From the editor: I save things, especially introspective writing things, but I need to get rid of the following. It represents a sort of viciousness towards myself that while linguistically delightful really serves no good purpose anymore. There is no need to revisit, revise, repackage this, but no need to waste it either. I feel reasonably good. So please excuse and enjoy.
As a child I craved approval. If I did not obey and excel, worry ballooned inside of me. The world grew larger and louder. I grew quieter. Praise made me less happy than relieved, like on Saturdays when my mom would put the vacuum away and I could release my knees from my chest, assured that its strange sentient headlight would not seek and mangle my toes. I shared this fear with the dog. I, however, was allowed on the couch.
To disobey and chance disapproval dizzied me with guilt. A raised voice or a severe tone struck me audibly, and after a stunned moment I'd cry. The deep warm sobs shamed me further, so I'd hide. If in the schoolyard, I'd hide on the other side of the big pine tree, circling to avoid the scornful curiosity of other children, who would ask me why I was crying. The why didn't matter in that moment. The why made it worse.
Still today I seek approval from attractive women, confident men, and anyone who seems in touch with the universe. It affects how I behave. It affects my sex, or lack thereof.
I want to be a man who can charm a woman into an easy smile, unfurling her beauty. I want to be a man who can lift her to tender new heights with his words and through his directness and character expand her elaborate fantasies and her plan for the future. This man has confidence. This man has technique. This man has testicles. Such testicles that he checks the water level of the toilet before he sits down.
I am not this man. Through deference I ask his approval. When in the company of an available woman, I do not compete with him for her attention. I retreat into my own thoughts in search of witticism, finding only weirdness. With hands in pockets, I watch him use words and hand gestures to be smart and funny and appreciative. Douchebag. But I fear his disapproval and hers, so I become a tag-along, an also-ran, a non-entity. I disapprove of myself. In bowing to fear, I have disrespected myself.
Deference is bullshit. I should assert my own sexual identity. I hate being used to emphasize the masculinity of another. As in the animal kingdom, rivalry is healthy, though it does favor big males. Among humans, though, biting to hurt is generally unacceptable, as is ass-sniffing, test-mounting, urination for territorial purposes, and charging the doorway when another man enters the room. We make pretty crappy animals. I guess that's why we have war.
I should be funny. Funny begs a woman for approval, even love, without seeming pathetic. It's just honesty about fear. It comes from pain, from falling down in front of people -- not getting the girl, not having a whiff of hope, only my own milky odor, being told "no" but in not so many words. If she laughs she understands, having had her own share of pain and disapproval. If she makes a joke, even better.
I like a funny woman because I like to laugh and I like her parts and if I ever want sex again, only to laugh with her parts, never at them. She shuns the niceties in favor of life. When I find someone who creates the right laughter in me, I'll bang her and spend years with her. Funny may be ugly, but laughter is beautiful.
Labels: from the notebooks