Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Better man

I am, basically, an angry person.

I'm not any of those stereotypical "angry" people either - except maybe for the redhead bit. The world just pisses me the fuck off.

As I've gotten older, I've mellowed a bit, tempered the temper, if you will. I don't fly off the handle at the smallest things anymore. I've learned some serious self-control. I've also learned to let some things go.

But I'm still an angry person, and I'm never angrier than when I'm angry at myself.

Without going into a seriously long story of my life, I'm a perfectionist and set absurdly high standards for myself, although thankfully not in every area. The biggest problem here is that most of these absurd standards have to do with relationships. I can be absolutely intolerant of any fuck-up, perceived or actual, on the part of a romantic partner. It's not very pretty when I am.

Jay didn't even really fuck up, Saturday night, and to be fair, it was more or less of a set-up anyway. As nice as it would be, he is not in control of the weather, and so it was not his fault when the weather-dependent activity he was treating me to as our Big Date was no longer an option when we arrived. I had also spent the entire last day angry at myself, for a completely unrelated reason.

But once I'm that pissed off at myself, it's easy for it to geometrically multiply, and spew outwards, all containment lost. Once the Big Date did not live up to my expectations or plans, things got very ugly, very fast. The blame, really, is mine, just as it has been almost every other time something like this has happened.

The difference, though, was that I actually managed to tell Jay that I wasn't angry at him so much as I was angry at myself. Sure, I was angry at myself because of what I thought of as his fuck-up, and naturally, being an immature sort, used this as ammunition in my apparently continuing quest to rip him to shreds and reduce him to tears, but I at least let him know that the majority of my anger was because of me, not him.

Not that it really helped me, in the moment. I was angry with myself for consenting to date this fuck-up again, so really, that said some very bad things about me, didn't it? Wasn't I better than this? If Jay was the best guy I could find to date, that said that I was not nearly as awesome as I thought I was. And as soon as people found out - both that I was dating him again, and that he'd fucked up again - they'd be more than happy to tell me this. The relationship would reflect exceedingly poorly on my character.

To be fair, for a large portion of our college years, I was in some part held responsible, fairly or not, for Jay and his mistakes. Jay doesn't go to class? My fault. Jay doesn't show up to rehearsal? My fault. Jay doesn't do his homework, pay his bills, manage to show up to work on time, and I haven't seen him for a month because he's retreated to his room and isn't coming out and won't answer his phone? Somehow, miraculously, my fault.

So my absurdly high relationship expectations are both a product of character and socialization, which makes them very difficult to beat. I didn't say another word to Jay that night, after I'd gotten as much vitriol out as I could before guilt set in, but I was still angry about everything, to the point where the words "I love you" were no longer relevant to me and my experience. I went to bed without him, rolled away when I heard him join me. But in the morning, I was curled up next to him. I had a brief spat with my body, the weak-willed traitorous bitch, and then realized that I needed to get the fuck over myself. In the grand scheme of things, what "Jay did" was minor - a non-issue, really. Something that if it weren't him, wouldn't even register on my radar as something to fume over. Definitely not even close to a dealbreaker.

So I apologized, he apologized, and we had make-up sex. And I went to work on Sunday a much less angry person.

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