Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Being Your Authentic Self

What does this mean? To be authentic.

For a long time, I didn't know what this meant in a relationship sense. Now I think I do. It means be who you want to be, not who you think someone wants you to be. Say what you want to say when you want to say it. Do what feels right, not what is acceptable. Speak from your spirit. Don't let fear get in the way.

I've been afraid of love. Of men. Of dating. Of coming on too strong. Of not coming on strong enough. Of sending mixed signals. Of sending no signals. Of lipstick on my teeth. Of words in my head. Even though I'm strong and independent and pretty self aware, I've realized I am completely unfamiliar to myself when I step into a dynamic with a man. Suddenly I freeze up. I am never fully myself. Instead, I'm someone ridiculously driven by someone else's perceptions.

It took a new guy I just met to help open up my eyes to this reality. And even now, as I am trying to live the way he urged me to, I'm still running up against my familiar patterns. Should I really call him? Have I said too much? Will he think I'm clingy?

He told me not to be afraid to call him if I want to hang out. Normally, I let a man do that, as his calls let me know he likes me. When I call, I have no way to gauge that. I suppose if he said no, that would be my gauge, but I actually convince myself he might just agree to be polite so I'll never really know if he would have called on his own.

He told me he likes it when I cuss and burp. These are things I love doing and find myself holding back mostly due to decorum. He doesn't like a lot of makeup. I hate makeup. I don't know if this will go anywhere, but what it is doing so far is helping me see the ways I make mistakes when it comes to my own needs. Often, I do what feels unnatural in order to appear breezy or casual. Instead, I'm a bottomless pit of need and passion and screaming and sensitivity. I want to be filled, caressed, nurtured, intrigued and sustained. I am overwhelming in my capacity to love, but so far have never let anyone see that. I'm a gaping chasm of heart. But there's a big wire fence around my chest. Maybe I will learn to cut the damn wire.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

He Was Drunk, I Was Finally Sober

I don't want him anymore.

Those are powerful words for a girl like me. A girl who slurps up unrequited love through a broken straw. When those straws are broken, nothing really comes through, but you keep slurping anyway. You know, just in case.

But this time, I didn't want to drink anything Mr. Corkscrew had to offer.

He drunk texted me at 1 a.m. I was only two days into my new job in a new time zone and in a new bed, and needed my sleep. But there was this random stringing together of words from a number I could no longer remember (I deleted him from my phone): "Several single malt scotches into an attempt to shirk the responsibilities of life for a futile, brief moment...thinking of your visit here which brings a hot and delicious taste to the lips. Never treated you as well as I should have. Perhaps that's my legacy to impart. Still, you're an extraordinary woman."

When I finally realized who it was from, I started shaking. I had deleted his message when he tried to network with me on LinkedIn, and now he found another way to weasel into my thoughts. This one got me mad, though.

I texted back: "I am extraordinary. Seems you're the only one who failed to notice."

Of course, in his usual way, where he refuses to accept responsiblity for his actions, he replied: "There is a difference between not noticing and failing to take action."

I told him I waited six years for him to notice and all he ever gave me was words. I don't want his words anymore.

Then he said: "I realized you were quite something at the table at Bistro Jeanty all those years ago."

That's where we met. He was probably drunk then too. He painted the air with his flowery words and I was caught up in their heady aroma. I thought he was sincere. But he has never given me more than hyperbole in the six years I tried so hard to win his heart.

It has been a painful lesson in observation. Watch what a man does, not what he says. He can say a lot, but do nothing. The action is what matters.

So I sat there, phone in hand, and decided to call him. Turns out his life is a mess. He's losing his house and his car. He's got problems.

And finally, I am free of them. I felt pity for him, not desire. I felt compassion, not love.

I don't want him anymore.

But I'll keep his words tucked away in the folds of my heart. Because deep down, I like to believe he meant them. After all, I really am extraordinary. I think he always knew that.

Turns out, I was the one who didn't.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Men Who No Longer Make the Cut

I was standing at the bus stop today, musing about life. Well, about my romantic life. Same thing.

I realized that for most of my dating life, I never really knew who I was. This meant I freely gave of myself in ways I didn't realize could harm me in the long run. Turning 30 really does present a new kind of gift. You're suddenly aware of your actions. You look deeper in order to figure out what brings you the greatest joy. And from where I stand now, compromising my principles for some random penishead really doesn't seem like an intriguing plan.

So here's what I've decided to avoid, now that I'm old enough to know better:

  • Incorrect Grammar (you're and your are particular sore spots)

  • Boys Carrying Skateboards

  • Guys Who Use the Words "My mom's basement" In A Sentence

  • Dirty Fingernails (for those who aren't archaeologists or construction workers)

  • Dirty Minds (unless during a mutually reciprocal exchange)

  • Anyone Who Tries To Feel Me Up On A First Date (this is not a compliment as I was led to believe during my youth)

  • Guys Who Check Out Other Girls' Asses In Front of Me

All in all, the list is pretty easy to follow. Creating a list of the things I'm more than happy to accept. Well, no blog in the world is long enough for that.