Friday, April 1, 2011

Sabotage Mode

…This thing I slip into with every last one of my relationships.

I am: young, inspired, spirited, surrounded with some awesome friends, and having too much fun.

So naturally, when it comes to relationship status- I’m hesitant. Call this apprehension cowardly, ridiculous, unreasonable…call it what you will; but when faced with the start of something serious-I do what I always do…

…I hit the ground running.

When you come from the small town of Mayberry the marriage and family route is just sorta embedded in you. Since my departure, I have been the witness to countless marriages of hometown friends who absolutely couldn’t wait to give the “I do” a try. The small town state of mind just kinda does that to you sometimes. The family bonds, tight; the youth, married off early- This is the mentality and the world I was ready to leave behind.

So I did. I packed up my things, and left it all in dust with eyes only tracing ahead, pure exhilaration, and one unexplored heart. Of course I don’t really have a particular reason to run from the idea of the small town life. I, myself, am its product. I am the offspring of a mother and father who could very well be the story book design of high school romance.

But it was a long road for my parents, who after marrying and having children early, struggled to finish school and raise a family. Although I know full well that if you were to ask either of my parents, they don’t regret their decision and I’m unexplainably grateful for their dedicated work ethic to provide for my siblings and I, the marriage life at such a young age wasn’t in the cards for me.

So for years I’ve avoided the relationships that begin to take root in my life. There are a number of guys who have fallen victim to this prevailing fear in my life. And when I decided to give the relationship game a fair shot, I wasted three years of my life attempting to fix the unfixable. I let that one damaging relationship singlehandedly destroy the future of my relationships.

Since then I’ve had quite the number of trivial relationships, none lasting for any great length of time. And each time I feel things begin to progress I panic-and almost immediately retreat to “Sabotage Mode.” Let me explain…

When I meet a guy I’m into I fully embrace the thrill of the beginning. There is utterly no better feeling in the whole wide world than having such a profound crush or such intense emotions towards someone who feels the exact same way. The ”I absolutely can think of nothing else,” and the “just want to be around them all the time” feelings mixed with the first kisses, the first holding of the hands, and the initial meeting of friends is both so elating and beautifully brilliant all at once- that it’s easy to “fall in love” with a new romance.

For a long time, I’ve truly believed that those opening feelings of affection, so immense I could burst, were the sole reason I refrained from committing to one lasting connection with one single person. I’m opening my eyes…

When I find myself in those beginning stages of such delight I always hold them close. I relish in those, like anyone else. But like everyone else, those initial steps eventually begin to take flight into something more, and when they do-- I freak.

I start irrationally arguing, seeking out every single flaw in our relationship, start creating scheduling conflicts, demand and take a stand on my individuality, and declare my girl friend time as the more important way to spend my time (although I don’t think I’ll ever budge on that). And in the midst of my transformation into Monster Girlfriend when I don’t shake the guy- harder than you’d think, guys can really take a lot more than we give them credit for- I go beyond this insanity. I get pissed off.

But why? Why am I so quick to run, not matter how much fun I’m having, no matter how I feel? Why am I so adamant about pushing people out of my life? For whatever ridiculous and outlandish reason I associate successful relationships with getting married young, popping out a couple of kids, and living happily ever after. White picket fence and minivan included…and that terror for leading that life over a career is dismantling every guy who dares to give it a shot.

Enough is enough. Not every happy relationship has to end with the death of my ambitions or my career. My mother’s definitely didn’t, she just had to work harder. Somewhere along the line I’ve confused the notions of family and career to appear as if it’s either one way or the other, never both. Simultaneously I’ve confused the very idea of dating in general. Just because a relationship is promising doesn’t mean the rest of life has to take a back seat. How and when did I come to this previously conceived notion?

So I’m making a vow to myself that from this point on I’m not going to condemn my relationship from the beginning. I’m going to embrace the connection I have with someone for what it is, and stop the constant concern for future endeavors. Besides what the hell would be fun about not having someone to share new ventures and successes, or failures for that matter? At the end of the day, a relationship is a friendship of the best kind. It’s the bond unlike any other, and one I’m not willing to miss out on again.

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