Saturday, September 1, 2007

If Only....

It's going to be past two by the time I post this blog, which means nothing good can come of it.

Oh well.


If only I were about four inches taller and thin/ripped, the women would be lining up.

This is what I think on what I would probably call a fairly frequent basis. Sometimes, when I'm trying to be more realistic, I'm willing to drop the 4 inches taller thing, since that, at least, is out of my control.

My thought is this: I have an incredible personality. Everyone, I mean EVERYONE, likes me. I'm pleasant. I'm outgoing. I network because I enjoy networking. If you put my personality inside the body of some greek god, that man would be could probably be king of the world.

Anyway, I found myself challenging that thought today. It was an odd experience. Not an incredibly odd experience, as I tend to spend my off time challenging my own notions, trying to perfect the imperfect beast that is NJ. No, I'd say it was only an odd experience.

By the way, if you haven't already guessed, this is going to be an introspective blog entry. Sign in next week for more comedy.

Autumn started today. Not officially, of course. Officially autumn doesn't start for a while. It's just that in my mind autumn begins with the first college football game of the year. That's one of those rules of the universe that may not be denied.

With autumn comes a special season. A friend once had the theory that couples get together in autumn, because people don't like being cold and lonely. The theory was slightly deeper than that, but only barely. The thing is, I actually like the theory. The world changes in autumn. Sure, there's the leaf thing, but that's only one visual cue.

The air changes. Everything becomes crisp. New possibilities intrude themselves upon our senses. And for some reason we all finding ourselves getting lonely. As much as I enjoy the strong emotions that I associate with autumn, I do envy the married and the coupled of the world.

Today I went to a football. We won. That's not the interesting part. The interesting part is all about what happened before and after the game. Have you ever seen The Family Man with Nicolas Cage? No? Yes? It doesn't matter, except you might catch the following reference.

I got a Glimpse today. I saw what my life might have been like, had I not chosen to live in Lenexa, and had I not decided to start school in the summer. It was a strange experience. I felt like I was living the life of some alternate dimension Nathan. I felt a Sliding Doors moment. I would not have been overwhelmed had someone said, "It's like what those Monty Python boys said." "What, always look on the brighter side of life?" "No, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition."

Tonight I ran with a crew that fit my sensibilities. They were all nerds, but, at the same time, were friendly and chatty and had no problem talking to girls. They were the kind of people that I always wished Triangle had been. And I got the sense that, if things had been different, these would have been my law school friends.

If I haven't said this before, I'll say it now, Law School is like high school. Each class consists of about 150 people. Everyone knows each other. Everyone runs in their own cliques. There is this sense that talk among cliques is welcome and even encouraged, but breaking down each clique to form new ones is practically impossible.

Like I said, high school.

Over the past two days, I've run with several of these cliques. I've hung with the laid back B-schoolers. I spent time with the party crowd. I've seen the cheerleader crew, the quiet girl crew, and even the Iowan girls. Yeah, that's a group too. And, finally, as mentioned, I spent time with the party nerd clan. I imagine one day they'll be better known as the local politicians.

In each group I knew I didn't belong. Each one was happy to have me along, because I really am a nice guy, but that was the trick. It was each group including me as an outsider.

I've come to realize, after this whirlwind two days, that that is really who I am right now. I'm the outsider. My closest law school friends are all married and don't need me in their social support group, because they all have significant others who perform the job of support group quite admirably.

It was with this realization that I came to challenge my supposition. "Getting the girl" takes patience and effort and a single-minded drive to exclude your friends.

I'm an outsider because I don't behave that way. I'm all inclusive, all the time.

But it's a little bit more than that. Underneath it all, behind that guy who is friendly and smiles and is well liked because he likes everyone, lies a nervous, introverted kid who is afraid to open up and let everyone see... what? Not my flaws. I proudly display those, often humorously and to great effect. Not my smarts and not my opinions. Those I also wave about.

I have to think that everyone has one quality that they are afraid to bring into the open. They hide it behind an impenetrable door, and, when another person sees it, they feel naked.

As dumb as this will sound, for me that thing I so desperately hide is emotion. That's it. I'm afraid to let people see that part of me that I can't control, so I mask it under steel and hide it in twinkling eyes and an open mouthed grin.

I'm afraid to say I love you. I'm afraid to show anger or sadness. At times it comes out, if rarely, and in those moments I'm dreadfully embarrassed and ashamed. Then I worry that people will see it and not like me, or feel uncomfortable around me.

So I put it back away. I put up my wall. I show the game face and don't let people in.

Eventually, over enough time, I let some of these defenses slip on purpose. When I feel comfortable enough around another person, I start to let them in, a little at a time. But, being such a nervous guy, I practically always need for the other person to make the first move.

Which is why I guess I'm wrong about women. Even if I were six foot four with a body sculpted like a male model I'd still have problems. Men are supposed to make the first move and be adventuresome and always elevate the relationship to the next level, both physically and emotionally, and that just isn't what I do.

I'm nervous. I'm interverted. I hide behind my wall. I flit from group to group.

It's been about an hour since I started writing, and I guess I've gotten my point across. If you've managed to make it to this point, I congratulate you. Listening to people belly-ache about their problems can really grow dull after enough time, and I'm sure I've taken more than enough from all of you loyal readers.

next time: why talking about money is sexy

note: You'll find I rarely keep my "next time" promises.

1 comment:

Kristi said...

This, dear friend, is an excellent post. And very introspective. I quite enjoyed it and think you may have stumbled upon something. These introspective moments I've found are generally a sign that we're about to grow some more. Neat.