Saturday, December 26, 2009

The problem is, there are things I want to say. Deep things. And I have a friend who will tease me endlessly about my desperation, about my forthright, candid disclosures. I've tried to remember that anyone can read this, but now I no longer care.

More than anything, I hate the terrifying thought that I'm completely a mystery to every other human being on this planet. Often, I wonder: Is everyone posturing all the time? Do any of us really know each other at all? What if we know images of each other, but never the real thing? God (allegedly) knows everything about us and loves us deeply, most especially His children, who believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Fair enough. But I need some kind of an idea that I'm not entirely alone in the human sense, and/or crazy. These very moments, I feel entirely unique. Different. Strange. I feel very stupid, because I still believe that pure love exists. I'd like to think I've given it, if only for a moment, and inconsistently. I must've received it also, if we're discussing the concept now. But right now, I'm an island. And noone ought to convince me I'm wrong, either. Don't send me e-mails about how much you care, and how you wish I'd tell you when I'm feeling down. If you didn't do it unsolicited, I don't want it now.

What this really is about is how I wish we'd slow down, that somebody would forget about whatever it is they had to do and talk to me. Really talk to me. I don't want to be my persona anymore. I don't want to give advice. I don't want to make people laugh. I'm sick of providing the little-known factoid, the interesting perspective. I don't like my life as an object lesson in humility, or whatever people say.

If you know me, it won't be too hard to figure out what sticks out between us as the obvious difference. But just once, I'd like that not to be what someone sees. It changes everything. Either you're impressed that I'm not wholly unlike you, or, having realized that I'm not, you're forced to admit that the difference bothers the hell out of you. Then you feel guilty. And you should. You might even "admire" me because, inexplicably to you, my uniqueness doesn't bother me like it's bothering you. It may well be true that you find me remarkable and amazing, etc. And I believe you when you say that you have never met someone like me before. But I'm guessing, just guessing that quite a few of you wouldn't like me as a boss, or have my children. Let's focus in on that last thing. I was actually told by a close friend that he knew of people willing to consider me as a partner, if not for "the thing." Why a guy would tell his buddy this, I'm still trying to figure out. But it was one of the worst moments of my life, looking back. Because I swear to you, I never saw myself as different. I still don't. But then, right then, I had to come face-to-face (albeit indirectly) with others' fears and prejudices.

Two summers ago, I spent my last summer in college, living with a good buddy. He's not "normal" either, but we're not exactly in the same boat. Anyway, that summer was finally the death of the fiercest, most pointless one-way affection I have ever felt. (A "crush," if you will, but it was BAD.) Ironically, I lost the girl to my good buddy. That was probably the best thing about it. If you're really tight with one of your boys, then the crass aphorism "bros before h--s" makes perfect sense to you. That's what this was. Anyway, the way she seemed to care, and not be scared of me really led me astray. This truth hit me: She simply treated me like a real person. I mistook this as a rather obvious romantic attachment. And that led to a more frightening truth: I couldn't tell the difference because most people do not treat me as an equal. And I had internalized this as "normal." So when authenticity comes around, I feel as though I've met a potential mate. Thinking back to all the female friends I've had, I'm pretty sure I made this same mistake. Now, I do not know which way is up, and which is down.
One thing is certain: I'm sick of laying it all on the line. I'm sick of feeling, sick of having to wonder whether there's that something extra blocking my love connection. It's a hard enough game to begin with.

I must digress. Have you ever heard these stereotypes about men and women that prevail among Christians? (And still everyone else, for that matter) Men are more visually stimulated, they say. Women dream of white weddings, and princely rescues. Men fear emotion; men are solution-oriented, while women think of personal interactions first. These are but a few examples. I am uncertain overall as to their validity. However, I can say that I think I don't fit my sex stereotypes in some ways. I've said this before. And that reality has hit me again today as well.

I'm not the kind of guy who feels terribly prepared for new things in life. I'm not good at life. "Hopelessly overwhelmed" is an average Monday. Even so, I'm romantically, er, eager. And I made the bad mistake of watching 'Jerry Maguire' tonight. I like romances. I just do. I don't care what you say. Because the reality is, I've been waiting to tell my own story almost from the time I noticed the female half of the species. You know, really noticed. It seems that the people in these stories always know what to say. Love goes the way we're hoping it would when we sat down to watch the movie. (I'm about to get a thousand e-mails about the wisdom of taking romantic cues from Hollywood, and Snobby Webb will send me his new version of "Love Is Different Than You'd Think" to make me feel guilty. Fine.) They give voice to that innate hope that all kinds of love are not in vain. There are too many of our lives good enough to be epic love stories to ignore this genre. In any case, I loved every second of 'JM's final scenes. I wanted something like that for myself. Maybe I am strange. But how can I not identify with love, whether romantic or otherwise? [This was written in 2007.]

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