Saturday, April 16, 2005

Anxiety

Urgh....

Yet again....

I'm not sure quite what term to use to describe what I feel, esp since feelings aren't very easily described. Such is the nature of the (American) English language, but realizing my language's limitations doesn't make me feel any better for not knowing how to address what I feel. I've spent yesterday and today exchanging phone messages with a friend of mine, a woman I've mentioned before, a woman that I asked out yesterday on a date. So first off, maybe sexual frustration begins describing what I feel, but maybe it's just general social anxiety regarding the male/female condition.

She called me back and, in a kinda nervous tone of voice, asked "what the occasion was" that would warrant such an invitation on my part. She then said, in her typical fashion, that she thought she was making a fool out of herself by saying that there weren't any romantic intentions on her part. Hmmmm.... Curious response there (since she didn't have to mention that specifically), but I know she was just trying to clear the air, as it were. I then called her back and left a message saying that I knew that the end of the school semester usually kept her very busy, since she's a teacher and doctoral student at the same time. Thus, I just wanted to meet up, hang out, and give her a night off, since she always gives to others and I wanted to repay her & show my general appreciation as a friend. Of course, all of those reasons are true, but, in all honesty, those aren't the only reasons behind my invitation. Such is my dilemma.

I guess I'm rather disappointed. I wouldn't be very honest with myself if I didn't say that outright. Maybe I was too forward. Maybe I read too much into things or don't read enough. Maybe I just don't want this incident to color/shade/darken the great friendship that we have. Maybe I shouldn't have even asked in the first place.

And by the way, she didn't say no, specifically. Her sister's graduation is on the weekend that I asked her out, so she'll have lots of family in town to do all kinds of things, inhibiting us from even attempting to "go on a date" or "hang out" or whatever. I guess that occurrence solves things in terms of the actual physical aspect of a potential date. What it doesn't address fully or even begin to resolve are any internal conflicts I might have over this situation. Of course, I could break forth into Byronic or Browning-inspired sonnets or respond with romantic cynicism fresh from the pen of Wilde. But I won't. I can't. I need not. I shall not. Unrequited attraction isn't really a positive emotional state in which to be -- she's my friend and we'll just work on that. Maybe I just need to be a better friend, not that I've been failing at friendship, but that maybe this will provide me further opportunity for social growth.

My church history hasn't provided me with the best skills in terms of spending time with women, since I was raised in a church culture that said that boys and girls shouldn't touch, hang out, spend time together -- all under the guise of restricting the possibility of sexual sin. Not that their purposes weren't with good intentions, but their means socialized teenagers (who turned into young adults & adults) into people who didn't know how to properly interact with members of the opposite sex. That's me -- oh, I'm a social person, but I always feel this sense of misplaced shame, that anything I say or do could result in sexual sin taking place. Of course that's an illogical and ill-founded reaction, but it's just the result of growing up in a fundamentalist church culture that had a very dim view of human nature and gender identities/roles.

My education has made me into a different person -- complete with better perspectives, better information, better theology -- but it hasn't helped with actually meeting/talking to/building long-term friendships with women. So, maybe this "rejection" will be very good for me -- I'll get to work through this scenario and come out lots better relationally, socially, and emotionally. I can be friends -- great friends -- and not have to worry with the emotional baggage of being sexually frustrated. There doesn't need to be confusion present -- friends shouldn't breed that kind of drama. Anxiety is not necessary, not very healthy.

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