Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Nothing's Wrong With Me
Over dinner S and I discussed women, as we almost always do. She's got a major double-breakup on her hands (ah the joys of polyamory!) and I'm still dampened and dripping from my recent split. We discussed our relationship patterns and the ease or lack thereof of finding new partners, after. She mentioned something she's said before, that for almost 10 years, despite plenty of relationship difficulties, she's never had much of a dry-spell. I haven't been nearly so lucky, despite the common mis-perception that I am some sort of gondolier on the deep river of sexuality, my long pole always wet. This led me off to "the bad place" for a minute, trying to come up with reasons to explain my occasional difficulties finding dates. The first thing that popped into my head was "is it because I'm a sex worker or is it my facial chain?" Then I remembered my sobriety (will be 2 years as of Jan 1st) and how much less inclined many people are for a fun fuck, much less dating, without the aid of substances. (In fact I recently had a paranoid pondering that my recent ex probably enjoys dates with her other date more because she can consume without worrying about how I'll feel about it, I doubt this is true, but....)
Just yesterday a preferred client and I had an interesting conversation about the disconnect between how we feel inside and how we are perceived by the outside world. I constantly get the feedback that people are less likely to approach me because I am intimidating. Unless I've got a singletail in my hand or I'm barking off a street harasser, I rarely feel intimidating, more like a big squishy pile of leaking-heart mush. But I understand that my height and stature (5'10", big enough to notice), can intimidate alone, and when my loud and frequently used voice is added to many of the subjects I am known to spout about, I end up taking a lot of space. I can see that being intimidating, even while my internal little lamb-self demurely blinks in the corner. I've decided that if I'm going to be seen as intimidating whether or not I consent, I might as well own it and capitalize on my intimidation (for good!).
After S and I debated the relative weirdness of my facial chain to say, being a big ol' goth,(since she claimed that sex work wasn't visually apparent on me when walking down the street, though I'm not so sure) I figured out that it wasn't really the weirdness that mattered, it was whether or not it was a deterrent. We agreed that was something we couldn't know. I mean, obviously its a deterrent to some people, but we're talking anybody in whom I would be remotely interested. And then it dawned on me; it's not the chain, it's not my work, and it's not 'cuz I'm a teetotaler. I may seem intimidating sometimes, sure, but that's not what's wrong with me. I used to be positive that I was too much of a slob to love, but I know a number of folks with several simultaneous, loving, committed, long-term relationships whose homes make my room look like a zen center.
One thing I've learned recently is that people aren't generally into "perfect", it often makes them feel bad about themselves, unless they perceive themselves to be close to perfect or enjoy a heavily skewed power dynamic in their relationships (the classic 'young ingenue in love with the very successful, skilled and powerful older person' comes to mind). I would venture that what most people are really attracted to in terms of partner material is someone who seems to be at around the same level as themselves, or depending on their relationship to power, a little bit "higher" or a little bit "lower" as far as what they view as progress and success in life. People tend to commit to people that are similar in lifestyle, values, and "success" and an idea that they can grow in like or complementary ways in the future.
So, in fact, there's nothing wrong with me. It's just not as easy as one, or more pertinently, I, would like to get the attention and relationships I want, exactly when I want them. It's not because I'm inapproachable, or crazy or too weird; plenty of socially awkward, crazy-ass weirdos are happily partnered. It's just not easy, and sometimes it seems that knowing what I really want, and being less and less willing to settle for something unhealthy or unsupportive of my dreams, while simultaneously maintaining my commitment to flexibility, open-heartedness and deep, intimate loving, makes it just that much less easy. (The run-ons might not be helping, either. )And frankly, I tend to get most things I want within 2-5 years, but that can be hard to remember in the slow-moving meantime. But that's ok, because this way I get to figure out how to really love myself, making it easier and more likely for someone else to follow suit, and I get to have room for something and somebody super swell when the time is right.
Can you tell I went to a hippie retreat in Oregon, recently? Hey man, that shit worked. Loving myself is going pretty well. Check it out: Heart of Now
Oh, and S suggested I post this picture of me from Paul Reubens Day '06. She assured me it would pull the wifeys to me like a polygamist magnet!