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Thank you sir, may I have another?

I came to a realization today.  I think I may be a bit masochistic by nature.  Of course, I'm sure I can also be a bit sadistic as well, but that is another story for another time.

I don't know if I am punishing myself for some unknown, subconsciously committed atrocity, or if I just self-inflict pain to periodically reassure myself I am still alive.  Not physical pain, mind you.  No, the pain I submit to falls squarely within the mental and emotional arena.  For some reason, I keep putting myself in situations which ultimately end up causing me varying levels of emotional or mental pain.

Let's see if I can come up with a couple of examples, and unfortunately for you, dear reader, I am going to have to be a bit brutally honest about myself:

I'm not happy with my physical appearance, and I haven't been for a long, long time -- like since-I-was-a-small-child long time.  No matter what I do, I can't get to the point where I would like to be.  When I look in the mirror, I don't see someone I like.  I see a guy who is too fat, too gray, too bald.  I see a nose that turns up too much, and is slightly turned to the left.  I see straight teeth, but a crooked upper jawline.  I see brown eyes that are perhaps a bit too small, a bit too brown, and a bit too boring.  I certainly don't see someone that could possibly be appealing to anyone else.  I don't see the good things; I can't see the good things.  The imperfections cause too much glare to notice anything else.

Perhaps I put too much importance on what others might think of me.  Check that -- I know I do.  I always have, ever since I was a child.  Everything I do or wear or say is in the hopes that someone will like me, or think I am "cool", or witty, or intelligent.  I do very little in my life without regards to what others may think.  In a way it can be a good thing.  It makes me very conscientious.  But the flip side is much more destructive.  When you are constantly worried about what others might think, you can never be truly happy with yourself.  You can never really be free.  I'm sure that in reality, most people don't think of me at all, which is kind of a sad thing to realize, but probably not far from the truth -- so why should I worry about something that is not occurring?

It's funny, you know.  You would think that since I am smart enough to realize this, that I could move past it.  I can't.  I don't know why.

Back to the masochistic part.  Case in point -- because of my "issues" with my physical appearance, I find myself dieting on a regular basis.  I know diets don't work, but again, I'm not strong enough to overcome that knowledge.  So, I try different things.  Last week I decided to try an experiment:  I was going to go meat-free for the month of June, and try to eat as close to vegan as possible (mostly whole foods, no meat, little to no dairy or eggs either).  The idea was if I lost weight, or felt better, or my cholesterol or blood pressure improved over that month, then there might be something to trying to eat that way as a lifestyle.

So then I find myself trying to eat plants while watching shows about bacon, and ribs, and donuts, and huge, juicy, greasy, if-there-is-a-heaven-it-will-come-on-a-brioche-bun double cheeseburgers.  I sit here, stomach grumbling, eating a pear, while mentally derailing myself once again.  Now I am just counting down the days until I can eat meat again, even though I am fully aware research shows it can be quite bad for you.

Thank you sir, may I have another?

Since I am kind of "bearing my soul" a bit on this blog, I might as well not hold back, and worry about writing something that is embarrassing to me.  I find it much easier to expose embarrassing things with my writing than to say them in person.

I have a deep, dark, secret:  I love watching romantic comedies.  Hey, call me what you want, but I'm a hidden romantic.  A secret, closeted, sucker for love.  I want a great love.  I want that one person that makes my heart flutter every day of my life.  That love with someone that is reciprocated just as much as I project it out.  I'm not ashamed to say that here, but I will admit that I've been conditioned to keep that part of me secret.  I come across a lot harder in person than I really am, and I do that on purpose.  I guess it goes back to that insane worry about what others may think, and silly societal norms that say a guy should think and act a certain way.

So what is masochistic about being a romantic?  Nothing in itself.  It's in the way that I deal with it.  I'm lonely, and terribly so.  I have been for a long, long time.  Well before my divorce to be honest, and that was a good four years ago.

I don't go out much.  In fact, I spend most of my nights and weekends in the house.  Not by choice, mind you.  I just don't get out.  I don't have many friends, and you know, that's OK.  I don't require a huge stable of friends to get through life.  I'd love more, sure, but it's not a requirement.  Unfortunately we are adults now, and adults have lives.  My very few friends have families, obligations, lives of their own.  Because of this, I don't get out much.  I don't blame them, and I don't expect them to carry around a third wheel (me) as they go about their lives.

I'm just a very shy person, and it takes a lot for me to make new friends.  I'm not the kind of person that feels comfortable going out in public by myself.  I don't like to eat at restaurants by myself, or go to movies, or a bar, or whatever.  I'll go shopping by myself, I'll exercise by myself.  Anything else doesn't feel normal.

I'm not the kind of person that will introduce themselves to a complete stranger.  I need to be introduced.  Tough to meet people when you're on your own the majority of your life, and unable or unwilling to chat up complete strangers.

If I went to a party with someone and didn't know anyone else there, I would be dependent upon that person to create connections between me and the other people there.  If my party date left me alone, I would sit quietly by myself, completely miserable.  If they had a dog at the party I might play with the dog.  Dogs are easy for me to connect to.  People?  Not so much.

Second masochistic case in point.  Here I am, lonely and painfully aware of it.  How do I deal with it?  By sitting in the house by myself with the dog (remember, dogs are easy), and watching romantic comedies.  I watch these movies and I know they are totally formulaic and predictable, but I still find myself thinking "why can't I have that?"  Yeah, well, it helps if you aren't cooped up in the house watching television.  Hard to meet that special someone that way, idiot.  Inevitably I start thinking about the loneliness, and then I lament that perhaps I will never have what the beautiful characters on screen have in their fictional little lives, and it makes me really, really sad.  And yet, I am once again completely conscious of what I am doing to myself, but I cannot make the changes in my life necessary to find this happiness.  I just keep watching and fantasizing about what I am missing out on, and occasionally fighting back a tear or two.

Thank you sir, may I have another?

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