Somebody was telling me about one of Mark Hopkins’ We Should Know Each Other events in his livingroom. He got the conversation started with the question: what scares you? Good one! I’m all for getting people beyond the shallow small talk, and this question is a hum-dinger way to do that.
It also got me thinking, what scares me right now? My own answer surprised me: I’m afraid of men falling in love with me when I can’t reciprocate. You’d think with all the stuff I’m struggling with, the fears I’m staring down, something more philosophical, something more profound would be freaking me out.
Nope. It’s the whole unrequited crush thing. And let me tell you, it makes it really bloody hard to continue to be open on here. I actually spend a lot of time thinking about men; the men in my life, relationships – what works, what doesn’t, why? It’s one of the major areas I’m feeling stuck in, and a huge part of what initially drove this particular 100 day project.
What I’m coming up with these days, and with men in particular, is feeling like I’m not really seen. this website is funny, it’s a veneer of who I am – comprised of 100% me, but only one dimension, a fraction of who I am. People are responding strongly to this site, and that’s awesome, but I get uncomfortable when I get the sense people (in particular, men) are also responding strongly to me.
There’s a line from a Great Big Sea song keeps rolling in my head (no link today as it’s only the one line that’s relevant, and the rest of the song’s too bouncy for my current state of mind).
I am the fountain of affection, I’m the instrument of joy…
If ever there was a sentence to sum up who I am, that would be it. The thing is, I am the fountain, I am the instrument, from which the wondrous things flow. Most of what people get from being around me, isn’t me, it’s just that which comes through me. THAT is the juicy stuff, I don’t matter so much in that regard.
Now, before I get a slue of comments saying: Oh Valerie, you DO matter, you are wonderful and special…yadda yadda. Let me clarify: I mean I don’t matter in a deliciously paradoxical way. Again like a balloon, what makes it interesting is when it’s full of air, the balloon alone…not much. The air is everywhere, anyone can get filled up on that and be bouncy and light. I’ve got nothing special in that regard. Mind you, that balloon has value and it is part of what makes that air something to be enjoyed. And like the conversations on unconditional love the other day, it’s important that balloon is cared for, ’cause if the integrity of that balloon is compromised…POP… it’s no fun anymore.
So, point being, it’s what you seen in that fountain, what you hear from that instrument that lights you up and gets you going, it ain’t me. And it makes me uncomfortable when I feel men see that and think they gotta get with me to get them some of that. As an aside, SO exciting when someone sees that which bubbles out of me and thinks: I’ve got to get me some of THAT, and gets on with the rugged soul work of getting it for themselves. Wahoo! THAT would be what I love most about my site.
So, that’s me, the fountain of affection, the insturment of joy, people see that and it lights things up for them. Very rarely do I ever feel I run across some guy who sees past that, sees ME, and gets curious about the plumbing of that fountain (pause while you all have a giggle at that innuendo).
I have a lot of really amazing men in my life these days, and I do think a lot about why I’m not dating them. For the most part, I don’t have a single rational answer. But I do have a very good irrational one. At this point in my life, I have a very well developed internal compass, and have learned to follow the drive of my soul, whether I think it’s a good idea or not.
I think part of my wavering may be left over from my overdeveloped sense of empathy and desire to help. I’ve tended to get involved with men who needed something from me (back to that fountain idea) without really thinking about what was in it for me. Now I don’t mean that in a “what have you done for me lately?” sense, but what my soul finds interesting, when it gets excited about where I could go in a relationship.
The frustrating thing is on the odd occasion my soul does leap up and say: woohoo! this is interesting! Lets go HERE! it always seems to be with men, who for one reason or another, I just can’t seem to go there with (deeply appreciated of Bob’s comment on love and obstacles and regrets, I’ve thought a lot about this).
But I trust that call of my soul, even if I don’t understand it, even though it offen leads me into difficulty – difficulty which I’ve learned does lead to life-changing insights.
Well, I’ve got another 72 days to figure that out. Why does my soul lead me places I can’t seem to go? No wonder I’ve been feeling stuck.
2 thoughts on “Day 28 – thoughts on men”
Thanks for the mention Valerie.
Odd that I read this post from you today, as I’m having major issues with a female friend at the moment. Yesterday, specifically, being that moment… but I was feeling the vibe for a few weeks that something was “off”.
You’re thinking about the challenges of dealing with men, while I’m thinking about the challenges of dealing with women (one specifically).
I’m feeling a bunch of things this morning – Confused (but only a bit), surprised (quite, but probably shouldn’t be), disappointed (a lot)… hopeful? (Yes – always – but with reservations and doubts I wish I didn’t have to be feeling). And there’s a growing resignation/realization that things may never be the same, but I hope she’ll send a message and the door to move forward will open some more…
Above all I had a very strong feeling this morning that I’m Glad (with a capital G) I’m gay and don’t have to deal with women beyond friendship – which seems hard enough at times!!
It’s tough Bob,
Navigating significant friendships is a least as challenging as dating. Yes, you’re always hopeful, it’s one of the things I admire most about you. I wish you peace through whatever way things turn. Loving and letting go, knowing when to to which (or both!), it’s all tricky.
And as to being glad your gay, I can appreciate that. Bridging the gender gap in interpersonal relationships does add another level of complexity – or as I’ve come to learn: boys’ brains are weird! (and I’m sure they think the same of us). Reminds me of something a friend said when I was regaling her on my latest boy troubles:
“Sometimes I find it convenient to be a hard core lesbian.”
That cracked me up so badly I couldn’t possibly take anything seriously after that.
Good luck, and stay hopeful!