So, remember how the other day I said that flirting was all weird? Uh, yeah. It’s a little weird to say it, because in real life, it feels all natural and shit, but it’s only been a week and a half. But this person, this man, is a very, very special human being to me. This is different from any other romance than I’ve ever had. I know, I know, everyone always says that. And maybe they’re right.
I’ve had the solely chemical attraction that I’ve tried to convince myself was more than that, or the clothesline that was tied from my loins to his that later we balanced a mental and emotional connection on. But this isn’t the same as those. I’ve had friends that I’ve known I could have fallen in love with. This isn’t that, either. This is someone who immediately felt a very strong affinity to me mentally, emotionally, physically, and who is walking the same path that I am. I’m not going to say he’s another version of me, because he isn’t, but the similarities between our lives are fucking eerie. Sometimes it really feels like we were winnowed from what we were to what we are just for each other. I won’t tell you everything, because that’s too, too, too much for this. If you know me, call me, and be prepared to be amazed, because it’s a little spooky.
I’m really trying not to over think it. But it’s hard not to get scared. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t get creeped out when I really relax and act myself around him. I mean, yesterday I forgot I was around a boy when I got up instead of around a friend. I don’t know if you realize how badly a fuck up this is when dating. Well, I’ll tell you how badly a fuck up this is: I chose to put his boxers on my head, put on my boots and underwear, did high kicks, and then had to run to the bathroom because I thought I was going to fart. The fart didn’t come. I don’t know if this was better or worse, because I chose to give him a play-by-play of the fart’s lack of progress (“Oh, it crawled back up there!”). Those of you who read this blog and who know me will know this is exactly who I am. And he is still happily dating me. I, for one, am amazed.
It–“it” being him ∩ me (sorry, that’s the mathematical symbol for intersection or union, and if you drew a Venn diagram (two circles) with an overlap, and filled in the overlap, the union of those two sets would be represented by the symbol “∩”)–seems to be a cross between a little kid excitement and a real-live grown up communicative event. This is weird. I don’t know what I did to deserve this. I feel guilty talking about it sometimes, because not everybody is going through exactly the same thing, and I think everyone should be. This is great. I was reading someone something yesterday about what I wanted in my romantic life, something I wrote just maybe a couple of weeks before all of this happened. I don’t know if I manifested this in my life–I’m not sure if I even believe in that shit.
And you can say, Oh, well you’re in school now; of course you met someone! Well, I’ve been in grad school before, and attended five colleges, and I didn’t meet anyone I wanted to be with. I’ve lived in bustling metropolises before and never met anyone I wanted to be with. I’ve actively dated online and never met anyone I wanted to be with. I’ve done a lot of things and never met anyone I wanted to be with. No, I think it’s because I turned and faced some (strange?) changes.
I don’t think I posted about this, so I’m posting about it now. I met someone recently–well, re-met him–whom I will call Brainiac. I think every time I meet him will be for all intents and purposes the first time. I cannot connect with him. Brainiac is a very interesting, successful, attractive, eligible person who I cannot have an interesting conversation with. He refuses to throw the ball back to me in small talk. Strangely, part of what he was talking about this last time I met him was how he was tired of being alone. He didn’t want to live alone and be without a partner forever. And I realized in talking with him, that this might just be how I come off to others. I might be psychically closed to people. If I want to meet boys, I need to be open to them, in my mind, my heart, and my life. I can’t expect that one day I’ll simply be in a relationship, unless I take the steps to make that happen. If I don’t live like the kind of person who is wanting to and capable of being in a relationship, then I won’t be in one.
So I started doing that. How? Somewhat practically. I mean, I did make a mental shift, but in my experience, right thinking follows right action. By that I mean, if I change the way I act, it changes the way I feel and think. I may not want to exercise, but if I start exercising, eventually I become someone who either enjoys or at least has made exercise a regular part of her life. But I can’t sit around thinking really hard about yoga or running and all the sudden I’m training for a marathon or at the gym five times a week. Dig?
I can boil it down to this (not necessarily in this order):
- Perspective: I changed my mind about the people I meet.
- Lifestyle: I created the causes to meet people.
- Lifestyle: I dealt with my problems that were getting me down.
- Perspective: I changed my mind about the kind of person I am.
Will this work for everyone, or even anyone else? Who fucking knows?
Here are the small, practical steps I took:
- I started thinking of the men I met as potential partners, instead of imagining that someday there would be some perfect dude that I would somehow be with, all glass-slipper-like. That shit doesn’t happen. Not for me, anyways.
- I started taking a real interest in the people around me. They are interesting. I really participated in the relationships I have, and in interactions I was having. I wasn’t planning what I was going to say when I was talking to a cashier, but listened to her. I was polite to tollbooth operators.
- I became present in a hard-core way in all interactions. Even when people don’t call me back, I keep calling. I keep emailing, or texting, or being there, even when they don’t respond. I am committed to my friends no matter what, and I just assume that they are going through things and need more support, not less, when I don’t hear from them. A lover is just a good friend, you know.
- I gave up the contempt and superiority I held for so many people. That’s a luxury I really can’t afford. I stopped talking shit about everyone in my head all the time and had compassion for them. Everyone’s just after their slice of love in this world.
- I looked at why I felt so defeated, unhappy, angry and frustrated in my life. I took care of that shit. After a mini-breakdown when I found bird mites in my new apartment, that was some easy shit. Last year when that wasn’t, well, I had no business being in a relationship anyways. I didn’t need to make my toxicity someone else’s problem! Being in a relationship wasn’t going to solve it, anyways. They were my problems, not someone else’s, so how could someone else solve them?
- I started looking at my life and the barriers I create in it that I use to keep myself from people. Oh yeah, I have them. For instance, I never fully unpack after moving, and then I don’t want to have people over because my house is all messy and shit.
- I started trying to meet new people. This included hanging around uncomfortable social events where I would meet people I didn’t know and sticking my hand out (like school orientation), and staying longer than I wanted to. This meant pushing myself at parties and talking to all the people I didn’t know, instead of just talking to my friends–even if my friends didn’t like this behavior so much. I wasn’t trying to date my friends, after all.
- I became a friendlier person all around. I started striking up conversations with people I didn’t know that well and acting the way a friendly person would. At the gas station, at the doctor’s office, at the supermarket, no one was immune to a two-line interaction from me. Sometimes it’s just telling a lady that I like her necklace, or asking someone about his dog. Not always do I get to acknowledge with a stranger that we shared seeing a duck drive a car into an embankment and then flee the cops on wing. But I’m becoming friendlier in the world. It’s an interesting experiment.
- I smiled more. I tend to scowl a lot. Scowly McChuckers here has some bad frown lines.
- I started making eye contact with strangers. These two, the smiling and the eye contact, are really working, because hella people are talking to me now. Some dude starting speaking Portuguese to me the other day and asked me if I were Brazilian, which was kind of awesome, because Brazilian people are fucking hot.
- I started taking a little more care with my appearance. Not like I looked like shit before, but when I get dressed and do my toilet, I give myself a little pep talk about how I look. This has been amazing for me. I feel like people should be attracted to me. If they are, there isn’t automatically something wrong with them, which is an old pattern for me.
- I take tiny social risks. I take chances, walk through open doors to experience interactions with people, create chances to interact with people, and remember that though they can be scary, I want to interact with them. And I’ve been rejected before. It hasn’t killed me. It’ll be okay. I’ll get through it.
- I remember that I’m only going to go around once and that I have goals. Just once. Do I really want to live in a Smiths song? No, not really. I don’t want to live in a world of furtive glances and missed opportunities. That shit gets old quick, and I’m getting old, too.
So those are the generalities. I didn’t do it perfectly, but I did it.
When an opportunity presented itself to invite someone into my life for a little bit, I took it. Yeah, it was a risk, but after the mental shift and the smaller shifts in behavior that had led to a larger pattern of openness, it was easier. I had become someone who was less closed and more approachable. He was able to step inside the circle around me reserved for strangers; it was drawn much closer than it had been. He was able to do some semaphore flag waving close enough for me to see if he were friend or foe, so I could send a footman with a note inviting him to tea, so he could come over and ring the bell. Usually that shit has be done with a boat over the sea, and then on horseback across the mountains, and then with smoke signals, and then by Morse code, and then by semaphore. And by that point, he’s having hot communication with someone else and I’m all alone and disappointed.
So this is different. Will it last? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care. I’d be full of shit if I said I wasn’t sometimes projecting. I’m looking forward to having a New Year’s kiss, because I can’t remember the last time I’ve had one, y’all. Really. Even when I’ve had a boyfriend, we’re usually in some sort of weirdness come New Year’s. I can’t remember having a normal, stable, happy, healthy relationship that’s lasted over all the major holidays in a row. Oh, I’ve had a couple that have lasted more than a year or two, but none that I’d say went from New Year’s to Christmas without at least one nuclear meltdown. This feels really different.
I may keep you posted. Eh, I usually do.
And I don’t know what will happen for you if you do what I did. It may work, and it may not. It may be great, and it may be terrible for you. I don’t know your life. I trust you to adapt and adopt what you think will work, or thumb your nose at it all.
And I’m really trying to take it one day at a time. But today was a really, really good day.
Kate Bush — “Hounds of Love” (1986)