There's no good way to excerpt this piece, so here's the whole thing, minus the Radiohead lyric that gives it its title, followed by a few words from me.
It was the final round of my online dating experience that taught me a lesson: I am not ready to date. I think I already knew this, but loneliness and delusion had convinced my tender heart that it was ready to move past the depression and anxiety of the previous five years and start afresh. I deliberately ignored the fact that my choice of venue for The Great Moving On online dating, the most impersonal meet-and-greet on the face of the planet was evidence that I was unprepared. I ignored the fact that online dating gave me exactly what I wanted human contact but that I could take it only as far as I wanted without having to move past the boundaries of comfort I had built over the years. I ignored that this was my sickness, neatly packaged in a new, safe way.
What I learned is that I don't want to date. What I want is to be redefined in the way that a new relationship would define me. I want to see myself the way a man would see me, before he experienced my emotional highs and lows, my insecurity, my sadness, and my disappointment in myself. What I want is for someone to look at me and know me in a way I do not see and know myself. For a glorious moment, I want to see myself without the cloak of disgust and unrest that I wear every day. I realized that I don't want to bring someone into my life. I want them to drag me out of it and into theirs. I want to be rescued from the hole I have dug for myself.
My online dating foray ended sadly when I met ("met" meaning “talked with” and not "physically stood in each other's presence") a man that truly interested me. He was more messed up than I was, and that intrigued me. Here was someone who understood the hurdles of depression and the constant questioning that accompanies medication and therapy. Here was someone who saw me and didn't wonder why I froze up when certain topics of conversation were broached. Here was someone who knew instinctively that there was more to my answers than the words that I spoke. He began to point out my idiosyncrasies, those that were funny or cute, things that I didn't believe to exist. He began to paint a picture of me that I hadn't seen in a long while. A picture that I desperately missed. A picture I needed to hang on my wall and stare at until I believed the picture to be real.
But he wanted to meet. He insisted. And I got scared. And refused to take the hand he offered that would have helped me out of my hole.
The loss I feel is twofold. I fear that I missed an opportunity that I will never be able to get back. And I fear that the person I have become, discontent and regretful, stagnant and unattractive, is the person that I am and will forever be. I fear that my hole is my final resting place, and that Life will continue to happen around me but that I will only see it and will never experience it.
I am responsible for myself, I know this. I have the power to change my life, I know this too. But what they don't tell you before you embark on the rollercoaster of medication and therapy is that these "solutions" only take you so far. You may no longer want to die, but you also don't have the energy to live. You function, you move, you work. You get up every day, tired and weary, but you perform out of necessity. The desire for something better is there, but initiative is not. Medication and therapy do not give you the strength to make changes, and the secret to getting well is to pretend to be