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Tuesday, 1 January 2019


I grew up feeling inadequate around my peers. I didn't know how to behave or how to 'fit in', and would often imitate other people's behaviour or try and lose myself in another person in order to feel like I belonged. My levels of social awareness were not the best despite my (often) pretence. You're supposed to learn how to act around your peers in childhood, and the 'lessons' I learned were far from fabulous.

So with all these feelings of inadequacy, I wanted an 'in.' Everyone does; I'm sure what I'm writing here is not unique to me. We all want to be accepted and included in some way. Around the age of fifteen I dyed my hair and suddenly grew a pair of tits (to paraphrase Tara from The Inbetweeners). I learned a new lesson; I was desirable to (some) guys. Guys began to really pay attention to me and suddenly I stopped feeling inadequate and invisible.

For about six years I've felt like so much of my worth depends on the attention of a man, be it consciously or sub-consciously. If a guy is lusting after me or calls me his girlfriend or thinks I'm sweet and wants to spend time with me, I suddenly feel relevant. I've caused myself massive amounts of emotional pain and humiliation thanks to this. I've made myself look like a fool in front of guys I've liked and freaked out ex-boyfriends and crushes. I've poured my neurosis out to friends and my siblings and spent arduous amounts of time obsessing over what some guy thinks of me.

It's exhausting. I can't even blame hormones because I'm basically the same at twenty-one as I was at sixteen within this facet of my life. I think a lot of young women, especially pretty ones, feel like male attention is their ticket to 'belonging' or feeling a sense of self-worth. There are probably all kinds of reasons. My dad loves me; I do not have 'daddy issues' in any way. In my case it's mostly about peer acceptance. If I walk into a party filled with folks my own age feeling anxious and unnoticed, suddenly some dude is checking me out and thinks I'm the sexiest thing in the room. Boom, I'm relevant.

My addiction to male attention has come before and after my addiction to alcohol, and it's a harder one to 'kick' because it's more flexible. You can put down a bottle and not touch it again. But this is psychological, emotional, and not so tangible. It's something I don't always notice or admit to; for a long time I didn't even see it as really being a thing. But AA has taught me that the first step to recovery is acceptance.

The irony is that guys have desired me, lusted after me, and even liked and cared for me on some level, but I've never had a man fall deeply in love with me and really think I'm special. I've never had a boyfriend for longer than a few months. I'm probably going to sound like a vain prick but I see girls less attractive than I with men who think they're the most beautiful perfect thing in the world. It makes me go crazy with envy, but then I realise that I have a part to play too. How can I receive love from a man when I've spent years viewing guys as something to make me 'feel' better? Guys do not exist to stroke my ego and make me feel good about myself, just as girls do not exist to be a man's plaything.

It's also funny that I've ever considered myself a feminist because in a way I embody the opposite of what feminists are meant to believe. I could be sitting in my room, weeping, but it's ok because some man will come have sex with me or cuddle me or hold my hand and it will be all better. Lame as fuck right? Yet it's how the cogs in my brain have turned. And no dude wants to be with a needy self-absorbed woman who clings to him for affection and attention. (Same goes in reverse).

So my message to you, reader, as we kick off 2019, is if you've ever craved attention from the opposite/same sex as a way to feel good about yourself, remember that these things are fleeting. Just because someone wants you in the moment does not mean that moment will last. It is meaningless. Sure, it can be fun, but if you're not satisfied and you need more afterwards, then fill yourself up with something that will quench the cravings. There's nothing someone outside of you can give to you that you can't give to yourself. They can help and they can be there for us, but they're not the answer. I believe that true love can only be formed when both parties are comfortable enough with one another and aren't 'using' each other for a fix.

And to round off, a poem:

One hundred and one damnations

Spotted him in the bar across the street
Looking neat; hands deeps in pockets
Long hair, plenty flair, looking dapper
Next dreamboat in line

As a kid, giggling at the boy in the playground
One handed over a love heart of suckles
Another sneered and grinned
Wickedly making my heart spin

Mr Man, hold my arm, I’m your queen
Gentlemen love Zarina
Curly hair, sexy chica
He’ll come before he goes

Many many many men
Have lain in my heart and den
Spreading their seed, soul or scorn
Twinkling my private porn

A nine year old knows nothing;
Much less a twelve year old.
First kiss, I stretched up, he bent down,
Said it was funky and quick

At fifteen curves started to show
Hair donned scarlet gloss
Puberty kicked its heels, I was seen
On the dance floor; little miss starlet.

Eighteen and in full swing
Charming his knees to get weak
Itching to climb into me
One pushed till I succumbed

You dream of a white knight
Instead you get the black death
Marking his feverish chills onto you
His slimy territory no longer mine.

Alas; beginner’s bad luck
For the circus spanned more kindly suitors
None sadly remaining for long.
Twenty-one, left wondering
If I could fill a room
With every crush, kiss, fuck and hitch
Holding my petite frame

Years of obsession blowing in the wind
Names fluttering around so frantic
‘Oh, he’s the one!’ – I cry
‘No, Him!’
My friends sigh at repeated antics.

Do I ever learn? Is this message received?
Or has it been deleted?
It’s time to wake up, fluffykins
Too much testosterone spoils the broth.

Yes, bearers of Y chromosomes
Are lovely, playful creatures
Their bodies delight, their jokes amuse
For sure plenty will be keepers.

But for now, time has taught
That its best
To let sleeping dogs lie.
Stretch paws and tongues, and hibernate
So I can detox, cleanse and be free.

Plenty more fish surround the waters
The tide will never vanish from me
Just give it some time
(simply sublime)
When eventually you will see

That walking through the door

Bending to kiss your hand

Will be Mr Right

Not Mr Right Now.

18th November 2018 

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