It bothers me.

Let go, my ass!  Oh come on, you have to have seen this coming, no?  There is no way an OCD idiot like me was going to sit back and go with the flow, just, what the hell do I look like, some tai chi loving hippie?  No no no…  I am not cut out for this easy going nonsense, I must have plans, and structure, and a list.  No really, I must.

You have no idea what I’m on about, do you?

In May I decided I was going with the flow, this as I attempted to turn around my dismal dating fortunes.  Woi…  I’ve managed to end up in what is either the easiest ’relationship’ I’ve ever had (not sure I get to call it a relationship, but that’s a story for another day), or the most elaborate pretence at an ’easy relationship’ I’ve ever had to pull off.  Seems that even when presented with a chance of achieving simple pleasures, I will somehow find the hardest possible path to get there.  Not only do I scupper my chances, unintentionally I hope, I then proceed to engage in delusion, denying said scuppering to myself.  I am my own worst enemy.

If I was a better blogger, I would now describe how I feel, complete with emoticons, and perhaps a loose GIF, but alas, my tool box has all of two tools, and none are particularly descriptive.  Instead, I’ll play you a tune, or two.  I know I’m always ranting about covers and what not, but this one blew the original out of the water,  even though, strangely enough, it’s almost identical.  Maxwell didn’t change too much of Kate Bush’s original, if anything he stripped it down even further, and because I know you don’t believe me, I’ve put up both.

I should be crying but I just can’t let it show, baby
I should be hoping but I can’t stop thinking
Of all the things we should have said that we never said
All the things we should have done that we never did
All the things that you wanted from me
All the things that you needed from me
All the things I should have given but I didn’t
Oh, darling, make it go away, just make it go away…

Let me give you the run-down of recent events, a quick summary (brevity? A girl can always hope…).  Don’t worry, despite the lyrics above, this is not a sad tale.  I hope.  It might come back to bite me in the ass, such as my tales tend to, but such is life.  Remember the guy I had a most excellent afternoon with?  Well, I have since seen more of said lovely gentleman, and it, he, has been pretty amazing.  He is…  He’s different.  That doesn’t sound very amazing, does it?  Let me try this again.  The man is intriguing, and sexy, opinionated, pushy, funny (clever funny, not just funny), and sexy (have to put it in twice), intense, complicated, unorthodox…  When I say the man is different, I mean that he is like no man I have ever been with.  Which is not to take away from men I have been with, all God’s creatures are special and all that jazz, all I’m saying is that this creature is a bit more special than the others, and by a bit I mean a lot.  That said, I quite like the special ones, the more special the better, if for no other reason than because they are seldom boring.  So what’s the problem then?  Apparently I struggle with unorthodox, and this from me, the self proclaimed queen of not doing things the way I’m supposed to.  See, for all my fancy talk of walking my own path, my default setting is still, well, narrow.  Perhaps limited is a better word.  I’ve realised that I get easily frustrated when thrown into new territory, relationships that aren’t the standard relationships.

I have to pause here to contemplate how much I have to tell you for you to understand, without telling you so much that it becomes awkward.  I’m not holding out on you, I’ve just come to appreciate the value of restraint, and discretion.  No one likes an over-sharer.  Stop laughing, I do see the irony of that statement, what am I if not the consummate over-sharer?  But that was then, and this is now, and I know bett…ah fuck it!  Just work with me as I dance the fine line between ’Aaaawww!’ and ’Eeeewww!’ inducing moments, yes?

You know how I keep saying I’m not looking for a husband, or kids?  I’ve been saying it long enough that it’s become my opening line when I meet a new man.  Watch the ’married with kids’ types leaning forward eagerly, waiting for me to eat my words.  No such luck, my lovelies, I’m still on my (possibly misguided) bus.  The flaw with my plan?  Making that statement, up at the beginning, is working against me, because it’s quickly translated into ’I’m not looking for anything serious’, right?  Don’t worry, you can nod.  Makes sense, I guess, except that’s not what I mean.  What I should say is that I’m looking for a relationship, a ’real’ relationship (not sure what that means exactly, but it sounds right), with a certain level of commitment and what not, just not one that will end up at the end of an aisle, or in a maternity room.  Just because I don’t see myself wed in the future, that doesn’t mean I want to be single for the foreseeable future.  I want a boyfriend, scratch that, I want a man, my man.  In theory that’s quite a simple concept, but in reality, not so much.

My problem, and I’m desperately hoping someone else here has the same problem, is that when push comes to shove, I often revert to old behaviour, saying what I think I have to say, for whatever reason, whether or not it’s true. For instance, say a man I’ve just met asks if I mind us taking it slow and getting to know each other before making any decisions, my reply will be, ’Sounds perfect!’ complete with hand across brow, wiping off imaginary beads of tension, followed by relieved laughter.  However, at this point my mind is busy working overtime, asking me, ’Kwani, this guy is getting cold feet already?’ or ’Commitment phobia? Again?’ and so on and so forth.  This while my gut is slowly twisting, working itself into knots, wondering how soon it will be before I can let my guard down.

This is my problem with age, all attempts at optimism are thwarted by the fact that you know better.  While the girl in me is always eager and raring to go, the woman I’ve become is quick to rein in the (delusional) fantasies.  ’Whoa there girlie, where the hell do you think you’re going?’ she asks, fixing a leash around her other’s neck, ’You know we can’t go running off with every boy you meet. What if he’s a serial killer? Or what if he’s your cousin?’  My older and more rational self is disturbingly reluctant to let her emotions run wild, seeing as how she’s been to hell and back a couple of times, sometimes of her own volition, admittedly.  She prefers caution to optimism.  Ah hell, who am I kidding, I am a complete pessimist these days, always have been I suspect.  I’m waiting for things to go wrong, and not just some of the time, all the bloody time.  I may say I’m not, I may say I’m a changed woman, but once a man appears on the horizon, I revert to type.  Safe distance trumps messy intimacy.  I would rather deny wanting anything more than the odd shag, rather than deal with the fact that I do want more than the odd shag, and perhaps he doesn’t.  Why put myself out there like that?

But if I don’t put myself out there, then how will I find what I’m looking for, that mythical relationship with a grown man, I’ll say it again, a grown man, who is not looking to settle down and reproduce?  Yes, mythical. I’m not sure it even exists outside of my addled mind, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, I claim to be looking for unorthodox, which is just fine, different strokes and all, but shock on me when I find said unorthodox and I start thinking in the most orthodox of ways.  I don’t want to be tied down (obviously I’m not being literal…), but I’m bothered by the fact that the man doesn’t want to tie me down (also not literal)?  Eh?  Dammit!  I can’t win, not with a mind this confused.  Right now I’m trying to talk myself out of talking myself out of what is for all intents and purposes a good thing.  I don’t know if it’s fear of the unknown that’s making me chicken out, or if it’s my good sense finally kicking in (insert hysterical laughter), but half of me is saying, ’Run, run and don’t look back.’  And before you self righteous ’you must get married, reproduce and join Women’s Guild’ types get on my ass about this, know that the other half of me is standing there, arms akimbo and shit, asking, in quite a harsh tone I might add, ’Run to where exactly? Si this is where you want to be? You said so yourself, many, many times. Bloody nkt!

It’s not that I’m reconsidering my ’no marriage no kids’ stance, I’m just troubled by the options being presented to me at this point.  This is not quite what I had in mind.  I had pictured a cross between muchos fun dating (I need to get out of the house, and for some reason I expect someone to do it for me.  Get me out, that is.  I know, very silly…) and comfortable intimacy (staying in the house does have its benefits, no?), but without the underwear washing bit.  What seems to be on offer is not much of either.  Is this what unorthodox means, I wonder?  Those are my issues, remnants of fairytales not yet erased.

When it comes to this lovely man, I fear I may be acting, or at least talking, in a duplicitous manner.  I am not saying what I mean, and I’m not sure I mean what I say.  Turns out my mind and my mouth are not in sync, and once you throw in my langa bastard of a heart cum soul (heart sounds too mushy, but soul sounds so touchy feely, no?), then things go awry, fast.  My mouth says, ’I’m just looking for something casual, nothing too complicated,’ which, just for the record, is what I’ve got right now, at least I think I do.  Problem is, my mouth is an adept liar, that bugger has been known to proclaim great love for Achebe, when in reality I’ve never read the man.  My mind, meanwhile, is screaming, ’Woman, what are you smoking now? Tell the man you want a man, you silly cow!’  You gotta love my mind, it feels no hesitation at calling me names, that baby can swear in four languages, five if you count my crap Kuyo.  My heart cum soul  likes to wax poetic, as poetic as I can pull off with my limited alliteration skills, saying something along the lines of, ’But I want you to want me too…’  Yes, it likes to channel Marvin Gaye, and no, I have never bothered to find out why, it’s easier to just ignore it.

Please note that while this discussion is being had, the unlucky bastard is sitting there waiting for the answer to his simple question, ’What do you want?

That bloody question!

Why can’t we just leave well enough alone?  Why must we go poking into each other’s heads?  I say we because I am disturbingly fond of asking it myself, despite the fact that I should know better.  I never give a straight answer when asked, hell, most times I flat out lie, even when I’m being completely honest.  It’s not that I don’t want to tell a man what I really want, it’s that my mouth often gets in the way of my mind, which in turn always gets in the way of my heart cum soul.  If I can’t be straight with myself, then how the hell will I be straight with someone else?  And why do I think they have it any easier than I do?  How do I get over my own issues long enough to, a. stop asking foolish questions, and b. stop giving foolish answers.  I am, for lack of a better way to put this, cock-blocking my own ass.  Surely that takes some skill, no?  No?  What, other people do this to themselves too?  Probably, we’re not all that different, are we?

My love child
I know you have a little life in you yet
Whatever you need
I know you have a lot of strength left
Give me your hand
I know you have a little life in you yet
Give me your hand
I know you have a lot of strength left

’This Woman’s Work’ is my go to song for romantic angst, it plays in my head whenever I’m mulling (read, obsessing to no end).  I realise it reads like quite a sad song, but it sounds like the complete opposite.  Like I said before, the lyrics aren’t a perfect fit for the post, but the song is.  It’s that rare combination of tight control and a voice that’s threatening to fly away, I don’t think I ever understood the phrase ’soaring melodies’ until I heard this man sing this particular song.  That tension, between rigid structure and chaos, that’s my definition of a ’real’ relationship.  In case you were still wondering.

It bothers me that the clarity I claim to have found is so easily disturbed by the addition of an unknown into my equation.  It bothers me that I can’t let go of my silly issues long enough to enjoy myself, despite abandoning my lovely lists.  It bothers me that I’d rather pretend to be the woman who wants nothing, than be the woman who really does want something.  It bothers me that I can’t, or won’t, trust myself to trust him, or anyone else.

It bothers me that it’s easier to lie than be fragile.