Of mice and mirrors
In which I bring to mind an old Eurythmics song that goes ‘I could give you a mirror, to show you disappointment’, and leading me to review if I am being mouse or man.
I know mixing metaphors is a terrible sin when writing, but it seems appropriate, nonetheless. But talking about that is dodging the reason for this post. I recently wrote about starting to date a wonderful woman only to discover that I’m not as ready for romance as I had thought, and she wanted/wants.
There are many things I could say about this, but the most important is that while a little bit of this is ‘cold feet’ (that is being nervous about going to the ’next level’ in a relationship that has been built over the last several months), that is not the main thing that is ‘blocking’ me (and thus ‘us’).
I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit I find the thought of getting close to someone a bit daunting after the ‘perfect storm’ of marital problems, work situation, and not properly treated schizoaffective disorder (there’s a story there about being started on a medication that wasn’t working, and then being discharged that took some years to play out, for that part of it) lead to my experiencing an extremely painful crisis that has taken a lot of work, and friends for me to say I have recovered. There’s more to it than that, though.
The truth is, I have just started to discover how to be a ‘well self’ and to approach friendships, community participation, and a return to work. Of these, it’s not (as much as it is a challenge) the time commitment of a return to work and community participation that holds me back (though I do worry about overstretching myself), but that I feel like I barely know myself as someone who is well and whole.
I think Ute didn’t realize I wasn’t as prepared for a romance as she would wish, because I do have a warm heart, am respectful, listen, and have developed much more confidence than when I was a young man. It is difficult for me to not be where she wants me to be.
I also worry about acting on anxiety or fear. Being honest with myself, and with her, is important. Part of that is admitting to being quite nervous. Another factor, though, is that I’m still learning what it is to not only listen and agree or contemplate, but to voice my questions or concerns during our conversations.
Because of that, and other things, I don’t think I’m quite ‘strong’ enough in myself to be healthy in a relationship. I am getting there, but I don’t expect (or think it fair to) Ute to have to wait for me.
It pains me to not be all she hoped, but I’m not, and I hope that we can navigate this part of things in healthy and positive way. And, while it may be true that I didn’t learn how to get through this part when I was younger, from what I hear, this is never really easy.
In some ways it would be easier to ‘go Costanza’ than to face the truth. So perhaps I not a mouse, but a man who can be unafraid to face himself in the mirror. Maybe.