Relationship in Jeopardy

This isn't really a journal thing, like a lot of what I'm seeing on this site. It's more of a cry for help, probably a bit pitiful, but I suppose I shouldn't be thinking that way. 

The old images of masculinity have fallen aside. Tough men are seen as overgrown boys without a lot of security. The smart, weedy fellows with the 21st century equivalent to the pocket protectors and the glasses are the ones who are now viewed as being confident and "worthy," and I'm stuck in the middle... fitting in more with the latter, but not feeling it, and trying to associate with the former, and winding up looking like the lost little kid that's probably the most accurate reflection of who I really am. 

On some level, I still want to grow up to be an astronaut, and I haven't entirely accepted that the kind of point of view which permits that angle of expectation is -- for me, at 35, out of shape and without a full college education -- unrealistic, even unacceptable. 

I have a friend. She's an amazing woman, with issues of her own. I'd wait decades to earn her trust. It's starting to look like I might have to. I don't know... I don't know how to be patient. 

She's taught me how to trust my gut, how to speak up without analyzing everything I'm about to say... eight different ways from Sunday. We've been friends for five years, and in that time we've grown very close... but our friendship has a ceiling that's been in place since day one. I thought I'd be cool with that, going in, honestly; she was so scary. She's a tall, tan girl from California, hot as the rising sun, with rings on her fingers, rings on her toes, and tattoos in some of the most interesting places you can imagine. She's part German, and part Hispanic, and she's got the best of every world in her. She turns heads wherever she goes, but can't hold it together with a guy...

Probably scares them off. For a lot of reasons. Her temper's as fiery as she is beautiful. Passionate... and angry, always angry. Even when she's happy she's mad. I don't think she could be happy if she wasn't mad about something. I've heard stories... store shelves pulled down. Friends assaulted in public. Scary shit. 

I was thrilled to have such an exciting friend. I thought, "She's so far out of my league, I'll never fall for her." And that was true for about... six months or so. In truth, it crept up on me. At the same time, she was sharing so much with me; she helped me to feel special, and -- intentionally -- helped me to find a more confident, slightly more assertive side. I'm more outgoing and content with myself than I was before we met. And I'm head over fucking heels for this woman. 

If she wanted, I'd let her light me on fire. I'd stand, still, and let her strike the match after pouring the gasoline. And a part of me thinks she honestly might do it, just to teach me a lesson... then hate me for it later, for letting her do it. I can never tell if she wants me to stand up to her, or wants me to just shut up and do what she says. So much of what she helped me to find in myself before is now falling apart. I'm scrambling to grab at the pieces. 

At the very least, it's taught me that I'm not happy with myself, by myself, on my own. I'm sick of my life as it is. I need change, but I'm unsure of where to go or how to find it. There's not a lot of opportunity in my area -- and while I've "started over" before in the sense of moving home with my parents and having to find a new job, I've never really... "started over." I've never moved halfway across the country, established myself anew, and had to make new friends out of nowhere. I've never comfortably shut the door on a part of my life that's gone by, and still felt secure about myself as a person, capable of making a fresh start. 

I dunno. Shit, I could've summed up this whole post with those two words. I just don't know.

User Comments
Anon-1

I don't mean this to be offensive. I honestly believe that this statement applies to most everybody. It seems like you've got an aspect of your life in which you never "developed" out of your teenage years. For some of us, it's money-handling. For others, it's personal relationships, or something else. In your case I'd guess relationships, and since you feel like you "should" understand them by now, you feel left behind by society's expectations. 

Take a deep breath. Step back... and look at your feelings for this person. Also, look at how she treats you (I won't jump to conclusions). Just, look at it all really hard, and try to decide what's a healthy degree of attachment. Then stick to that, whatever other people say. Always be who you are, and treat her honestly.

Anon-2

Your friend sounds amazing, like someone I once knew. There are probably millions of people just like that, but each one of them feels like they've got to be the only one around. They're so uniquely -them-, but it's important to remember that this can cover for just as much insecurity as any other approach. In the end, we're all pretty unsure of what the fuck we're doing. Give her as much patience as you can; if you run out, don't sweat it. There are more people out there with whom you'd get along with just as well.

Anon-3

I don't envy you this situation. I have friends who are attracted to what many would dub "crazy chicks" and they go through so much heartache trying to -fix- these qualities that they're supposedly drawn to that it honestly leaves me worried sometimes. The best advice I can offer, if that's okay, is "be yourself," and try to hang on to the positive stuff she's taught you -- whatever happens. 

Your friend sounds a lot like mine, the one giving me the advice on gun ownership (or who just gave it to me, rather). She also helped me to come to appreciate myself more over time. Try to keep a grip on that, whatever happens, but I hope for the best for the two of you. People put down passionate individuals far too often; "if she's hurting you, she's not right for you." Well, shit. Fire hurts, but we wouldn't have gotten very far without it; sounds funny coming from me to someone else, but "life involves pain." I don't think avoiding potentially hurtful situations is the answer. 

Anon-4

It sounds to me like she tried to "fix you" and didn't like what she got. I'm going to go against the grain here and suggest that SHE isn't worth YOUR time... not "inherently" or "because she's crazy," but because I get the sense she doesn't appreciate you on the same level that you do her. Make it her loss, and move on; if she decides she made a mistake, she'll find you.