Relationships

Emotional Botox

When I started this blog, I wondered how much I would/should write about the current state of my love life and the players who’ve elected to be a part of said spectacle. My first thought was: who would care? I only have a few readers so if I start spouting the woes of my romantic tumult would they bother to stick around? Is my experience really that relatable and if not, is this all just self-aggrandizing drivel? Furthermore, would any prospective gentleman callers appreciate being publicly scrutinized under the lash of my wicked pen, er keyboard? Would I censor my feelings and experiences on the off chance that a suitor may read it and find out how I really feel?

Ah… haha. There it is. That very sentiment about which I’ve recently been on my soapbox: Emotional Honesty.  If I’m to write, it’s got to be real or else what’s the point? And if I’m practicing what I preach, then there’ll be no surprises to anyone who happens to stumble upon my whining. The same needs to hold true for my life in general. For someone with a growing web and social network presence, honesty and transparency are crucial. If I say one thing and do another, who is going to trust me? And if I never really say how I feel, regardless of the repercussions, how am I ever going to know who is willing to give me realness in return? And isn’t that what it’s about at the end of the day – finding someone with whom you can be real? All the time? Without reservation? Self-preservation, as it were, appears to bad PR.

I once told someone I was in love with them via anonymous email. I created a fake hotmail account and posed as one of my friends, haplessly spilling the secrets of the girl who just wanted to “save face.” This tells me one of two things about myself: either I didn’t want to bear the humiliation of face to face rejection, or I didn’t trust that this man would be emotionally honest enough to tell me how he really felt. “I don’t know” is always an acceptable answer unless it’s used as a cop-out in the place of “no.” You see, in the end it wasn’t the rejection itself that I’d feared; I was more concerned that he was going to feed me a line, or worse, not respond at all. I didn’t want to have to deal with the his anticipated emotional dishonesty, so I went for an intermediary to find out the truth. How backward is that?

We’ve been taught that if you’ve nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I think this has spilled over into our relationships to the point of pathology. Communication is dead if we don’t feel safe enough to tell the truth, even if that truth paints us as demons in the eyes of our admirers. But as they say, you can’t save your face and your ass at the same time.

I recently became very frustrated over a conversation that didn’t go the way I’d envisioned. I subsequently accused this person of poor communication and emotional denial. I thought he just needed a little bit of coaching on how to express himself, and that one day he’d credit me for his articulate enlightenment. It never occurred to me that he has his own way of getting his message across, and to acquiesce to my particular brand of psychobabble was not exactly his idea of successful consummation.

I suppose that at this phase in the game we have to take things at face value, regardless of how real we perceive them to be or not be.  If Captain Wonderful says he is not into a relationship, believe him – then decide what you want to do with that information, if anything at all. No good can come from being manipulative and deceptive in an attempt to find out “the truth.” It’s all there; we’re just not listening (not all listening is done with our ears, as it were). Conversely, we do have a responsibilty to hold up our end of the bargain with our own emotional honesty, regardless of the risk involved. I think part of the fear is the expectation that once we put the truth out there, someone is obligated to actually do something about it. I had to check my motives. Was I blurting out my feelings under the presumption that someone was going to take them and run with them, or did I simply want to be able to sleep that night? Once the truth is out there, you’re free to leave it lying on the floor. It may become useful to someone someday. Until then, you’ve done your part to make the world a truthier place.

3 Comments

  1. Intriguing post…I’m with you 100% on walking your own talk. I did learn the hard way that even though you can maintain a level of transparency and consistency, you also have to respect the appropriateness of the depth of what you are revealing; situational awareness is key….don’t contradict yourself or act counter to your words but it’s prudent to judge how deep you want to dive before you leap. Rock on 🙂

    Steven

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