Moreover, I have boundary issues with men. Or maybe that’s not fair to say. To have issues with boundaries, one must have boundaries in the first place, right? But I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog’s money, my dog’s time — everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else.
— Elizabeth Gilbert – eat, pray, love
The first time I read that, I cried until I curled in a ball. I cried because this skinny white girl, whom I had never met – who, at first glance, I couldn’t imagine that she wore the same KIND of shoes as I, much less walked a mile in them – summarized my personality (and ergo, my dilemma) to a tee. And the thing is, I’m not just like that romantically; with family, with friends, with homeless people on the street. I’ve been known to give a person the sandwich out of my hand, the drink out of my cup, 50 cents of the last dollar in my purse, the earrings out of my ear, the shoes in my trunk…anything. You need a ride from West Bumblefuck because your man decided to show out in public, I’ll pick you up and peel off when he decides to try to punch my window in. (True story: Big Pimpin – RIP – jumped the neutral ground; or median for you non-New Orleanians). If I have it to give, it’s yours, because the truth in my life is that I’ve always been blessed with more. And I don’t like being without, and I can’t stand to see others being without. And when it’s gone, it’s gone (because nothing is endless), but I do my damndest to make more; more food, more money, more time.
More love. There’s always more love. And my love is a geyser. And I’m boundlessly optimistic. Loving you, is enough for me to decide that you are worthy. Until you prove yourself unworthy, I put a pit-bull lock jaw hold on that feeling. I’m not going to dismiss you based on what the last cat did, because the last cat is history and you are so now. And I’m not going to let you wonder if I love you, because who knows if there will even be a tomorrow, so you have to know today…RIGHT NOW. And, really, in real time, I guess it seems like a good idea, but on paper, it sounds so damned overwhelming. It’s a safe bet that when you’re on the receiving end, it IS so damned overwhelming.
Dave Chappelle spoke comically of when keeping it real goes wrong, and I’m the poster child for it. One male friend told me that for a homeboy, my frankness is funny and pretty spectacular. For a dude that I’m trying to date, however, it’s too much. Because:
I believe the less men know upfront the more they are willing to work at getting to know you.
And that stung, because I’m a rather transparent chick. I’m not the hidden agenda girl. If I like you, I’ve told you. If you didn’t seem to be with it, you don’t have to worry about me telling you twice. I’m the girl who will say, “Oh, by the way, I like purple and Junk Food t-shirts,” because I figure there are a million and one things on your plate. Agonizing over a present for me doesn’t have to be one of them. So my challenge? I have to learn to be the study guide instead of giving away the test.
My other issue:
The REAL irony about you, to me, is that you act very much like a dude. You think like a dude and you often say things that a dude would say. I think cats don’t know what to do with you.
I never told my friend this, but when he said that, it really made me cry. Reading it again is sort of getting me a little teary now. Because when it comes to amour, I always feel like the lone acquaintance at a party of bosom friends. One wrong move, and the situation becomes, “Who invited her?” Quite often, more often than makes me comfortable, I find myself being on the business end of a blank, “Um, so now what?” stare from the guy du jour that I thought was the bees knees. Or at least I did, until he looked at me like I was some ghetto unicorn where instead of a horn, a chicken wing grew out of the middle of my forehead. I mean, it sounds really interesting, but where would you put it? I was told that I need to “try reigning in this Camille Paglia/May West/Angela Davis thing you’ve got going on.”
And so, I’m going to do that. No, really. I’m going to do that. When EVERYBODY tells you the same thing, they’ve got to at least be partially right, right?
So, I’m sifting myself. Searching for the me I let go, and the me I keep.