Too close for comfort

The song starts playing at the café where I usually spend my Fridays, this new coffee shop that is right around the corner from my house and has an awesome selection of coffee, ISN’T Starfucks, and is the equivalent of my “Bigfoot Lodge”, only without the alcohol. Which is probably good, considering if it did, I might never leave. EVER.

This café, they have a feed of music that has a great variety, often rewarding my guilty pleasure of pop music with a little Sarah McLachlan or Tracy Chapman or – dare I admit it – U2. I mean, we all need a little “All I Want Is You” to realize that somewhere, someone should feel that way about you, and you shouldn’t settle for anything less. That, or perhaps Bono was full of shit, just like the rest of you. Jaded much, Aubrey?

So I find myself listening to lyrics, and – as always – overanalyzing them, since they often are so very fitting for the current situation I’m in. It’s as if the gods of music sent that song directly to me, a not-so-subtle hint to open my eyes, to realize what I’m doing wrong and to just listen. I love those taps on the shoulder, those “a-ha!” moments when you feel like the song was written just for you, just for right this second, just so you could glean a little bit of wisdom from it. It makes you feel like someone out there has also felt what you’re feeling, adding a touch of validation to whatever inane situation you are finding yourself in right now.

As of late, I’ve been very affected by sappy love songs; that’s not to say I’m usually immune to them, especially since if we know anything, we know I’m a romantic at heart, as socially unacceptable as that may be. But for some reason, I’ve not just been affected, I’ve been Affected, similar to the way people are Affected by those they care about in an active, as opposed to passive, sense. This music, it is Affecting me. Greatly.

The songs that are making me perk up my ears run the gamut of formats, genres, voices, etc. What they have in common is the fact that they’re all about love to some extent, though I suppose that could be said for the majority of any of the songs ever written. It’s as if in our quest for the meaning of life the songwriters have realized that we already really know what it’s all about: Love. That, or the fact that it’s the common thread that weaves together generations and cultures and men and women and sells records. Perhaps that.

I’m a cynic; usually, I hear a man crooning about unrequited love and I think “Yeah, right. As if you really feel that way. You just want to get laid, douchebag.” Me? Jaded? Never.  But lately, it’s like something has changed, a subtle shift. Sure, I still get that initial knee-jerk jadedness, but I also get a concurrent feeling of hope, of the fact that maybe that IS possible, that love and romance does exist out there and I should be more open to it. That maybe someone out there hears “All I Want is You” and thinks of me. I mean, it’s possible, right?

What I find to be so interesting, however, as I’m acknowledging that I could possibly softening in my cynical views, I find myself pushing actual romantic opportunities away. It’s like I’m opening myself up to the possibility in theory only when, at the same time, I’m closing myself off to the possibility of something more. For the first time in a while, there are people that are awesome and genuine and fun and stimulating expressing interest in me and while part of me feels like THIS is what I’ve been waiting for, acknowledges that THIS is what I deserve, I find myself having no interest in it whatsoever. Defense mechanism? It’s possible; like most of you, I don’t do vulnerable very well. But I feel like it’s something more, and this dichotomy of feelings vs. actions intrigues me. I want to understand this contradiction.

It may have something to do with living through my own  – and my friends’ – pain as of late. I see them getting hurt by people’s callousness, by the insensitivity of others; find myself still recovering from wounds inflicted too long ago, surprising me in their depth and severity. I know that love takes a risk, that moving forward can require a sacrifice you didn’t ever think you’d be willing to make, and we do this on good faith that hopefully it’s worth it. Because I firmly believe that whole “’tis better to have loved” BS that “they” hope we’ll take as gospel because after the tears have dried, you’ve at least learned something. The heart is a muscle, after all, and like in exercising ANY muscle, the way you build up strength is by actually creating little tears in the muscle, and the growth occurs by the healing of these tears. In relationships and love, you grow not from the happiness but from the heartache. And yet somewhere, hidden way down under many, many layers of optimism and openness, I must inherently believe that it’s NOT worth it, acquiescing perhaps to my greatest fear that there’s no guarantee that I’ll ever find what I’m looking for or that perhaps when I do, I’ll realize that I didn’t want what I thought I did.

Is that what’s happening here? Am I too close for comfort, finding myself pushing everything away out of fear that I’m going to be disappointed – again? When you finally get what you want, do you realize that you no longer want it?  Or am I just a girl who thinks too much, feels too much, loves too much and hurts too much that she’s become numb to it all and  this constant contemplation is all I have to make sure I’m still feeling, the proverbial “pinch in the arm” to make sure you’re still alive? Until I figure that out, I suppose I’ll still be here, working towards the time when it all makes sense and I can, with conviction, admit what I want and say “The End, Love, Aubrey.”

6 thoughts on “Too close for comfort

  1. I can reassure you that it IS possible. And although you are right in that there are no guarantees that you will find it and, as I can attest, no guarantees that it will last forever even if you do, it’s still worth it. The chance alone is enough to be worth the pain and effort of trying.

  2. Sounds pretty typical – I went through the exact same thing and it took me some years and a very persistent woman to make me realize the perfect mate had been standing in front of me (sometimes literally) for years and years.

  3. my question to the last comment is – how long must a girl (woman) be persistent? i realize that it’s different for everyone, but when is it time to call a spade a spade and give up? how do you know that you should fight for what you want – that it’s worth it – or realize that you’re just wasting your time on someone who is never going to wake up, who is never going to see that the right person is right in front of them? why is this all so hard and complicated. can’t we just say “i like you – you like me. helloooo? why aren’t we dating?” ugh.

  4. ali: when is it time to call a spade a spade and give up?
    Personally, I’d give up after two or three tries. I can’t imagine being too persistent, because how can you really know they’re “The One” if you aren’t even dating? I’d just move on, figuring they know you’re interested and will get back to you if they ever wake up (and perhaps staying in touch so they’ll have openings).
    But then again, I’m a guy.
    ali: can’t we just say “i like you – you like me. helloooo? why aren’t we dating?”
    Well, ya can, and I’m sure that approach will actually work if the person does like you. Of course, getting dates is not really the hard part, as we all know. It’s finding the right person to date, and then even after that, you still have to both do all the work you need to do in any relationship to make it succeed.
    Gah, I offer unsolicited advice too much. Sorry!

  5. A very good question…I don’t know the answer, of course. I do know that I had a long standing thing for a friend of mine in and just after college, and she just didn’t ever seem to “get it” — and it took me a few years to realize that it was not that she didn’t get it, it was that she DID get it, and she wasn’t into it. And the way she dealt with it – by essentially never dealing with it- showed me a side of her that made me far less into her.
    And Ali, I don’t know you but I’ve wandered over to your blog from links here (I don’t know Aubrey either but there you go) — I suspect that neither of you have much to worry about, except the fact that it hasn’t happened yet. Two young, intelligent women who are far, far on the correct side of the charts in terms of looks and smarts, and listen to good music, will get their guy soon enough. (And does it threaten my heterosexuality to say that your hair rocks? I’d love my wife to color her hair like that but haven’t quite figured out a way to delicately suggest it to her.)
    And yes, I heard similar things to me (in terms of “just wait, it will work out”) and I didn’t realize my wife was the one until I was 36. And yet, it was the right time and it never was – for me – anytime before that.
    Above all, remember this: Us guys are morons. MORONS. It took my wife basically wearing a see-through shirt to a party and cornering me for an hour or so before I thought, “hmmm…this seems different.”

  6. ali: In my experience, it is not worth waiting around for a man to come to his senses. He either digs you right away or he doesn’t.
    When a guy falls for you – you will know it. You won’t have to persuade him and he will treat you well like you deserve to be treated and you won’t have to wonder if he likes you or not.
    “The heart is a muscle, after all, and like in exercising ANY muscle, the way you build up strength is by actually creating little tears in the muscle, and the growth occurs by the healing of these tears.”
    – that is really wonderful….and I hope it is true…

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