The Unexpected

Earlier this week I talked with my therapist about my man struggles. Over a lagging video call, I shared my frustrations about how I have not had a serious crush on a guy for a few months and how I do not know if or when I will ever desire a specific man again.

“It’s not even that having a boyfriend would improve any area of my life, because my life is already complete,” I said. “I just wish I knew now if I would meet a guy on February 8, 2022. Or at 3pm on April 5, 2023. Or if I just will never meet a man I want to date and fall in love with.”

“But what would you be missing if you never met a man you fell in love with?” she asked.

“Literally nothing,” I said. “It’s just the not knowing.”

After this session, I thought a lot about how the unexpectedness of whether I will meet a man who I want to dominate me date bothers me. Unlike a lot of people I know, I feel so content and complete with myself, my closest friends, and my various ways of trying to make a difference in the world. I know others who use romantic relationships to dispel loneliness or to feel as if they are “adulting” successfully (i.e.., following the heteronormative/patriarchal designated life path). I could not care less about finding a man for either of those purposes. Thus, as I ran to BlackPink’s “As If It’s Your Last” on the treadmill of my empty neighborhood fitness center, I wondered how much my frustration with not knowing if I will ever date a man stems from my general orientation toward planning and my lack of spontaneity.

Speaking of close friends my bff Bri is back in Maryland for a few weeks as of this week, here is a pic of us about to eat dinner in my apartment while we talk about race and racism, communication in friendships, mediocre men, and much more!

The other night I had a trauma nightmare that related to my issues with unexpectedness. In my nightmare, I worked at a sleek, futuristic-looking corporate firm. On my way to the lobby to buy something to drink I somehow noticed that my mother had been named CEO of Starbucks, which I guess was housed in the same building as my corporation. As I ordered my drink at the concession store which was probably a fruit smoothie because I am also fruity and taste delicious, my mother appeared out of nowhere and then, a little later, started yelling at me.

In my nightmare, the cashier and a random man managed to restrain my mother after I asked for help. Even though the dream ended okay, it made me reflect on how growing up, my mother would scream at me at random intervals in which I had no control. I remember how as a kid, my brother, my grandparents and I would always keep watch for when we would see my mother’s 2006 Honda Odyssey pull into the driveway, so we could warn one another and evacuate any area of the house she may come into contact with. As a child, no matter how much I tried to prepare, my mother would still fly into unpredictable rages that left me in tears for hours on end.

Seven years have passed since I left my childhood home. With more distance from my mother’s abuse, I am trying to remember that some of the best parts of my life have been unexpected. When I chose to go to my undergraduate alma mater instead of UPenn or UVA, I had no clue that there I would meet the two women who are now my closest friends, women who are both independent and caring, emotionally intelligent and excellent communicators, hilarious and wise as fuck. When I graduated from undergrad and felt devastated upon leaving my first long-term therapist, I did not expect at all that I would discover BlackPink in later 2017, who would follow up their summer smash “As If It’s Your Last” with “How You Like That” and “Lovesick Girls” in 2020, thus completing their holy trinity of pop perfection. As a kid I made it my goal to escape my childhood home so I could finally be happy, though I didn’t predict the specific forms of joy that awaited me: dying my hair pink to honor my queerness and match Rosé from the “Lovesick Girls” music video, laughing with friends about inadequate men over Skype and Zoom and FaceTime, and going on a walk to take out the recycling while reflecting on how I want to write my upcoming blog post about accepting the unknown.

I am trying to tell myself: it is okay to sit with the unexpected. Maybe a queer man of color who I will lick forge a healthy emotional and physical bond will come or maybe he will not. In some ways I still feel a bit activated by the uncertainty. I want to know now, so I can plan or at least eliminate some of the unknown. But unlike during my childhood, I am okay with not knowing, because I am okay in this moment. As I write this, I sit in my dining room with my pink hair, an empty packet of fruit snacks to my left, typing the last few words of this post, safe and sound.

Here is what was at the left of my computer when I finished this blog post last night! So you can imagine my apartment and such lol. Yay for fruit snacks, the pink highlighter and flamingo, and Appetites by Caroline Knapp.

What is your relationship with things that are unexpected or unknown? How do you cope with what you do not have control over in life? General reactions or feelings related to this post? Hope you are all doing well and until next post!

12 Comments

Filed under Personal

12 responses to “The Unexpected

  1. Yes, the random yelling. What was the point?

  2. I think (wild guess) you have this need to control as much as possible in your life. Maybe this is driving the need to find out if you will have bf. What would you do differently if someone (a psychic?) will tell you what you want to know? Would you prefer it to be a surprise?

    I used to stress over things I can’t control. For example if you’re job hunting, you can control networking events, dressing well, preparing for interview, tailoring the resume and cover letters. But you can control the hiring manager’s biases, the decision or the timing of it. So just worry about things you can only control or influence.

    Have a safe week!

    • Omg Matt that’s not a wild guess at all lol that’s spot on. I feel like you probably know my psyche pretty well after reading so many of my posts thank you! Really interesting question about it being a surprise. I have to admit some of my favorite parts and people of my life have been surprises so maybe a man will show up who can be a component of that. (:

      That makes sense about having a mixture of things you cannot control and you can control. Dressing well is such a frustrating concept because it often means adhering to problematic classist, racist, etc. norms yet I appreciate the overall example. Hope your past week was safe as well.

  3. Oh, man, I hear you, I hear you. “But unlike during my childhood, I am okay with not knowing, because I am okay in this moment.” <– this. It's so hard to reach this. I've had a lifetime often on edge for the bottom to drop out of my world again, and controlling things and keeping things planned is a strategy for not having that happen. Still happens to me now – however while we both got ourselves safe early, you have done it properly and fully, and you are much more self-aware and you are in your therapy and understanding things much earlier than I did. For which I am very glad for you – the only reason I mention that is I don't want you to worry you will be nearly 50 and still waiting for the storm to rush in unexpectedly. It gives me great joy to know you have saved yourself and see how. It gives me hope.

    • Awwwwww omg Liz this comment gives me so much joy and hope too. Thank you so much for sharing your experience so vulnerably, it helps me feel so connected and to know I’m not alone in my experience (regarding wanting control, unlearning the behaviors instilled by past trauma, etc.) I also appreciate your mention that it still happens to you now and at the same time that’s okay and you/we/others who’ve had similar experiences can still live meaningful, healthy and attuned lives.

  4. Not Bri Little

    omg your friend Bri is so iconic, I’m so in awe of your friendship!! ❤

  5. I hate uncertainty and not knowing what is coming next but 2020 has literally given me no other choice than to be accept the uncertainty. I think, for me , I’ve always had this fear of being left behind, that time is running out and I need to do everything now before it’s too late and I’m old and I regret everything. I think what’s helped me is to remember that there is no rush, I don’t need to make rules for myself based on what other people are doing and that I’m exactly where i need to be right now. I saw this quote recently, it’s kinda cheesy but it helped. It was something like ‘I’m going to focus on watering my own grass this year’ and I guess it’s a play on the grass is always greener on the other side? anyway yea, guess I just wanted to say I relate! 🙂

  6. Like you, I also grew up in an abusive household. I’m pretty sure I have PTSD as a result, though I’ve never been officially diagnosed with it. I struggle with anxiety daily, and I don’t do well with the unexpected. I like to know when, where, who and what. Right now I’m waiting for my Covid test results after being exposed to someone who was positive and wasn’t wearing a mask. I am married (to a man), we’ve been together almost 20 years, but neither of us were looking for a relationship when we met. I’m sure eventually you will meet the right someone and it will just happen on it’s own when you’re not looking. Personally I think you’re adorable and anyone would be lucky to have you, you just have to give it time. As far as dealing with things I can’t control, I keep my mind occupied with hobbies and creative projects. Journaling helps too, which is what my own blog is mainly for.

    • Hi Richard, thanks so much for stopping by and leaving this vulnerable and thoughtful comment! First, I hope that regardless of the results of your COVID test that you and those you care about have been as safe and healthy as possible. I like this notion that I’m reading within your comment about how it’s okay to not do well with the unexpected and that’s not something to feel shame about, rather, we can find healthful ways to cope with that – I’m similar with hobbies, creative projects, and journaling. The notion about finding someone to be with whether platonically or romantically in a way that’s not super intentional is nice too. Hope you are well Richard!

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