Everyone Has Flaws (if you look hard enough)
Updated: Sep 13, 2019
I attribute my loneliness to my proficiency in finding the Where’s Waldo of male flaws and a sharp tongue that could draw a tear from even Michelangelo’s David. Let’s be clear: I know I’m not perfect. I have dangerously low self-esteem and a penchant for 2AM self-loathing. I’ve spent the past however-many years constructing a fleshy suit of armor. It held up through a number of battles-admittedly against the less formidable Achilles one-kick-to-the-heel type. (I have a tendency to aim low—Phoebe Buffay would call my dating history a “who’s who of human crap.”)
Tennessee Williams was right. The world is violent. The world is mercurial. We’re all just shrapnel caught in a whirlwind of perpetual solitude masked by our inabilities to be alone.
We build walls to keep people out. That’s the cliché. It’s also the unfortunate truth. One person can put a crack in that wall—a weakening that is still a far cry from destruction—and the next guy comes along and barely touches it before it collapses like f*cking Jenga.
So what are we to do when we’re told to let our guards down?
Is tearing down our walls really a good thing? Or does it just open us up to the opportunity of being pummeled again and again? And, what happens when you’re standing alone in the wreckage, hyper-aware of your construction inadequacies? Do we keep being trusting? Or succumb to the bitterness?
I think the loneliest of places is next to the ones we love the most, or, alternatively, the ones we think we love. Not being able to see into their minds is not only frustrating, it’s exhausting. What’s more exhausting is the inability to communicate exactly what’s in ours. It widens the divide. It’s a magnet of opposing forces. I stayed in a five year relationship because of my inability to communicate that I was unhappy. I was unfilled. I was taken advantage of. What’s worse is that I stayed in it because I was terrified of loneliness. I was scared sh*tless of being 90 years old and having no one to say I loved.
In those mediocre five years, my loneliest place was stifling my wild and dimming my brilliance. I spent so much time trying to fit the picture of what he thought he wanted. Maybe what he wanted could have made me happy, but happiness and loneliness are not mutually exclusive. I was so wrapped up in who he wanted me to be. I saw the world through rose colored glasses, but there was always a big, warning sign of a glare. It sounds so dumb to say that I stayed because I was scared. I had a bad habit of latching on to the tiny bit of good and pushing aside the bad. As a result, I was in a constant ebb and flow of loneliness and contentment. I masked the issues. I was too forgiving. I was constantly waiting for the ice to thaw, and it would. The ground I was standing on would soften, and I would think that I was in the right place. But every time that ice thawed, the temperature would just go and drop below freezing again. I tried to be what he wanted but, in being what he wanted, I disappeared entirely. I was so buried by his expectation that I lost the will to dig myself out. I lost my wild and brilliant self, and it was a real shame.
I knew my place wasn’t with him, but I didn’t feel like that was a good enough reason to leave. Here’s the thing, though. You never need a good reason to leave—just wanting to leave is enough. I wish someone had told me that when I needed to hear it. So, hopefully this reaches someone who needs it as much as I did.