She dresses well, speaks eloquently, goes above-and-beyond her responsibilities, and believes in the power of ambition. She walks like she owns the city and she’s never doubted her abilities to be successful and brilliant in her career.
She flirts with the charming stranger who strides past her on the block, and she’d make you wonder if she was born in heels with her alluring grace. She recalls every name she’s introduced to, and she’s got a face you won’t forget.
And underneath all of these qualities, abilities, and beauty – she sincerely, fully, and ridiculously freaks out. Because even the most confident, most independent, most self-sufficient women in the world have a little bit of a freak in them.
Or maybe, even a whole lot.
God bless my ex-boyfriend, Mr. Idea. Between him and the last serious relationship was a long list of dudes who were anything but dependable and loving (Mr. Rebound, Mr. Buddy, Mr. Fire, Mr. Fling, Mr. Disappear…). So when he walked into my life promising (and sometimes delivering) the world on a shiny platter – I did everything but turn the plate upside down and throw it in his face.
I questioned every intention. I cried at the silliest of things he said that somehow, in my mind, meant something different than what he actually said. When he would go hours without texting (oh, because he was at work) – I was convinced I wouldn’t hear from him again…ever. I don’t even want to get into the metrics behind the “I love you” conversation.
Through it all, though – he stuck around. Our reasons for breaking up were not related to my “freak outs”, as he so lovingly called them. He took them with stride, remained calm, cool, and collected – and talked to me rationally and reassuringly. Thus, the freak-in-me got smaller and made less appearances as our relationship continued.
Yet, every time I would have an “episode” I would apologize profusely for “freaking out.” I would blame it on my period, on school stressing me out, on an impending deadline, on an imaginary disagreement with a friend, or on anything that I deemed worthy of cause.
But in all actuality – the freaky-me was coming out because I was worried. Because I was scared. Because I was insecure in myself and in the relationship. Because I was unsure and confused or frustrated.
And really that isn’t all that freaky – but just natural human emotions. Being a freak sometimes just means being me. So why did I beat myself up for bursting into tears, asking a million questions (and not believing the answers), or feel that fear in the pit of my stomach that I’ll “scare him away” after he promised not to leave?
Because I expressed these feelings, these emotions, these insecurities to the person I thought they were coming from. I thought it was something he was doing – he wasn’t giving enough or saying the right things or really proving that he cared. I was sure he had opportunities he wasn’t telling me about, that someone more wonderful than me would come around and steal him away, or that he wasn’t really as sincere and honest as he came across.
I thought my freak outs were due to him (and to the many other men who have experienced my insanity) – but really, it was always me.
While it is natural to have times of insecurity and times where you question and read between the lines – more often than not, those are choices and actions you decide to do on your own. If you play into fears, they will continue to grow. And the only defender against them is trust – which, by all means, takes a lot of faith and maturity to sustain.
Sometimes there are times in a relationship, in dating, or in “talking” (whatever that means, exactly) – where a discussion needs to happen because one partner is genuinely upset about something. Other times, like when we give too much energy to trying to make meaning out of simplicity – don’t require including the other person. Those freak outs aren’t caused by the men themselves (sorry, can’t always blame ‘em) – but by our own junk-in the-trunk from the past or from anxieties of our futures.
When these emotions bubble up and threaten to overflow into madness – that’s when we seek our internal counsel of personal-grounding or our external network of loving girlfriends who’ve experienced there own share of freak outs. Addressing the groans and pains that make us jittery and nervous is important because thinking they mean absolutely nothing would be dishonest to ourselves and not allow us to gain strength as individuals. Ignoring the freak out would be unfair and only cause the intensity to magnify – but keep in mind, that Mr. Boyfriend doesn’t always need to know every single timidity.
Nor do we need to label ourselves as freaks because even if someone thinks we truly are too much to handle or if they get scared away – they don’t deserve (and probably couldn’t take it) when we are freaky in other departments.