, when I’m so used to moving, being on my own, and in most cases, thriving is very scary. More scary than I thought, when I was making up my dream man, courtship and happily ever after. The cold, hard truth is: Thinking of sharing my life with someone on a daily regular basis, may scare me more than being alone.
This is the lesson of my new friend. This is what I’m fighting against.
He wants to know what I’m thinking. And he knows I think too much.
I’m scared to tell him. I’m scared that it won’t make any sense.
I’m scared he’ll call my bluff and prove me wrong. I’m scared he’ll be patient enough to stick around and see just how vulnerable I am and what a disaster that will be.
The last few years, I’ve been very prepared for the men I’ve encountered to do something wrong, to break a deal or two, to offend me, hurt me, not understand me, or have erection problems. Anything to write them off, but say to family and friends who can’t believe I’m not in a relationship, that, “No, I’m trying. It’s just hard out here in these streets.”
I’ve experienced men who thought they could deal with the emotional ups and downs of me. But they confused giving me space with indifference. And that’s when I realized no matter how handsome, or how much money or successful they were, the indifference was something I knew I couldn’t get past.
In the dating world, I think that’s what things have become. Indifferent. And I have gotten used to it. But the rise of indifference has come along with people accusing others of being “thirsty.” The concept of thirst has ruined us.
It’s made us not believe when a man looks you in the eye and says “you’re beautiful.” It replaces the feeling of receiving a compliment, with contempt, because you want to believe he means it, but you don’t want assume the risk of letting the compliment take root and growing.
We’ve become like those bullies in after school specials who are hiding a secret that they can’t read.
We’re romantic bullies hiding that we have a difficulty loving. We have to be privately coaxed out to at least try, and once convinced that we are safe we stumble and stutter. We lash out because of the shame of our deficiency. We are told to keep trying. We stumble and stutter more, until eventually, we triumphantly get through a complete sentence.
And that’s what makes letting someone new into your life so hard.
I’m stuttering and stumbling, trying to recognize and connect symbols to words I know how to speak and hear. I feel ashamed that I had to get this far by pretending or creatively distracting others from my deficiency.
I’m realizing that I don’t like being exposed. I absolutely hate it. But I’m going to walk through it. I’m going to see what happens.
2016 is the year of the unexpected. If I’m going to breakthrough this year, I’ma have to break through.