I was blocked last night. I totally deserved it and it made me laugh. The moment passed and the reality of what I did hit me at lunch today. Last night my Tuesday night sitter quit on me. I was dealing with ex texts in the afternoon. I had a costume to help with and pumpkins to carve and I just wanted to get off of my feet. I was mothering my boys all morning and running late, so I picked up my lunch and my hangry moment pointed out that I cared more about feeding myself then I cared about getting blocked by a man I was kinda into. He was beautiful and tall and smart. He was a feminist. It didn’t make me ignore the parts I didn’t like. I just felt like I didn’t have to see him enough for those parts to bother me. We were chatting for about a week and I asked him out only to get a delayed acceptance. It wasn’t a no, but a not now and it irritated me.
I’m very used to having men eager for my attention and when his busy life meant dinner with me would be on hold (when clearly people eat dinner every day), I had a tantrum. I’m not the type to yell or fight. My ex used to joke around with his friends that I am not a black woman because I don’t feed the rage that most women (in general) fight with. I’m too calculating for that. My initial tantrum was a teasing nudge. The full-blown tantrum was to set my inner psycho free in all the terrifying ways.
Really, he asked for time. If I were advising a friend, I would say to continue flirting with and dating others (advice given and taken). I don’t get exclusive unless it’s something we’re mutually committing to, but flirting and giving up my kid free time are two very different levels of amazing to be reached. I would have said to give him space. Forget to text for a few days. Make him wait on your response a bit. Let him see that his response was read but answer it hours or days later, and not immediately. But I ignored my advice.
It’s not the first time either.
The first time was when my last crush became more work than fun. He was uncomfortable with my open adoration. I liked how uncomfortable it made him when I looked into his eyes like I might actually see someone who was worth my time. It’s rare and I treat that as the gift that it is. If you’re special to me, you’ll know it because so few men are. The day that I was bored of the push and pull, I remember writing a blog post that was solely focused on the amazing I saw in him, leaving out the bits that I’m not sharing here either. I did it to push and nudge him and it was too much for him. I was looking for a reaction and I loved the reaction because I couldn’t continue caring for him. I mean, I care, I just couldn’t see myself falling in world shattering love with him. I had reached a plateau and it was going downhill.
My standard is high. He has to be capable of treating me better than I treat me. He has to be a warrior dragon slayer because I am and he has to be able to handle the tough parts that I hold. I never saw myself being able to pour my darkness into him because I never imagined he could hold it. He was beautiful, and smart. He was creative and driven. But it wasn’t enough, so I pushed and nudged until he walked away. I think I was hoping there was enough grit for a reaction from him, but he reserved that for others. It was like he couldn’t trust me with his demons any more than I could trust him with mine. I hear he’s happy with someone else now, and that really does make me happy. I wish him all the best, and can appreciate that I was amused. I grew. He was never the one for me.
The man from last night was never going to be the one either. I might have considered a few months of frolicking fun, but beyond that . . . I couldn’t see him ever meeting my boys. It was a lot to ask me to wait on a dinner when I needed that visceral gut reaction that I can’t get through a device.
The way I pushed them away was similar. I found men that couldn’t accept the amazing I saw in them because they probably couldn’t see it in themselves. When you can't see your amazing, someone else's view will only feel bad and be rejected. I can't shape their ego that rejects what I see and it becomes bigger and more terrifying than they could dream of. I was offering a kid free night to sit and enjoy company because he must be amazing for that alone, but he has to have so much more for something deeper that I just couldn’t see in either man. I handed them the ways I was intrigued and amazed and threw out scary words like “I could fall in love,” not actually committed to that idea myself. And I waited. And I watched. And my intensity burned them and they stepped away, both admitting it was “too much.” I walked away in laughter, probably giving the impression that I was shattered. I enjoyed their rejection and there's something wrong in that.
The bigger question is why would I do something like that? Why would I be so attracted to men that were visibly less confident than I am? Why would I push them away with affirmations of their beauty only to enjoy their rejection because I wasn’t transparent enough to say to them that I could see they weren’t reaching the bar I set above them and they probably weren’t interested in it anyway, and we could be friends. What is it about me that wants to kick their legs out from under them when they aren’t able to meet my expectations. That is the part that bothers me most.
At the end of the day, I’m taking a hard look at my motives. I’m seeing the why and the how and I don’t love what I see, but I can love myself despite it. It’s like wanting to hurt something because it’s cute. It’s a psychological phenomenon that I play out in the men I am kinda but not entirely into. It’s my way of balancing their good with my aggression in a way that distances myself and won’t really hurt them. Okay the guy from last night probably thinks I’m going to stalk him now, and I can’t stop laughing at that, but it wasn’t meant to traumatize him.
I think it's the parts I see in them that reflect what I used to see in me. I was insecure as a wife. I didn't love myself. I didn't look for my reflection in random mirrors. I didn't believe I hold all of the amazing that is me. My oldest had this moment a few years back. He had just transitioned to a school for autistic children and in the beginning, he was being a bully to the other children that were lower functioning. He had been bullied by neurotypical kids at his previous school and when he moved, he saw in them what he was teased for and in a repeated cycle, continued the abuse as an abuser empowering the victim within in a way that was broken and hurting others. I'm hurting others as a temporary salve. It's wrong and I need to stop it.
I’m intense. I’m empathic. I’m a bit of an old soul. And I love that about me. It was incredible to see so many articles I could identify with filtering through my Facebook newsfeed today. It’s like the universe is pointing at the ways I was dodging a bullet I didn’t even know was coming by reaffirming the ways I am a powerhouse that needs grit in a man that can polish my rough bits.
He needs to be tall and beautiful (because I’m shallow). He needs to be smart (for when I’m intense). He must be a warrior that can take my dark because I have large doses of dark daily and most men aren’t asked to hold it because I don’t think they’re capable. That says more than it should about the men I’ve dated or the one I married.