I have already edited this post probably 3 times over. It’s a work in progress. And thank you – to my friends and family and other readers – who have already emailed me in regards to this post and shared a bit of yourself in response to me … your feedback to what I wrote, and also your own stories. It’s really moving to me. I haven’t responded to all yet – but I’ve read them all.
The reason you start to believe you are unloveable is because of the evidence. There’s, like, so much evidence. There’s the part about how you’re single. It is hard to deny that part, on account of how there is no one else in bed with you at night. There’s the part about how you really liked that guy, and you also liked that other guy, and both times things were promising, but then they didn’t choose you. And your longterm boyfriends didn’t choose you either, or else you’d be married now, wouldn’t you?
And here is AWB’s thoughtful response to it (not to mention the people who commented. Lovely.)
Mitchell said to me recently, when we were talking about my lack of love life and all of my problems in that area, “You know what, Sheila? You’ve just had shit luck.”
It was very freeing when he said that – and reading Megan’s post really gave me a bit more clarity as to why. Not that there aren’t ways I can improve and all that … but some of it is just shit luck, and to add onto the misery with “You aren’t working hard enough on your self-esteem, you aren’t being awesome enough … ” and all that – is highly toxic and actually dangerous to me. I am hard enough on myself as it is. I don’t need to pile on.
I wish I felt comfortable keeping comments open for posts such as this one – because I have a lot of good friends reading me (people I have met and not met) who, I am sure, could add gentle and thoughtful and non-toxic comments to the conversation. They would add. They would not go for the jugular. But I need to protect myself right now.
98% of my life is off my blog. I protect it. I don’t share it here. Those of who know me (through our blogs or otherwise) know where I’m at.
But when you write an open post, a vulnerable post – where you put your heart on your sleeve – and a reader shows up and says, bluntly, “You’re a stupid cunt” – well. It makes one a little cautious to give other people a sounding-board, now doesn’t it?
I can’t solve that problem but I do know I MUST write openly here. And because of some of the blogs who link to me approvingly (blogs that shall remain nameless, sort of), I still have a lot of angry resentful people reading me, who cannot understand why I am not The Wall Street Journal, and they resent it when I get open, they have kneejerk hostile responses to ambiguity, uncertainty, or even anything that is NON-positional. They have to sweep in and tell you what to think, try to fix you, or tell you what you are too stupid to realize because you’re so self-centered, etc. … but what these people don’t understand is that blogging is one of the most self-centered hobbies you can have – and it is WHY I do it. I AM self-centered. I LOVE writing about myself, and my thoughts. It is WHY I do it. If you don’t like that kind of writing, then that is totally cool – but don’t get angry at me because I don’t sit in a pile of my own outrage every day after reading the New York Times and then blog about it. That is not what I am doing. That is not the kind of blog this is. Stop expecting it and stop punishing me for NOT being like that. (I must be the only person who cringes when a certain Insty “pundit” links to me. I cringe when he links – nothing against him – I do like quite a bit of what he does – but I cringe because I know here comes another round of nitpicky pissy know-it-alls who have a misogynistic thing going on, and GIANT chips on their shoulders. Especially when it comes to women and women admitting their openness, vulnerability, or anything even approaching dissatisfaction. And forget about posting about the men in your life. These guys jump all over you. “You women are all the same …” etc. That’s a typical comment from this type of man. Not at all the audience I’m looking for. Just keepin’ it real, folks. If you found my blog from one of his links and are NOT a douchebag, then congratulations. You are in the minority.) In comparison, Pioneer Woman linked to me and every single person who came to me from her site has been warm, funny, accepting of me, lovely – into sharing her/his own stories in a funny and open manner – and not one of them has showed up and derailed conversations into bickering or inappropriate political ranting. They “play well with others”. I don’t mean to make generalizations but I’ve been blogging for, what, 6 years now? I recognize the patterns. I have a unique perspective as well – starting out as a conservative weblogger and then completely ditching that (not my views – but the focus of my blog) to focus on movies, books, and boys and stuff like that. Not an easy transition -but one I felt I had to make. To make this even MORE complex, I am quite proud that my content attracts all kinds – and I find no contradiction … in my feelings about government and then my feelings about art and movies. I don’t know … it doesn’t baffle me at all, but boy, do others have a hard time with it. So I don’t want only one type of person reading me … but I do need readers who are gentle with others, and who have an ability to celebrate things and not just complain … and who also do not see things only thru a political filter. I like things to be real. I don’t like bickering. I don’t like belittling someone when that person is working something out. I cannot stand self-righteousness.
I like to NOT be sure, and I like to see what i really think about things by putting it all into writing. It’s a messy process. There is no black and white. It’s a process, not a destination. This drives some people up the WALL. The uncertainty drives them batshit and they lash out at me. It’s the men who come to me, dripping with condescension … I don’t know … that “element” has been a constant since I started my site, and I’ve despised it. Don’t get it. I certainly didn’t cultivate that audience!!
Not sure what to do about it.
UPDATE: In response to Nightfly’s post : It’s not that I am not sure about ANYthing. It’s that I don’t like to write from that place. I find it boring. This is not an opinion blog – although what I am sharing is my own life. I would call this blog experiential, and I find it far more interesting to NOT be positional when talking about my own experience. To share your own life, but to also be receptive to other people sharing. I have very strong opinions and I am CERTAIN that I am right about certain things. But it’s just that that’s not the stuff I choose to write about. /clarification over
I just know I can’t deal with that element right now. I do not need to be in the position of defending myself from strangers when I am vulnerable, or hurting, and expressing my feelings … when all I am doing is trying to work things out. In writing.
But some people have a problem with that. They not only resent it and get prickly – but they also get downright hostile (ie: “you stupid cunt”). I also want to keep writing. Not giving people the chance to comment appears to be the best solution.
This is the Internet. I know I’m not safe here. Safety is over-rated anyway – and feeling “safe” can produce a lot of SHIT writing. The best writing I do is when I sense the risk. That post above that really disturbed that commenter was a risk. I could feel it as I was writing it. And naturally – someone had to show up and do exactly what I “feared”. It was almost comforting. Yup. I expected a hostile reaction from SOMEONE so it was good to get it over with. I wonder if that person is aware of how much I was expecting him and how unoriginal he really is. Strange. David and I had a big conversation about it and what exactly it was in that particular post that would make some bitchy man go off the ledge. I have theories – but also I have to say: that particular response is not at ALL “new” to me. There’s a lot of free-floating anger out there and I have dealt with it from the beginning of this blog. A certain type of man becomes utterly unhinged when reading me … hahahaha – and now I can recognize him from his first so-called “benign” comment. I flag him as “someone possibly insane to keep an eye on” … (or my friend Beth helps me out and emails me: “That new commenter is a freak. Be very wary of him.” hahahaha But she has ALWAYS been right!! Any person she has expressed hesitance about has eventually revealed himself to be pretty much a lunatic. A possible stalker. Stay away. Her instincts have been impeccable so I consider her my online bodyguard and henchman. But my instincts in this regard have been pretty good as well. They were not so good when I started blogging and I had a couple bad experiences letting FREAKS close to me whom I could not then get rid of … but that rarely happens now.)
Someday I should write a post about these guys who have gotten obsessed with me from the very beginning of my blog. Through making mistakes, I learned to protect myself, and “screen” people for psychotic or too-needy qualities that I wanted to steer clear of. But that’s not what this is about. I try to be cautious – but at the same time, my need here is to reveal. I am NOT a “pundit”. That’s not me. My need is to be honest, even if it makes me look bad. But in the environment on my site – there are those who would show up on such posts and pile it on – as opposed to sharing a bit of themselves, or being open and vulnerable … Most would show up and say, “Yes. You DO look bad in this situation.” I can’t have that. I’m not fragile, but I’m sensitive. I get hurt really easily.
It’s too bad because I do know many people out there who would love to have a conversation about love and having shit luck and the sadness of being single. Trying to deal, be strong, buck up, be open, stay hopeful, but realistic … etc. etc.
But this is not the venue for that. To those of you (and you should know who you are) who want to chat more about this, please send me an email. That’s the best way to have open conversations of this nature – and the emails and comments I have gotten about, oh, this post, for example, confirms to me that there are so many people out there who want to go deep, who have stories to share, who thank me for sharing mine, who are gentle towards others … who are not afraid of opening themselves up. I get emails from people like that all the time, and it’s awesome. Makes me feel like my openness here on the blog is something to be proud of – because it provides something for other people. A catharsis. Whatever you want to call it. THESE are the people I REALLY write for.
And speaking of posts I really relate to:
The wonderful Sarah Hepola writes an essay that feels like it could have come streaming out of my own consciousness. Yes, yes, yes.
And yes, to go back to Megan’s post. I do feel unlovable. This, despite the fact that I have the best friends in the world – always have – my life is RICH with friendship – my siblings are all friends as well, dear friends … I am not unable to love. I love deeply. But I have never been chosen. I have different stories than other women – some women are the “stopping ground” before a guy goes back to his ex, some women are the other women, whatever. I am the “one that got away” – that is usually my MO, and is one of the reasons that my ex-boyfriends (with one notable exception) all want to stay in my life, refusing to slip away in the past. However. It is not that I have never been loved. God, no. I know what being loved feels like. It is just that I have not been the one chosen.
And yes. It can give one a complex. And working on your self-esteem and concentrating on loving being single and being okay with being alone becomes, eventually, irrelevant.
Because there is so much evidence. The evidence stacks up.