How “When” Became “If”

Please stop asking me about my love life. It hasn’t changed.

I know I’ve been more active on this blog in the last few days than I have been in the past month, but as school gets closer, my thoughts tend to run a little wild. Lately, I’ve had this habit of psychoanalyzing myself just based on random (sometimes vaguely intrusive) thoughts that just pop up on a whim. It may not entirely be helpful…sometimes my A-HA moments have very little effect on my behavior. But I’d like to think there’s some merit in self-imposed breakthroughs.

I suppose one prime example would be dating. I don’t. I never have. Some may say that it’s a product of witnessing a divorce. I think it’s partially that; only partially, because divorce seriously screws with your head all the way into adulthood if it happened during your prime adolescent years. But I don’t want to blame the D-word for all of my issues. Some (see: MANY) are self-inflicted, or the product of dealing with depression and anxiety. For a while, I thought that I may have been Asexual. No, not like a plant:

  1. Asexuality (or nonsexuality) is the lack of sexual attraction to anyone, or low or absent interest in sexual activity. It may be considered the lack of a sexual orientation, or one of the variations thereof, alongside heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality.

I knew that wasn’t the case, because I knew that the attraction was there. Granted, I rarely act on my attraction to people, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. I can actually think of various times where I had an active crush on people I knew. And I know sexuality is fluid, but I’m also pretty confident that it hasn’t changed.

It occurred to me this evening that whenever people ask me why I don’t date, I get mildly annoyed and slightly testy. I’m not sure if it’s because they expect me to date (which is normal of a 21 year old woman) and the fact that I don’t seems alien to them, or if it’s because I don’t entirely have an answer for it.

You see, the problem with my anxiety is that I kind of just assume that no one likes me (romantically or in a platonic way), because I’ve spent so much time not liking myself because of depression.

It wouldn’t matter if I had 3000 friends and all of them sang my praises outside of my window, every evening, before I went to sleep. My brain would tell me that they’re all getting paid to be there.

Sidenote: There’s no reason why these thoughts exist, and there’s no way to ‘just stop them’. They just happen. They’re there, and they’ll probably always be there. The key is to take the time to re-evaluate those thoughts and remind myself that they’re not true. If someone tells you that they have negative thoughts, and you reply with “well, why don’t you just stop thinking negatively?” don’t be surprised if they stop talking about their negative thoughts after that. Because no one wants to hear “why don’t you just stop,” when they don’t even know why the thoughts spring up to begin with.

Anyway, depression tells you that you’re shit, anxiety tells you that a lot of other people probably think that you’re shit, too. In my case, the answer to this internal conflict is cynicism. It’s not a good answer. It’s more of a “well, I’ll hate you before you can hate me” kind of thing.

“I’m just not attracted to anyone” is a lot easier to explain than “I have been attracted to people, but I convinced myself that they won’t like me, so I don’t even bother.”

Because then people will ask, “Well why do you do that?”

I don’t know. Self preservation, maybe? I’ve only been rejected twice after coming clean about being attracted to someone. The second time, was kind of roundabout. I didn’t outright say that I liked them, but there was awkward fifteen-year-old flirting and then blatant avoidance on their part after said awkward flirting. I still cringe thinking about it. The first time was way back in Junior High School, when I wrote a note and didn’t get a response afterwards.

Apparently, people do like me. They’ve told me as much.

Somewhere down the line, “When I get married and when I have kids…” became “If I get married and if I have kids…” And this is all because there was a 3 year span in which my depression got particularly bad (not because some kid rejected me Sophomore year). I convinced myself that there was no real reason why I would want people, nor a reason why people would want me. I was too emotional, or other people were too needy. I was too sweet and nice, or they were just really boring. I was not pretty enough, or I was too pretty to be with Person X. Either I’m wrong, or they’re wrong. Neither of us can be right.

But as I got older, I realized that things aren’t always black and white. I opened my eyes a bit and began to realize things. But like everything else, Depression wouldn’t let that happen without a fight.

It was seeing signs in behavior or interactions that I’ve convinced myself I was misinterpreting because (insert self-deprecation here).

It’s thinking, “They’re flirting with me” and then having those thoughts swept away with, “They’re just being nice.”

It’s catching someone staring at me on the train, and convincing myself that they’re looking at the person behind me.

It’s this crazy cycle of me being cynical and a little mean because I don’t think people like me, and then turning around and wondering why people don’t like me even though I’m cynical and a little mean.

It’s me being really nice to a guy I find cute, realizing that I find them cute, and ignoring them when I see them in public…then wondering why they don’t talk to me anymore.

It’s me distancing myself from people I like (platonically), and then wondering why I feel lonely.

It’s ACTIVELY knowing that people like me, and then turning around and wondering why people don’t like me.

Relationship related thoughts that normal people have seem like delusions of grandeur when they come to me and my re-wired brain.

It’s depression at it’s finest: allowing you to feel human emotion and then punishing you for feeling it. It’s when you’re faced with facts and absolute truths that your brain distorts to make you feel miserable. It thrives on your misery.

Depression is like a damn parasite. It is literally Venom.

Granted, it doesn’t really help when only “certain types” of people would find “girls like me” attractive. Because how the hell am I supposed to know who these magical people are? No one walks around with signs that say “I love black girls with brown skin, glasses, reddish brown hair, and dimples, who may be around 5’6, and wear size 18 jeans.” In fact, some people tend to love making it known that they don’t like girls who look like me. So that’s another layer of doubt on the already unstable 12-tiered cake that is my sanity.

But that’s another conversation for another time.

The point is, relationships are frustrating. Friendship is frustrating. Everything is frustrating. And frequently reminding yourself that you’re completely capable of normal, healthy relationships gets beyond exhausting.

Psychoanalyzing is exhausting.

11 thoughts on “How “When” Became “If”

  1. culbia says:

    Yes😄I do it myself, psychoanalyzing myself, but feel that this can easily lead to an obsession with whatever prompted the don’t need to justify yourself in front of anyone,especially not your love live…

  2. mrgraham357 says:

    The good thing is you recognize and realize the issue. Handling it as best for you is all you can do until you decide that change is needed. Self preservation is the best place until trust in others is restore or you might open yourself to the wrong person who causes you to retreat even further. But I love the post because most people can’t be as real with themselves as you are at such an early age. I pray you the best on your journey. I hope life changes for you soon because you are too young and pretty to be so cynical so early. Life has a way of doing it to you over time though. Much love. ~Blessings

      • mrgraham357 says:

        Anytime. Just hate to see a lovely young woman missing out on so much of what is supposed to be the time of our lives, our youth. I pray that you are blessed with all the desires of your heart and when you graduate you will live a life that will cause all who doubted you or did you wrong to envy. 🙂

  3. Pheonix says:

    As you become an adult, a profound shift occurs in your peers (at least the ones that mature). Where you used to have to prove yourself worthy to be liked, most people seem to generally like each other until given reason to think otherwise. It’s the nature of professional relationships that seems to change this approach. There’s no benefit to mature adults to treat anyone poorly or even dislike them for aesthetic reasons.

    First of all, you’re a wonderful person. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be concerned whether or not you were likable in the first place. That aside, everyone worth knowing likes you when they meet you. Even in dating, choosing not to have a relationship with you doesn’t mean they dislike you. It just means there isn’t enough of a connection they want to develop a deeper and more meaningful long term relationship.

    Your depression and anxiety is going to make it difficult to form deep connections with others, but don’t let that stop you from trying. Even acquaintances can make a positive difference in your life. Sharing your deepest innermost thoughts is what your blog is for anyway! 🙂 Good luck to you. I agree with MrGraham that it’s going to get better over time. Just don’t give up.

  4. SallyMCable says:

    Whoaa..I really love this post…It kinda depicts part of me..only that am nt some” black girl with brown skin, glasses, reddish brown hair, and dimples, who may be around 5’6, and wear size 18 jeans” but some black introverted girl who doesn’t seem to master the courage to even talk to her crash

  5. tyronepierre says:

    I also think there is another factor you need to consider. No one really has a “type” that’s almost a myth…it really will come down to a great smile and a relatable personality.

    I don’t know if things necessarily get better as you get older? But you do become more accepting of who you are…which in turn makes you more attractive.

    Thank you for sharing

  6. Hellena Ajani says:

    I feel exactly the same way 90% of the time but never brave enough to put in into words ‘because of the response I might get from it’; so thank you.

  7. TessyJacques97 says:

    Coming from a person who has been through depression herself, I find it brave for you to word it so beautifully and to share it with people. I hope you find peace and the beauty within yourself, because only then we are able to realize that many others are seeing it.

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