My forehead is ridiculously high, my skin too white.
My eyes are too small. They’ve been described as “squinty” by tactless friends.
My jawline is anything but strong. I hide it with a beard. All the fashion now.
I’m getting older, and still I’m typically not the smartest man in the room.
I’ve lost enough debates at my age to know that there will likely be someone at the table with a better grasp of history. Or a better memory. Or someone more likely better read than me.
My career isn’t terrible. But it’s not progressed in a decade as my true love is arts–music, writing–neither of which has won me accolades, save for perhaps this blog and my successful coaching.
I have women to thank for showing me the light. The ones who let me get oh-so-close, but not quite. They turned me into a revolution.
They made my bones hurt with inadequacy as they let me fall in love with them.
They left me standing alone at a train station, with a ticket in my hand they’d bought for me, going anywhere, just as long as it was away from them.
I have them to thank for showing me my shortcomings, for pointing them out in vivid detail.
For letting me bathe and soak in my powerlessness until my heart was pruned with hurt.
I have them to thank because I learned… that none of that matters. I found out how to no longer be a captive to my shortcomings.
I see her on the train. And as I go to talk to her, I don’t feel any of it–the insecurity about my looks, my past failure, my stupid problems and shortcomings–none of it enters my mind.
All I feel is the beating of my heart, the pressure build up in my chest. Muted excuses pop in and out of my mind at a distance as my feet take steps in her direction.
I get as close as I can, then stand there, waiting patiently. The man next to her gets off at the next stop. Crowds of people board the train and I move over to where he was standing.
A moment later, I’m complimenting her on her shoes. She’s blushing and brushing her blonde hair aside as she looks at me.
As she walks away voices pop into my head wondering what I could have done differently.
But they are faint, because I know I’m trying something new and I have ideas for next time.
And more importantly, I feel my body.
My heart is beating and my skin is flush. I am raw and alive from the interaction.
I am a rabbit in the woods.
And no where does it exist at this moment, those insecurities about my looks, about my status.
It’s all about my actions: the words I’ve used, the way I said them, whether I should have continued the interaction and how I felt while talking to her.
Inhibition is the enemy, not my looks or my station in life.
Sometimes I notice my insecurities when I compare myself to guys who are better than me with women.
Well, he’s good looking or He’s rich, of course he’s doing well, I tell myself.
If anything, I’m insecure about my abilities. This leaks out of all the guys I know who are out there doing this and doing it well.
There are some days, once in a long while, that I realize–wait a minute–it’s possible some women are rejecting me because of my looks.
I feel a familiar pang I haven’t felt in ages. What is it? Oh yeah, that’s what it is…
I haven’t been there in a long long time. The room is old and familiar, but the place is boring. I spent too much time there in my youth.
I fretted over my looks, wondering what it meant for my fate with women.
But then I go back on the street. Moments later, as I take action, I see the difference with my own eyes.
And feel it with my own heart.
The limitations are internal. And they always have been.