I'm home for the holidays now, back in the lovely, fabulous, historical state of Virginia. Since I can't be here and not revel in the glorious message that is the motto written on our flag, "Sic Semper Tyrannis" (for those of you who have not read my older entries, this is Latin for "Thus, always, for tyrants"), I'll be gazing at the dogwoods and cardinals and tyrant-crushing Athena-esque warrior women in exhilaration over the next two weeks. I'll also be catching up with old friends from high school, drinking wine with my mama and smoking cigars and drinking scotch with my dad, wrestling with my ginormous, slobbery, adorable dog Achilles (she's a Greater Swiss Mountain dog and currently weighs 105 lbs), hiking through the snow-laden woods behind my house in search of a dream I'll likely never see, and reading way too many books. Given my bibliophilia, which I thoroughly discussed in a previous entry, this last bit especially should come as no surprise. In fact, I think I'll devote the rest of this entry to one book in particular.
I just finished reading a book that changed my life, and it wasn't the kind of book I expected to have that deep of an effect on me. After hearing my latest drama story, my cousin—recently married and therefore an expert in relationships—recommended I read the book that inspired the movie of the same title, He's Just Not That Into You, written by two of the writers of Sex in the City. I went out to B&N with my mom this afternoon, wandered through the aisles until we finally found it in the dating/self-help section (never stepped foot in there before; it was a weird feeling), and then I proceeded to devour the entire thing in a few hours this evening.
The book completely changed my perspective. I have always considered myself a very rational, practical person, and generally pretty good at being able to tell when a guy genuinely likes me and when he's just feeding me a line, but recently I haven't been so sure. I got told twice in one week that I was a fantastic, special young woman, and that I deserved to be happy and to have everything I want, but that he was just not able to give that to me and so I should find someone who could make me as happy as possible. Not told twice as in twice by the same guy, mind you. Two separate men fed me this completely bullshit line. We'll call them Atlas and Stargazer, just to keep things straight. My response to Atlas should have been my response to both, yet regretfully, I couldn't bring myself to say it to Stargazer, who actually first who gave me that crap. I told Atlas, "If you truly thought I'm so special and worth so much effort, then you would have been willing to step up to the plate yourself instead of trying to make it someone else's job." He responded by saying, "No, you are special, blah blah blah…" just more bullshit. I had not read the book at this point (obviously, as I just read it today), but I was proud of myself for not falling for it with him. It's a shame, however, that what could not fool me with one, totally fooled me with the other.
For the record, I was dating neither one of these gentlemen. Atlas had made a lot of promises this past summer, that come autumn, he just couldn't keep…and so, wise, practical, rational girl that I am, I cut my losses and moved on. Stargazer, on the other hand, was a very different story. He never made any promises. He seemed to genuinely care. He seemed like a nice guy. Having read HJNTIY, however, I now realize that I was making all of the excuses for him that I should not, covering up the fact that he was truly just not that into me with things that would hurt less. After all, no one wants to hear that at the end of the day, she's just not good enough to date. Examples of things I learned that, although I did not want to hear, were necessary for helping me to quickly cut the cord and get the hell over him already:
An excuse is a polite rejection. Men are not afraid of "ruining the friendship."
Guys tell you how they feel even if you refuse to listen or believe them. "I don't want to be in a serious relationship" truly means "I don't want to be in a serious relationship with you" or "I'm not sure that you're the one."
It doesn't count unless he says it when he's sober. An "I love you" (or any semblance thereof) while under the influence of anything stronger than grape juice won't hold up in court or in life.
You can't talk your way out of a breakup. It is not up for discussion. A breakup is a definitive action, not a democratic one.
No answer is your answer.
All of these were taken directly from the book, so I can't take credit for their wittiness. They're just quotes from the "What you should have learned" section that followed each chapter, and that particularly spoke o me in light of my recent relationships and non-relationships. Number (4) was followed by a particular moment of epiphany, as I'm definitely guilty of trying to talk my way out of a breakup…and it worked. Twice. However, the third time, he put his foot down. We were going to split, and that was it, and you know what? Should've happened the first time. We were not right for each other for many HUGELY important reasons, but I didn't see that until there was some distance. The longer I spent apart from him (I'm not a fan of the "let's still be friends" bs, and so I didn't let him talk me into it, luckily), the more I realized this, and the happier I became that I was rid of a bad apple…or, in keeping with my previous theme of people as fruit, a rotten orange.
While I do regret to pour so much of my personal life into a blog that I would rather devote to my spiritual, the aftermath of Atlas and Stargazer will, despite my best efforts, permeate through to my spiritual life. I don't want that to happen. Regardless of how hard we try to not let people effect us, to not let negative experiences infiltrate our inner lives and—however slightly—weaken our core strength, it still happens. While reading this book has armed me with knowledge and the ability to see through the excuses Atlas and especially Stargazer both threw at me right and left, I know that I still hurt. It's a lesser pain now, a dull ache, but it's still there. "I don't want to be in a relationship," as I long had suspected and as this book now confirmed, really does mean it's not me that he wants. And that's fine. As much as I would prefer to just be told that, straight up, with no games and no lies, I know that won't ever happen. Now, hopefully, I'll just be able to read the signs and interpret every excuse as what it really is, a slightly nicer way of saying, "I'm just not that into you."
I'm going to finally let this rotten orange rest. I threw it out with the other bad fruit, and, pretty as it was on the outside, and as much as I'm going to miss it, I'll get over. I'll heal. I'll move on. That's just what I do, and that's what I'll keep doing, until I find the guy who will not just tell me I deserve to be happy, but actively try to make it so. We'll call him Orion. I always did love that constellation.