Monday, December 31, 2007

There comes a moment after you break up with someone where you have to re-examine who you are outside of the context of the relationship. I think I've alwyas been inclined to get into safe relationships with people who I knew wouldn't leave me, whose emotions I seemed to control more than they controlled mine. To counter that control, they would frequently exaggerate specific qualities and traits, which are, in moderation, perhaps endearing, but when amplified, often very negative. They may have loved me for those traits, but in the end, they would always make me feel indebted to their ability to tolerate them, as if I were some sort of wild creature that only they could tame. Maybe this is true. I am a believer that pain is superior to numbness, that suffering brings enlightenment... perhaps I too often apply those beliefs to my relationships. Sometimes I amplify conflict because I like seeing how the other person can handle it, because I want them to see something about me that I don't know how to communicate, that I fear they will reject. Men meet me and assume that because I'm blond and personable, I'm sweet and safe and predictable. The truth is, I don't know if I'm really meant for anybody. There are plenty of men who would be willing to tolerate me, even love and appreciate me, but those men never seem to challenge me. The men who challenge me seem to want their own opposite... sweet and safe and predictable. I don't think it has anything to do with my age, I think it has to do with the fact that I expect some level of masculinity and persistance and open-minded acceptance that only exists in my imagination. I'm tired of men making me feel like I'm crazy because I drink and get loud; cry over stupid things; rant about everything I hate; cavort and whore for attention; push the boundaries of what is socially acceptable; get restless whenever I do one thing for too long; am incapable of making decisions; rebel for the sake of rebelling whenever someone tries to push me to do something--regardless of whether or not I want to do it; want what I want and refuse to compromise; think too much--about everything; ask questions and push people's boundaries of comfort; come up with the lowest, most biting insult imaginable and say it even though I don't mean it... I am not a moderate person. I never will be.

When I was a kid, I exhibited a memorable self confidence, according to my friends of childhood. I was self confident. I was smart, I was funny, I was adventurous and brazen and felt a strong connection to boys and a strong disrespect for women, who I perceived as petty and boring and weak. Secretly, though, I hated myself and I envied the attention other girls got for their obedience and idiotic cheerfulness. I wanted desperately to be one of those pretty, simple girls that everyone liked, that adults doted over, that did everything right and kept their room clean and got straight As. I was always being told that I was negative, obstinant, opinionated, disrespectful, sloppy, lazy, incompetent, blah blah blah. All I ever wanted was someone to pat me on the head and say, "Good job! You're great! I'm proud of you!" I wanted the kind of positive attention that those girls got. They're the kind of girls that everyone wants to date when they grow up. They get engaged when they're 22 and have perfect children with a perfect man and live in the suburbs. I know how most of those women end up... their husbands start cheating, the marriage falls apart and she's left with no work or life experience at 42--and no independent sense of self, either. Sometimes it doesn't even take that long. These women are rarely loved for who they are, but for the combination of qualities they project, which makes them good genetic canidates for men who must reproduce but are more focused on their own ambitions than anything else. This isn't the fate I want. But these men at my age are everywhere, trolling for a perfect mate, not a soulmate. They seek an attractive female who will fit into the design they have already made for their life and are threatened by any female who already has her own design. They see me, a personable blond and assume I'm "one of those girls". They worship me--until we have an actual conversation. Then I disappoint them and threaten their proverbial male ego because the last thing I'm looking to do is comform and fit into someone else's life agenda (what a crime). Then they end up attacking me and telling me all of the same shit I heard my entire childhood, only they sum up all of those adjectives with one word: bitch. Frankly, all I want is someone to love me for all of the things I'm inclined to hide or tone down about myself and to love someone for all of the things that they have had to hide from everyone else.