Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Inadequacy and Control

My dear friend Zack recently pointed out to me that all my grumbling about being completely neurotic is a self-fulfilling prophesy. I think he's right. The problem isn't so much that I'm crazy, it's that thinking I'm crazy has made me crazy. And why do I think I'm crazy? Because I'm insecure about my feelings. As I've discussed before, I have many times sabotaged a relationship in an attempt to hide the fact that I like someone so damn much. And I fear I've been doing it again. The insecurity is even more problematic because I also have serious control issues. I exercise control over my environment. Control over my behavior. Control over my relationships. And yes, control over my feelings. I try to talk myself out of falling for someone before I've even had a chance to really do it. The only times I don't freak out about looking like an idiot are the times that I know the guy in question is a complete douchehound who will inevitably break my heart. Or, in the case of the last guy I dated, guys that are completely wrong for me. All this makes me think maybe it's not the fear of a broken heart that keeps me from opening up. Maybe I'm afraid it'll actually work out.

So here's the current situation. I recently reconnected with an old acquaintance of mine who I had always been attracted to, but never taken seriously. Well, either he's changed or I just didn't know him very well, because this guy is freakin' amazing. Truly. And we get along really, really well. And he seems to love hanging out with me. We see each other several times a week, sometimes just to watch Buffy (which he volunteered to start watching without me hassling him about it...I don't think that's ever happened). So basically, I'm totally hot for him. In pretty much every way possible.

But he hasn't made a move. Color me confused. I finally decided to just ask him how he feels about me, but then on Saturday my friend Latrell went on a drunken tiraded during which he said to the object of my affection "I know you're her new boyfriend or whatever, but if you ever hurt her I'll hunt you down and kill you." That was just the beginning. He went on. And on. And on. And the whole time I was trying to figure out how to get him to shut up without giving off the impression that I was disgusted by the idea of dating this guy. Cause the boyfriend word scares the hell out of me, but it isn't because I don't really, seriously like this guy.

So last night, I went to his place to watch Buffy, and in a move that was reminiscent of many of my adolescent encounters in the back corner of the skating rink, I reached over nervously and took his hand. And the excitement of touching him with any sense of purpose almost made me hyperventilate. And of course, I'm not any more sure of how he feels today than I was yesterday. I mustered all my courage and only came up with enough to make a totally amateur move. The irony of the fact that I've regressed to 7th grade only a few short months after casually dating a guy that I met at a bar by using overtly predatory tactics (that's right, folks--I've still got game). How can I be both the confident vixen and also the shy, insecure preteen who fears that her crush will never like her as more than a friend.

Perhaps this is a defining moment. One in which I discover that I haven't grown up as much as I think I have.

Growing up my insecurities stemmed from body image issues. I thought I was too fat and too tall and just not as pretty as the other girls. I got over that shit at some point in college and miraculously, I've finally reached a point where I feel good about my body. But my new-found confidence only masked the fact that I still think my feelings are totally freaky and frightening and terrifying. I remain convinced that if anyone ever really got to know me, they wouldn't like what they see. But everyone feels like that on some level. And we all need to get over it.

Maybe this is what people like Dr. Phil really mean when they say shit like "no one will ever love you if you don't love yourself." All these years I figured that meant people who don't love themselves are assholes. But maybe it means people who don't really love themselves...all of themselves...won't let anyone get close enough to love them.