Much of the fears I want to face have to do with things like public speaking, talking to people I don’t know, starting on creative projects (where I’ll inevitably end up exposing myself far more than I think I am), and heights. But many of these fears also have to do with men because this is what happens when you are a cisgender heterosexual woman.
Over the years I’ve held myself up to some pretty tough standards and have wound up incredibly disappointed in myself any time I’ve failed to live up to them. I’ve also just realized how much this was affect my love life and the consequent dry spells because I’ve doing the same with partners. I’ve been cold and unkind to too many nice people and I’m trying to practice having no expectations. This doesn’t mean some guy can just be rude to me or that he can be an asshole, but what it does mean is that no one is perfect and I can’t allow myself to be a version of themselves that I expect.
I’ve written extensively about bad experiences with men and I’m sure that for some men I’ve been their bad experience with a woman. It’s a tough thing to admit but I’m sure it’s true. Such things happen because I fear being truly myself in a world that teaches women we should be too stupid, but not that much, pretty, but not shallow, and to hold on to a barrage of opinions that in the end shouldn’t matter to the kind of men we really want to attract in the long run.
Too many times I’ve probably said no to perfectly nice guys that I might like in the end because I was afraid: afraid I’d be the one to fall in love, afraid they wouldn’t like me once they truly got to know me, or because of some arbitrary reason I invented then and there. My expectations were too high for me to live up and there was simply no way anyone could live up to them if I–the arbiter of Expectations–couldn’t.
And then there were moments when I felt someone was just right but I acted against my own interests because I didn’t feel good enough. I made them think I only wanted to be friends and did everything I could to scare them away because I was afraid I wasn’t good enough for them.
This is the type of behavior I want to change. I feel ashamed that it’s taken me almost 3o years to recognize in myself, and I hope that not having expectations will allow me to get to know people as they are and give them a chance. Perhaps if I can change this pattern within myself I can at least feel more at peace. No one has to become a romantic partner or even friend as a result, but people can be heard at least once or maybe even twice, as opposed to being shut out for a stupid reason. I just hope I can pull through when I get the chance to practice this new pattern.