I’ve heard a few pick-up lines in my day. Once I even found a note in my handbag from someone asking me to call them. No clue who they were and I never called. I believe there may have been sexual connotations in the message. Hence my reluctance to call.
The one thing I’ve learnt is that people aren’t always great at communicating in ways whereby you’d like to get to know them. It doesn’t mean they aren’t nice, it means they have no clue of how to communicate. At other times men and women simply don’t understand each other, or rather: how the other perceives things. At yet other times people really don’t seem nice, but all people have a heart, it’s just that some are disconnected from it, whether a lot or a little, by behavioral patterns that aren’t always in their favor. They aren’t truly a living expression of their heart.
A little while back a friend of mine in the UK texted me. He had at the time known me for about one and a half years and we had this thing whereby we almost started dating each other a few times in London, but never did. Then when I moved to Cape Town we got chatting on skype and we flirted quite a lot with each other, none of us really sure where it was leading, if anywhere.
Then one day he met up with my best friend and I got a text telling me she’s hot and wow and amazing and looks like his ex. Now, if he had said that to me in a passing comment I’d not take much notice as my best friend is hot and if she looks like his ex, well then that’s just a fact. However, I’ve had a few guys switch sides so to speak and I don’t understand why on Earth someone who I’ve been flirting with would send me a text message to point out how hot my best friend is. I mean if I’m flirting with you, then I’m the one you are supposed to say is hot. Hello!
Knowing this guy, I realized he probably did not want to hurt me. It seemed completely out of character. So after talking to my best friend I just sent him a message joking about it not being the best thing to say to a woman. I was trying to be funny, but he still got angry. He felt offended. To cut a long story short, after a few explanatory messages back and forth and a skype call that got cut before we even got to the point (internet connection) we slowly faded out of touch with each other. I felt that if he didn’t care enough to speak to me, then I couldn’t be bothered to speak to him. I was a tad annoyed as we had been friends for a decent amount of time and also because the work he does as a coach did not ring true to his behavior. However, he didn’t majorly offend me – people sort of come and go in your life all the time. You know what it’s like.
Anyway, as we were still in touch regarding other things, like his work, and I realized our lives are tangled up socially I finally had this epiphany that I did need to clean the air. I guess I had that epiphany from day one…I just didn’t really pay attention to it. I forgot about it. Until next time I had to reply to a work email from him.
For me it was easy to forget to have a little chat with him. I didn’t want to show I cared. I didn’t want to show I was offended. I did not want to deal with a person who couldn’t even be bothered to speak to me and as he was so far away, it wasn’t a close relationship, it wasn’t a major thing. It seemed easy enough to shrug my shoulders at the whole thing, thinking he just got bored with our conversations, or started dating someone and thought it weird to have a flirtatious friendship with me. I was also relieved in a funny way because I knew I couldn’t keep up talking to him the way I did and not get attached, meaning then I would have had to tell him that either we actually had to do something about the situation, or quit flirting. I was never good at confessing to emotions and I was also particularly scared with this guy as I had trusted him and if you trust someone it’s all that much harder if they let you down. Plus he was really into me when we first met and it would be rather disappointing if he suddenly wouldn’t be once he really got to know me. I can take being let down by people I don’t trust…players, guys I know are emotionally messed up, I can handle that. To trust someone I think is trustworthy and I who I genuinely believe care about me is one of my greatest fears. Mom died after refusing to hug me and never telling me she loved me that I could remember and dad threatened to leave (whilst arguing with me once – I thought he meant what he was saying, but he didn’t obviously. As a kid I didn’t get that though) and as a result having only dated men I can’t trust since…I have trust issues. Really meaning: I don’t trust myself to be loveable. …which really, really means that I’m scared what I will think about myself if others let me down.
Anyway, because I wasn’t that close to this guy I didn’t really care that much. There was this thing though…I knew that in the past men I had been seriously in love with, not just flirting with, have walked away from me in ways that were much less pleasant and I never complained. I never saw a reason to talk to someone who didn’t care enough to talk to me. Instead I kept the anger inside and blamed myself for picking the wrong guys. For making the wrong decisions. For not being enough for the men I picked. I constantly tried to better myself, but not once did I stand up and share my hurt. I just let the men walk away, ashamed that I cared whilst clearly they didn’t. I guess I saw it as proof of what my mom’s death installed in me: I was an unloveable reject. I was basically too scared to share my emotions to be able to stand up for myself.
I eventually emailed this guy because I couldn’t work with him with integrity on something/support the work he was doing whilst having background noise about our past. Through this email I found out that he felt offended by my reaction to the message and being busy with things in London was easier than to actually deal with it. As a result of these messages we went through our friendship from start to end and where we stand now. There was no guess-work left. Only honesty. And because both of us came at it from a point of understanding and love if you so like, there were no hurt feelings.
Now, I like this guy a lot better after all this. I don’t have to do any guess-work – I can flirt with him and be friends with him, having no expectations beyond that. There is no communication hick-up, no nothing to be interpreted (which is where so many people when dating, or in relationships go wrong: they make up that what people do means this or that, whereas really it doesn’t). It’s quite funny though because in London I wasn’t willing to date him (well at least not until he had gotten some other girlfriend and then I couldn’t really barge in and upset that) and then now he doesn’t want a serious girlfriend, or for that matter someone living in Cape Town and I’m like “Dude, now we will never know. We didn’t get off that train in Vienna together (ever seen Before Sunrise?).”
Jesse: Alright, I have an admittedly insane idea, but if I don’t ask you this it’s just, uh, you know, it’s gonna haunt me the rest of my life
Jesse: Um… I want to keep talking to you, y’know. I have no idea what your situation is, but, uh, but I feel like we have some kind of, uh, connection. Right?
Celine: Yeah, me too.
Jesse: Yeah, right, well, great. So listen, so here’s the deal. This is what we should do. You should get off the train with me here in Vienna, and come check out the capital.
Jesse: Come on. It’ll be fun. Come on.
Celine: What would we do?
Jesse: Umm, I don’t know. All I know is I have to catch an Austrian Airlines flight tomorrow morning at 9:30 and I don’t really have enough money for a hotel, so I was just going to walk around, and it would be a lot more fun if you came with me. And if I turn out to be some kind of psycho, you know, you just get on the next train.
Jesse: Alright, alright. Think of it like this: jump ahead, ten, twenty years, okay, and you’re married. Only your marriage doesn’t have that same energy that it used to have, y’know. You start to blame your husband. You start to think about all those guys you’ve met in your life and what might have happened if you’d picked up with one of them, right? Well, I’m one of those guys. That’s me y’know, so think of this as time travel, from then, to now, to find out what you’re missing out on. See, what this really could be is a gigantic favor to both you and your future husband to find out that you’re not missing out on anything. I’m just as big a loser as he is, totally unmotivated, totally boring, and, uh, you made the right choice, and you’re really happy.
Celine: Let me get my bag.
The thing is though, I didn’t really get off that train with most people…and if I got off the train it was without emotionally getting off the train. Let me ask you: how many times do you fully give yourself to someone and to the moment you are in? When we are put in extreme circumstance it’s easy – when people are dying, or we are getting off a train for one night only…but when faced with eternity…how often do we truly give of ourselves? Maybe it’s just me, but I’m scared of what other things I would miss out on and if I don’t think there’s something else I want more…well then I’m scared because I’m scared of trusting something stable. Something I will take for granted and then one day lose. Or I’m scared that if someone I care about rejects me it will prove that I am whatever I made up myself to be when mom died. It’s much easier having guys I don’t really know fancy me. It feels better for my ego just as it feels better living on the edge….but it’s not really, because it’s not really living.
I wanna live. I wanna get off trains. Not just run away from places and people I love, but get off the train with someone and stay. It’s not easy. Communication is not easy. Building strong relationships is not easy. Along the road you will offend each other. You will screw up. The other person will screw up. All you can do is remain firm in your own self love, standing in your heart, exploring from that point of view.
My dad taught me early in life that there are things worth working for – finding and building a relationship with my soul mate is one of them. Even if it will touch my scars, my paranoia that what my six year old self made up about me is true. I just have to learn they are my scars. It’s not reality.
You may think it’s easier to avoid what you are scared of…but really, if what you are scared of is what you want then all you are doing is avoiding life. You are avoiding living your own life to the full. That’s actually a lot harsher on you. Find love in yourself so that you do have a cushion against the things that will hurt, then go do what you’d love to do. Do something that actually has the potentiality of making you happy. Like getting off a train in Vienna with someone you truly believe to be your soul mate, not just a passing fling…