Saturday, July 04, 2009

There's a post I want to write that deserves more attention than I have the energy to give it. Things about myself that I am only beginning to know, things that deeply inform who I am, the mistakes I make, the people I hurt, the people I love. All these tangents to weave in and have it still somehow be relevant. I'm going to give it a try. I hope it comes out alright-- I want to sleep, but I'm afraid of what will happen to this if I don't get it out now.

Elorza was in town for the fiesta. The Monday after, we celebrated my birthday early-- five people in attendance, it seemed like the largest grouping of my friends that seemed likely for me to be able to amass, at the very least, without conflict. But this much is hardly relevant.

Outside with another friend as he is getting ready to leave, he says of Elorza, "He's a little full of himself, isn't he?"

"He comes off that way. It's really just to hide the immense self-loathing he feels."

Elorza being in town brought a lot of negative feelings for me, too. I took a walk with the other gentleman, explaining to him how I normally don't "keep guys around" who aren't at all attracted to me. I expressed my worry for mine and Elorza's friendship in the wake of getting all this non-sexual tension out in the open a few months ago. It's not that I want things to happen between he and I-- I don't. But I really don't know how to interact with someone-- someone male, anyway-- who has no attraction for me whatsoever.

I guess I've been chalking that up to being insecure on a certain level. What it is, though, is being insecure on a very different level than I was aware. There's this manager at work I really respect-- I mean, on a level that it makes me a little crazy. Little by little, I'm beginning to find faults with him-- thank god-- but for the longest time, I thought of him as just about perfect. He balanced intelligence and kindness in a way I had previously thought to be impossible, and added diligence and professionalism, to boot. I had sort of a complex about him; an inferiority complex, I guess. Every now and then, I'd get in these awful moods around him, just thinking of how much better he was than I. All of this, not too disturbing by itself.

I didn't really notice at first, but I wouldn't hang my coat next to his on the coat rack at work-- every day, it was this very detailed process I did, almost unconsciously, keeping it as far away from his as I could manage. I didn't stop to think about it, but if I did, I knew why: I am gross. I am dirty. I fear that I radiate some disgusting aura, that my belongings smell or are diseased, perhaps. Still, it wasn't a problem until one day I came in and he had hung his coat next to mine. I had a small panic attack. I had to move it right away. I was shaky for a half-hour afterward.

That was a little bit of a wake-up call.

Once I accidentally used his earpiece instead of mine when we both went for a break at the same time. When I realized my mistake after he began looking at his, I apologized profusely and used alcohol swab after alcohol swab to clean it for him before I returned it-- he looked at me like I was crazy, and I must have looked crazy in that moment.

I don't know how I went so long without realizing I had a complex about this. I wonder if I always have. It's obvious where it came from, I guess: years and years of kids accusing me of being unwashed in elementary school. I can't imagine that I actually was, but my hair tended to knot up, and my mom, god bless her, could not remove the knots without putting me in extreme pain.

Maybe that's not all of it. I remember, too, when it was explained to me what confession was for, in Sunday school-- to clean away your sins. I pictured sins as being little black spots on a two-dimensional white outline of you that represented your soul. After too long, the little black spots, they would build up, cover you. I liked the idea of purging them all at once, but being in the confessional was just too much for me. Whatever happened to me when I was young, (with regards to whether or not I was molested and have blocked the memory) it resulted in me masturbating at a very young age, earlier that kindergarden, to the types of humiliating fantasies that I can just barely come to terms with today. You try explaining that to a priest when you're six.

So I couldn't go back. And the little black spots, they built up on me, because that's really what I believed sins were.

I wish I could go back there and tell that girl what sins really are-- that they do color you in, they give you shading and form. You are just a white silhouette without them, or maybe one of those eerie sculptures with a blank space where the face should be. The sins, the mistakes, they shape and form you, they make you what you are. If only I could have told her back then that what I was, was beautiful. If only I could have told her there'd never be anything on me that I couldn't wash off.

On a related note, I've been wondering lately if what draws people together might necessarily be their weaknesses, not their strengths. I've been thinking of this seemingly random cycle I have with my friends, where I get to be very intense with one of them at a time: I don't think, anymore, that it's random at all. I think I gravitate to the one who can fulfill whatever psychological need I'm feeling at the time. There's more to be said about that...maybe another day I'll say it.

And if what draws you to a person is your weaknesses, what happens if you then grow as a person, beyond that weakness? With regards to my marriage, this particular thought worries me often. I love Zack, I do, and it's because he's a decent person, an intelligent person, a person with a particular sense of humor, and a gentle spirit. But when I think of what I was first drawn to about him, what made our relationship work at the time, I remember how well he fit with my shortcomings, not my strengths. I was needy, he was obsessive. I was insecure, he was devoted and without a past. I wanted to feel needed and strong, and he was damaged goods. I couldn't have sex, and he swore he was willing to wait. And I remember how happy I was when I found out he had next to no sense of smell.

And let's face it, I'm still all those things, I'm still that same set of weaknesses with only a few interspersed strengths. Anything that's changed, it's been by inches, not miles. But what happens to our relationship if one day, I'm none of those things? What happens if I self-actualize? Will my marriage last on pure and untainted love alone if one day I'm independent, secure, sexually capable, and psychologically deodorized?

Well, there's one disaster that FEMA can breathe easy about, at any rate.

I gotta wrap this around to where I was going. All this time, I've been under the impression that this need to feel like people are attracted to me was all about conquest. I thought this deal with Elorza was about the rejection of the past, when I was in love with him and he was not in love with me. I thought I was really shallow. I thought this all played into the question I can't stop asking, about whether or not I am objectively attractive (A big question). And I don't think all of that is completely invalid. But....

The whole time Elorza was here, all I wanted was too touch him. It wasn't about lust and it wasn't about conquest. It was about closeness. It was about the fact that I love-- really, really love-- this person that I almost never see, and the fact that I am a physically affectionate person. The fact that I am someone who needs to touch skin, feel heartbeats, hear breath. It was about the way I think of death: that the only hope of an afterlife I feel I have is that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, and that's what a person's soul really is (not a white outline with black spots). And if that's true, then if you want to spend eternity with someone, you have to spend as much time as possible breathing them in, absorbing their physical energy, making tiny, tangible parts of them into tiny, tangible parts of you.

I wanted to touch him. Hold his hand, lean on him. Sit closer to him than I would to a stranger. Hug him, hold him, put my head on his knee. But somehow, because of some stupid conversation I had with him a few months ago where he stated, unequivocally, that there's no way he could ever find me attractive, I couldn't. I stared at him from afar, I crossed my arms and stayed my distance. He hugged me when he came, and when he left, and a few times in there-- when we'd been drinking-- I dared to get just a little closer. But I didn't touch him, not the way I did the last time he was here. All because of that stupid conversation. And the whole time he was here, the whole time I was looking at the alluring, perfect smoothness of his dark tan skin-- I just kept feeling worse about myself.

I thought it was just rejection, but it didn't feel quite right. It took till tonight for me to figure it out: I don't believe there's a halfway.

I don't believe there's a halfway. He's not attracted to me, he could never be attracted to me. So he must know that I'm disgusting. He must have figured out my guarded secret. He could smell me from a mile a way, he did me a favor just being in the same room. I am reprehensible, vile, I have an aura. And he knows it.

That's why I need people to be attracted to me-- maybe there's a whole slew of other reasons why I want it, but that's why I need it. That's why I'm afraid of our relationship ending over some bullshit.

This whole thing, it's not a conversation I could have with him. There's something I would need him to say, and he doesn't get it-- he doesn't get that the lack of saying what I need to hear is the cementing of what I fear most. He doesn't cater, and that doesn't matter. Wouldn't risk it now, even if he did. Most of the time, I have an absurdly open relationship with him. I guess that's how I know this is a big one.

I wish I had a good way to wrap this up. I wish I had something in my stomach right now. I wish I didn't have to work tomorrow. I wish I believed a lot of you would read this and understand how core it is for me, how bizarrely urgent it was that I write it. I wish I knew how to talk to the little girl with the knotted hair and the spotted soul. I wish I knew that the love I have for people is based on love, not unconscious needs; more than that, I wish I knew that there was more to love in general than chemical misfirings and Freudian levels of consciousness. I wish I believed in souls in a more traditional way, so I wouldn't have to fear that my physical distance from Elorza is discounting our importance to each other in eternity's eye. I wish I could have written this whole thing with that gentle, flowing turn of phrase that is the one thing I adore about myself, the one thing that reminds me that I have worth, that more comes out of me than pestilence.

I have a lot of wishes.

On with it.