#ThrowbackThursday — Untitled

This is VERY different from a usual Throwback Thursday post. It’s not from a previous Facebook note, blog post, or even radio segment. This is from a personal email I sent once, to a boyfriend. It’s probably also in a file somewhere on my computer — when I start having stress about a relationship, I start a file with the guy’s name on it where I write out my feelings. Sometimes I send them or parts of them to the guy (like this one), sometimes I don’t because it would only compound whatever the problem is, because it’s unfixable and I just need an outlet so I don’t explode. I have probably a half dozen files titled with various boys’ names floating around my computer, accumulated in the past 3 years or so that I’ve been dating. Some of them have many, many entries, some have only one or two. Some haven’t been opened in years; one was just created recently.

But I decided I wanted to post this email (editing out certain personal information pertaining to people who are not me) because it seems that I have a number of friends embarking on new relationships and new relationships are terrifying, especially when your previous dating/relationship experience has been crummy, and this email did a pretty good job encapsulating some of the many complicated emotions of that roller coaster.

It’s from November 11, 2012.

 

 

*   *   *

“I’ve been having a lot of thinky thoughts about us.

What I keep circling back to is this line from the movie trailer of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” — Emma Watson’s character says: “We accept the love we think we deserve.” And I think that was always [insert name of another ex who has his own file on my computer]’s problem – I loved him so much more than he felt he deserved, and he couldn’t accept it and pulled away.

And now there’s you, and you’re crazy about me in ways I don’t think he ever was, and even though I’m supposed to be the one with the ego and the confidence and everything, I think on some fundamental level I feel like I don’t deserve this insanely high opinion you have of me. In a perverse way, I was more comfortable being treated worse because I know I’m not perfect so I didn’t deserve to be treated perfectly all the time. It’s like, you’re the exact kind of person I need, someone who appreciates all these things about me that other people never quite get, so you can’t possibly be real; things like that just don’t happen. So all these walls come up to insulate me and protect me from getting too attached because my brain is sure this can’t last.

What I can tell you is: I really enjoy spending time with you. I think you’re an incredible person and I don’t understand how you were still single when I met you. I really like that you’re honest about how you feel about me even when it puts you in a vulnerable position. I have to admit that I do get a little uncomfortable or pressured whenever you say something or look at me in a way that reminds me that your feelings for me right now are stronger than the ones I have for you, but that’s only because I want to reciprocate so badly and I don’t know how yet and I get scared that I won’t be able to and that I’ll hurt you and hurt myself by ruining something amazing.

I feel like there’s also this perverse instinct that we humans have, where we most want the things that we can’t have, and since you’ve made it abundantly clear that I could definitely have you if I wanted, that instinct doesn’t kick in. So I don’t have that superficial kind of “want,” and I have to build up a real, serious emotional connection instead if I want this to work.

And I think it’s pretty clear that the only way to figure these things out is to be patient and give it more time, which I of course absolutely intend to do. I just want to continue in our tradition of hot emotional honesty and make sure I keep you informed on exactly where I stand.

SM”

 

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Like my thinky thoughts? You can commission more of them via my GoFundMe campaign — http://www.gofundme.com/sm-automotive — or subscribe on the sidebar, and thanks for reading! You can also buy me tools from this Wishlist but really I just like money.

 

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My Year-In-Review, via Facebook Statii

It is way too much work to think back over this whole year and construct some kind of coherent narrative and write it all out for a serious, heavy-duty year-in-review. So instead I’m just gonna take the first and last Facebook status of every month of 2014 and post them in one spot, with minimal commentary in fancy schmancy italics. I’m excluding links and pictures and famous quotes and whatnot that aren’t just pure nuggets of wisdom straight from me. Enjoy?


 

January 1st

So, Wolf of Wall Street? Basically makes me want to go and hug everybody I know and be like, “OH MY GOD I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE NOT JORDAN BELFORT.” Oh, and DiCaprio better win the Oscar.

lolololol oscar hahahaha
*

January 30th

If I were to have a “What I Be” portrait done, I think I’d have “vampire” “acne” “makeup” and “smile lines” (with arrows) written on my face, with the caption: “I am not my skin.” And no, I’m not posting this for attention or validation. I’m posting this solely to annoy Rafi Skier.

Because *reasons.* Also, ha, remember that photography project? That happened.


 

February 2nd 

BAD. IT. IS. SO. BAD. ‪#‎SuperBowl‬

Nuff said.
*

February 27th

Please keep my friend and radio mentor Philip Rosenberg in your prayers, because he suffered a medical emergency today and is a devout atheist, so being prayed for would probably piss him off enough to get better so that he could yell at me.

Phil is doing just fine, yay! Proof there is a god! Suck it, Phil! (Also no we are not related. Thanks for asking.)


 

March 3rd

Another year, another zero Oscars for Leonardo DiCaprio. Dude is probably going to get a lifetime achievement award before anyone will give him an Oscar.

Whaddaya know.
*
March 31st

Why SM will never be a relationship counselor, episode 4567:

Friend: “Stop getting all the men to fall in love with you! Sheesh”
Me: “I’m a heartbreaker. It’s what I do.”
Him: “Yea, I know.”
Me: “you are lucky enough to be immune to whatever it is about me that hooks these poor suckers”
Him: “I thank Jesus for it every day.
My immunity means that I’ve messaged approximately 5 profiles on two websites in the last year, because the rest are boring.”
Me: “move to mongolia or something. People seem more alluring if you can’t understand what they’re saying.”

See, what did I tell you? Nuggets of wisdom. EVERYWHERE.


 

April 1st

Note to self: the axiom “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet” was invented for days like today. (Except for the outrage over the How I Met Your Mother finale. I think it’s safe to believe that.)

APRIL FOOLS DAY AMIRITE?? Still have not watched the last couple seasons of HIMYM. But I know I would hate the finale if I ever did. Because ewwwww.
*
April 30th

Why SM Will Never Be a Supervillain, Episode 93:

Friend: “So-and-so thinks you hate her.”
Me: “What? Why would she think that?”
Him: “I have no idea. I went to great pains to explain to her that SM doesn’t muster the energy to hate anybody.”
Me: “Seriously. Way too much effort.”

This was later amended in the comments (after other motivations for being a supervillain were presented) to more specifically: “Why SM Will Never Be Slade Wilson, Aside From his Awesome Goatee and Accent, Obviously.”


 

May 1st
Kid I babysit for: “I want you to join Minecraft. Because I want you to come live in this world with me, because I don’t like being the only person in this world.”

Me: “But couldn’t anyone else keep you company too?”
Him: “But I want YOU to live in it.”
Me: “Why me?”
Him: “Because I know you well and I really really want you to live in this world with me.”

I feel like I was just proposed to by a nine-year-old.

Winning ’em over while they’re young, that’s me.
*
May 31st
Another Heights shabbos gone — big thanks to everyone who invited me for meals, hung out with me, said hi, and especially to Galit Wernick for hosting me, listening to me explain how engines work, asking me to read “Something Borrowed” out loud for a hour or two, and agreeing to watch “The Normal Heart” with me tonight. Shavua Tov!
Galiiiiiiiit ❤ ❤ ❤
The Normal Heart 😦 😦 😦

 

June 2nd

Things nobody tells you about the differences between automotive school and a liberal arts college: An abbreviated, commonly used form of the word “transmission” is “tranny.” I still get whiplash hearing people throw that word around in a completely inoffensive context.

Yup. Still. Every time.
*
June 30th
Out of context quote of the day: “Joanna, don’t miss the orgy. I can tell you where it is.” ~ Tamar Pacht
No, I will not tell you the context. YOU ARE CURSED TO WONDER.

 

July 2nd

omg I love ewoks they are best thing in all of cinematic history

Context and justification not required.
*
July 31st

Today in “Questions Never Asked of Male Automotive Students” —

Instructor (apropos of nothing): “Do you know how to make apple pie?”
Me: “No.”
Him: “Do you know how to make cheesecake?”
Me: “Nope.”
Him: “Oh. See, I want to find out how to make them so that I can tell my wife how to make them.”
Me: “Google. Google knows everything.”

Unpack the sexism, people. Unpack. Go.

Also happy birthday Harry Potter!

 

August 2nd
It occurred to me this week that I am starting to become afraid to be a Jew in much the same way I am afraid to be a woman. I, as a woman, know that obviously not all men are rapists or misogynists, but I also know (from experience and from studies and history and well-documented events) that far too many are, and therefore I am instinctively cautious and apprehensive of most men I don’t know. And similarly, I, as a Jew, know that obviously not all people are anti-Semites, but I also know (from current events and experience and studies and history) that far too many are, and therefore am starting to become instinctively cautious and apprehensive of most people I don’t know. ‪#‎persecutioncomplex‬
Oh god the Gaza war. Let’s not do that again. (Ha. As if.)
*
August 31st
Dear body, you can sleep late on Sundays. Really. It’s okay. Sincerely, I DIDN’T GET TO SLEEP UNTIL 2 AM LAST NIGHT WHY AM I AWAKE
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.

 

September 1st

So Labor Day is about honoring the blue collar workers? Honor me, people. I expect groveling.

Ahem. Still waiting.

*

September 30th

It will never not be creepy when guys I’ve never had class with and never spoken to call out to me by name when I walk by them in shop or in the hallways. Never. Ugh, so creepy.

*curls into fetal ball*

 

October 2nd

Signs you’re an auto mechanic student: You cringe every time you see a Chrysler Town and Country because the hood is too short so half the engine compartment extends under the dash and is a nightmare to work on. *shudders*

THE HORROR.
*
October 30th

Baby brother: “You’re going to school today?”
Me: “Yup!”
Him: “You know, a wizard could probably fix cars REALLY EASILY.”

‪#‎facts‬

little brothers always ruining everything


 

November 2nd

boston y u have such bad weather also y r u in boston. ugh boston. no me gusta. Awesome people though. Jacquie Chana Yocheved Wolpoe better come back to NYC soon or — or…I’ll just have to visit again, I guess.

but for real Boston sucks so much

*
November 28th

These Black Friday taglines of “The more you spend, the more you save!” are shorting out my logic circuits. That is literally not true. Stop it, internet.

although thank goodness for Black Friday because who knows if I’d have a tool set without it

 

December 1st

Things that frustrate me: the fact that we have the technology to land a probe on a comet but not to pack chips into a bag in such a way that the settling won’t result in 2/3 of a bag of air. ‪#‎darncapitalists‬

And don’t tell me the bag is the technology keeping the chips from being crushed. If there was any financial incentive to fit more chips in a bag, they’d find a way.
*
December 31st
?????????????????????

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Like my thinky thoughts? You can commission more of them via my GoFundMe campaign — http://www.gofundme.com/sm-automotive — or subscribe on the sidebar, and thanks for reading! You can also buy me tools from this Wishlist but really I just like money.

On Second Impressions

 

I think it’s pretty much a given that recognizing and identifying a pattern of thought is the first step toward gaining control over it, taking away its power. Not the only step, of course, but the first one, and therefore indispensable.

A pattern that I’ve recently recognized in myself is my suddenly strangely pervasive anxiety in the face of second impressions. Or third ones. Or fourth or fifth or sixth. But mostly second.

And not first. I am weirdly zen about first impressions, for the most part. The very first time I meet someone, I have no reason to respect their opinion — I don’t know them, they could be a total jerk for all I know, and I’m not in the business of caring about impressing total jerks or worrying about what they think of me. And even if they’re not a jerk, they’re still a stranger in whom I have no investment or relationship. So I have no reason to be anxious or care about making a good first impression.

But second impressions — sometimes they seem to scare the living crap out of me. Whether it’s meeting someone for the second time ever, or meeting someone in person after having “met” them already online and made my first impression that way, second impressions sometimes seem to push me to the edge of my last nerve.

Because if you don’t like me when you first meet me, fine, whatever, you get filed away in the “people I don’t need to waste my time on” folder. But if you like me when you first meet me, and then you stop liking me when you get to know me a little better, if I don’t live up to the high standard that my first impression set — that would suck. It would mean that while what’s on my surface is all fine and dandy, what’s underneath is rotten. And it is so much worse to be rotten underneath than to have a less-than-pristine surface.

It’s a combination of classic Imposter Syndrome and this little other nerve-fraying cocktail I like to call my “Shiny Thing Complex.” I’ve talked about this Shiny Thing Complex with a bunch of people, but I’ve never written out anything comprehensive, and I really think I should for my own sake and peace of mind. So I’m gonna talk it out here; I don’t really know where this is going. Bear with me.

You see, I am well aware that I have many shiny, flashy qualities that have wide appeal and catch people’s attention — funny, pretty, smart, honest, curvy, sarcastic, confident, insightful, emotionally supportive, with eye-catching style and unconventional career choices — and these qualities have and continue to hook people on a fairly regular basis.

But because they are so flashy and so shiny and so very much about what I can do for you and not about what I am, I feel like they will catch your attention very intensely but very briefly, before you move on to the next shiny thing. When these qualities are new and novel to you, you will think they are the bees knees, but once you get used to them, you’ll take them for granted and start wondering what else I have to offer, and I’ll have nothing left to pull out of my hat because I am all shine. Even my substance: my mind, my observations, my unusual interests — it all becomes shine because it’s all part of what makes me “cool.”

And I have so many conflicting feelings about this.

Allow me to bring Exhibits A and B from the Hall of Ex-Boyfriend Quotations:

“You are one of the coolest people I know. And I really wanted to believe that I could attract someone like you and keep you interested.”

~ One ex, spoken at the time of the breakup, when I ended things

and

“At the end of the day, I knew we weren’t right for each other, and I know I shouldn’t have said yes when you asked me out. But I – I just really, really wanted to be able to say that ‘that amazing girl, that super smart, hot, funny girl with the amazing notes and the hilarious facebook comments — that girl is my girlfriend.’ ”

~ another ex, spoken at the time of the breakup, when we came to the mutual decision to end things

My ex-boyfriends are gracious as hell, and it’s not my intention to use these quotes to condemn them. I just want to illustrate a point, which is: I am a trophy. An atypical, multidimensional trophy, perhaps, but a trophy nonetheless. And being a trophy is SO complicated, it really is.

On the one hand, I deeply understand the need for one’s partner to be the kind of person that you respect and admire and are so proud of that you want to show them off to the world like that (in fact, if I don’t feel that way about a guy I’m with, that’s a major red flag), but on the other hand, it makes me feel super shiny and flimsy and objectified as a prop whose value is determined by what I can do for your image and your self-esteem, with no intrinsic worth of my own.

And on yet a third hand, in some ways I like being capable of being that kind of prop. I know that being a pretty, smart, charismatic woman carries a power — of being able to make guys look good or feel good just by dint of associating with them or being seen with them. And I love being able to use that power for good; I loved making my boyfriends feel like hot stuff just by being with them. And when I’m single and have close male friends who are crystal clear about my boundaries, I like to use it to help them too, e.g. by spending time with them when they’re feeling down or their confidence is shot, or maybe dressing up or doing my makeup when I hang with them, or just by being generous and open with my compliments. Because for lots of straight males, getting attention from an awesome, attractive girl is its own unique brand of confidence-boosting, even when there’s zero chance of romance. I’m not sure why this works, but it does. And I really like being able to boost the confidence of my straight male friends when they’re feeling crappy. I like using my powers for good.

But then I wonder if I’m just feeding the Shiny Thing Complex by embracing it, and that maybe I’d be better off if for a while I just decided to constantly dress poorly and stop making jokes and keep quiet or be rude and obnoxious, and thus reject everything about me that makes me shiny.

But I highly doubt that’s the answer, because, well, that basically translates to “reject a whole bunch of things that make up most of my entire personality.” So…that makes no sense.

I guess what it boils down to, like everything else, is that I need to learn to own my shininess. I need to accept that these qualities are a huge part of me, and that just because they make me attractive, doesn’t mean they’re shallow. And that just because there are a few people who’ve expressed intense interest in me and then quickly moved on, doesn’t mean that they thought I was all shine (and even if they did, that doesn’t mean they were right). I need to keep remembering that most of the best guys who’ve expressed interest in me and gotten over it when I couldn’t date them have subsequently become my friends, not because they’re still clinging to the hope that things can work out between us, but rather because they value me as a person and not just a shiny thing. And I need to remember that just because my exes start dating really soon after having had their hearts broken by me doesn’t mean that their feelings for me weren’t real and that they just latched onto the next shiny thing that came along, because that’s not how it works.

And I need to accept that just because I am shiny, doesn’t mean that’s all there is to me. So I don’t have to be scared those times that I worry that I’m not shiny enough, because that’s not all I have going for me. I don’t have to be the prettiest girl in the room. I don’t have to be scared that in 10 years I’ll have lost what makes me appealing just because I probably won’t look as good as I do now. I don’t have to get nervous when I meet friends of a friend for the first time; I don’t have to worry that now that they’ve seen me shoulder to shoulder with their other friends, they’ll realize I don’t measure up. Because I will.

And I don’t have to be scared of hanging out with someone a second time, or a third time, or a fourth. Because no matter how much time they spend with me, they’re not going to find anything that rotten underneath. No one ever has. No one’s ever hung out with me, say, 5 times and then suddenly on the 6th realized that I am a complete waste of oxygen. It’s not going to happen.

The worst of me just isn’t that bad.

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Like my thinky thoughts? You can commission more of them via my GoFundMe campaign — http://www.gofundme.com/sm-automotive — or subscribe on the sidebar, and thanks for reading! You can also buy me tools from this Wishlist but really I just like money.