15 September 2010
It's still strange when a man hits on me, even though that's been happening with greater frequency. Actually, I may just be noticing it with greater frequency.
To tell you the truth, for much of my life, I wasn't comfortable with the fact that someone or another was attracted to me. There's one all-too-facile explanation for that: Because I felt uncomfortable with my own body--no, I felt appalled and revulsed by it--I felt that anyone who was attracted to it had to be, as we said circa 1992, "damaged goods." And I felt that anyone who was attracted to anything about me besides my body had to be even even more fucked-up than I was, or simply stupid.
That self-loathing had a number of sources, but the main ones were my gender identity conflict and the sexual molestation I experienced as a child. The former preceded the latter: I can remember a time before the sexual abuse, but I cannot remember a time when I didn't feel as if I should've been female, whether or not I could articulate it in some way that made sense to anyone but me.
Well, I have dealt with both issues as best as I and doctors, therapists, friends and some family members could. I guess that might make me more attractive (Notice that I used the comparative, not the absolute.) to some people. And while I know I'm not and never will be a beauty and have all sorts of character flaws, there are plenty of people who, I daresay, are even less appealing than I am yet have no trouble meeting people. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that some guy asked whether I was "doing anything" last night, or that a couple of guys I see every day in the neighborhood have expressed interest in me.
But it's still weird. A woman I know tells me to "get used to it." She was probably accustomed to such attention by the time she was twelve years old, and she's even older than I am.
I know I'd like to get involved with someone. But I'm not ready to hop into bed with just anyone. While I know what attracts me (I'm talking about personal as well as physical traits.), I'm still cautious, perhaps to the point of being fearful. I don't want to end up in a compromising position with someone who's dangerous, violent or simply disrespectful. And, while you can practically see the skulls and crossbones on some people, there are many others who aren't what they seem.
Now I'm realizing that everyone with whom I've ever been romantically involved--in fact, everyone with whom I've even had more than one night of sex or more than a couple of dates--has been, in one way or another, as much of a misfit as I was. Even the ones who were beautiful, smart, interesting or sympathetic were alienated, damaged or at least wounded. A couple used one or more of those qualities to provoke my sympathy and sometimes to cynically manipulate me. I don't want to repeat such experiences.
Maybe because I'm so used to being involved with problematic people, I don't know how to find or relate to the ones who are serene and secure in themselves. You know what they say about doctors (some of them, anyway): They see nothing but sick people,so they don't know what a well person is. When physicians are admonished to heal themselves first, part of that healing involves, I think, seeing healthy people and realizing that they are the normal ones.
Perhaps cops make an even better analogy. They spend all of their time dealing with the worst elements of society. After a while, they start to think everyone is a criminal, or capable of being one. Then again, I'm not sure most cops get over mentality that even when they're retired.
Well, I guess I know what one of my challenges in my life as Justine is.