the perils of self-preservation.

Today I discovered a pile of stale fortune cookies in the kitchen at work. I broke one open…and the fortune read “You have an ability to sense and know higher truth.” A pretty good fortune indeed! The rumor around elementary school was that one was required to eat least 50% of the fortune cookie for the message inside to be true. So I forced the surprisingly chewy (instead of crunchy) cookie into my mouth. Hope for the best!
Speaking of higher truth, or just truth in general…someone I love and respect told me that this week that I have a tendency to be secretive and distant. I told two of my female friends this and their response was something in the realm of “What?! He’s crazy!” However (and I admitted this to the aforementioned ladies), I am completely different with my friends…a lot more forthcoming and affectionate. But in romantic relationships…forget it…I am surprisingly distant. I like to reveal nothing about myself. I have a very difficult time communicating my feelings. Maybe it’s the ever present fear of rejection. Or maybe I’m just really image-conscious. An ex-boyfriend of mine used to call me “Ethan Frome” because he considered me such a tragic figure. This is not a nickname that I found particularly endearing. I fancy myself tough cookie, so anything remotely victim-like is appalling.
It occurred to me in the shower today–quite suddenly, like a bolt of lightning to my cerebral cortex–being strong and resilient (obviously good qualities) does not require a denial of one’s emotions and weaknesses. I have no problem being self-deprecating, but I have an impossible time admitting that I love someone. I will deny my fears and worries until the very end. This furious need for self-preservation extends into the obviously unhealthy realm of internalized feelings and secrets, secrets, secrets. I realize that this has worked against me in many instances, giving me a constant headache and even worse, driving away people I have loved.
So I am going to work on this. Remind me of this the next time I act like something/someone doesn’t matter to me! Maybe someone could follow me around with a cattle prod, giving me a little zap every time I act like everything’s “cool.”
P.S. Art by Tiffany Bozic.

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