Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Too Significant Other

For as long as I can remember, I have needed others to complete me. I chanted "boredom" as a child, always wanting someone to play with, a refrain my mother would counter with "entertain yourself." I found solace, as a teen, in the nascent internet, fighting orcs and kobolds alongside strangers for hours, away from the gripping isolation of the real.

As a young adult, I obsessed of romance. I wrote manic poems to an unknown "you," as gripped in need as I was in futility. I dreamed and dreamed of arms and lips and knew I was too wretched for either. I was wrong, I was never enough, and I always wanted more.

And then I started to find them. For a month or two. For a few years. Intermittently and all ending the same way: progress progress progress and surprise abandonment. Leaving me with a broken heart and the vacuum roaring anew.

I'm still grappling with the paradoxical products of abandonment and abuse: unquenchable need and unyielding mistrust. But things are changing.

My therapist made a good point last week. I was describing my father (who else?) and she noted that it sounded as if he always wanted more and more from us, wanting us to need and want him so fiercely that he could find some relief from his self-hatred. He was a blackhole, always wanting more, never realizing that nothing could ever be enough.

And she said I'm not too different. And I agreed; the description did fit. Certainly, I recognized the damage my father's need caused, and I set forth to try to protect others from my self. But, fundamentally, my life was and is not enough without others in it. It's the primary source of my distress, and the lingering concern of my life. And, if left unchecked, it could change into something as monstrous as his.

So I'm left evaluating where I want to be. On the one hand, I don't want my happiness to be contingent upon another's valuation of myself. But I also don't think it's unhealthy to need people. People make me laugh, people make me feel loved, people make me think, people are soft and warm and wet and smooth in so many fun places. And the more I read of dystopia and existentialism, the more it seems that horror comes from loss and isolation and meaning comes from connection. A life alone, for most, is no life worth living.

The key, though, is remembering that we are not alone. And, what's more, when we feel we are alone way, we should remind ourselves that this is not forever.

To wit:
So, fun story! On Saturday, I flirted with my first girl!

I was at a seminar thing and she was at a booth for a local social justice thing. And she pretty much didn't say anything about her booth but complimented my hair and I was all "ohmygodsheissocute" and then I was all *tonguestopsworking* and "stupidwords" and she was all "what" and I was all "I'll-let-you-get-back-to-work-bye."

And as I walked away I was all "I HAVE SEEN THIS MOVIE BEFORE OHMIGOD."

So I went back and asked her if she was coming to my presentation and she said "I'd love to but my partner's parents are in town." And I was all "say-words-to-mask-embarrassment."

I mainly note this because it's yet another example of how detached I was from "typical human experiences." I didn't believe two people could just look at each other and feel mutual attraction; it seemed like some kind of romantic media myth. But apparently, when you start to like yourself and believe others can like you too, it starts to happen! Who knew?

Being alive is beginning to rock, you guys.

That's me, posting somewhere else. And certainly, I was rejected. But something happened! Attraction came from simply seeing each other, and it gave me hope. If, in the course of simply being and doing myself, I come across people who see me and say "I would like to rock her bones," then there is little reason to believe the right time and place and person will not conspire in my favor eventually. Because, even as I cringe writing this, I am a pretty decent person: loving, kind, witty, creative, empathic, intellectual, strong-willed, etc. I am certainly no better or worse than anyone else, but I do believe that the right someone could be very glad to have me. And just as I'm looking for my someone, she probably is or will be too.

I think this is key. I still want and need someone, an aforementioned fact my pillows know intimately. But I am not so insecure, not so desperate as to believe that it cannot happen, should not happen, or is too unlikely to happen. I may have to wait for quite some time. And it will hurt and be lonely and will not be what I want.

But unlike the entirety of my life before, I am beginning to think I am worthwhile outside of romance. I hunger for more, always more, but I use that to fuel my growth, not to consume others. And, ultimately, if the next relationship should falter, although it shall hurt, I hope I will remain confident in my ability, if I so choose, to find another. And another. And another.

Being alive doesn't really rock yet. But it's beginning to. And, suffice it to say, that is a life-altering, ever-so-significant change from all the others I have known.

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