When you’ve grown used to being pushed away and hearing harsh words, warm embraces and compliments are balms like no others. This week has been filled with sleepless nights for reasons both remarkable and mundane, battles both commonplace and bizarre, conversations both expected and out-of-the-blue. Life both goes on and continues to surprise. One thing remains true: my optimism is never misplaced. Another thing as well: the skepticism men see in my eyes will probably never go away, but it’s there for a reason. The best I can do is explain why it exists and that, really, it’s nothing personal, more like scar tissue after decades of bad choices and misplaced optimism.
My picker, as they call it in certain circles, has gotten better over the years. The only times it’s failed me has been when I’ve ignored my intuition, which should never be done (and I’ve done it only when I’ve chosen pleasure over common sense). I’m responsible for my own pain these days, as well as my own pleasure. I’m lucky to have learned how to recover from the former more easily as well as find the latter more readily.
This month has been an exercise in both. After the heartaches of January, I thought going through it a second time would be a return to the same, but it’s been as simple as cutting off all contact, getting my things returned, and choosing to move on. And this week has been a lesson in living day-to-day as a new situation unfolds before me in unexpected ways. If the first few months of the new year felt as though I were defending my existence, I’m now left wondering why I wasted so much time trying to explain myself to someone who never even tried to understand who and what I was and am. It was clear from the beginning that whatever it is I am (and I can’t even begin to explain that; it’s an experience rather than an itemized list), he had no patience for it. That’s okay, though. I’m not to everyone’s tastes. And I’m not even an acquired taste. People tend to either take to me wonderfully or become baffled by me instantly. I’m like a movie you either love or hate but definitely have an opinion on. And I suppose that, if nothing else, the past six months have taught me that not only am I okay with that, I’m proud to be the sort of person people are forced to make up their minds about. Because, at least to my mind, that means that I, too, have been forced to make up my mind about myself. And in case you haven’t noticed: I like the person I am and have become, and I’m done trying to change for anyone, male, female, alien, or otherwise.