Is My Unwillingness to Take Risks Killing My Love Life?

Am I so afraid of being rejected, of losing control, of emotional pain, that I'm holding myself back from a whole realm of experiences?


It's been a very tough weekend, for some reason. I've sunk deep into self-defeating thoughts--I will never sell my novel, I will never find happiness, this feeling of loneliness is going to plague me for the rest of my life, etc.

It's funny, because on the face of it, it was a pretty decent weekend.


On Friday, I went to a party in what may have been the most gorgeous apartment building I've ever seen. As soon as you walk in, an enormous wooden staircase is visible, gleaming so brightly you almost expect to smell the polish. After traipsing along the regal ruby carpet to the base of the staircase, you look up to see the gorgeous spiral--brown, yellow, white--made by the banister, the creamy yellow walls, the white trim. The people in attendance were beautiful, too--so much so that at one point, a newcomer said, "My god, I've never been in a room with so many gorgeous people." And the banter was good; someone made a joke about the egg nog being rather like gasoline, and someone else said, "Ah yes, a bit more viscous and somewhat less potent--but exactly, I see what you mean."

Even better, of course, I met a very nice professor-in-training person (who doesn't live in town) who seemed to love poems and Russian writers as much as I do; someone who'd attempted to write his own novel and seemed very empathetic about the difficulties of actually getting a book published. At one point I said to him, nervously, "The very stupid thing is that it never occurred to me, before I started writing this novel, that I should only undertake such a thing if I were very smart."

He seemed a little confused.

Then I said, "Well, I'm not some brilliant writer genius. I just ... I had this idea that I might be able to tell a story that would help people feel less lonely--that's what I wanted to do."

He smiled very kindly and gently, his eyes twinkling behind his little circular glasses, his teeth ever so slightly crooked--or was it his lips? "Well, that's the best reason of all to write something," he said.

Perhaps his smile was so especially nice that it made the moment a little more potent that it would have been otherwise--but my heart did surge a bit with relief over the feeling of human connection. (Oh boy, why am I crying?)

Then ... he went on to tell me how he broke up with someone recently, and how the relationship had been such an emotional drain that he felt like he just didn't have it in him to get serious with anyone else for a while.

Which was fine. That little nugget from before--that moment of reassurance and understanding--should have been enough to keep me going for a while, really, shouldn't it? And we've also exchanged a nice round of emails.

* * *


Saturday was Jake Stein's birthday! He is out in L.A. now, for the holidays, with his family. (A family I still want to be a part of. They are so wonderful). But happily, he had some time for a nice birthday chat. I don't think Jake is the one who got away--nothing like that. But I do often wish I could find someone a bit like him, with such a good sense of humor, interests that overlap with mine, and an ability to talk about his emotions; someone who feels so much like a friend.

Later that afternoon, I went to a very cozy little party, not far away from my place in Brooklyn. But I left--maybe before I was quite ready to leave--because I had a couple of other parties I wanted to get to. When I got down to street level, however, the snow was everywhere--feets and feets of it, piling up everywhere. And I wasn't properly bundled up; I was only wearing fishnets and my new gray skirt with little ankle booties. So I decided to go home and change ... During the drive home, I skidded out a couple times ... And then once I got home, I thought, You know, I really haven't worked hard enough this week; I should try to get a little writing done before I had out again. ... A half-hour later, I'd decided to stay in for the night, missing the rest of the festivities.

The decision to stay in and WORK on a Saturday night seems to be indicative of SOMETHING THAT IS TERRIBLY WRONG WITH ME. The thing being ... that I don't take enough risks?

I could've--should've?--stayed at the afternoon party a bit longer. But because I didn't know anyone there, and because I don't even know the host that well, I left, thereby eliminating my chances for any good blizzard adventure.

And this seems to be a problem not only in terms of me having a satisfying weekend, but with me having a satisfying life: I'm unwilling to take a chance, put myself out there in any kind of meaningful way, unwilling to dwell in any emotional zone where I don't feel at ease.

All the same ... a few weeks ago, I relaxed, for once, and had a little too much to drink (for once) at a party, and I did something I really regretted. Which, of course, I'll have to tell you about before long.

And ... come to think of it ... simply agreeing to give things a whirl with Jake felt like an enormous risk at the time. And I did lose him as a friend for a while after we split up, which was incredibly painful, although luckily, it all came back together in the end.

I guess I'm just saying: I feel damned if I DO take a risk, and damned if I don't!

Sometimes I get a little fed up with trying to figure it all out.

Lovelies ... what in the hell do you think?



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