This weekend, if we were talking over our frappuccinos (it’s still too hot in Texas for hot coffee), I’d tell you that things are up and down all over the place in my little realm of the world! On the upside, I’m still talking to the Gym Guy (I want to think reader Rowena for that nickname). He seems genuinely sweet, and while there are some concerns, I’m still reserving final judgment until we’ve actually met face to face.
Seems only fair…
On the downside, one of the reasons I haven’t met the Gym Guy yet is because I keep getting sick over the weekends. Last weekend, I was so sick that I slept almost all of Sunday away. And then Monday as well… And most of Tuesday…
By Wednesday, I was sure that I’d beaten whatever terrible bug I’d managed to pick up, but then, by the end of the day, I was sweating like a pig. Bad enough I wasn’t sure Thursday morning if I’d make it to school, but after the decongestant kicked in, I thought it was safe…
I was wrong.
By the end of my second period class, I was drenched in sweat and struggling to not pass out. The kids told me I looked like death. I could walk. As long as I kept a certain pace, the rhythm of my footsteps would propel me forward, eternal band nerd that I am. It was a rather quick pace, so I imagine I looked a mess, going at a near speedwalk down the hall trying to keep my eyes open, coughing and sweating.
Needless to say, I went home. Rather, I went to the doctor and then home. Official diagnosis: uncertain. Possibly a sinus infection, and so she gave me antibiotics, but also possibly just a new virus that mimics allergies, but with a wicked fever. If it’s the latter, one teacher said she was sick up to two weeks, and still fighting it!
Hope it’s not that one!
Whatever it was, the antibiotics and a good night’s sleep seemed to just about kill it, and by Friday night, I was mostly back to normal, though I sounded like a frog… especially after yelling my lungs out at the football game.
My boys won, though!
But, I’m slightly ashamed to admit, I’ve played my illness up a bit for Gym Guy.
I’m still worried that he won’t find me physically appealing. I’m on the heavy side, and it’s all in my middle. Naked, I feel like I look like a lollipop, with a very plump center over skinny legs. He’s said he’s a boob guy, so that helps, but I’m not exactly in shape. Not even round. I’m just kind of blobby right now… especially after a week of sickness!
I’m starting to feel a little guilty about it, about not being on the up and up about why I don’t want to meet him just yet. He’s been really sweet, and amazingly reassuring, supportive even!
I just… Well, I don’t think I’m pretty naked, and I’m terrified of a repeat of the Pirate. You know, where he in not-so-subtle ways tried to “help” get me into shape by suggesting healthy activities, or by cooking bland foods for me because he was trying to “help” me be healthier.
It was insulting when the Pirate did it because he had gone on and on about how he liked women with meat on their bones because skinny girls leave bruises, but it was just part of a fantasy he fed me… like all men do.
And that’s the problem I’m up against right now. Not that Gym Guy is giving me a fantasy, but that I’m afraid I’m giving him one because I don’t know how I feel about him. And also that I’m afraid to show myself to him because so many men have given me a fantasy, only to hurt me because I establish what the roles are in the very beginning, based on how they treat me, and what they seem to want and need me to be, but when things change, it upsets my everything.
I was explaining it to my temporary roommate earlier today. Basically, while I am always myself, the way I interact with a person is dependent on the role we play for one another. Everybody does this to some extent, otherwise we would talk to our parents the same way we talk to our friends (as I’d explain it in my classroom when talking about formal vs. informal tone), or (to give a more grownup example) we’d talk to our spouses the same way we talk to our bosses.
I take it to an extreme, though… mostly because my most natural state would be to actually talk to everyone the same. I have to have a role set up in my mind in order to establish who they are and how I’m allowed to talk to them. I have to establish where they fit in my “Hero’s Journey” archetype. Who are they in my life? What do they offer me, and what do I offer them?
For example, one of my former students told me that she thought of me more like a mom than just a teacher. I don’t know how to tell her that that makes me uncomfortable because now I don’t know how to interact with her. It’s not the roles I’d set for us, so now I’m befuddled. I find myself questioning whether or not I’ve crossed a boundary because I’m learning that the reason why I create these different personas, or different facets of my personality are because I have the people in my life categorized based on their function in my life and the role I play in theirs.
In the not so distant past, when I’ve told people that I’m an Aspie, I try to explain that the way I interact with people is part of that. I have always explained that I have these personalities that allow me to interact and “hide.” That I’ve developed it in order to fit in and that it’s been based on mimicry and observation. They’re created based on movies, television shows, archetypes, my theater training… all the different ways I’ve studied people in my life. The response I’ve always gotten was that, “well, everybody is different around different people.” As in, that doesn’t prove anything, if anything, it disproves my Aspie-ness!
But I was missing the key component: the WHY?
I don’t do it because it comes naturally to me to talk to different people differently. I do it because it is more natural for me to just be matter of fact. It’s more natural for me to be methodical and logical. Even when I’m emotional, it’s tied to my sense of logic and order (or music). When a guy hurts me, it’s because I’ve determined what roles we play for one another and some action of theirs breaks the rules that society (or my understanding of it, at least) has set for that type of relationship.
Why do I get so angry with the Boy? Or why does it hurt so bad?
Because he treated me in the way that I understand long term partners treat one another and then just stopped without any explanation, and it was completely illogical, and the more I tried to get an explanation so I could make it compute, the more he would run away from me.
It’s forced me to realize that while I have always been my true self with him, completely open and honest, he hasn’t been comfortable doing that with me. He’s never trusted me enough to be his true and honest self. It’s always some affectation, some pretense, some facade of how he thinks he should act based on what role he thinks I should play.
And the part that hurts and scares me the most is that he is the only person that I’ve been romantically involved with that I felt 100% comfortable being my complete and whole self, no masks, no persona, no holding back, and he accepts it on some level, but he is incapable of choosing me. I will never be his first choice, and it terrifies me that if he can’t see my worth when I am myself, no one else will either.
And that hurts.
I’m terrified that the only person that I feel sees the real me, doesn’t see any value in me as a mate. And if that’s true, I will always be alone, even if I’m not physically alone, forever.
I know what he’d say: I have to see the value in myself, because that is too much responsibility and he doesn’t want that much responsibility.
And my response to that would be, well, too bad; that’s part of being in a relationship (relationship with a little r, as in even friendships), helping the other person see the beauty and goodness within themselves that they’re blind to.
I guess that’s why I keep trying to even just be friends with him. I need him to validate my self-worth by choosing me at least once. I need to know that he sees value in me so I know that other people, people who don’t see all of me (like the Gym Guy), can really see value in me and aren’t just feeding me a fantasy to get sex.
And it’s not likely to happen, so where does that leave me?