There is Man, there is Me, and then there is the Impostor. He’s a fairly new identity, and he only comes out in one very particular circumstance and situation, and I don’t really like him, and for as much as I feel the end of the year and opening up my blog to friends and family and opening up my personal life more to the blog will create new opportunities, I also feel like this might be one of the last few times I get to talk about this.
Particularly because it has to do with a friend of mine. And I mean, who knows. Maybe no one I know will be interested enough to read all of this, but maybe they will, and I won’t have that comfortable mask of anonymity anymore. But I still feel like there’s so much more to gain from opening up than there is to keep this all private and closed for just one reason, one person.
I’ve mentioned before that my incurable addiction to love has in the past alienated pretty much all of the friends I had who were women. Either by dating them or not dating them and losing interest or trying and making it well you know, awkward, I really don’t have many female friends. That is to say, save for just one now. (That I regularly spend time with and see, as one of my best friends lives in Montreal with her husband so I don’t get to see her or them as much.)
But I’ve known this particular friend since college, when we met in our Public Speaking class (so much fun, I love to make people listen to me) and we went to the same clubs (Chinese Student Association and, for a time, fencing). So we’ve known each other for almost a decade now. Since then we’ve both gone through relationships and heartbreak, we’ve grown and changed, started careers, changed careers, we’ve traveled together in groups, had plenty of late night conversations about families and dating, and turned to each other for advice and guidance. We share much of the same interests and hobbies. If I need a second for a night of drinking, I know it couldn’t be any one of my friends but her. Exciting new restaurant that I want to share with someone who can talk ‘food’, her. Movies, constantly going out to watch new ones and sharing what our ‘must watch’ lists are and meeting up for the ones we both want to see. Aside from me she has the second highest sense of adventure and willingness to go beyond comfort zones in our group of friends. Recently I’ve been spending more time with her and her family, getting fairly comfortable and familiar with her brother and her mother, as we’ve gone out to see Cirque shows in the area altogether. Ever since college she and I have had this tradition at her expense. Whenever we go to a new restaurant, I always sneak away to tell the staff it’s her birthday. She gets so embarrassed having an entire restaurant sing to her, and I love watching her reactions. It’s made for some great photo opportunities.
So yeah…I think you know where this is going.
And I don’t want it to go that way.
This is maybe one of the first major decisions I make as Me, and not as Man. This isn’t about an experiment or blinders. It’s about not wanting to lose a friend. It’s about putting to work, in practice, what I’ve been so passionately and eloquently putting to quill and paper. And so I’ve had to do something so uncharacteristic. Yes, I’ll admit, more recently I’ve been thinking of her more. But for the first time I’m really trying not to do anything. Calmer, cooler, heads should prevail and for the most part, there is a huge part of me that knows nothing good can come of this, or more specifically, knowing her, and knowing me, nothing can come of it, period. Let’s just say her past relationship history will prove I’m really not her type. Not knowing really how to handle this, I don’t like the person I am sometimes when I am with her and others. I get jealous more easily, and unlike John Lennon, I’m not ‘just a jealous guy’. Jell-O doesn’t get jealous. It’s such a stupid and childish feeling in my opinion. And yet…we went to karaoke, and I got so jealous of how much she liked someone else’s song choices and wanted to sing with them. (I get a small sense of pride whenever she asks about a new song I’m listening to because she wants it as well.) In silly things like talking about ‘who can eat the most noodles’ I get jealous when she picks someone else. (In truth, I don’t think anyone wins at those.) When she messages me about seeing a movie together I get excited, and then disappointed and jealous when I see another one of her friends shows up as well. But then, I know there was no promise or indication otherwise. This wasn’t anything more than just going to see a movie. Yet I feel indignant, and I make myself distant and moody. I’ll sit purposely away from them because ‘I want to sit closer to the screen’. I’m trying so hard to deny these thoughts that a lot of times I have to make myself think of all her shortcomings and focus on those more. She’s honestly very terrible with time. But then, as a Filipino, so am I. Yet I know I am sometimes curt and brusque with her when she arrives. I have to calm and cool myself, but in the time it takes, I know I can feel myself sending off these harsh negative vibes. I create unnecessary tension that she, in her patience, lets me dissolve and bring it all back with some jokes. We’ve never actually missed anything because of her. I don’t like how I am when I’m trying not to like her. This isn’t me. And unlike when I am with someone I am attracted to and actually want to attract them, I often lack self-confidence, I feel like less than I am. I never feel less than when I feel myself in her eyes. Maybe again as a defense mechanism, that I focus on my own shortcomings as much as I try to focus on hers.
I can handle being a terrible person. I’ve been that before. But there is something about all this that doesn’t sit well, that unsettles me. And it’s that at times…I feel like a liar. An impostor. I didn’t write about this when it happened, but I did speak about it to my cousin, who I’ve shared a great deal with this past year. During the holidays my friend invited me to be her +1 to her company’s Christmas party. Of course, I was more than happy to attend, and that wasn’t just because of the free food and open bar. I knew this was just two friends at a party, one there to help make the other feel less awkward. But I also knew in the context, that I could ‘pretend’ a bit more than usual. For the first time in all the years I’ve known her, I got to see her in a dress. She looked incredible. At the party, I had more than just a little bit of fun pretending to be her actual date, and sometimes I relished the joke for more than what it was worth. There was a photo booth where you could take pics with different props and costumes, and I had fun posing there, with my arm around her, pretending. Around her coworkers and her supervisors I did my best to make her look good, being the fun and attentive date. I chatted up her group and got them laughing with my usual party self, I’d always very cheekily enjoy getting another drink for her when hers was empty. ‘Oh no dear, you keep mingling with your friends, I’ll get you another, boo.’ On the surface it was all just in good fun, but there was a part of me that did enjoy living that impostor’s life for a moment, but I knew I was lying, to myself and to her. I don’t like that feeling of always finding something when I know there isn’t anything there. I don’t want to always look, like this is some really badly written romance. I’ve mentioned that this month I’ll be going to the Eastern Traditional Archery Rendezvous, and I’m very excited about that. And I’ve off-handedly mentioned it to my friend, as we are both into archery, that she might want to attend and we could go for the weekend. I know I’d have a great time just going with a friend to make it easier and less awkward and at least I’d have someone to talk to before making new friends and trying to find new groups. But…is there a part of me that sees more than just that in this opportunity? And am I not a liar for hiding that. Don’t get me wrong. I am a decent and good human being. I’d never take advantage or take some opportunity that wasn’t afforded to me. But just knowing I have these feelings to wrestle with, and knowing there is nothing to make her think such, and yet putting us in those situations, I feel like a liar.
The best thing I can say I’ve learned this past year to apply to this situation is that the previous me would have been foolish and brash, saying ‘you can’t pass this up, what if she’s the one!’ Knowing now that, there are plenty of ones out there. I know that there must be plenty of women out there with the same or similar interests and backgrounds. I know that I could be equally happy with a great number of other people. And more recently I know that even then, there’s no guaranteeing that this type, this particular sort, would have led to anything more or less significant. I’m not fooling myself with delusions of destiny or fate. And a very practical voice is telling me a lifelong friendship is better than a brief glimpse of love. And for however much difficulty I may have in convincing myself not to feel for one person, I know it would be equally easier to find someone else to feel for. I just have to keep working this new muscle until it gets easier. And as I do, I hope I don’t keep hating the person I am in the process.
But man…she’s great. Hahah.
Man: 330 Loneliness: 33