All while I was growing up, my mother would constantly inform me that I "picked up strays." By this, she meant that any lost soul who needed to work through issues, needed a dollar, needed a ride or had no friends could rely on good ol' Jill. This angered me, partly because she considered this an undersirable trait, and partly because I figured she thought she was right on some "I've been there before and am giving you motherly advice that you're simply too young to understand" level.
I thought that the majority my friends were genuine; we'd give each other the shirts off our backs, we'd stick up for each other and share late night cries sitting on my roof in the summer. Sure, I had a pity-friend or two, but all in all, the people that outsiders might think were my pity-friends were actually my dearest pals. We connected. I liked to think of myself as The King of The Dorks. The Pied Piper of Nerds. The guidos and the cheerleaders had their moment, and in 1989, it was the Dorks' turn to rule the roost. :-)
14 years later however, I've grown suspicious of everyone around me when they want to be my friend. What do they really want? Money? Career advice? A job? A gratuitous lay? Some piece of me that I don't know that I'm willing to release?
We all know about my total anti-obligation policy. Force me to read a book by a deadline and I won't even crack the spine. Leave it randomly laying around in my bathroom and I'll savor every word. The same thing goes for friends. Call me every 10 seconds, even if its to tell me that you think I'm great, and I'll deem you clingy and annoying. Blow me off a few times and I'll be a loyal puppydog who would gladly sort your socks.
I'm very proud (I've been accused of being a little over-proud) of being independent and not really "needing" anyone. My shit is together and I don't need someone to "make it all better." I can carry my own boxes, I can schlep my own groceries, I can take care of myself when I'm sick, if I'm confused I can sort it out, I make a good living and can afford whatever I want. I don't need you. And because it's kind of human nature to foolishly assume that everyone perceives and does things just like you do, I find myself having little tolerance for people who don't do things this way. What? You like me? Then it's time to get a fucking hobby.
And this mentality, my friends, has made its way into my relationships, to the point where I don't think I'm capable of having one. I get such a rush out of the "oh my god does he like me" phase (and who doesn't?), but once I have confirmation that the digging is reciprocated, I'm done. The thrill of the mutual admiration and potential for a connection is completely smothered by the reality that, holy shit, this person is going to want something from me, and that my actions are going to impact their life. Run away! Run away! Obligation!
Like, someone needing something from me is obigation, yeah. But knowing that I matter to someone to the point where my actions (or inactions) will impact their life somehow is the ultimate obligation; and that's what I think I'm having the hardest time dealing with.
Maybe this is why some women seem to only date assholes. Hmmmm... maybe these women are actually onto something.
What brings this on, you may ask?
When I get overwhelmed, I usually shut down for a period of time... days, sometimes weeks. I think it's because when I do something, even small menial tasks, I give 110% of myself to it. I process a lot of information during my waking hours, and when I don't allow myself some Jill-time to decompress and process it all, I get all backed up and weird and my body kind of forces myself into shut-down mode so I can parse all the info in the queue. I basically BSOD. :-) (Christ, I'm such a nerd.) Anyhoo, between tech week, the amazingly unfathomable amounts of work I have to do at Accenture and at InfoSystems getting stuff wrapped up, my job uncertainty, having no time for laundry or getting my watch fixed and other mundane stuff, so I just kinda started getting schitzy. So Rob emailed me the other day to find out when we could go catch a movie that I proposed we go see, and I totally, totally, totally freaked out on him via email. Every other word was the f-bomb, I told him that he was crowding me and making me insane and I just really lashed out in the most imappropriate way. So, gahdlovehim, he wrote me back this amazing "yeah, well, fuck you, too, you self-centered bitch-- but I still think you're cool even though I hate you right now" email which was astoundingly insightful and got me thinking. I really am a wackjob. I don't know how I got it in my head that people don't just like me because I'm me... why do I think that people need something from me all the time? Why do I get upset and freaked out when people tell me that they like spending time with me? It makes me feel all claustrophobic and panicky, when it should only flatter me and make me feel all warm and good.
So this is why I keep everyone at an arm's distance-- I have a million warm friends who think they know me, but truthfully they don't know diddly-squat. I figure I can't let them get too close or they'll start choking me like frikkin' kudzu. I always have to keep my eye on the exit... always have a backout plan for when things get too intense. Yeah, I'm not a nut.
So yeah, being off today and just having time to let my brain cycle through stuff has really helped clarify things. Good thing I have off tomorrow, too... I can parse the rest of this stuff and put my head back on straight... to survive three more performances of JCS this weekend I definitely need a clear head!