Friday, July 21, 2017


Everyone seems to have an opinion on my dating life these days – things you should and shouldn't do on a first date, or second date. What to wear. How long to wait afterwards to text or call. Whether or not no news is good news, or simply another loose end. My readiness, in general.

It's too much.

And so it appears I'm becoming an anthropologist of dating, a psychoanalyst of one.

I'm learning so very much about myself through this – first, that I'm an adult. Second, that adulthood is not in any way correlated with competency. That's the lie of the driving age, the voting age, the drinking age. The idea that time in service equates some level of proficiency in making decisions.

I have no idea what I'm doing.

The Greek Chorus of my friends and fellow wanderers seem to think I've got a few things going for me – that I'm smart and witty. Funny. Attractive. I've tried not to be – dumbed myself down, chopped off my hair. It's easier to accept rejection when you're not playing at full volume – accept the outcome when it's just the flip of a coin.

Harder when you're real, full force. Because then the rejection is real, fully earned.

The biggest challenge is not believing it's deserved. That the rejection is more about cosmic forces in slightly – but significantly – different orbits. See you again next life.

Or not.

My therapist is trying to help me embrace the idea that I have needs that must be met by other people – that I'm not entirely self-sufficient, and that this is not, in fact, a sign of weakness. This is a sign of human-ness. Humans are social, and even with my best cyborg impersonation, I am resigned to the fact that I am one. That part of being human is asking for help, and asking again and again at different doorsteps, at different feet.

The biggest lesson to date, in the field of dating, is that it takes a village. That my anxiety requires the assistance of 15 friends, a gallon of paint, a few yoga classes, a tribe of Al-Anon-ers to make sense of my disoriented position in the galaxy. And this is the gift – the realization that I have fifteen friends. A yoga community. A room of people as twisted and as human as I am in their preoccupation with calibrating off of the misguided signals of other people rather than their own screwed up and perfect molten cores.

I feel about twenty years behind at this, and pop culture is of no service. But neither are the opinions of a dozen people who are equally lost on this path. My solution – my resolution – is just to be me, fully, no holds barred. Less consideration for the shoulds and the thou shalt nots, more respect for the inner compass. More willingness to say, “help me!” when I need it, and “thanks for your opinion” when I don't.

Perhaps this is the mark of adulting.

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