“Hi, Joce, It was great to have a drink with you Thursday night. You are an attractive and funny woman but I'm not sure we are right for each other right now. I hope you're well.” Bryant
“Joce, don't worry. I kind of thought this might be happening. Things seemed tense in your life and we seemed to be kind of cooling off a little bit. I figured it'd either work out or we'd come to an end.” Daniel
“Your truly an awesome person and I have been thinking allot about you. The whole dating thing is difficult for me this I know... You are one of the coolest people I have met and I most definitely want to be friends! I think that would be the best place for us to categorize ourselves haha.” Shaw
“Work, work, work (at least for the next few weeks)…we ever going to get together, go do something fun, you remember fun don’t you :)” Donny
“I have a woman hanging all over me right now but would give her up for your company any time of the week.” Phil
"What would you like to eat?"
"I don't care!"
"Some lovely cream of wheat?"
"I don't care!"
Don't sit backwards on your chair."
"I don't care!"
"Or pour syrup on your hair."
"I don't care!"
Having lived in the same body and mind for my entire life, and having been a fairly introspective and self-aware person, I’ve always felt relatively sure about WHO and WHAT I am. My personality, attitudes, interests and feelings have always fallen within a certain predictable range (predictable to myself, and I would argue, to my close friends and family). I’ve been consistent (not to imply rational) in my response to events and situations in my life. I think I have many good traits.
I will also be the first to admit that I have a lot of faults. And, as confident as I am of the things that make me a valuable person, I am also well aware of the behaviors, attitudes and peccadilloes that make me a complicated and often difficult person to be around. I will not attempt to make a comprehensive list of these “bad traits,” because it would, in all likelihood, be several hundred bullet points long and that would just be depressing, for myself and for my readers. But, just off the top of my head I will admit that I’m often an exaggerator, an over-reactor, prone to the dramatic and a worrier. I can be overly sensitive, easily hurt, overprotective and critical. I’m constantly overwhelmed by things that don’t usually bother most people, like crowds, noise and Best Buy and that’s really annoying for my friends and family, especially when they just need to go to Best Buy. I wear my heart on my sleeve, have a chip on my shoulder and usually imagine the worst-case scenario. I do not have a poker face. I will never, ever look good in short shorts. I gossip. I am not a people person. I can be moody. I can be mean. I am not ambitious, have a hard time getting motivated and I don’t get enough exercise. I rarely eat my recommended daily allowance of fruit and vegetables. Sometimes I throw things in the trash that should clearly be recycled even though the recycle bin is right there.
I’ll stop now though I know I’ve just barely touched the tip of that iceberg. Anyway, I bring this all up for a reason, and that reason isn’t to make us collectively feel bad about my self-loathing, the reason is to illustrate that I know myself pretty well. I know exactly how I will react when put in a certain situation. I know if I will have a positive response to an interaction, or if I will have a negative reaction. I know what my buttons are, how I can avoid getting them pushed and how I will push back if they are pushed.
At least until now.
At the beginning of this entry I’ve posted a collection of recent communiqués from a select group of really nice guys. And I mean that: Bryant, Daniel, Shaw, Donny, Phil…they all bring something interesting to the table, all are really decent blokes, and yet…
I don’t care.
In the past, my response to each of these emails would have been obvious and distinct: excitement, happiness, sadness, concern, and disappointment, embarrassment even anger. But this time, when I got each of these emails, my response was exactly the same for all of them and that response was one that I didn’t expect to have. I just didn’t care. I didn’t care that somebody was rejecting me or that I might have hurt someone. I didn’t care that somebody might really find me intriguing and interesting and want to spend time with me. I didn’t care that someone wanted to be friends instead of dating me. The most I felt on receiving each of these was a momentary pang, a slight almost imperceptible tightening in my chest. It passed quickly.
About a month ago, I shut off this blog. After meaning so much to me, I started feeling like it was all just a bunch of nothing. Just a big shrug and a sigh. Who cares? About the same time an ex-boyfriend sent me a handful of hateful emails, full of (unfounded and untrue) accusations. They were the kind of thing that would have formerly wounded my heart. My response? Whatever. When a friend set me up with the “perfect guy,” I felt not a single butterfly in my stomach prior to our date. “He’s awesome!” she proclaimed, “So?” I thought.
The truth is I want to care. I feel like I should care. I miss caring. Even if it’s not just happy caring or loving caring, even the caring that comes from being hurt is enriching in some way. And yet I simply don’t have it in me right now. It’s not depression, maybe emotional exhaustion?
My dating life has been a marathon and I’m not a particularly athletic person. When I started out on this trek nobody told me it was a race and that I would not know where or when the finish line might fall. I might have brought more water and worn better shoes. I would have paced myself. Now I’m just so tired that I don’t have the energy to expend on caring. All I can do is just keep running.
*from Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue, by Maurice Sendak, published by HarperCollins.