OK, confession time.
I was a bad girlfriend.
I don’t mean that I was unsupportive or abusive, or even that I didn’t listen to him (I really hope none of those are true!). I had unrealistic expectations. Ridiculous expectations, in fact. It all comes back to this, doesn’t it?
I know that I am not a hub of any social network. I’m barely a spoke, these days. Dashing is a hub. He is one of those people who naturally draws people in, and manages to keep them around. People call him, book him for gigs, want to spend time with him, want his opinion, his perspective, his presence. I know I do.
For me, this is magic. I know it actually takes a good amount of work on both parts, but from the outside, it is magic. For someone unskilled at maintaining a community, it is awe-inspiring magic.
So I think some part of me thought that I could learn this skill from him. Or that it would rub off on me somehow. And when that didn’t work, and we’d been together for awhile, I think I began to think that if we just got married, if we just lived together, if he declared me family – then I would be part of the hub, too! I actually think this may be the source of a lot of our issues – my feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, and desperation to move foward (because it’s better over there, it has to be, right?), and his feeling pressured and like he couldn’t give me what I wanted.
Well, of course he couldn’t. No one can, except me, and I don’t know how!
This is not a new thought.
The realisation that I was unconsciously doing this to him, to us, is new, but the knowledge that I suck at maintaining friedships, and that no one can fix it but me, totally not new.
It’s actually part of why I started this blog. To figure it all out. To put my thoughts out there (semi) cohesively.
See, I’m kind of a hermit. Or I go through periods of hermit-like behaviour.
Part of this is that I newly suffer from anxiety, of the kind that avoids crowds and loud environments. And part of it is that I carry a good amount of shame around with me. I very recently figured that part out.
See, I try to stay in touch, but then people don’t call back. Or I organize a party and people don’t show up (true story!). So then I stop calling and reaching out, because if people really wanted to be my friend, they’d call, right? They’d show up, right? They’d do some organizing and invite me places, right?
So then I think, I’m not worth it, they don’t want to talk to me because I stopped acting and sold out to a corporate overlord for drugs and money. They don’t want to talk to me because our communal event which forced them to endure my presence is now over and so they can go back to their real lives, which don’t include me. They don’t want to talk to me because I’m not cool enough, I speak too loudly, I’m too opinionated, I’m offensive, I get too excited at the prospect of hanging out – maybe I smell…
I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this. In fact, I think one of the keys to it all is that maybe, just maybe, love is all about giving.
Maybe nine times out of ten you feel like you’re the only one participating, for the payoff of that one time when you get contacted. Maybe it’s always a struggle. Maybe they’re not calling you because they’re so wrapped up in wondering why you’re not calling them.
To Dashing, I’m sorry. Clearly, I have a lot to learn yet.
I thought we could learn together, but maybe these are lessons best learned apart. Maybe.
To the rest of the world – what do you think? Do you ever feel this way? How do you combat it? Do you never feel this way? Are you a ‘hub’? How do you do it??