Spring is here. Until recently, I’ve had some ambivalence about the season.
Out come the flirty dresses and the pretty skirts. Because I’m out more, I tend to get more attention, not all of it welcome. For instance, I was propositioned by the lawn guy, who is an otherwise very nice
SO MARRIED AND NOT REALLY MY TYPE! guy.
Even if he were single, my heart isn’t really in it.
I told one of my friends I think my fun button is broken.
Some of it is being busy. More of it has to do with the energy it takes to grow and change, to move in a new direction. I don’t ever admit this in public, but…I’m tired. Like, all the time.
It’s a great direction, one that I’ve worked hard for. But it’s still new. And I liked the old me, my old habits.
They were comfy security blankets.
There’s something really great about bad habits, even when you know they’re bad. I kind of enjoyed being blissfully ignorant, except that there’s nothing really great about ignorance when you know that’s what it is. Life does seem simpler when you don’t know what you don’t know.
On the matter of desire, especially.
When I simply wanted someone to show up for me the way I wanted them to, I could generally mask self-sabotage by telling myself that guys just “weren’t ready for this jelly” or some other Beyoncé lyric. The truth was harder for me to accept, that I was trying to be a hunter-gathering goddess on the love front – “I’m goin’ huntin’!” — applying my work ethic to matters of the heart. I know, I know: men say they like it when women chase them. But I think there’s a coy way that men like this to happen that might be a gender rule I’m making up, but I almost never operated that way.
I think this is why it’s easier for folks to play games.If you’re just playing around, if it doesn’t work out, you can just pretend to shrug it off and save face. Because you weren’t serious, allegedly.
There are still things that I’m passionate about, but dating is not one of them, for this very reason.
Except, the weird thing about desire is that sometimes when you stop chasing the thing you want the most in the world, it starts chasing you.
This has come up a couple of times, but most recently I noticed it when I went into a store where I crushed very hard years ago on a local dude I’ll call Steve.
Steve was kind of a jerk, because I used to really like jerks (it was a way of being mean to myself, enduring the company of guys who made Kanye West seem congenial.)
And he liked me. I think.
At the very least, he gave me free food, and his sister thought we should get together and he even sometimes took long walks with me to get coffee when I was in the neighborhood. So, I gave him my number.
He never called. I let it go.
Years have passed since I’ve been a frequent customer. Because, you know. Pride.
Well, I dropped by the other day, just because I was hungry and it was on my way home and he was there. I thought he was going to jump out of his skin. He was super…melodramatic. “Where have you been?!”
“Writing. Around. Living,” I said. I wasn’t trying to be dispassionate. I was just confused by this enthusiasm.
“It’s so good to see you. Don’t be a stranger.”
Huh. The difference four years makes? Maybe. Also, everybody says that to everybody. Don’t be a stranger. It doesn’t mean “I’ll call you soon for a date.”
I suck my teeth when people talk about how women shouldn’t be afraid to approach men, because sometimes men are terrified of us. If I had a dollar for every time I asked
the wrong a guy out, I’d be rich. I know that guys hear all this stuff about independent women, and how they think those of us who are feminists don’t “need” them — but none of that matters. Who cares about necessity when what you really want is for someone to want you the way you want them?
I’ve been reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, in which she writes about vulnerability. I love me some Brené Brown in general, but also because reading her work has led me to a really important conclusion about my own vulnerability. I realized reading this book that sharing my love and heart with people irrespective of their capacity for intimacy has been a habit for a long time. All the scars that come with dating the wrong people come from this assumption that there is something more that I could do or become or achieve that would make the difference when really, at the end of the day, we just weren’t compatible.
I used to be bound to a twisted, limited notion of love and desire, one that considered love/affection a response to a deep need for validation, a thirst for healing and rescue, an unnecessary burden I never had to carry but decided to anyway. I’m not sorry that I have compromised my heart and my dignity through despair and on my way to healing, but I wish I’d figured this out a little sooner.
It would mean that I’d get to see jerks like the shopkeeper without averting my eyes in shame or irritation that he couldn’t see what I gift I was then, though he sees it now. What spring offers me this year, like every year, is a gift. Yes, the pretty skirts and the nice dresses, but also the promise of a fresh start. A new way of thinking about what desire really means, what it feels like with a heart that’s more open and not so bogged down with immature notions.