My Own Worst Enemy

I have a pretty liberal view on sex. I’ve believed for a long time that as long as you’re being safe and consensual, have it with whoever, or however many whoevers. Sex is fun, and the beautiful thing about people is that they’re all different, and finding what each person likes is a delight.

Since high school, sex has come easy to me (no pun intended). It’s a lot easier to find someone you’re attracted to and vice-versa and agree to something that doesn’t have any strings attached. Ninety percent of the time, we even stay friends afterwards.

What doesn’t come easy to me is a connection. It’s been five years since I’ve been in a committed relationship and the handful of times since that I’ve felt like I’ve found someone worth making that leap for, it’s gone horribly wrong.

I say often that it isn’t easy for me to trust people, and that’s true. I’ve been hurt so many times that I can’t muster the energy to confide in someone I don’t think will give a shit or someone I think will hurt me somehow or use what I tell them against me. I don’t feel that connection with many people. I don’t see myself being with many people. I can see hook-ups and flings, sure, but it isn’t common that I find someone who takes my full attention.

Maybe that’s why, when I do, I fall so fucking hard and fast. When I trust, I trust completely because I’m bursting at the seams to find someone who is patient with my anxiety and my mood swings, who lets me be vulnerable without judging me, someone who believes in me. I don’t find many people who really believe in me. My last relationship, five years ago? She told me she didn’t ever see me being anybody important. We dated a while after that, too, because I’m a fucking idiot.

“I was never insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched,” said Poe, and persistent other mental issues aside, I find myself in a similar recurring predicament. I blind myself to hints and red flags and I hold out hope that things will work out, that things can be worked out, that the connection I feel is as strong for them as it is for me. That I’m worth working for. I do this, this planning too far ahead, this ignoring the signs, this fantasy wish-fulfillment, I do this until I’ve backed myself into a corner where I can do nothing but be hurt.

And I can’t be mad, except maybe at myself. No one has done anything wrong, except maybe me for clinging at threads that no longer even connect to the dress. But I can’t sit here and hate myself. I’ve done that before, for a long time, and it doesn’t do much in the way of making things better.

I can only be sad. I can only be upset, and brother, that’s a lot harder to get over.

See, my life is finally getting into shape. I’m setting money aside. I’m putting book submissions in and entering contests. I’m writing… or trying to, anyway. People still seem to like my first three books. But I still blame myself for not being good enough. I’m not handsome or charming enough. The sex wasn’t what it should have been. I’m not smart enough or in good enough shape. My life isn’t together enough. Ultimately, I’m not good enough to believe in or to work towards or to have faith in.

There’s a little spot in the back of my brain that reminds me some things just aren’t meant to be, that getting out of Alaska means a fresh start, be patient, you are good enough. But I’m always going to blame myself, because I always have. That is what feels right and logical to me: that I’m just a fuck-up with pipe dreams.

I’m tired of sleeping around. I’ve traveled that road. I’ve done a lot of it, more than the awkward, outcast, bullied kid I was in high school thought he would. It was fun, and I don’t regret it. But I’m tired of it. I want to find someone I can be myself with. I want to find someone I feel safe with. I want to find someone who tells me I’m not fucking crazy for wanting to be an author.

“Write hard and clear about what hurts,” Hemingway said.

You know what hurts? I do. All the goddamn motherfucking time.

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