Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Boys Have Cooties

Oh, relax. I'm not casting aspersions on almost 50% of the population. I'm referring to the stage in life when boys and girls each think that the other one has cooties. It's a silly game -not at all new or rare, in a cultural sense. Children learn it from each other, and it serves the cultural and developmental purpose of fostering same-sex communities among children when sexuality (whatever its adult orientation) ought to be delightfully latent. Those cooties clear right up when the time is right ;)

So, here I am at my age, and boys apparently have cooties again. I have had precisely three "dates" in the last two years. Each was a hurdle of monumental proportions for me -and two of the men I know well and really love, in a different sort of way. I thought of a million excuses why I shouldn't go. I considered pretending to be sick. Then I practically WAS sick.

This is not going well, dear ones. I never struggled with trust before, and now my distrust of grown-up, intimate relationships is like a wall of bricks around me. Actually, that's not quite the right metaphor, because this brick wall has a weight that I must carry around. In some ways it makes me angry. Math-Rat just handed me these bricks and said, metaphorically, "Here, carry these for a while. I'm going to go play." And he did, and I've still got the darn bricks.

Here's my thinking. I only see three possibilities here. There may be more, but I only see three. One is that I work out my trust issues myself, but within the community of women where I usually find myself. It would be sort of a "red tent" approach to this healing thing. Men are out there, certainly. A few extraordinary men are even my friends -and brothers are always exempt from the cootie thing, so there's that, too. Maybe if I think that boys have cooties again and work on my own developmental issues, however long it takes, I (we) can resolve this.

The second possibility is that there's a guy out there who is willing to help me dismantle this brick wall, piece by piece. That is a LOT to ask of a person who can not be certain that it will even be worth the trouble (which is the definition of commitment, I suppose. One can't know how it will turn out and yet ponies up anyway.) It will be a long process. And I know me -I will run that person a not-so-merry chase. Seriously, what are the odds such a person even exists?

Third, I just sit tight. Choosing not to work on these trust issues hurts no one else, and I'm not sure it even hurts me. I have learned that lonely alone is way better than lonely together, which is what I was for years in my marriage. I'm doing fine right here. Perhaps there is no need to push myself to dismantle this brick wall, which might well be protecting me. Maybe it will just fall down when the time is right. It could even fall down from natural causes and still there would be no intimate relationship, right? That would be a kind of decision from a more powerful place.

I'm me. I would like to be a better me. So I push myself to confront things, fix things, move forward...blah, blah, blah. I make charts and lists and plans. You've heard me blather on in that vein forever. I want to chuck these bricks. (Hurling them vaguely toward the Math Department comes to mind, but that's only funny for a second.) But for now, I'm pretending like boys have cooties. I just think it's going to work better that way.


Lisa :-] said...

My personal opinion is that you just leave this alone, and the bricks will fall down of their own accord when the time is right. Being in a relationship can be nice, but you don't need to be in a relationship to be a perfectly healthy and worthwhile person.

Renee said...

I don't know. I'm not saying you need to get out a bulldozer, but you know, maybe start chipping away at it in small bits. There's nothing wrong with just developing some friendships and slowly working your way back, at your own pace. But I think just leaving the wall up and hoping it falls down of its own accord, well, that only seems likely if there's a hurricane.