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foreword: to a few of my future female friends
hi future female friends. i will be happy to meet you. i mean that, and a great many other oft-misinterpreted phrases, very literally; and that's significant, because i experience happiness very, very rarely (perhaps because i define it quite narrowly... but, it seems wise and useful to do so).
my name is isaiah. it doesn't really matter what you call me, as long as you call me the same thing every time, otherwise i won't know you're addressing me.
the things you might immediately ask me (to begin the process of getting to know me) are probably trivial. i'm likely to answer you anyway, but i would much rather skip to the important stuff. in fact, this entry for that very purpose: to tell you what you need to know about me, in order to prepare you for potential emotional entanglements. i beg you not to judge me arrogant; in truth, it has taken years and years of soul-searching and lesson-learning (the hard way) to bring me here, to the point where i have the choice of either matching the above definition of insanity, or else admitting that i am who i am.
at first it seems so strange to me that i would hesitate to define myself. but then i remember that there are certain things about me that i hate, and that if i were not so set on being me, i would change them.
so please read this with the understanding that i am neither bragging, nor self-absorbed; neither overconfident, nor narcissistic. i am not attempting to justify any actions, nor am i writing this out of concern that i will be misunderstood (though that is a constant concern of mine apart from this writing). my purpose here is to offer you the chance to decline my friendship.
"why would i do that?"
because, apparently, i am a troublemaker.
"in what way?"
i love people; then, shit occurs. let me explain.
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this is the thing you need to know about me, before getting to know me: that when i meet a woman whose interests & personality & character cooperate with mine, and whose needs i find myself able to meet, i simply do so. with all of my weight forward, i set my eyes on this goal and pursue it as though it were my divinely inspired purpose. actually, that is just the pinnacle of compatibility. all it truly takes for me to devote myself to someone, are these three things: 1) a perceived need for friendship, and 2) a perceived openness to that friendship, and 3) female-ness.
((there are certain elements that could compromise this pursuit, even at the level of my desiring to do so... but they have shown themselves to be few and far between, and i cannot count on them to keep me from danger.))
sometimes i need to say a thing several different ways... not for you, but for me. this is one of those times. so here it is again: when i meet that person, i love them, on purpose, with little-to-no regard for the secondary consequences, ramifications, or potential complications. i neither expect nor require them to reciprocate; reciprocity simply multiplies and expands the situation, many-fold.
it began innocently enough: i believed loving people was the right-est thing to do, so i decided to do it. only, i wasn't able to connect very well with men. since early grade-school, i've just gotten along better with the awesomer sex. i'm somehow emotionally incompatible with most dudes (there are some notable exceptions, for whom i am very grateful). anyway: i found myself paying more attention to the non-men humans. and, as it turns out, women who are already feeling cared for don't respond much to my kind of generosity. not that they avoid or dis-appreciate me... they just aren't deeply drawn to me...
...id est, women who are not feeling cared for, are deeply drawn to me. or maybe it's women who have been dis-cared for in the past. probably both. whatever; i don't have that all figured out yet. i think you get the basic idea.
the bottom line is that, once i realized my crusade to eliminate un-cared-for-ness would inevitably cross my destiny with those matching a certain description (non-male, my age or a somewhat younger, hurting or lacking in some element of essencia), i did one (or more) of the following:
- immediately ceased all intentional caring for people
- placed strict boundaries on the content of my relationships with girlypoos
- turned myself in to the authorities in anticipation of committing well-intentioned but still reprehensible relational atrocities
- all of the above
- went on just like i always had
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honestly, i would be thrilled to develop a close friendship with you. again, i mean that very literally: as i consider the potential for mutual enjoyment (of a general nature; nothing specific), these symptoms present themselves: my heart rate increases. my mood temporarily improves. the creative portion of my brain kicks into gear. i begin dwelling on the expectation of good things, and no matter what degree of crappiness characterizes my life at the given moment, i immediately feel my own personal ray of sunshine warming my skin. i feel more alive. i feel fulfilled. i find in you essencia, and turn my full attention to it the same way roots seek water or certain plants turn toward the strongest light. i am neither exaggerating nor taking creative license. these are my concrete, tangible, only-slightly-metaphorical experiences, described exactly as they occur. and what i've described here is only a portion of what i experience.
the more i perceive potential friendship, the more devoted i become. i brainstorm about what gifts you might appreciate. i search my memory for things you've said to me that would indicate what you might need, that i can offer. i pay special attention to phrases or interactions that reveal your sense of humor, and from then on tailor my jokes to your personality. i ask personal questions, produced by genuine interest in your life, along with intent to verbalize my empathy, with the hope that you will not only believe that i care about you, but experience that care with your whole self.
i decide to care for you (read, but carefully: to love you) in the most active sense of the word.
"isaiah... not gonna lie. this sounds fantastic. where do i sign?"
i urge you to reconsider.
because i tend not to consider what will happen as a result.
"what undesirable thing could possibly occur???"
"what undesirable thing could possibly occur???"
perfect question... almost like i thought it up and asked it myself. here are some possibilities based on my real-life experiences so far:
- you could have trouble distinguishing platonic interactions from romantic
- your parents could worry that i'm a predator who's targeted you (untrue, but suspicion sucks)
- you could, against your will, fall in love with me
- you could become un-healthily dependent on me
- your boyfriend could become... well, a little upset
my wife could get more than a little upset(i'm single now, so i'm archiving this one) base, carnal lust could complicate our friendship(also being archived, thank the Lord)
- i could become impractically dependent on you
- our preoccupation with each other could interfere with our daily functioning
there are of course other dangers; i just haven't cataloged them properly yet. still eager to sign? i should hope not. but if you are, then perhaps you need more of my babbling to convince you. lucky for you i'm extremely wordy tonight.
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in another post, i expressed gratitude for those women with whom romance never reared its lovely-yet-dangerous head. i wouldn't call any of the above complications super-likely... just plausible for the general population, and somewhat plausible-er for women matching a more narrow description.
"you have a hilariously high opinion of yourself."
that statement itself is hilarious, because the exact opposite is true. the reason i come across this way is because i feel compelled to make sense of my experiences, and to share what i've learned with those who give a rat's patootie (or more) about me, mostly for their own sakes.
"what experiences? you mean like, other ones besides what you alluded to above? what are you saying, that women just fall all over you left and right?"
not exactly. what i'm saying is that whatever scent i'm metaphorically wearing (putting on, really, since it's my own choice), it seems to be popular with certain creatures. here's an example: in the days before facebook, there was a social network called myspace. it exists today, but in a much different form. back then it was the facebook of the world, except super dumb.
anyway... i would express myself there quite openly, and frequently. my personal life has not been very private since high-school, and that, friend, is a choice of mine as well... one that pairs very well with my chosen / given mission. yes. but anyways, this is what happened: women would write me to express their deep appreciation for the way i seemed to care for people. they were often complete strangers, two or three degrees of separation away, but they would recognize even from a distance how much i cared about people, and would then take the time to write me and say so.
this happened mostly with women, multiple times. i have searched in vain for a better explanation than that upon which i now strive to expound.
it's way past time for me to decide whether the spade is a spade or not (in my worldview). the correct course seems clear to me now, tonight, in spite of my dislike for it.
"did something happen recently to shed light on it, or to push you to finally define it confidently?"
multiple somethings. and i am thankful for them. i am thankful for the experiences, excruciatingly painful and (at times) extremely stupid though they were. i am thankful that learning is finally following loss. i was not at all convinced that it would do so.
i write this to you, future female friend, because i want you to know ahead of time what you're getting into. i write this because i can no longer, in good conscience, delude myself into un-expecting the next segment in the pattern. it began with a wondering in the back of my mind: "will this happen again?" and grew into a worry: "could be coincidence this time, but should i maybe do something to prevent it happening yet again?" and has now become a necessary fear: "exactly what kind of ethically bankrupt idiot am i, if i don't take responsibility / action?"
i am so weak, and so human, and aching with longing for essencia, especially in this, the end of a chapter, as i give up some of the most substantial, fulfilling, enchanting friendships of my life. i actually can't wait to meet you.
but i'm choosing to be honest this time, primarily with myself and secondly with you, that i might succeed at this other goal i hold so highly: to do the right thing. and maybe, in doing the right thing, i'll accomplish this as well: the preclusion of friendships that lie in cold, empty ruin rather than aging to perfection. and please know this: i am aware that friendships rise and fall like kingdoms, some flaring like falling stars for only a brief time while others go on for many years. my goal is not to make every good friendship last forever, nor even to keep a friendship stuck in a certain stage. rather, i intend to make sure that, when a friendship changes or ends (as they naturally do), that it does so for acceptable reasons, and not because i effed it up.
one last important note: there were some highly significant friendships which began differently. in very rare cases, they developed because a girl decided to care for me first. in others, simple proximity / friend-ish compatibility was the magic recipe. i recognize that these exist and could exist again, and i see that my responsibility in those is no less than in these other types.
thank you for reading this monstrous writing, / my shamefully bare soul.
when we meet, i hope to be who i am in such a way that you only benefit and never suffer.
please forgive me when i fail, and please encourage me when i succeed.
i [will] love you... always genuinely and with an innate passion, but now with caution as well.
for more reading on a sub-topic of this topic, and to get a look at my thoughts on these matters before i decided what to do about it, click this link, which will list all of my blog entries on a perceived 'grey area' between platonic and romantic relationships. (it will include this post; don't let that confuse you.)