Last night the hubby and I were discussing a mutual friend who has some serious commitment issues that keep this person from exploring deeper relationships on pretty much every level, not just the romantic kind. Given that Steven shared this commitment/intimacy phobia when I met him I asked how in the world someone like me got through to him – since I generally send every commitment-phobic guy in a tri-state area running for the hills, even when I’m not looking for anything.
Personally I don’t think I’m all that scary but apparently I can be pretty intimidating. I don’t think people know quite what to make of my personality that is quite comfortable giving all or nothing. When I love something I *really* love it. And when I hate it, I *really* hate it. I either go full throttle toward a goal, or I shrink back and don’t act at all.
I approach both angles with equal passion, and that passion is something that is apparently palpable to those are afraid of that kind of all-consuming intensity. There’s no real middle ground with me, especially with relationships. I like to know where I stand, and I don’t really operate well with fair-weather friendships or casual acquaintances.
Some folks may see this as neediness but it’s really just a method of self-protection. Betrayal and neglect would me to the core, and I really need to know who I can trust to give my heart to before I hand over the title of “friend” willy nilly.
And lover… fuhgettaboutit. That’s a gauntlet. No faint hearts need apply.
Which again makes me ever more curious how Steven or Dan, two of the most commitment-phobic self-affirmed lifetime bachelors ended up married to me.
Steven said, “I pretty much figured you were a force of nature and I just decided to go with the flow.”
The description caught me off guard. If pressed to describe myself I certainly wouldn’t choose a “force of nature.” I feel way too meek in regards to significant areas of my life to own the power that kind of description implies. There are days I feel afraid of my own shadow, when I won’t even face the world for fear of the rejection and humiliation that sometimes rides shotgun with being the size that I am.
That’s not to say I can’t dig my heels in, or don’t recognize my overwhelming personality on certain things. When it comes to those causes that I fight for I know that I’m a force to be reckoned with. I’m an emotional bulldozer when it comes to things of which I’m absolutely certain. I can be uncompromising and never settle when it comes to certain things.
But other things, namely myself, not so much. I will fight like a dog on issues when it comes to feminist causes, human rights causes and my politics because I believe in that in a way I don’t believe in myself as Just Ginger.
I don’t know how to sell myself just based on my own value, which is why I’ve never made any significant progress in my writing career.
When it came to my relationship with Steven I pretty much let him have the reigns in the beginning. We started in a very complicated place where I didn’t feel I had much authority to set any real rules. When he told me he wasn’t looking for marriage/kids/family/commitment I took him at his word. After a while I wanted more but I didn’t bulldoze him like I did Dan all those years ago.
I’d learned my lesson on that, believe me.
All those manipulative things I used to do to get a guy I abandoned when it came to Steven. In fact I was more myself with him than I ever was with anyone else. (That’s the benefit of meeting someone when you’re near 30… you can forfeit the high school girly games. I was just myself, and God knows Steven met me at my worst. Talk about not knowing how to sell yourself.)
So maybe what I define as “being myself” is a force of nature to others… which might explain why I end up scaring folks away unintentionally.
I used to be a lightning rod when it came to Twitter wars on things like politics and what-not, now my most provocative comments I’m sure will attract all the trolls go unchallenged. Those right-wing or conservative Christian bots that end up following me based on some trigger words usually go away within a few short days or weeks once they get the idea what I’m “really” about, and generally they go as quietly as they came. It’s been a fairly long time since I’ve been truly “challenged” by anyone.
The wars that I have had in the past always ended up with being accused of “not fighting fair” and “trying to make people look stupid.” I’ve even run into some criticism in how I moderate Hal’s chat room on Ustream, where I’ve been accused of humiliating people in the room just by pointing out what the rules are. I’ve been called mean or a bitch just because I’ve had to take a pretty unequivocal stance against those who want to break the very few, very simple rules we have in place to keep the chat room manageable.
Over time I’ve become okay with that.
My tolerance for such shenanigans has dropped off the meter. If I smell a troll I block/ban fairly quickly to save myself valuable time and energy. Life is too short to put up with people like that, especially on something like the Internet where you have the option to simply hit a button and they go away.
Again, maybe this is the good thing about being over 40 – people-pleasing is reserved only for those who have shown they deserve such treatment.
It’s almost as if I have stepped into the power of being a “force of nature” Steven saw almost 12 years ago. Over the past year especially I’ve done a lot of housekeeping when it comes to those who are trying to either drag me down or keep me where I’m at, which is no where that I want to be. There have been those who got a lot out of kicking me to make themselves feel better, and I’ve finally been able to put my foot down on such behavior.
I’ve established my own rules of what I will and will not tolerate and have begun to enforce them with as much confidence as I have a simple Internet chat room.
I’ve also stopped waiting for permission. I’ve decided I can make things happen on my terms, and that’s the best way to do it. Why was I waiting to casually give my power away to those who may or may not have had my best interest at heart?
So maybe I wasn’t what I would have considered a Force of Nature when I met Steven.
But I am one now.
And if that scares some folks, I guess I’m going to have to learn to be okay with that.
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” – Marilyn Monroe
My food journal courtesy of Sparkpeople.