Commitment is a scary thing, at least for me. I’m not wired for it.
I’ve never been a joiner. Cliques always mystified and eluded me. I love the concept of a core group of friends (a la Beverly Hills 90210), the feeling of solidarity that only a crew can provide, but I have never experienced it. I was jealous of the pre-fabricated groups in high school, the actors, the theater nerds, the hackeysackers, the pot smokers, the punks — but I could never figure out how to fit in with them. I could never understand how to tailer and accommodate my personality appropriately. So I have always been the loner, the special guest star who drops in occasionally, who crashes the crew temporarily, but always the interloper, always out of place, always there with a temporary visa.
And then it was back to eating lunch by myself.
Other than the anxiety of not having anyone with whom to go to the mall, or with whom to eat lunch, or being routinely forgotten about on a weekend night, loner status suits me. The exclusivity of a clique always felt oppressive, my personality full of too many loose ends to fit in with a pre-fabricated group. And I’ve always been secretly fond of being accountable to no one.
When I lived in Berlin, I was a member of a performance group that traveled sporadically. It was not a consistent thing (we were such a large group that we could only perform at events with the budget to afford us), but whenever we did travel together, part of me loved it (I was part of a group! Someone else was worrying about transportation and logistics! I could drift behind and let other people make decisions!) but another part of me often abandoned the group at times, desperate for alone time, for autonomy, for indulging my own desires. Sightseeing with a large group gets tedious.
I want to go where I want when I want for as long as I want. I’ve been living like that for a very long time. I am wired for that.
So what happens when I date someone? What happens when dating becomes consistent and expected? When commitment looms on the horizon as the logical next step? When the OKCupid status switches to “unavailable”? Is it beautiful? Do I entertain myself with daydreams of weddings and shared living arrangements? Do I adjust for co-dependency?
While part of me is the stereotypical girl, full of desires for stability and love and comfort and consistency, part of me is terrified of those four things. Because…
Stability = boredom
Love = vulnerability
Comfort = expectation
Consistency = stagnancy
Or at least, they can.
Which is why I understand the chronic online daters. The ones who enjoy the perusing and the shopping and the exploring, because nothing can go wrong when nothing is invested.
Someone told me once that the best Hollywood project is one that has not yet begun. Because until it begins, it has lost no money. Before it begins, it still has the illusion of perfection and profitability. However, once it begins, it has the potential of going wrong. Once it begins, it starts losing money. Once it begins, it can all go downhill.
That’s how I feel about relationships. They are so much better in theory than in practice. In practice, it gets messy. In practice, the stakes are high and risk imminent. In practice, I am reminded of my wiring, of my reluctance to run with the team, to play well with others.
I’m a loner. I’m prickly. I’m a feral cat. I’m an untamed stallion.
And you’re going to have to break me to domesticate me.