Being smart doesn’t give you the same options as other people. It doesn’t even give you more options. But before I go into what it does give you… let’s explore two painful extremes you’ve probably already tried based on ‘common sense advice.’ Common sense advice does not work for you.
“Just act normal”
Even if you did have the option to act “normal” (whatever that means…)
Acting normal is just that:
it’s an act.
This only seems like an option because you’re unique in a way that isn’t readily apparent until you open your mouth… But the longer you ‘pass,’ the more treacherous the act becomes, right? “Buying yourself time” can end up getting you further away from being true to yourself.
It’s only a matter of time before you’re exposed.
“Just be yourself”
Alas, authentic self-expression can be just as treacherous as “acting normal!!!”
Even (or especially?) feminst, anti-racist, sincerely helpful guys get censored, called out, or put to shame in the name of making ‘everyone’ feel safe. (‘Everyone…’ not them.)
It sucks to be called out as if privilege and responsibility equals ability to respond perfectly. Which, by the way, is perfectly impossible when these systems are so much larger than any of us can really fathom.
So… Act? Be reacted to?
It’s an impossible choice: act like you’re someone else… or censor yourself? Either way, it’s like sticking a foot in your mouth: even if you had the flexibility, that maneuver obviously wrecks any semblance of normalcy, innocence, or balance. Plus it warps your ability to connect.
It sucks to be alone in the crowd!
I’ve “been there, done that!”
You shouldn’t have to choose between
either pretending to be something you’re not,
or ‘rubbing people the wrong way.’
You shouldn’t have to either ‘plot and plan’ or ‘wait and see.’
You don’t want to be tolerated…
You hope to be accepted... (and from there, if you can truly trust that, then, maybe you’d dare to wish to belong and be delighted in!)
Having a partner can solve all of this… right?
If you’ve found yourself thinking “I just want somebody to love — is one person too much to ask?” you’re in good company.
Alas, I hope you’ll recognize that the opposite might also be true: “I only want to love one person — is it too much to ask that she be my world?”
Yes. It is. One person is too much to ask for/of the world.
And it’s not even effective at preventing conflict!
Sure, connection anywhere first requires connecting somewhere.
And yes, connection with people in general is easier if you already connect well with someone in particular.
So far, so good.
But power corrupts.
And absolute power?
So conflict ensues.
Right? If that special someone has the (implicit) power to thwart your courage with a glare, depress you with one mood swing, or cut you off from whole communities over a misunderstanding, you’re right to be very nervous!
AGAIN: I’m not saying your mother/girlfriend/boss is evil. I’m saying that anxiety, resentment, and being manipulated are predictable, natural, understandable results of not having a social support system of your own. Seeming helpless. Underresourced. Dependent.
Conditional love (where you control the conditions)
You might consider adding a controlled environment in which to learn to not be so easily thrown from your autonomy directly into servitude.
What about a platonic-yet-intimate Love Lab where the other person’s whole purpose is to help you be more comfortable fostering your own, direct connections?
Connection should feel meaningful, good, and in integrity with who you are and what you want. You can get there by giving one good person the job of helping you become the hub of a perfectly manageable personal village of your own.
Or find a healthier primary partner.
Or decide whether to try again with the old one. And go thorugh the ringer with you, no matter what.
Again, the principles I live by are:
♥ Connecting is easiest to learn when you’re speaking freely, knowing you’ll be delighted in and understood.
♥♥ Connecting can become a transferable skill.
♥ ♥ ♥ Connection is key – don’t give away your key.