Have you ever had a revelation that you are completely screwed up?
This happened to me last night as I was driving home from a concert in NYC. To be fair to myself, the revelation was not that I am totally screwed up in all aspects of my life. Just one, really. Maybe more...but those have yet to be revealed to me. Anyway. Two things happened during this trip that caused the revelation.
The first is that I was sitting at a table outside a taqueria in Soho, chowing down on the best taco I have ever had in my life. Spit-grilled pork, in case you're curious. I had my mouth full of drippy taco when this guy I sort of know walked by. The reason I sort of know him is that a mutual friend tried to fix us up ages ago. He's great. We got along swimmingly. But then scheduling proved to be a problem, and we both decided to just let it drop. I ran into him again recently, and something sparked - even more than four years ago. We made plans to get in touch with each other in August, when allegedly, both of our lives will become slightly less hectic (ha). So you'd think that, when I see this person randomly walking down Bleecker St., and I am even more randomly (since he actually lives near there, and I do not) sitting there eating a taco, I would, you know, say something. But I did not, because I could not imagine the indignity of shouting at him, or even worse, running down the street after him to get his attention.
Because I am always the paragon of dignity, right?
So, I let him pass by, and it's fine. I'll see him again, or I won't, and life will go on. But there's the thing that left me kicking myself later. On most levels, I really am kind of laissez-faire about the whole thing, and float through life telling myself that it doesn't matter to me whether I am ever in a functional relationship. But it kind of does, or at least it matters that I would be able to be in one if the right someone ever came along. And the "what is meant to happen will happen" philosophy is great, until it possibly walks down the sidewalk in front of you and you just watch it go by because you're worried about...what? Some stranger seeing you be slightly idiotic? Whatever. So, I was irritated at myself, not necessarily even over this particular person, but over my complete unwillingness to take any kind of risk when it comes to my own love life.
Then I went to this concert. I know the band. I have a complex relationship with one of the members of the band. I have absolutely no hesitation when it comes to flirting shamelessly with him, asking him to do things for me, and generally demanding his attention. The complex part of this is that he's completely unavailable. Usually I don't find this to be a problem. We just are how we are, and I enjoy that little happy rush I get when I see him, even if that's as far as it's ever going to go.
But I was thinking about this on the way home, and about how much I am willing to put myself on the line in various situations, and I realized that I really only put myself out there, and that I'm really only honest, with men who are in some way unavailable. They have girlfriends or wives or live in other states or countries or are gay. That's when I'm comfortable, because I know what the final result will be. I'm willing to risk being honest with my feelings because it's not really a risk. If the relationship doesn't go anywhere, it's not because they weren't interested in what I put out there; it's because they were unavailable to begin with.
I also don't have to worry about someone genuinely wanting to be part of my life, which might force me to change some things. I like change in theory, I like it in church, and I really like it when it happens to other people. But I have built my life very carefully, especially the part of it that involves not depending on anyone else to be there for me. The idea of wanting someone else there, or God forbid needing them there, scares the crap out of me. As I drove home from the concert - alone, as usual - I wondered if I am even capable of having someone around that much. I have no idea; I've always kept my distance.
The irony of this is that I do a ton of weddings and spend a huge amount of time listening to people talk about their relationships and helping them work through issues. I'm really good with other people's relationships. Which of course makes me see all the more clearly how awful I am at my own. I'm not really sure what to do about that, because it also involves all these other factors, like my ridiculous schedule and the lack of interesting prospects. I guess for now I'll just be screwed up, but hey, at least I'm self-aware about it.