Does It Feel Like This for You, Too?

I updated my oneline dating profile. As almost a wilfull act of defiance a couple months back, I stripped it to one of those basic “I Like Stuff, Do You Like Stuff?” just-the-facts type profiles. But writing profiles is something I do very well, so to pull the plug and take a bore myself down approach is bizarre, to say the least.

But this morning I revisited it. It’s all new, all good. My sense of humour shows, as does my big fat brain. I’m pretty amused with it. We’ll see what happens.

Updating the profile is kind of like the new tattoo, don’t you think? Either you’re drunk, stupid, and ready to go, so you update it as some kinda “lookit me, ma” tough-guy thing, or you’re lonely, bored, and need to do something to pretend you have a life, so you update it, or you’re really quite happy with the way things are going but it occurs to you that the only thing more kick-ass than the sweet way things are going right now would be to have that warm body lying all cat-like stretched out beside you in bed as an errant morning sunbeam peeks in from the blinds, showing the soft underbelly of trust and romance, just before a big-ass breakfast with an endless pot of coffee. Yeah, THAT would hit the spot.

(I’m the kind of person who’s keeping an eye out on the horizon for That Perfect Time In My Life to commemorate it with a tattoo. I have no tattoo. I want one and think this birthday might be a great time to begin it — commemorate this part of my life. I have a particular goal I need to achieve before I will allow myself to besmirch myself with a pictorial tribute to That Perfect Time In My Life. I was thinking the perfect tattoo would be one of Edvard Munsch’s Scream on my inner thigh but I doubt anyone else would get the joke, so we’ll see.)

Nonetheless, for now I’ll settle for updating my profile. It’s a sign of optimism. A sign that it’s time to take a chance and let someone in again. It’s like we have to heal to a certain point sometimes before we’re willing to take a risk of getting hurt again. I thought I was ready for a relationship last fall, but then life threw some doozies my way. Dad almost had a date with death, I lost my job, and other fun all came down the pipes.

I found myself looking to love in the hopes that a relationship could play the role of Spackle and fix me in all my cracked, broken glory. That struck me as a bad thing because I knew that if it all went south, I’d have to replace the whole damn compass again. I just wasn’t ready to be resilient in love because I had to be resilient in so many other places in my life.

We have to make choices sometimes about where we’re willing to be vulnerable, just like we have to know when vulnerability is a luxury we can’t afford when getting by’s a fight every day. For me, life in the past year has been a lot about The Daily Fight. Sharing that? I don’t think so.

The trouble I have, and so many others have had, is that it’s so hard to continue believing that being alone and liking solace isn’t some kind of character flaw. It can be, however, an excuse. It can be a way you excuse yourself from the challenge of living a social life. It’s easy to convince oneself that silence is a great companion. After all, who’s around to argue? Being with people can be hard, sometimes, and balance must be found.

I’m a Libra. Balance is my quest in life. The trouble is, every time I find it, I have to rock the boat. It’s like discovering that a) it’s great floating in a dinghy on a little lake in bliss-like sunshine, but b) it sure gets fun when a gust of wind blows up and everything’s up for grabs again.

There was a time when I was loaded with friends. I got into a bad relationship in which I became isolated from others (the early route towards an abusive relationship) and started drifting away from people. Then I moved a few thousand kilometres away, to the Yukon and Canada’s far north, for a little over a year. Came back for the same bad relationship. Got out of it, and then my mother died on me. Taking myself out of the social equation was a safety mechanism back then. From time to time, I get back out in the social world, but once you adopt an anti-social lifestyle, it’s hard to break the habit. Plus, there’s the writing thing. Writing doesn’t happen in crowds, man.

I found myself thinking of that other self of mine, though, the other day. I remembered back when I was The Organizer and The Buck Stopped Here, in my late teens and early 20s. I always had crowds of 15 or 20 people coming out to a flick, going to a club, having a bonfire on a beach. I was the one who said when to jump and just how high, and I loved it. Somewhere along the line, I started believing that selfishness was self-preservation, and I closed the door. One hurt too many. A Krazy-Glued heart tends to beat a little weaker.

I’m remembering the kind of personality I used to life with — a larger-than-life, live-before-you-now, uber-electric presence. I used to be somewhat magnetic, but I never really believed that I was what people perceived me to be. Even today I have a note on my bulletin board: “I must see myself as I am seen.”

After all, isn’t that the big challenge we all face? Coming to terms with the disparity between how others see us and how we really see ourselves?

I’m sort of pulling back right this weekend because I feel like today, for some weird reason, is the last of my anti-social tendencies for a long time. Things are starting to bubble up a bit, and I have faith that the girl I used to be is beginning to mix with the woman I have deserved to become, and I think the mix is going to be pretty kinetic.

Part of it is pretty simple: That’s what I want to have happen, and what I intend to make happen. We’re masters of our fate, aren’t we?

After all, the secret to online dating is the same as that of life… and of under-arm anti-perspirant, too: never let them see you sweat. Let’em only see what you choose to have them see. Any person who walks into your life knows only what you want them to. Show them your best qualities, be the best person you know, and treat them the way you’d like the be treated. How hard is that? Project confidence and charisma. Sell yourself. Be positive.

We forget how easy it is to be a likeable person. We forget how simple the mantra “be yourself” really is. It’s not “be your worries” and it’s not “be your complaints”. It’s be who you are when you’re comfortable, when you’re happy, when there’s nothing clouding your day. It’s listening as much as it is communicating. It’s remembering that “live” is a verb, and so’s “love”.

I talk a good game, and I know it, but right now the thought of going boldly out into the world to try and make the same amount of friends I once had is about as freaky a thought as any. But let’s give it the old college try anyhow. Whew.

Happy long weekend. I should get 12 hours sleep more often!

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