My friend Ken reminded me Wednesday that if I wanted to make changes happen in my life, that I needed to knock down the doors that were in my way. To those that see Ken and I hang out a lot, they think that we are dating. Those closest to us know that isn’t the case, nor will it ever be the case. There has to be an attraction for people to want to be together. In our case, there is nothing that remotely attracts me to him in that manner. That would be like me trying to hook up with my brother. It’s affected our potential relationships. We’ve learned that when others might be interested, they thought we were together so they backed off. Learning that information made both of us wonder if we still needed to be around each other. Neither of us wanted to give anyone the wrong impression and even though we wanted to get out and have a life, we never wanted anyone to think that we were an item. The notion that men and women can’t be just friends is ridiculous. Yes, there are times those lines get blurred with people. Yet, I can honestly attest that I have no desire to hook up with him. I can’t speak for him but I can say that no amount of freezing in hell would change my mind.
I bring up my situation with Ken because I have faced this issue with other people. Most of my friends are men. I may be friends with men, but that doesn’t mean that I’m having any hanky panky with them. I’ve been wary of crossing lines with the men I’m friends with because 1) I have little to no attraction to them that way, and 2) My heart belongs to one man that is stubborn as a damn mule. I can talk to anyone on this planet except him. No one else makes me nervous, makes my heart race, and makes me want to be the best version of myself than this other man. I get clumsy around him. I can’t think clearly and forget what I was going to say. Anyone who knows me well will tell you that he’s the only one that’s ever affected me this way. So why on earth do I hang out with most men when I’m not dating them or involved with them? My logic is simple. Men do not tend to stab you in the back the way many women do. I’ve found men to be more open and upfront about their expectations. Plus, I’m a sports nut. I love to talk sports, and most men get into that area more than women. Men are usually safer to confide in because they don’t gossip as severely as women, and when they do, it’s a different level—hanging out with men has taught me how to spot the players. At least I know what to expect around the men I know.
I recognize that this is not true for all men. However, it’s been my experience that we as a society tend to migrate with like-minded individuals. Two of my ex-boyfriends later revealed themselves to be gay. One of them is now a woman. I have strong ties to the LGBTQ community. When I was with the one that’s now a woman, I thought something was wrong with me because I didn’t pick up on her unhappiness. When you fall in love with a person, it’s a shocking revelation to realize you never knew them at all. They may have struggles that you never knew about lurking inside of them.
I know Eric, who is now Erin, will say that she’s the happiest she’s ever been. When I first found out about her transition, I was pissed. I couldn’t understand why he became a she. All I knew was that the person I fell in love with wasn’t there anymore. One could argue that he never existed. The problem with that is they lived enough to make me feel him as a man. I woke up beside him and not a woman. I had to come to terms with a mirage that I saw and not the reality presented to me. It’s been years since I’ve seen her. I hope she’s happy and living her best life. In all honesty, she messed with my head and heart, and it took me years to understand and forgive her. I’m not gay or bi-sexual. It was very confusing when I discovered what she had done for herself, but after I gave myself time to let go of my hurt and anger, I began to see her journey had not been easy either.
Sometimes when we walk away from our pain, we can start to heal by allowing ourselves to see the pain others carry with them.
I have let my assumptions get the best of me in the past. Talk about being hypocritical. I’m the first one to call myself out. I’m not too fond of it when people assume I’m dating the men I’m around, but I get jealous over the thought of the man I want being around other women. I have no idea what his relationship with them is because we aren’t talking at the moment. His notion of communication boils down to mind reading 101. He’ll reach out, and then all you hear are the crickets in the background because he either doesn’t respond or takes his sweet time. Talk about whiplash. I don’t think that he means to be evasive. That comes naturally to him. He’s one of the men that doesn’t communicate emotions well. When it comes to brilliance, he has that in spades. In many ways, he reminds me of the absent-minded professor. Brilliant with books, clueless with people.
I’ve had preconceived notions in the past in my professional life as well. I was so sure that I would get better opportunities to realize my attitude wasn’t helping. In my excitement, I came across ways I didn’t mean. I was a lot younger and had a lot to learn. Through my actions, I learned to be humble and not take everything for granted.
I chose to write about these scenarios for two reasons. The first is that we all have assumptions and preconceived notions about people, places, things, and systems. When we stop thinking we know everything about what’s going on around us, we allow ourselves an opportunity to discover truths. It’s not the best feeling for me when people assume they know about my relationships because 99.9% of the time, they have no idea why I’m close with the people I am. They don’t see how a person who was a victim of sexual assault would prefer to be around men. I feel safer with the men I associate with than I would if I was at a bar. We all have preconceived notions.
I gave an insight into my life for two reasons. The first is that it’s easier for me to have something to compare issues with because identifying areas that I’ve struggled with helps me convey to others. And the second is because many people face problems, which helps to see others work. Maybe you might presume about someone that you later find was dealing with something completely different than you thought. No matter what you may think you know, communication is a crucial component to getting answers. We all have areas in our lives where we can improve communication. Maybe things aren’t as they appear. No matter what you do, don’t be so quick to think you might know what’s going on around you. Learn to ask questions instead of assuming. You might find that what you thought could be something completely different than you first guessed. I hope you all have a great weekend.