Monday, September 21, 2009

"I Want to Love Like Breathing"

This song is on Out of the Gray's album Diamond Days.  You should go read the lyrics now.  They're a sort of prayer for me right now especially because one of the questions I've been wrestling with lately is as follows:

"Can I love?"

By this I mean, "Am I capable of loving?" 

I am wired quite oddly.  If you want to understand some of my quirks, I recommend the entertaining and interesting book Party of One: A Loner's Manifesto by Rufus.  Some people are created to enjoy their own company way more than the company of others, and I'm one of them.  I like being one of them.

But there is a part of me that is so very cold and detached that it scares me spitless sometimes.  If I let that part take over, well, bad things could happen quite easily.  This icy numbness leaks through when I don't hide it.  I don't really have the energy any more to hide it.  It is much easier to be a stone than to drag one around with you.

Since the "emotions" I deal with don't seem to conform to those of the people around me, I wonder if I am capable of loving them in ways that they recognize or that are meaningful to God (and me). 

Some day, I will pull together a fabulous essay about this topic, full of epic realizations and smooth transitions.  But for now, I will keep praying and writing one sentence questions as they occur to me.  I look forward to the day when I can be me and still "love like breathing."

Are you, too, sometimes so distracted by trying to do things right that you freeze up?  Do you think too hard about the meaning of things like love because you can't seem to grasp what it feels like?  Do you know what I mean when I talk about that cold observer part of myself?  Any other comments?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Potentially Injurious Trips Down Memory Lane (Part 3)

I met up with an old acquaintance from an anime club I have belonged to for years (he was a member about four years ago). We were both volunteering in the choir for a September 11 memorial event, and we chatted a couple of times during 10 minute breaks at two rehearsals.

Back when I knew him, he had no interest in music, so I was surprised to reunite with him unexpectedly in a church basement.  He explained that there was a bad breakup, and he was lonely, and he believed in God and someone asked him to be in a church choir, and he just fell in love with the energy of making something spectacular with a group that couldn't be made alone.

Before the concert tonight, he said something true and hilarious.  "I was thinking back to when I knew you in anime club, and the way I remembered it, you were . . .  Well, the few times I decided to talk to you because, well, because you looked kinda cute, you . . . didn't seem very interested in talking much.  But this time, you don't seem like that at all."  Very diplomatic for such a straightforward person.

I suppose I could have said
  • that it was a normal reaction to being thrown into a situation where I expected to know no one and unexpectedly finding someone that I knew, mostly from conversations overheard in anime club years ago. 
  • that I knew I shared music with all of the other volunteers, but it was a pleasant surprise to find someone with whom I had another shared interest.
  • that I act standoffish for a lot of reasons, including a desire to prevent any boys from being attracted to me), but am a shameless eavesdropper who likes to know about but not interact with (probably causally related to my being a writer and my ability to sort of naturally tamp down my presence so tight that I'm constantly scaring people who don't realize I am there and accuse me of having ninja powers). 
  • that my mentor recently suggested that I consider writing some sort of article about why being in choirs was so important to me and starting by asking friends with various levels and years of commitment to music why they love it, and finding a casual acquaintance who had suddenly developed a love of choral music could lead to some great research and maybe even a nice interview.

I just told him that in larger group contexts where I will be spending a lot of time, I don't have the energy to interact with people (true), and he nodded and said that he knew people like that, but he loved talking to people (obviously).

I'm afraid in my happiness at finding myself not alone among strangers, I have introduced him to that softer, excited side that seems to make men want to date me, and this is unfortunate because I don't have any interest in dating, just in friendship, but that's not enough for most men.

This is especially unfortunate in retrospect because apparently there has since been another breakup.  I learned this after I gave him my card because I shamelessly hoped he would contact me, so I could interview him for my choral music essay.  After I gave him the card, he said something like, "Ah, well, this certainly eliminates the need for me to come up with a cunning plan to ask if it would be all right for us to stay in touch after this."  Ha, ha, I laughed at the time because I didn't know about the more recent breakup and thus did not suspect any ulterior motives.

Do I set myself up for this stuff or what?!  I swear I don't do it on purpose!  I only notice later, too late.

It makes me angry.  It's like I can't let out any of the aspects of my personality and my self that are full of passion and enthusiasm because if I do so around boys, they end up liking me.  How ridiculous is it that this is a problem for me when so many others so desperately want people to like them like that? 

I get a little surly with my situation sometimes.  What, I demand, so I can't like people, have interests, and want to be friends at all, or this will keep happening?  That's just stupid.  But it keeps happening.  It's making me afraid to be me, afraid to make real friends.  It feels wrong that I should have to be so cold around half the population of the earth just in case.  Grrrr.  This is messing with my attempts to more actively love and care about the people around me and pry myself out of my beloved solitude.  Rawr.

So my thought--after he talked about calling me sometime soon (and after I then told him I respond to email better than cell phones, partially because this is true and partially because cell phone conversations caused my downfall with another male friend and partially because email seems less able to communicate whatever it is that makes people want to date me)--was that if he gets in contact with me, the first thing I should do is casually point him towards all my blogs with the hope that he will read the introductory essay to this one, thus saving me the need to
  1. break his heart in the future or 
  2. start our next conversation with "I'm celibate and happy about it and have no interest in dating, marriage, sex, or anything other than great friendship."  

I hope it saves us both some angst.

It just feels so wrong . . .

Any suggestions, points, comments?

Friday, September 4, 2009

What Happens to Real Nice Guys

There's this anime trope my sister and I were talking about recently: the nice guy who wins.  It may not necessarily seem like he's winning because there are scads of annoying girls around either beating him up or forcing their affections upon him with various degrees of enthusiasm and success, but that in itself is supposed to be winning.  He is desirable, and girls choose him.

In real life, this doesn't usually happen. The nice guys we know (especially Christian guys), the ones who deserve to get the girl because they will love and cherish the girl and will remain faithful in sickness and in health as long as they both shall live usually get dumped by the girl because she is looking for "something else," though she claims to be looking for a (God-fearing) man who will love and cherish her and stay with her as long as they both shall live.

When this kind of thing happens, it makes me a little angry, especially as a woman who is happy being gifted with contented celibacy. At times like those, I wish I weren't celibate because someone needs to love and appreciate these men in the way that they deserve, and I am out of the game forever.  Love is at least partially a choice, an act of the will, and it seems like too many single women seeking mates are too busy wishing to look at and really see the Prince Charmings around them.

I cannot understand why so many bright women desperately looking for mates overlook all of the wonderful men around them because they're "too nice" (i.e., won't make out in public) or are geeks or nerds. Liking video games or anime (a lot) doesn't cancel out a nice guy's other qualities.  Being a fan of dating sims or being a little bit socially awkward shouldn't automatically disqualify a really nice person as a potential love interest.  But it does.  All the time.

What do you think about why nice guys seem not only to finish last but to finish lonely or at least wait lonely for longer than they should have to for someone to discover how great they really are?  Ladies (if this applies to you), why is it that you'll pine for a boyfriend or husband but won't really make the effort to look for someone who has the necessary qualities if they don't make you feel all sparkly?  I really am curious.