I always feel the need to start out saying thank you. Every time I log into the site, and look at my stats and see that someone else has decided to read my thoughts, I get all sentimental inside. I mean, it’s kind of an honor. That you want to read me, listen to me, see me. Because that’s what I do here. I peel back the layers; I reveal myself. And while it’s been pretty scary in some cases, it’s worthwhile to think that people may be identifying with me, or even better… that I might be helping someone. Anyway, thanks so much. On to the topic at hand…
Nearly three years ago, in the early months of the blog, I wrote one about how I was afraid that my “independence” and self sufficiency were hurting me in the dating game (if you’d like to read it, you can do that here: https://shamekaerby.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/self-contained/) Anyway, I went into some detail about my ambivalence towards pretending to be helpless to attract a man, and how I’m not even really the damsel in distress type. Fast forward nearly three years later, and I think I may not have explained enough about the topic. I can admit that. That’s why we’re here, right? To grow. But let me tell you why I feel that way.
Now, I’m still not a damsel in distress. I’m still a self-sufficient force of nature who juggles and multitasks, and get things done for myself. And I still hate it when perfectly capable women dumb down so the men in their lives can feel better about themselves. And I do still wonder if I’m sometimes in my own way. None of that has changed. The reason I think I took the wrong approach is because these days I’ve been full of angst, and fear and fatigue and someone to make me feel better would be the best thing in the world. I want that so badly. I think I want it more now than I ever have.
Now don’t get it twisted. I don’t want to be coddled. But my life… you guys know about my life right now. And someone to help me, and encourage me, and just tell me everything’s going to be okay would be soooooo awesome. I know my family will tell me. I know my friends will tell me. But there’s something about hearing it from your partner, from the person you trust to make it seem okay even when it’s not, to make it so you can breathe easy when you feel like you can’t… I miss that so much. Besides that, a partner can also give you sex to make you forget about it for a while. Sex is so good that way. But my lack of penis was three blogs ago, and I won’t go off on that tangent again.
Let me give you an example: my best friend and I own a house together. She’s married now, and we’re selling the house. Well, before we can do that we have a leak in the upstairs bathrooms that’s been dripping water from the living room ceiling for weeks. Three plumber visits later, it’s still not fixed. There’s a hole in my ceiling, and I enter into a whole new territory of angst every time I walk in my front door. I’m edgy and moody, and I hate talking to people because every time someone asks me how I’m doing, I just want to yell, “I have a hole in my ceiling and water’s dripping from it- how the fuck do you think I’m doing?!!!” I know plumbing problems aren’t exclusive to me, I know that. But still. This shit is tiring and I’m so over it. Anyway, so when the plumber came (the second time) I was here alone and he was explaining to me what he thought the issue was and how he was going to fix it and what all it would entail. I tried to keep up, but the more he talked, the worse I felt. I wanted to burst into tears. Then I wanted to call my dad. Or my brother. I just… really wanted someone there with me. A man sort of someone, to be honest. Now, I’m really good at pulling it together when I have to. I didn’t cry. I’m a G. G’s don’t cry. I just sucked it up. But afterwards, I thought to myself that it’d be nice if I could cry. And have someone hold me while I do it. And say he’ll help me take care of it. AND translate everything the plumber told me into plain English. Sigh.
I come from sort of a protected environment. I have a dad and brothers, and they’ve always been there to form a circle around me, take care of things, make me feel less alone. Living here has been equal parts wonderful and fulfilling in the career and personal accomplishment sense, but also the loneliest time of my life in the relationship sense. And although I have very little experience being an actual damsel in distress (because I’m a G who just sucks it up and does what needs to be done), I find myself having a very real want (need?) for “protection.” I know every woman hasn’t had the experiences that I’ve had, but men are sources of protection in the world I’m from. And I love that they play that role. I love that they’re happy to do it. And the guys I’ve dated act like they don’t even know what that means. I miss it. And I want it back, self-sufficient or not.
Maybe that’s why I’ve been contemplating going back to Philly so hard. Maybe I just want to be where my dad can protect me again. You guys wanna know something? My dad and brothers are the only people in the world who ask me if I’m okay multiple times in one conversation. They start with it, they end with it, and they stick it in at least twice every time I talk to them. I’m not saying no one else ask me, or that they’re the only ones who care how I’m doing. I’m saying that when they hear my voice, it’s second nature for them to make sure I’m okay. My brother will Face Time me so I can see my niece, and spend the whole time just asking what’s going on with me, lol. And when there is something going on, and I don’t say it, they’re angry with me for not telling them. They want to protect me. I wish there was someone in my love life for whom I could say the same. In my first blog on the topic, I talked about how a lot of people say men need to feel needed and how I have trouble with that. With being needy. I still do. But maybe it’s because I was associating needy with helpless, which I’m not. I talked about how making someone feel needed was tricky and could give the impression that “wanting” you is not enough. I still feel that way too. But how bad do you have to want something before it’s okay to decide that you need it?
Three years later, and I still feel the same, and have the same questions. It’d be great if I didn’t feel like I was facing absolutely everything alone. And then I wonder if feeling that way is some sort of failing or weakness on my part. If I’m acting like a baby instead of a grown woman by asking for “protection.” Or if me being a G who pulls it together is running people away. Am I self-sufficient because there’s no man to lean on, or is there no man to lean on because I’m self-sufficient? Sigh. Who knows? We never even figured out if the chicken or the egg came first.