Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Let Them In, But Go Easy on the Tour

An unexpected wrinkle has appeared in my plans to open up my romantic thoughts and dreams to other people. Over the past few years, I've told more and more people about the various ups and downs in my love life. It's still a small company, and it's still not a whole lot of information, but the fact that I actively seek out situations is astounding. I mean, do you believe that I once responded positively to someone who sent me a message that said, "Do you want to vent?"

I can still barely believe it myself.

It's deepened friendships and brought me a lot of pleasure that I have friends who are interested enough in me to listen to me blather on, and who are supportive enough to give me words of encouragement when things aren't going well.

And let's be honest: things don't ever really go well. That sort of leads me to that wrinkle I mentioned at the start.

The problem with sharing details about my life is that I then have the unfortunate task of keeping other people in the loop.



And the loop is boring. And it's colored sort of off-white, but if someone asks if it's beige, you're forced to say, "Hmmm, noooooooo, not really." And just when you think something might happen, it aggressively doesn't happen.

Which is disappointing, because my friends want something to cheer for. In the setup for all this stuff, they get excited and make helpful comments and encouraging words. But now they start wanting updates. And everything quickly becomes "not really beige, no."

Friends: What happened with that amazing woman you were seeing?
Me: That didn't really go anywhere.
Friends: What!? But you guys went out a lot! And you were fantastic together.
Me: Well, we did go out, but it wasn't the kind of out that you go on if you're "going out."
Friends: <a pause> Why do you always make this complicated?
Me: I'm just calling it like I see it! Don't shoot the messenger.
Friends: Wait a minute - you were spending a lot of time together at social functions and societal engagements, right?
Me: Yes.
Friends: That's totally going out. What happened?
Me: I was the one making the plans. And I felt like maybe I was being too creepy, always making the plans.
Friends: Well, you can be creepy.
Me: So I stopped making the plans, to see if there would be plans at least once if I didn't. Then there were no more plans.
Friends: Gosh, that's...I mean... hmmm.
Me: Yep.

I mean, that's not going to become the next big seller from a romantic novelist. That stuff needs to have conflicts, vampires or ripped bodices. I don't have any of those things!

Then friends will move to trying to tear someone else down in order to build me up.

Friends: Well, she totally doesn't even know what she's missing. You're the sequel to sliced bread, you're the bee's knees! She's a shameless strumpet who doesn't know that she's made the greatest blunder since becoming involved in a land war in Asia. I hope she ends up a spinster.
Me: She's actually really nice - still! I wouldn't have been in a relationship with someone who was a shameless strumpet.
Friends: But she's let go of definitely the best thing that will ever happen to her hopefully-now barren and unattractive body. She's totally the loser.
Me: I appreciate what you're doing, but the one who lost here was me. Plain and simple.
Friends: Yes, that may be *objectively* true, but... she just... can I use one more Dickensian phrase?
Me: If it will make you feel better.
Friends: A pustulating recalcitrant she-devil! That's what!
Me: Let it all out.

But if I deny them the opportunity to tell me that the woman I was interested in is actually an infectious tardy-gaited barnacle! then they start in on me.

Friends: This is totally the problem with you! Why aren't you angry?
Me: I wanted things to get closer and instead they didn't. This isn't something that it's even possible to be angry about - but somehow I still managed to be a little bit angry.
Friends: But aren't you disappointed?
Me: No one could be more disappointed.
Friends: Then you should stand up and fight!
Me: Fight what? This isn't Bluto and Olive Oyl.
Friends: But it's just sad.
Me: Yes. It is. And all of us will get over it, eventually.
Friends: Fart-toothed ankle-knocker!
Me: I know.

I feel bad for them. After all, we get caught up in fun stories, but we forget (or choose to ignore) that these stories don't have any sort of requirement to end happily. Or to end sadly, for that matter. Many stories just kind of peter out towards the end. For all the times I heard that closure was a very important thing, life offers little chance to obtain it.

Even when you're trying for it. I thought this time (out of many times) I'd seek the closure I so often don't have. But in this I was thwarted, as I burned my three times asking to get together to try for closure. And the universe was there to say, "Don't you think it's about time you went home, sir?"

So I did.

And it makes for really bad conversations. The friends don't know what to say, so everything ends up in platitudes and feels funereal, which is not a good way to spend an evening. I don't particularly want to talk about it, but I'm not immune from the human impulse to raise my voice and say, "The sky and stars have wronged me in some way! I wish to speak of my suffering, though it make everyone else uncomfortable."

Here's the essence of all of those conversations I've ever had about things I wished had happened:

Friends: Gee, that's too bad.
Me: Yes. I had high hopes this time.

And around and around we go.

A friend once said, in very serious tones, "I think it's great the way you get back up and head out there again," while nodding encouragingly with reverent eyes. And I nodded and looked away, acknowledging that it was a thing that I do. I know they were being encouraging. But in my head, that sentence still haunts me. I always hear the echo of that sentence as, "Boy, you do keep trying, don't you?"

And I do keep trying. Mostly because I'm not happy where I am - and I don't mean that as "I'm sad where I am." It's more appropriate to say that I'm not satisfied with where I am, in so many ways. I have flashes of a life I can appreciate and strive towards, but the path to get there is unclear. So, being stuck in the maze where it's dark, I continue moving. I do so because it is very likely to remain dark in the spot where I'm standing, so I might as well move along a bit to see what some other spot is like.

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