I remember very clearly arguing with someone I had been in a bit of a situationship with. For those unfamiliar with the term, a situationship is that murky grey area between dating and not. What separates this from just fucking around is usually some element of drama or emotional complication in which you don’t really know where you stand because no one is communicating effectively.
The problem in this particular situationship was that I had feelings that he just… didn’t. Which happens. And it’s fine. But as I started to speak more openly about them, this became less and less ok. I was hurting, not just because the rejection of me as a person (being good enough to fool around with but not good enough to be with), but also because my feelings were met with such resistance and negativity.
I stressed, repeatedly, that I wasn’t sharing my feelings with him to try to strong-arm him into anything. That I was sharing them with him because we had been close for a long time and that I needed to talk about them and verbalize them, and I thought that the only way to sustain what we were doing was to be transparent about where I was.
Yeah, yeah, I know. I thought it was a good idea at the time.
You all know how this ends up, right? You’ve seen this before. It’s not an original story. It borders on boring.
We end up fighting. Because of course we do. I had been mad about something specific, but all of the pent up things we had been resentful of up until then just came spilling out. I felt disrespected and fucked over, and he felt backed into a corner. Great combo. At one point we start arguing about whether or not I actually want to date him. Even if I had at one point, all of the shittyness had left a bad enough taste in my mouth to cure that particular urge.
I break. I finally start yelling about how I don’t want to be with him because I want (nay, deserve) to be with someone who wants to be with me. That I am not anyone’s backup plan, I’m not about to keep someone warm while they look for someone they like better than me, and I’m sure as fuck not looking to take someone hostage and call it love.
Because that’s what we all want in a partner, right? Someone who sees you, and wants you. Someone who doesn’t expect you to change or be anything other than just what you are. Someone who can revel in who you are when you aren’t even really trying. That’s the most relaxed you can be in a relationship. When nothing has to be second-guessed or thought about in advance because you can just be you, whoever that is.
So then why the fuck do we go so far out of our way to impress people?
Think about it.
Ok, ok, ok. Maybe I shouldn’t make sweeping generalizations. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one who tries to make sure I look fucking cute when I know I’m about to see someone I really like. Maybe no one else has ever worried about the person they’re about to see’s *ahem* personal grooming preferences (Should I shave? What if I do and they don’t like it that way and I had to deal with that for nothing? What if I don’t and they think it’s gross? Fuck you all there’s no way I’m alone on that one). Would they like my hair better up or down? If I wear too much makeup will they think I’m skanky? If I don’t wear any will they think I didn’t try?
Jesus H Christ it’s fucking exhausting, and for what? Just to lure someone in with a false unsustainable shadow of who you might actually be? It’s crap. I know it, you know it, your friend’s mother’s cousin knows it.
One of the shitty things about being an adult is being aware of the difference between what you know and what you feel. Even if I know it’s crap, that I need to love myself before I love someone else and accept love in return, blah blah blah, that doesn’t really change anything. Knowing how totally off-base the way I feel about something is just makes me feel shitty.
Ultimately, we try to impress people when we’ve decided that we’re interested in them and we’d like to up our odds of them being interested in us. If I’m going out of my way to impress you, it’s because I noticed you. I see you. I want youuuuuuuuuu so want me back already damnit! But that’s not how it works.
Instead of trying to win the favor of any one individual person, maybe I should just be trying to impress myself. That sounds good, doesn’t it? Just being the version of myself that I like the best, fuckeverybodyelse. Because I don’t want you if you don’t want me.