“It’s all a matter of perception.” Boy, you said it.

I’ll get right to it. I’m struggling a bit with the whole perception thing. But that’s not new, to a degree I have my entire adult life. Here’s the rub, I thought that I had finally come to grips with it and I get a shot across the bow. Not life threatening, not necessarily a game changer, not even a “hurt feelings” moment. I’d like to consider it a chance for growth.
Because that’s what adults do.

Like most great stories, it begins with a girl.

I met this girl. A friend of a dear friend. To be exact, my buddies new wife’s best friend. I had met her at a gathering they were having. She was with a guy then but in what I thought was a fortuitous moment they broke up that night. A couple of weeks after that we became friends of FB and then began chatting and before I knew it we were chatting by text during the day and talking at night until we both turned in. Every night.
I asked her out.
She was hesitant.
But she wanted to get to know me, and I her.
She said yes.
We went out and had a great time. Being out of the game for as long as I have (I hadn’t been on a first date since 1990) I thought I did ok. I think she did also. It was after that was the problem. I pushed and I scared her off a bit. The second date was not in the cards. To be worse, she told me over the phone, that I had officially entered the dreaded, cursed, never to be climbed out of “Friend zone”.
Face palm.
In the course of the conversation she decided to give me some constructive criticism to help me with my “next one”, despite my still wanting her. Not the next one. But I listened . Among the many criticisms, the one that stuck, and stung, was when she said that I was “full of myself.”
Really? WOW. That was the moment that either denial or growth would need to occur. I think I chose the right one, I went for growth. With that came the inevitable question…am I?

I have struggled with my identity for as long as I can remember. It was as if the key to who I am was a carrot on a string and I kept chasing it but it was always just out of reach. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I realized that the fucked-up, neurotic, good at a lot but not great at anything, heart on the sleeve wearing guy that hated his own reflection was as good as it was going to get. So I embraced it.
Later in life, as I took hit after hit, some my fault and some not, I finally grew up a bit. While I was still the same fucked-up, etc., (see above) guy, I embraced it and changed what I could. I really worked on myself. I looked for the lessons in every setback, I tried to find positivity in negative situations, I tried to put others before myself whenever I could. As the lessons of Freemasonry taught me, I just tried to be a better man than I was the day before. I embraced spiritualism, my compromise to rejecting atheism years before, and tried to embrace my smallness in the universe. When I got sick I adopted a persona, that of a fighter and an optimist. In the words of some, not my own, I was inspirational. All while my ultimate goal was just to be a good guy.
A guy that means well, charitable, fairly interesting and occasionally funny with something to offer the right person.
With her, I don’t think I came off that way.
It’s bittersweet actually, it wasn’t a total loss. She also told me that she thought I was incredible (not sure what she meant but I like it). We still talk every night. I’m not entirely sure where I stand with her but I still enjoy it. And I can’t ask for a second date even if I wanted to because the world is on hold. When and if I ask her out again I suppose I’ll know what zone I’m in.
Either way, I’ll be ok. I just have the one lingering problem. It really bothers me when anyone gets me wrong.

You can’t undo it. There are no redo’s in life. As my late Grandfather always said’ “You can’t put the shit back in the horse.”

It’s all a matter of perception.

21 thoughts on “perception”

  1. I admire your honesty to yourself and your willingness to ask tough questions. Seems like quite a rare characteristic.

    I think I understand your frustration with someone else’s perception of you being very different from your own and I’m afraid it’s something that’s out of our control, at the end, no matter how hard we try to show the real “us”. At least as a first impression.

    However, you two still talking seems to give her the chance to get to know you better now. As stupid as it sounds, communication is key. And if you’re as honest with her as you’re with us, I don’t see how she can fail at seeing the real you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a work in progress, the self evaluation that is.
      It’s actually quite simple, I have to realize that maybe someone’s impression is correct and that maybe I am what they say I am. It’s hard to do but that’s where growth comes from


  2. I used to struggle with identity a lot, and a lot of that stemmed from my perception of myself compared to what I perceived that others saw in me. My best friend, when I was young, thought I was the most dour dude. I’ve hung out with people that think I’m a complete idiot. I have never thought of myself as either dour or dumb, but that’s the way it goes.

    Now I really don’t care what another person thinks of me (except in small spurts here and there, easily compartmentalized shortly after) because it really is just a matter of perception.

    But you know all that. Just contributing in my own way, with a bunch of words. Tom being Tom. Truly full of himself. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a real hard time imagining my friend Tom, whom I’ve never actually met but still consider a buddy, ever being thought of as an idiot or as dour.
      But if you say so. I sure do like the guy you are now

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with Sajde. We are who we are, and have our own unique strength and weaknesses. I’ve found if we try to be something other than who we are, people see right through it, which leads to a lack of trust. It’s natural to second guess everything when you’ve been out of the game as long as you have, but I think you should just be you. That’s good enough in my book

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s not about anything at this point except a blown opportunity (maybe maybe not) with someone I care about. Remember, this is my norms and a place to vent all things big and small

      Liked by 3 people

  4. So STOP trying and start doing – if someone can’t see and love you for who you naturally are then that’s their stuff not yours… maybe you need to look within more and love yourself first then what you desire will come along when you least expect it 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I don’t understand how someone can get you wrong? Isn’t it just their perception of you… how is that wrong? You sound like an amazing guy with incredible knowledge and others will come from their own internal world and perception because that’s who they are etc.. does that mean it’s wrong?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It usually doesn’t happen. But my first foray into the dating world was a big deal for me and of all people to not see the real me was her and it bugs me enough to think about it. And write about it. Maybe start a conversation.
      And thank you so much for your kind words, it means a lot

      Liked by 2 people

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