The problem is, I'm struggling, and while I've written lots of entries, so many of them are just such ranting bitchery and self-pity that by the time I finish them, not only do I NOT want to publish them, I want to stop being me for five minutes so I can experience some relief from the constant effort to be philosophical about the fact that, essentially, I'm unhappy and I can't seem to jump-start out of it. I play favorite songs on my iPod, I ride my bike, I make witty comments on FaceBook, I make small talk with strangers everywhere, I stay BUSY, but under it all I just want to let loose one unending, ear-splitting scream. My job, my personal life, my creative life, are all stuck. And I'm lonely, that kind of lonely where in spite of having friends you feel locked in your own head all the time.
The recent tipping point (because there always is one): Kevin and I have been spending a fair amount of time together. I'm no longer consumed with attraction when I'm with him; instead, there is that nice feeling of real friendship, although of course, I sill have my crush. With most men, I'd know what to do; with Kevin, the rules are in a foreign language. The point is, I was confused as to what we were. Were we platonically dating? Not? Not that it had to be defined or pushed, but a comment he made in an email about a woman he'd been chatting with after yoga class had me confused. Was he saying he was chatting her up? What does this mean?
So I sent an email that said basically, "My crush is obstinate and delusionally optimistic. It would help if you would just write in black and white, 'Im not interested in dating you.'"
And then I went for a 2-hour walk with a friend.
I came back. There was an email from Kevin. The first two lines were:
"I'm not interested in dating you. I'm sorry if that wasn't clear."
I thanked him, and we had no more discussion about it. I made the comment my desktop so that I would be reminded whenever I got wistful.
So It's official: K-man does not want to date me. I won't go into all the complicate thoughts/feelings I have around this. My feelings for him were real, the desire was real, and the craving for a connection with him was real, and perhaps it could have worked if we'd been similarly attracted and motivated. I don't think I've ever worked so hard to connect with someone. But, if he's not interested, he's not interested. Attraction chooses us, not the other way around.
So I stood in my kitchen, cutting some watermelon, pondering for the seventh-hundred time why the hell I felt called to come to Chicago. I mean, consider:
- I've performed monologues for audition after audition and have not been cast.
- I graduated from Second City to realize that the improv world is mostly young and male and unappealing.
- I quit an acting class when their bullying BS was pointless and did nothing for me. And told the instructor that their method was reckless and irresponsible.
- I've had crap jobs. I hate the one I've got.
- And now I've been rejected by a guy with poor social skills and a terror of intimacy.
I thought about all the stuff I've tried to accomplish and haven't, all the failure. Did I come to Chicago just to fail? And then it hit me. Maybe I did. The epiphany was this: maybe I came here so that Chicago could teach me to survive rejection. I have always had a really hard time with rejection -- it cuts my legs out from under me, goes to the heart of my insecurities and feelings of self-worth. I know nobody likes it, but for me, rejection - particularly from men -- conjures up lots of old, old stuff. I become obsesses with comparisons, with self-criticism, with rage. Now, here I was facing the rejection of a guy I'd liked for a year and a half, and I was eating watermelon and wondering how to get back in the game. No self-destruction. Sure, there's anger, my old stand-by (what does he see in those other women that I don't have?!?!?!), but I remind myself again (and again) that attraction chooses us, not vice-versa.
I still have my share of cynicism and bitterness, for sure; Lord knows that's obvious. I don't deny I'm an angry person. The difference is that before, my response would have been, "I'm so worthless because nobody appreciates me," and I would have fallen into a vortex of despair and self-destructive behavior. Now, it's "People are so stupid to not appreciate me." I've been rejected a lot here, failed many times, but I've kept faith that I'm worthwhile, that I should keep trying, at least so far. That is huge for me. I'm getting tired, though.
Don't get me wrong: there are deep, deep complicated emotions tied to this, and if history is any proof, my full reaction will take awhile. I'm sure I'll be angry for a long time, but the key is that I'm still standing. Of course I'm trying like crazy to figure out how to apply all of this so the lesson can end. Or maybe once the lesson is learned it will simply be time to go somewhere else.