So, I’ve recently become aware of this Problematic Thing that I do, particularly with people with whom my insecurities get in the way of trusting their affection for me.
It starts with some kind of (usually false) premise (also known, in this case, as an insecurity). Something like an inherent belief that:
- I take up too much space
- I am not (fill in the blank) enough
- I am inconvenient
- I don’t have anything to offer
- I’m bad at sex (yeah, it’s a thing)
From that, all of my interactions are based around this premise. It’s harder to hold onto the concrete moments of goodness because “they just said that to be nice” or “they are only interested in you for your novelty” or “yeah, but if you started wanting or needing anything, you would become too cumbersome. You can stick around so long as you’re fun.” Inconsequential actions then become moments loaded with intention: “See? You’re not actually a priority,” or “They haven’t done X; therefore, they can’t feel Y,” or “You don’t look like any of the people they’re attracted to, therefore you can’t really be attractive to them.”
(Yes. This is extremely busted. Hence the Problematic Thing.)
So I try to circumnavigate my own insecurities. Take up less space. Act more (fill in the blank). Be grateful for what you get, even if it’s not what you want (and who are you to be wanting things, anyway?). Really, just don’t expect too much (or anything at all).
And I do that for awhile, until allofasudden there are Moments of Self-Empowerment, wherein I do things like say, “I deserve better than this,” and, “I’m fucking worth it.” (All true things, but I can say that because I had a MoSE today, so those things feel more poignantly real).
And then I want to test them. See if my insecurities are right. See if they actually care. See if they will do The Thing my brain has decided they should do in order to prove my insecurities wrong.
Oh. I should mention that I communicate absolutely none of this. Cause who wants to admit they’re an insecure ball of yuck? In my case, that means I’m uncomfortably needy, and then I’m taking up too much space, and that gets us right back to square one. But of course, since people aren’t mind-readers, and none of this was communicated, they’re still thinking everything is just fine (cause from their perspective, they don’t know that I’m doing these things in my wonky brain), and I’m all the way down the tracks, reaching absurd conclusions that feel suspiciously like ultimatums that no one in their right mind would intuitively grasp. And then I get cranky cause they didn’t do The Thing, and I write them off (before they inevitably write me off, because the whole thing is designed to find a reason to not get rejected by inventing reasons to reject someone first).
Ouch. This is busted and problematic on so many levels. It provides the illusion of combatting insecurities without actually doing any of the work to do so. It puts people in impossible situations and they’re left not knowing what the fuck happened (totally valid).
I was thinking about this with an ex-lover/play partner of mine that I thought was out of my league, and couldn’t fathom why he was interested in me. I fretted over every interaction and was beyond relieved when I wasn’t simply rejected immediately. I layered every conversation with subtext that he didn’t intend. I gave him all the power, but he didn’t know it, and my reactions and responses to him probably confused him because I was reading things into the situation that weren’t there.
I saw a picture of us today, and it made me think about these things. About how moments of self-empowerment are good, but they shouldn’t be the justification I use to demonize someone else when really, the demons are my perspective of my own self-worth. That I can’t hold other people responsible for living out conclusions I have no earthly reason to think they know I’ve reached. That communication, while terrifying, still matters. That when people say they care, they care. I don’t need to project my own feelings of undeservedness to trick myself into believing it’s coming from them.
People are people. While there might be stratas of power that are important to recognize, there are no “leagues.” There is me, and there are other people who are just as flawed and fucked up and insecure in their own ways, and might not understand why I’m attracted to them.
But they aren’t putting me in impossible situations. They aren’t holding me to decisions I never know they’ve reached. (I have been on the receiving end of this before, and damn, it sucks.) The people who care, who truly care, aren’t interested in me for a name or a novelty and, if they were attracted to me in the first place, they probably fucking know that I take up space and am boisterous and loud and full of heavy thoughts and laughter and fucked up ideas.
I don’t know when I got the idea that people wanted me to be less than what I am, but it’s absolutely coming from me, and not from other people.
So maybe it’s time to throw a wrench in this Problematic Thing, this busted cycle, and try communicating. Try trusting. Try figuring out how I feel, and asking for what I need, and letting these insecurities come to the surface so I can finally deal with them, and stop hiding from the parts of myself I am afraid of.