[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 about a conversation with my therapist – continued from previous post]
Edward: (After a significant pause) Can we go back to something you said about your interaction with Jared . . . ??
Edward: You said you couldn’t bring yourself to call him and ask him out . . .
Me: Yes . . .
Edward: May I ask why that was challenging for you?
Me: (Slow, deep breath as I fought off a wave of emotion) If Jared had responded affirmatively to my request for friendship, I would have been obligated to keep up that friendship. I would have to make sure I reserved enough time and energy to participate fully in that relationship.
Edward: What do you mean?
Me: It is not fair for me to ask for a relationship and then not put the time and energy into that relationship to keep it alive. I can’t advertise that I’m available for a relationship and then not be available enough to maintain it.
I’m already struggling to keep up with the responsibilities I have. Sometimes I don’t do a good job of that. Taking on a relationship would be yet another responsibility. . . one more thing added to my plate . . . I don’t want to sign up for that because I don’t think I would do a good job of following through. It would be a heavy burden. I don’t think I can handle any more weight on my shoulders.
Edward: Because you would put yourself out there as something you might not be able to maintain . . . ?? Because the other person might be disappointed in you because you didn’t measure up to what you advertised yourself as being . . . ??
Me: Yeah, exactly . . .
However, within the four quality relationships I do have with men – the ones I mentioned before – I find it very easy to be in those relationships. They don’t feel like burdens. I enjoy the time I spend in those relationships . . .
Edward: Why do you think that is?
Me: Maybe because I’m able to be authentic with those men . . . with you . . . I don’t feel the need to measure up to any standard . . . I can just be who I am . . . there are no expectations.
Edward: And why do you think you can be authentic with them? Why are there no expectations?
Me: (After a reflective pause) Well . . . those relationships are more superficial . . . wait, no . . . not superficial . . . that’s not the right word . . . I mean, they are more . . . shallow, I guess . . .
Edward: It seems to me those relationships are very deep.
Me: Yeah . . . “shallow” is not the right word either . . .
Um . . . I guess I mean there is a distance between the men and me . . . a buffer . . .
For example, with you, I don’t have to worry if I am sexually attractive to you because I know we are never going to have sex . . . I don’t have to worry about that now and I know I never will have to worry about it because we are never going to have sex. How attractive I am to you is a moot issue, so I don’t have to worry about it. Therefore, I can relax with you.
Edward: So, you can be authentic with someone as long as sex is not and will never be part of the relationship?
Me: That’s part of it, but not all of it . . . um . . . wow . . . this is tough . . .
It’s not just the sex . . . it’s about allowing someone to see me when I’m not all “pulled together” . . .
Edward: “Pulled together” meaning when you have nice clothes on, your hair combed . . . when you smell nice . . . ??
Me: That’s part of it, as well . . . but, it is more than that . . .
When I go home, I have my own little sanctuary in which I get to binge eat, pick my nose, fart, be messy, to have hairy legs and arm pits, to not take a shower . . . to masturbate to violent porn . . . no one is there is see it . . . to judge it . . .
If I shared my living space with someone, I would have no safe place to do those things . . . and those are the things I do to cope with the pain of being alone . . . but, I’m not sure sharing my living space with someone would ease the pain of being alone, and then I wouldn’t have a sanctuary in which to carry out my coping habits. I would have no place to which I could retreat and hide and be safe.
None of the men in my life have to share living space with me. They don’t have to deal with my gross habits. I can leave those habits behind and put on my “pulled together” costume when I hang out with them.
Edward: (After a pause) If you are showing up in costume when you hang out with them, are you really being authentic?
Me: Mmmmm . . . as authentic as I know how to be . . . as authentic as I’ve ever been with a man . . . I mean, I tell them my story . . . I tell you guys about the ugly stuff . . . so, you know about it and still don’t run away screaming . . . but, none of you has to go home with me and share my living space with me. You don’t have to actually watch me do those things.
Edward: Do you think these men won’t like what they see if they get that close?
Me: (Getting frustrated) Yeah, that is exactly what I believe! It’s one thing to hear me talk about those things; it’s totally something else to actually witness me doing them. No man would be willing to share living space with me if I’m doing those things.
Edward: I’m a little confused – what won’t they like?
(I felt the anger and frustration increasing quickly . . . I knew he is not that ignorant . . . I knew he already knew the answer and was feigning ignorance . . . I wanted to scream at him, “Stop pretending you don’t know the answer!!!” Instead of exploding, I laughed a half-laugh and said . . . )
Me: I’m feeling a lot of anger towards you because the answer is so obvious and I think you are pretending to not know the answer when I know you do.
Edward: Please forgive my ignorance . . . it is not obvious to me.
I looked hard at him . . . I checked out his face, his eyes, his body language . . . and I realized that he was telling me the truth . . . he really didn’t know the answer. He really wasn’t faking it.
This revelation about knocked me off my seat. How could someone know me as well as Edward knows me and not know the truth about me? Maybe it is not as obvious as I thought . . . that doesn’t mean it is any less true, but it might not be as obvious as I have always believed . . . whatever that is worth . . .
Me: (Quietly resolute) It is because those things are really disgusting . . . it is because I am disgusting.
Edward: Marie, that is not obvious to me. That is not how I experience you.
Me: I guess I know it’s not obvious to other people . . . but, it is so obvious to me . . . and I’m angry at you for not . . . well, no, I’m not really angry at you . . . logically I realize it is not obvious that I’m disgusting, but I’m just angry in general, and you are the person sitting in front of me, so I feeling angry at you by default.
Who else am I going to be angry at? You’re getting the brunt of my anger because you are sitting in front of me and within easy reach.
[Continued in the next post . . . ]