249. the junk in my trunk
Okay, went to church again tonight, saw Quest Girl there again but didn’t do anything about it.
And I know I should just man up and talk to her, and I know it should be simple and natural, and I know it shouldn’t be a big deal, and on and on and on.
But it’s not that I didn’t want to, it’s not that I was afraid to, it’s not that I didn’t have the chance to. It’s not any of those things.
And I’m trying to put my finger on it, trying to figure out how to explain it, and the only thing I can come up with is that I didn’t want to let go of my discomfort with talking to people I don’t really know.
But it’s more than that. That’s just the surface symptom. I think the real reason goes a lot deeper. Saying I didn’t want to step out of my comfort zone is just the Bondo over the rust job underneath.
Now I know that my experiences (all of them bad) with relationships is small peanuts compared to what many people go through, but they’re my peanuts and they go beyond just boy meets girl who doesn’t want to be with him. These issues also have to do with my “relationship with God” (and I put that in quotes because while I understand what people are trying to get at when they use that language, I think using the word “relationship” is problematic…and I’ve written about this before so I won’t go into it here).
The story is too long and messy for a brief synopsis (you can see blog 174 if you want more of the backstory), but suffice it to say that there was a time when I was confused and angry and disappointed with God because of the way things ended between a girl and I (and God had a huge part to play in the whole affair, or at least I thought so at the time…again, see blog 174 for all the gory details).
I don’t blame God anymore for what happened. I don’t understand why things happened the way they did, but I don’t let that lack of understanding affect they way I feel about God.
But tonight, as I was deciding between talking to Quest Girl and just digging out, I started to get upset because I knew all the reasons why I should go up and talk to her, but I just couldn’t do it and I knew it had to do with more than just the fact that doing so was outside my comfort zone – that maybe I’m more screwed up than I thought when it comes to relationships.
And as I was walking out to my car and as I was driving back home, I was beating myself up inside because I knew I had made the wrong decision, but at the same time, I knew it was more than a comfort zone issue…and I hesitate to call it fear because it’s not that simple.
An analogy then.
Don’t know if it’s true or not, but I heard a story once about circus elephants. When they’re young, the trainers restrain the elephants with relatively lightweight chains – just strong enough so that their young legs can’t break free. As the elephants get older, the trainers keep using the same lightweight chain because even though the elephants have grown strong enough to break them, they still see the chains the way their young minds saw them – as unbreakable.
That’s kind of like me with relationships. Because I’ve had such rotten experiences in the past, I just assume (even before things have begun) that things are going to end badly and so why even try? The chain held fast before and so my mind, it remains unbreakable.
But I’m not an elephant and I know that my past experiences with relationships are just that: PAST experiences that have nothing to do with who and what I am today. I know I’m a great catch who has a lot to offer a woman and so I should be able to snap that chain without even trying. But maybe there’s a hierarchy of brain function at work here such that the CAN’T logic overrides the CAN logic.
And I know that’s a terribly unclear, pseudo-scientific explanation, but it’s the closest I can get to explaining what I felt and why I didn’t talk to her or ask her out.
Look, here’s the bottom line. For the time being, I’m just going to enjoy my ability to enjoy being single. If I end up dating Quest Girl or any other woman, it will happen through a natural, organic process (as in getting to know her gradually in social settings) as opposed to the more common direct approach (just asking her out).
Does this mean I’m avoiding the issue and not dealing with the junk in my trunk? I don’t know, maybe, but I have better things to do with myself than to twist myself into a pretzel just to shorten the distance between point A and point B. It’s like the Beastie Boys say, “slow and low, that is the tempo.”