The word of the day is destroy.
–verb (used with object)
1. to reduce (an object) to useless fragments, a useless form, or remains, as by rending, burning, or dissolving; injure beyond repair or renewal; demolish; ruin; annihilate.
2. to put an end to; extinguish.
3. to kill; slay.
4. to render ineffective or useless; nullify; neutralize; invalidate.
5. to defeat completely.
–verb (used without object)
6. to engage in destruction.
Over the weekend, I realized that I actually really hate clubbing. I hate the smell of sweaty bodies. I hate the too-loud music and the sound of your ears rining for hours afterwards. I hate the lingering smell of cigarette smoke that lurks in the threads of your favourite dress until laundry day. Most of all, I hate the isolation that comes from being in a crowd of people who can’t properly connect with one another. The alcohol and the noise and the flashing lights are all distractions from the day to day, a reality we medicate with hedonism and excess. I feel loneliest on the dance floor.
I was talking to a friend today about this lonely-in-a-crowd sensation. He’s the type of genuinely nice guy who likes being in relationships. “I wanna meet a nice girl, but the kinds of girls I meet at clubs are either nice girls who just wanna dance, or they’re the kinds of girls I don’t want to date. But I don’t know where else to meet them.” He looked at me in earnest and my heart broke because earnest is how we’re all approaching each other, but we seem to be missing something in our attempts.
I think what happens, when we go to large gatherings of inebriated people for a reason other than dancing and the feel of the music, is that you’re looking for a way to meet people in less intimidating/potentially painful circumstances. If I’m drunk and you’re drunk, we can both just blame it on the alcohol in the morning, and both our egos stay in tact even if the connection doesn’t.
I’m not saying that great, long-lasting and fulfilling relationships don’t happen on the dancefloor. What I’m saying is that they happen so infrequently that it’s self-defeating to pin our romantic hopes on it. If you go to the clubs week after week after week, you drive ourselves insane doing the same thing over and over again and trying to get a different result.
I realize, and accept, that in order to meet the right person, you don’t just have to be in the right place at the right time, you also have to be in the right state of mind. We accept the love we think we deserve, and I think, in a very important way, many of us don’t quite feel deserving enough of the right person. We just need to lose a few pounds, or fix our hair, or get our finances in order. Then, we’ll be able to approach someone without fearing rejection because we’ll be so damn awesome, why would anyone reject us?
Oh, rejection, you cruel, cruel beast. I nearly asked a guy out on a coffee date today, but then I thought “He’s so much more attractive than I am, why would he want to date down? I don’t want to be that couple!” (That couple is the one with one much less attractive partner, who makes you think that they must be a freakin’ saint or something, in order to land such a bombshell/smokeshow. Then you resent the less attractive partner and wonder why you can’t be in a relationship too, considering how you’re so awesome and not bitter or anything like that.)
This is not the first time I’ve tried to ask out The Boy. Today was actually the 5th attempt. Five times, I’ve had the opportunity, but have been too terrified of rejection to make the move. Intellectually, I know it’s better to try and fail than not try at all. Yet, intellectual truths don’t always translate into emotional strength.
So where then, do we find our strength when our minds conflict with our hearts and our hearts conflict with our egos?
I think the answer lies within a willingness to destroy. When the day to day lives that we lead are disempowering, the best way to find strength and grit our teeth through the fear of rejection is to take a deep breath and change the routine. It’s comfortable to do what you’ve always done. You’re pretty much an expert at it.
Sometimes, we even feel so trapped inside our own emotions that it’s easier to ride the waves of panic than it is to swim up to the surface for air. So we let ourselves keep drowning, defining ourselves by our limitations instead of relying on our strengths.
We don’t allow ourselves to get hurt, so we lack practice in healing. If you have nothing that will tell you that you’re going to be ok in the end, it’s easy to accept the feeling of “oh my god, I’m going to die”. Not in the vapid, Valley Girl kind of way, but in the “a part of me that I’m attached to, like my image in the eyes of this person, or in my own eyes, will be permanently destroyed if I get hurt in the process of trying.”
“If you don’t have any solace, it’s pretty hard to take risks,” as my Dearest Darling David says. You heal during the process of hurting, but that’s difficult to come to terms with. So often, we play to win instead of playing to get better at the game. In the process, we actually become weaker, because inaction has rendered us incapable of dealing with setbacks.
The solution is so simple that we want it to be complicated. It’s not complicated though, but it is difficult. It is as difficult as it is simple.
When you feel nervous about putting yourself in a situation where your heart might get hurt, analyze the situation after you’ve done it, not while you’re trying to do it. You deserve to give yourself a chance, even if you don’t fully believe that you deserve what you’re going after. At the very least, you deserve the chance to try to fulfil your own yearnings. You see, it’s easier to hate yourself, because then you have a place to channel all of those fears and insecurities. It’s much more difficult to face your ego and its issues, because then what will you do with the unresolved fears?
What you do with them is resolve them. You resolve them through the healing process that happens as you hurt. It’s difficult to take a risk if you aren’t open to the idea of the experience being something other than what you hope it might be. We fear failure, because we are closed off to the possibilities that might occur in it’s wake. We can’t even imagine how any good would come of it. The thing is, mishaps and misfortunes in life are mandatory, but misery is entirely optional. That last sentence, I got from the book Work Like You’re Showing Off.
You want a date, but you’re afraid to ask. You want their attention, but you’re afraid to start a conversation. You want a kiss, but you’re afraid to lean forward. You want, you want, you want, this and that and all of those, but there are so many other possibilities that you’re not aware of. Closing yourself to failure means that you’ll never get to learn that not having won’t kill you and sometimes things happen that are more wonderful than what you ever could have imagined.
It’ll destroy you a little bit (maybe even a lot) to take risks with your heart. But ultimately, you’re destroying the parts of yourself that are holding you back. You must reduce, into little, useless fragments, the parts of you that feel undeserving of love and incapable of surmounting matters of the heart. Just because it doesn’t turn out the way you want it to, doesn’t mean it can’t still be wonderful.
Much love and heartbreak,
P.S. Check back with me tomorrow to find out what happens when I ask The Boy to have coffee with me.