I’m seeing someone. He’s great. Kind, funny, takes the lead, and the sex is great. It’s wonderful.
Normally, we get together and there’s no drama. It’s easy to set up, nice while it’s happening, and fun to look back on.
But the last time we were supposed to hang out, I was having a moment. I didn’t feel so happy. I was going through something.
I had a lot of anxiety about this.
Not about my actual moment (I mean, yes, I had anxiety about that, too, but that’s not what this is about). My anxiety stemmed from the fact that I didn’t know how this man would react to me not being in a good mood.
I was afraid to not be “happy” with him.
I believe society has trained us women to think that we’re only attractive or acceptable when we’re in a good mood. If we’re sad or irritable or God forbid actually angry, we’re not attractive.
When I’m in a bad mood, I’m a bitch.
I’m not necessarily a bitch, you understand — I’m saying that’s the perception.
Now, it’s true that sometimes I really am a bitch. Sometimes I’m ready to bite people’s heads off and it’s not OK and I do try to control myself.
But a lot of the time, I’m just sad and lonely. I’m feeling off.
So here’s what happened: My man texted me, wanting to know if I wanted to hang out. I honestly didn’t know what to say. What I really wanted to say was this:
“I’m afraid that if we see each other and I’m not chipper and excited, you’ll reject me.
I’m afraid that since in the time we’ve known each other I’ve almost always been in a good mood, if I’m in a bad mood, you won’t want to see me anymore.
I’m afraid you’re going to try to ‘fix’ the situation I’m in and I’m going to get irritated with you for that, when what I really need is just to be held.
I’m afraid you’ll judge me as crazy for having emotions.
I’m afraid I’m too much.”
I really, truly believe that this is a woman’s fundamental fear. That someone will not only reject or shame her for being too emotional (aka “crazy”), but that deep down, that person (man or woman, but I find the fear comes up much more when it’s a man) actually won’t be able to handle it.
In other words, they’ll throw their hands up and leave us in our stew of shame and anxiety and sadness because they won’t know how to handle the mess of it all. Or they’ll shut down because they don’t what to say or do, such that in some cases we’ll end up having to take care of them because they’re so freaked out by the concept of dealing with us. That because of something deep and ugly with us, we will overwhelm them, engulf them in our emotional turmoil juice, rendering them completely unable to function.
That we really are too much.
What I’m afraid my man would say:
“Oh, you’re upset?
OK … well … maybe I should come over another time?
Good luck and ummm … see you later.”
Implication: “I’m sort of afraid of you right now. I don’t know how you’re going to react. If you cry, I don’t know what I’ll do. You’re emotional at the moment so I want avoid you because I don’t really know how to handle it. You’re kind of too much.”
What I would have wanted my man to say:
“Hey, you’re having a moment.
I want to see you anyway.
It’s fine if you cry — I don’t mind, really. I can handle it.
You just do you, and I’ll roll with it.
On an unconscious level, I believe I’ve been trained to think I only deserve love when I’m “happy.”
That the standard really is still an upbeat 50s housewife.
Consciously, I know this is ridiculous. But I still feel unsure — really unsure, especially at the beginning of a relationship — whether I will be accepted for who I actually am.
So here’s the truth: I need to be reassured that I’m not too much for my man. That my emotions don’t scare him. That he doesn’t feel threatened.
That I don’t have to be chipper all the time.
I’m not a 50s housewife.
I’m a strong and vulnerable woman.
I really, really want to be loved for that, even when I’m afraid I never will be.