Sunday, December 19, 2004

(Those of you who come here for light-hearted may want to skip this one; don't worry, the law and quiz-bowl in-jokes fill flow again next time.)

I'm supposed to be studying Contracts this weekend, but that really hasn't happened so much yet. I feel like I already have a little bit of a leg up though, because I feel like if nothing else I've learned a lot this semester about the mechanics of rejection.

I don't know if it's living in a dorm setting, or being in a tight-knit community of smart people in their 20s or what, but ever since I got here I've been in a kind of hormonal overdrive. Some people assure me that it's pretty natural in such a setting to form a new crush every several days, usually fairly shallow and prone to wane quickly in favor of a new distraction. That's certainly been my experience. I really haven't been through anything like it since undergrad, and possibly not even then since this is much more of an "everybody knows everybody" environment. The dynamics are really complex.

Anyway, nothing has come of these little crushes. I've experienced the gamut--sometimes the waning, sometimes constructive rejection (I've stopped short due to signals or evidence of significant other, been beaten to the punch, drifted into friendship, or alternately have just pussed out of ever saying anything), and then there have been several actual rejections. The rejection have been of the soft, "let's be friends" variety, but then again when you're living, eating, working, etc. with the same people every day, you don't have a whole lot of choice in the matter.

The latest rejection came last night, and it was as gentle and possibly even more so than the rest. My investment in it certainly wasn't any deeper than the rest, or at least I didn't think so. But right now I'm a wreck. I cried myself to sleep, I woke up and have been misty-eyed all morning, and I really don't know what to do with myself. I don't think that I'm actually taking this one harder so much as I am having a cumulative reaction to a low level of pain spread out over a period of time that feels like it's being focused by a magnifying glass on this particular moment, and my psyche is the poor black ant on the ground below. Maybe it's the end of semester, maybe it's the related exam pressure, maybe it's the December gloom and frost, maybe it's the summer job pressure and growing ding pile, maybe it's that big 3-oh looming early in the new year, maybe I had more invested in this one than I thought I did, and maybe it's some combination of some or all of these and/or any number of things I haven't even thought of.

I think part of it, though, is pure and simple despair as to where I go from here. Stupidity has always been my favorite demotivator poster: "Quitters never win, winners never quit, but those who never win and never quit are idiots." That's kind of how I feel right now--stupid, or as if I should stop being stupid. But I'm not one to give up on life, so I guess I'll just carry on. But I don't feel as though I'm learning from my mistakes--thus the whole part about not knowing how to proceed. I feel like I've got three maybe four things going from me on this front: I'm funny, smart, nice, and maybe you want to throw in tall. That's it, that's the list. If I can't make it happen with those things, I can't make it happen. But the list has failed me. The list is a good way to regularly hear, "let's be friends". I've got friends. I've got friends all over the country, and lots of them right here. What I don't have is someone to curl up with on cold Michigan nights, just like I didn't have someone to curl up with on cold Pittsburgh nights, and just like I didn't have someone to curl up with when the air conditioner was running in overdrive in L.A. I need one of those. I don't know how to get one of those. I need help. Help.

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