Friday, July 25, 2014

Pushing the RelationShip off the Edge of the Earth

As I recently found out in “Well, Shoot…” there are things that I claim that I want but if they did actually happen, I’m not sure I could show up for them.

It’s embarrassing to be here again.

It just makes me feel really old and really weary.

And I’ll start with the perfect example that I’m sure I’ve told here before:

When I was in college, I was having a fling with a guy. It was purely physical, no “date nights,” no philosophical conversations; whenever both of us were into it, we’d contact the other. Easy peasy.

Then, one night, lying in bed after our activities, he told me he wanted to take me out to dinner. I was aghast, “Why?!” Because I want to get to know you, he replied, as if it were the most obvious and natural thing in the world.

And after that night, I never called him again.

Perhaps to most people it is the most obvious and natural thing in the world to want to get to know the person you’re being physically intimate with. But my years of practicing it otherwise have hardened me to the kind of softness real connection requires.

(I feel really vulnerable writing about this today, I have to say.)

See, there would be no problem if I only wanted to “hit it & quit it.” But I don’t. I would like a connection, I would like a relationship. I would like to be vulnerable and intimate with another person and have them be that way with me.

But when the glimpse of that possibility arises, I bolt. Too much, too scary, I can’t, I don’t know how, is followed by the justifications, You only want sex anyway, why don’t you just hit it & quit it? Stop trying to pretend you want to get to know me.

It’s very easy for me to throw up the barriers, and to put between us one of those cardboard cut-outs of myself: Here is my reasonable facsimile. Have fun.

No, really, just have FUN! Enough with the getting to know me bullshit. Light’s out, Nobody home.

And the trouble today is that I’m really tired of this M.O. And, yet, I’m really terrified to be any way else – the way else being “real.”

So, again, I come to a place where what I say I want (a relationship) in the light of that possibility I say fuck no.

I can lick the wounds of old hurts for many more years to come. I can point to those people to whom I’ve been real and vulnerable and been eviscerated. I can pile up the evidence to say, See, this and this and here is why I can’t show up fully anymore, I’ve been hurt.

But who hasn’t?

To tangent, once again:

There are several situations lately, where I’ve gotten to show up fully, stand in my truth, and not let fear drive me or hide me.

I was offered a job that would pay me minimum wage, but would be in a profession and a capacity that would be a dream. After much thought, writing, and reaching out for help, I turned the job down. I’m able to show up for myself, I don’t have to abandon my truth.

I declined the invitation to my father’s wedding, despite the already rolling-in fall-out. After much thought, writing, and reaching out for help, I was able to show up for myself and not abandon my truth.

I was offered the lead in a play that I didn’t want to be in. And, once again, after much thought, writing, and reaching out for help, I was able to turn it down, show up for myself and not abandon my truth.

What each of these are evidence of is that I am creating boundaries for myself, and a value for myself. I am able to weigh and measure how I feel in a situation, and parse out if it feels right for me. I don’t have to make snap judgments of yes or no, of people pleasing, or underselling, or hiding.

I've been scared to be vulnerable because I'm scared I can't show up for myself, or protect myself when I need to. I've been scared to be vulnerable because I think it lays me open to being attacked. 

But, what I have done in just the last fucking month is to back myself up. I have let myself be open to what was true for me, and be honest (enough) with those I had to create boundaries with.

Isn’t it possible then, that the same practice, the same muscles could be exercised in relationships? Isn’t it possible that I can show up with my truth, with all of me, even though, YES IT’S THE HARDER THING, but it’s the most rewarding of all?

I’m having a tough time at the moment accepting that I’m going to have to change my M.O. Not serving me well, surely, but familiar as all get out.

As a friend once sardonically said, “Everybody look at me, but please avert your eyes.”

Oh, you want to look at me. Oh, I find that I want to look back.

Well, Shoot. 

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