Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the greatest con ever part one

I have been doing a lot of thinking recently. Thanksgiving is generally a time that lets me know where I am. Thanksgiving is the time to spend with family and loved ones, the people you hold close and share a special connection. For me it reminds how alone I really am. I spend thanksgiving alone. No one invites me to a dinner expect as a pity invitation or the impersonal invitation you give to friendly acquaintances. I am not sure anyone has invited me without knowing I was going to spend it alone at first. Thanksgiving is the time I know no one will care how I spend it or what I will do. And that seems to cap off what I have been thinking about.

In high school my youth pastor said something to me that hit me right to the core. He was explaining to me why he did something and his reasoning behind it was because I was sensitive. That was so revealing to me. It seemed so right. I am sensitive. I am not made of stone but everything hits me full on. I look at society and I see that being sensitive is bad. A man should be tough and ready to fight. A man should not let emotion get to him but be strong. Strength is the key not being sensitive. I am a deviant.

In college I found the word to describe how I acted socially. I was an introvert. I was not good at glad handing and did not like big groups. I am nervous about being rejected by strangers. One of my professors mentioned that in America the extrovert is the ideal and no one wants to admit to being an introvert. I see now that the introvert makes people uncomfortable. They have secrets and no one likes that. Not only was I a deviant because I was sensitive but I was a deviant because I was an introvert.

For good or bad I place a lot of my esteem in how I think others perceive me. I had one friend say how lucky we were that women looked at personality more then looks. I never had a woman tell me I was cute, and here I was being lumped in as being ugly. So it reinforced this concept that I was ugly. I have no confidence in my looks. The story I seemed to get over and over is that I am not attractive. Every time I asked out a woman I got rejected. In high school they literally laughed at me. In college they used God as an excuse. I told someone I was thinking about asking out a certain person and I was told I was intimidating. So now I am ugly and intimidating. Those two concepts made so much sense. They explained why I was so lonely. Why no one liked me and why no one I asked out ever said yes.

So I have this terrible self image of myself. I have no confidence to walk up to someone and start a conversation. So when I do talk to someone I am awkward and that makes the whole experience uncomfortable, which feeds back into all the harsh things I believe about myself. So I am in an ever deepening well.

I would like to say that being a Christian fixes everything. That because I have Jesus I do not feel bad that no one likes me. That I get all the love I need from God. But a cold look at my heart reveals this to be untrue. So I say I am unfaithful. I do not love God enough. I am not a good enough Christian. Now I am ugly, intimidating, and not a good enough Christian.

Recently an experience has destroyed any contentment I had at Fuller. I was ok with being me and I was happy here. But now I am so twisted up inside. I let a woman in too close. Because I was sensitive I had no barriers or protection. I had nothing to guard myself with. She asked me if the words I spoke were my own or someone else’s. They were my own. But the doubt that came from that forced me to check everything I said. Were they my own? Was I merely an amalgam of other’s wisdom? I think they are my own but who can really say.

We had a bit of an age difference. But I did not really think that mattered. If we were in different places of life and therefore incompatible than it would be apparent. But if we were compatible then the age difference would mean nothing. But everything I did and said was evaluated based on whether it was mature or not. Was I “grown up” enough or was I merely a child playing at being an adult. I had to watch everything I did in a new light. I was so unsure of what I was doing and saying.

For a while it was weird between us. She was not sure she wanted a relationship and she had a lot to think about. I keep thinking over and over in my head how I was being perceived. Were my physical looks going to hurt me? Was my awkwardness going to drive her away? Was I too young? Was I too weird? What would she think of my apparent defects? Is this the sign I am really unlovable? And it did come crumbling down. One evening I had these expectations with her. And instead I was thrown into a new situation I was ill prepared for. I was awkward, introverted, and I knew any good view of me she had was destroyed.

The next day I got a call for a conversation. She confirmed my fears. I am unlovable and she did not want to deal with that. It was too much for me. Too much to process and to try to understand. I just left. I was hurt and angry. I had no response. I let her in so close to let her see me and I wanted to know her. But it was a brutal experience. The person I let me see me ended up rejecting me.

My greatest fear in life is to be rejected. To come up short and be told I am unworthy. Honestly it really seems like I am rejected. I am spending Thanksgiving alone in traditional Matt fashion. Tomorrow I will watch TV. Looking for some solace in media. There is a lot more for me to say. Maybe I will. But that will be for tomorrow.

1 comment:

ben wideman said...

Hey Matt, that is one of the most honest blog postings I have ever read. Thanks for sharing. Add honesty to your list of qualities (even though I would argue with several you have listed). You wouldn't have ANY friends if you truly weren't a good person who has compassion and positive attributes. And I consider you a friend for what that is worth. I hope you do have a thankful day.