When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

I Am The Answer To Life, The Universe, And Everything

(Originally 2/1/07)

...for another 9 months anyway.

Bailey, I've been thinking about it for a bit now and it really does seem like a social phobia, but I am loathe to admit it. I don't want another hurdle that I have to get over.

I've also posted about what I call The Alone Life. There are some days that I'm content with it. There are other days that I'm seriously glad for it (especially when I get a taste of the mess and chaos that comes out of bad relationships). But lately, The Alone Life has been feeling like The Empty & Sad Life.

I'm 42 years old now (See; Title, This Post). If somehow I manage to find a woman who would have children with me THIS YEAR, at the very least I'd be a first-time dad at 43. I'd be in my 50's when my kid was in Elementary school. I'd be 60 when the kid graduated high school. That feels dreadful, because no matter how young my mate turns out to be, and no matter how healthy and able she is to be a Mom, I'll still be old and there's nothing I can do about it. (At least I'll be the traditional, imagined age to be a grandparent by the time my kids starts having kids).

I say all that to say, yes, it must be some kind of phobia (or as we used to call it back in the day, "a hang-up") which has gotten me into this unalterable mess. As you and your commenters described back at your blog, I do experience those choking breathless feelings when I'm faced with social challenges. But specifically, the challenge is with women.

This has been since junior high school. I specifically remember (and realize I'm never blogged about this) that there was this extremely cute, quiet, beautiful girl I had my eye on in Jr. High. She was friends with my group of friend-girls (I hung out with girls because I liked them better than boys, and I was in love with one but never had the guts to ask her out, so I just stayed with them, Buffy's Xander-style). Anyway, I got the courage once to ask this Jr. High lass actually out. My heart was fluttering in my throat and I felt like I was going to lose my bowels right there, but I liked her so much and thought we'd get along so well together that I plunged ahead and told her that I liked her. I asked her if we could go out sometime.

She laughed. Actually. She crinkled her adorable little nose and I saw all her beautiful teeth. She looked as if I had just told her that at night I put on a cape and fought crime. It was if I was inside her head suddenly, looking at my absurd self.

If I trace it from that day forward, any other girlfriends I've had afterwards (which would begin years after High School graduation) had to have given me major signals, or even approach me first, before I had approached them. But obviously, they haven't lasted. My very last girlfriend, from three years ago, I broke up with because we had come to a point of intimacy and she lost faith that I would be able to be everything she was looking for. (She was a beautiful little woman, but she was a blunt one.) When she lost faith in me, I lost faith in myself. To myself, I was absurd again. Thoughts of being her man, her lover, the father of her children, her parents' son-in-law, her sisters' brother-in-law -- all that went away in a stomach-dropping blur of realization. I was nothing and I had always been nothing.

On a few occasions, she tried to reconcile with me, but I was lost. I couldn't regain the faith I once had in myself. I loved her and still do three years later, (one of the greatest things about me and her was that I thought I finally knew what it was. I had told her I wanted to marry her, and I had believed it) but this 'phobia' kept me inside myself and away from her. Forever, as it turned out. I had resigned from the place we both had worked and moved to NYC.

So, you see, I have this powerful history of avoidance. Avoiding the birth of My Friend The Doctor's daughter would have been small potatoes compared to the milestones that I've ducked out on in my life. And yes, it's fueled by fear. Terrible, mind-killing fear.

But let's end on the upbeat;

Around Christmas time, an amazing man prepared a video for a group of us but it didn't work out quite right and he was extraordinarily bummed out by it. Almost too much. I had heard this man could really beat up on himself when things didn't go right and that he had needed help recovering. Well, he actually recorded that interpersonal process in the place of his original presentation. And in it, I got to see that the person who helped him recover was his wife. She did it with humor and she did it with persistance. She did it with love. She did it with faith. She knew her man was a good man with stunning qualities, especially in that moment when he himself didn't seem to believe it. All this was captured on video. It was an amazing gift, one million times more valuable to me than what he originally intended to present. His video told me exactly what I needed in my own life if ever I was going to be married.

So I do know the following--if I ever find a "maid" to my "warrior"--she will have the most loyal, the most grateful, and the most supportive husband anyone will ever know, because I will be acutely aware of the value of such a one who can be with a person like me.

And I'll still be a friend of My Hero's. So that's all right then.

1 comment:

Alan said...

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say this entire post resonated with me, and made me think about how I go about approaching life recently.

I have a bit of a social phobia as well, and I must admit the end of March looms in the horizon like a black cloud for me. Even though everyone already knows each other, I still fear I will freeze up and end up making a total fool of myself.

6:02 PM

Alan said...

You and me both. I tried to duck out on K2's invite to meet up, but she was just persistent enough.

Here's the thing Archive. I don't think you're 42, right? Please. Please for the love of God don't wait until you're as old as me.

Our fears reside mostly inside of us. What we THINK others will do and say when we goof up is a hundred times worse than what they ACTUALLY do and say.

This March, we can be 1/9 of the group. That means we only have to worry about being in 1/9th of the spotlight, with only 1/9th of the chance to make a tragic social faux pas. But best of all? We'll have The Example with us to show us what it means to be different, and to be proud of it.

And one last thing. We're really not that bad. We won't have a phobic reaction that will send us to the hospital. It'll feel bad, but it won't really BE that bad. You and I do have other friends with whom we've grown comfortable -- now we have a few more.

But best of all, we're FOMA, START.
7:20 PM

Bailey Stewart said...

Oh boy, did that sound familiar. It's why I'm 46, guyless and never married.

Part of the answer to moving forward is recognizing what's holding us back. Good luck on that journey.
11:01 PM

Alan said...

Good luck to you too, Bailey.
1:10 AM

Shesawriter said...


I don't know what to say. I have three kids (gave birth to my first when I was 25), but I know if I had waited a long time(for women the option isn't that appealing), I would be feeling the same way, if not MORE panicked. So I empathize with you.

But it's still not too late. You still have time. Keep searching. She's out there.
1:35 AM

Alan said...

Welp, Tanya, thanks. I appreciate your well-wishes.

My Friend The Doctor took their baby home this weekend and invited me, in his own way, to come up and see her again, so it looks like I could do that vacarious-living thing through them. Be that obnoxious Uncle Alan that spoils Kaitlyn rotten while everyone in the extended family wonders what is really up with me and why I don't get a kid of my own.

I just wanna be happy with whatever time I have left. With a kid, without, with a wife, without ... I just want the other half to be better than the first.
8:58 AM

Scott said...

I hear your pain about being a parent when you get older. I'm also 42, and had my last son when I was 39. I had the same thoughts. But one thing to think about is this: what's better, having a kid when you're all screwed up inside but young and able to throw the pigskin, or when you are older, more sure of who you are and thus a better mentor for your children? I used to stress just as you are, but now I am quite happy to be more advanced in my years.

I think you concentrate inwardly, learn to love thyself, as they say. Then when someone comes along that happens to agree with you, you won't be thinking she's crazy for doing so.
11:53 AM