Trying to Just Be Me

Instead of writing my post about the movie Nerve, yesterday was spent going through my posts since 2016 started. I felt I needed to revisit a few things to see if I’ve actually made any progress, or if I was backsliding. Things with the Pirate were so reminiscent of the first full on break up with the Boy that I started thinking about all the similarities, and I saw some progresses that I’d made with the Pirate, or at least in how I dealt with the situation.

It put me in a nostalgic mood.

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I’d already pointed out that the Boy’s advice came into play. He had told me once that I had the right to ask for clarification. That was one of the things I always really did appreciate about his and my interactions (the Boy, not the Pirate). The Boy always tried to make sure I understood, though he did often point out that I was looking for a different outcome.

The Pirate threw that one at me as well. Maybe it’s more true than I’d care to admit. At least in the Pirate’s case it definitely was. I didn’t want to believe that he was willing to throw me away so easily. I had done the thing that I do where I push myself and my needs aside to make the other person comfortable, and then I’m angry when they don’t allow me to be myself and decide that they want to get rid of all of me when they’ve only ever seen half of me.

In my head, I feel like if they’d just give me an opportunity to be myself, then maybe they’d come to a different conclusion. And if not, then so be it, but I’d really like the opportunity to be that person.

The problem is, that I should be that person from the very beginning, and I’ve got my whole life’s worth of self-training to undo in order to do that.

See, I’ve self-taught myself to watch, observe, learn the rules and mold myself to them so as to not be rude. The only point in my life where I wasn’t that person was in Abilene, TX, during my first attempt at college.

Even then, though, it was me playing to a character role.

I was determined to not hide myself, at all costs. To that end, I decided it was better to be confrontational than to be timid. I was very in your face. I was the militant feminist, LGBTQ supporter, (insert cause here) and proud person who would do exactly the opposite of what the establishment wanted. I was playing the role of a character, one based on myself, but living in a Fight the Power style movie from my teen angst years.

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It made me fun and unpredictable, gave the illusion of me being spontaneous, though most of my spontaneity was based on me being in control of what was happening, or at least knowing the person who was in control well enough that I could predict what they were going to do. I was still a slave to my routines, though I had no idea that’s what was going on.

My friends were mostly gay and/or pagan because those were the groups of people that didn’t judge me. I could be weird and quirky and it was celebrated! Being myself was okay.

And that was at a Christian based school. In Abilene, TX.

Abilene was previously in the Guinness Book of World Records (do they still do that? Or has the internet made that obsolete?) for having the most churches per capita of any city in I guess the WORLD!

There were three Christian universities there, and so discussing religion was expected, but what I found was that because there were subtle differences (and some not so subtle) in the way that each school presented the Bible (based on their individual denominations), that differences of opinions seemed to be praised, or at least respected.

At least that was my experience. Some of my gay friends had very different experiences. Perhaps my ability to blend in is so ingrained that even when I thought I was being purposefully in your face, I was still really just hiding in plain sight.

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But for me, it was liberating to feel like I could really be myself and not be teased for being weird or different.

I haven’t found that anywhere else.

Houston has been close, but because of the things that happened to me at the school I transferred to after, and even some of the things that happened to me while I was in Abilene, I’m still leery of letting all of me out too soon.

And in my dating life, it’s backfired every time.

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Today I’m trying to figure out why that is, and I think part of it has to do with what I want. My goal is to find someone who wants to settle down and have children, but I know that just having that as a goal means I’m ticking boxes and not actually seeing if I am compatible with the person, so I try not to focus too heavily on that… Then again, some of this post is really about how me not being myself out of fear is not allowing me to really see if I’m compatible with a person, so…

I’ve tried to create a tangible list of what I want with my definition of an Intellectual Alpha Male, but every time I think I’ve found one, I soon realize that they are more Beta than Alpha, or that they’ve confused Alpha for Asshole.

Well… not all of them.

If we recap some of the big ones (going sort of backwards), there was the Pirate, the Bartender, a handful of married guys that would flirt, or guys that lived far (ish) away, there was Mr. Nice Guy, and the Investment Broker, the guy whose nickname was the Married Guy, Superman, The Artist, and, of course, the Boy. I’ve saved him for last on purpose.

Each of these guys, for the most part, has been more Beta than Alpha. Some use lies and misdirection to get what they want, while others are Betas because of how they are in their individual lives.

For instance, the Pirate liked to present himself as an Alpha because he liked to make decisions about us, and he needed a routine, but at the end of the day, he had a job, not a career, no car, lived on a couch, was letting his roommate steal massive amounts of money from him, and refused to move out, though his parents offered to help, because doing so would require him to actually Alpha up and take care of business.

Before someone else says it, yes I see the similarities in my situations in the past year or so. The difference is that I’ve been making tiny progresses and taking steps to change the situation. He has someone offering him a way out, and refuses to take it because the way out will be difficult. But I hardly see how being responsible for all his own bills (when he’s paying all of them now as it is) is any more difficult than waking up to find out that his roommate has been fired and has accidentally allowed $1500 to be taken out of his account, or whatever happened to make him say that his roommate owes him $1500.

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The rest of them were more minor things like just being too much of a coward to admit the truth of a situation, like the Bartender, whose cowardice was a small thing, albeit the situation was huge. Some relied on lies and manipulation to try to get me in bed, like the Investment Broker tried to do.

Each one of them presented me with an Alpha Male facade. They would take the lead with strong decision making capabilities, showing me a strong male I could potentially lean on.  They’d offer to pay, showing that they were financially solvent provider types, or contrarily, they would explain the other ways in which they would make an ideal mate (like the Pirate did on our very long second date).

Most of them took the first step in instigating the intimacy as well. I still have fond memories of when the Boy took what he wanted without asking the first time I came over to his apartment, or again when he slid his hand up my skirt without asking while at the movies a time or three. The Bartender did the hand up the skirt thing a couple times as well. It’s always a fun tease for me, so long as we’ve already established that there’s an attraction. If they Investment Broker had done the same thing, he’d have pulled back a nub.

But for most of them, the facade started to slip. Taking charge turned into asking permission, and asking if I was “sure” about whatever thing was about to happen. The Bartender was particularly bad about that. I’d offer to do something slightly less than traditional in the bedroom, and his eyes would get kind of big and he’d ask if I was sure, and tell me I really didn’t have to if I didn’t want to. Usually I really did want to, or at least I wanted to do it to make him happy to return how happy he’d made me.

For some of them, being a financial provider type turned into being a mooch, like with the Pirate and his gazillion rides and errands and things. Not a thing I minded initially because it was extra time to engage in conversation… but he didn’t want actual conversation, contrary to what he’d said from the very beginning.

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Ah! There’s the rub.

Conversation is such an important part of a relationship! It’s the verbal component of the give and take. And the equal give and take is what makes a relationship work!

What I need (and I had to remind myself of this as I went back through the posts yesterday), is a man who will be my emotional support when things get hard. I need someone that I can lean on and tell my problems to. Someone who will talk me through the rough times. In return, I will be as freaky as possible as often as necessary. I’ll cook, I’ll help clean, I’ll play chauffeur if necessary, as seen by both the Pirate and the Bartender, but in return, I need someone who is willing to actually learn who I am and be there for me to tell me it’s going to be okay when things start falling apart.

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I need an Alpha Male type who will want to help put me back together when I feel broken because I am important to them, and me being okay is important to them. I need someone who sees my strength and how I’ve had to hold myself together by myself for so very long, and understand that I need the reassurance that I’m not facing it all alone anymore.

Just the knowledge that I have someone for backup is enough to keep me moving forward.

Like when my house gets unbearably messy after/during a shut down. I need someone to keep me company while I clean. I don’t always want them to do anything, I just need someone there for emotional support to let me know that I will be okay and that I matter enough for someone to notice I’m not actually okay at the moment.

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Almost all of the men in my past turned out to be fakes. Of that list, I would say that Mr. Nice Guy was probably actually an Alpha Male type (though he argued he wasn’t), and the Boy, too, though I think he would also argue that point with me.

After some thought, and actually due to the fiasco with the Pirate, I realized how the Boy’s actions have been him being a strong Alpha Male type, and the problem I always had was that I didn’t see the way he was there for me.

Mostly because he really wasn’t. Originally, it was because we didn’t speak the same language. The time that ended with the explosion over New Year’s was because neither of us was in a place to be strong for the other, but I really needed him to be the strong one for me, and I needed him to prove to me that I mattered enough that he could do that.

That wasn’t fair of me to ask. Not given what he was going through.

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I’m not saying it’s all forgiven or forgotten, not by a long shot, but I see where my actions made it worse than it had to be.

I had felt very strongly that we were making progress to where we were equal partners in our relationship, even if it was only as friends, when everything fell apart in both our lives, but I’ve been in crisis mode for so long, that I needed him to step up and be strong for me.

When he couldn’t, I went into my role of being the strong one for him, and resented every minute of it because I knew he couldn’t (or I thought wouldn’t) return the favor. My mistake was in not realizing that it wasn’t necessarily because he didn’t want to, but really because he actually couldn’t given his current situation. And I made myself a stressor in his life instead of a help. I became just another problem for him, another drain in his life, because I needed something from him he couldn’t give.

His strength tank was empty, and so was mine, and I wanted us to be able to lean on each other, and we hadn’t made it to that point yet, and and perhaps we never would have made it to that point.

I’d like to think we would have.

My fascination with him has always been that he is that type of Alpha Male that I’m looking for, and I submitted to him completely in an attempt to prove that I cared, but it wasn’t what he wanted. I don’t know what he wanted/wants from a partner. He may not know. But whatever I was offering wasn’t it, and my insecurities, after more than a decade of being told I wasn’t quite good enough made me NEED that reassurance that he couldn’t give me.

I was offering what I’ve seen in movies, instead of offering myself. And he used to tell me that he didn’t want anything from me, other than for me to be myself, and I didn’t know how to do that. I was giving him something he didn’t want and asking for something he didn’t know how to give.

And I was angry at him for making me do all the work, which may not have been true.

Funny how the Pirate yelling at me for asking for clarification made me realize how much the Boy actually had done but that I had never acknowledged.

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Meanwhile, I see similarities with the situation with the Pirate as well. He was also telling me he couldn’t handle adding me into his situation at the moment, but because there was never any equality in the situation to begin with, it ended with him telling me that he wanted silence as opposed to being able to work with me to figure out what he was trying to say, or what he wanted.

That’s the big difference: though I had maintained that the Boy never respected me because he couldn’t put as forth as much effort as I had been giving, he was giving as much as he could. He would tell me that, and it was never enough because of the tally in my head… the tally that was there to remind me that I could would get hurt again. A tally that I wasn’t even fully aware that I was keeping, and that was created when we were moving at different paces and towards unknown end goals. We weren’t at a place where we could have the conversation that we needed to have, and I had realized that when I let him back in the second time, but I still kept the tally to protect myself…

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Conversely it made me more judgmental and unable to see how he was trying, even when he would try to point it out to me how he was trying!

With the Pirate, however, I had known that I kept the tally. I had spoken to him about the ways in which the score was uneven, most notably through his lack of interest in my life, which was a red flag for me, and has been through the entirety of our interactions. But because I was on some level trying desperately to not make the same mistake as I had with the Boy, I needed to see it through, to give him the opportunity I should have given to the Boy.

The Pirate was unworthy of the challenge.

Not sure what it all means, but it’s given me something to ponder for a bit. I’m open to suggestions… within reason. I don’t need another Internet Troll offering up advice just to screw with me, and then having the audacity to tell me I should be thankful afterwards…

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