Here we are at last. I know there were some intervening thirty-nine days in between. But except for a reply and a run-in that were bitterly short and well-nonchalantly-acted, and thanks to the undying support of my beloved sponsors as well as other friends, I did make it through, chaste and sound.
Well, I masturbated some, but no one's perfect.
There were a lot of other entries I had been working on, but none of them seemed to really find a voice for what this experience has meant for me. Beyond letting my hymen slowly grow its way back, this was about learning what my life is about without men in it. While I thought these lessons were going to be all super rosy like "I can live only for myself and be happy," some of them are a little more realistic, and at times almost as painful as guy drama itself.
For example: "I always want those things that are unattainable." Obviously, there's not much of a solution to this. Either settle for what I find to be settle-worthy, or attain and become quickly bored. This is issue is going to take a lot more than eighty-six days. Let's call it a life's work. But in short, I saw that my attraction to certain men, particularly men who on a clear day aren't worth half of me, tends to come from a sense of challenge. If ever a frog was turned into a prince, it was from my sense of daunted romance.
There's no really easy solution to this, but generally putting some distance between you and that person and finding other distractions (for me, books and picking up the violin - much to the chagrin of my neighbors) does help, even if it's as trite as trite gets. More importantly, don't let yourself talk about the person - something one of my sponsors was very good about guiding me away from doing. (Yes, I was on to you.). Finally, if you do hear from that person, and a tiny timbre in you still thrums in response, look at the practicalities of if you actually obtained them. In my case, it would've been dealing with a very OCD boy who smoked so much weed he constantly pondered whether he had early onset alzheimer's. Multiple times. Take that reality and the punch behind it, and delete whatever shout-out you just received before you waste valuable memory space pondering it.
"I need admiration more than love in my relationships with men." This one softened the blow of seeing a recent crush at an event a few days ago, who I managed - with a good deal of help - to leave without communicating with further than I had. I woke up the next day feeling sad and empty, like I had left something behind or unresolved. And, in a sense I had - there it is, embrace the pain. But on the other hand, if I thought about, what I really needed to know from the evening was whether this person still thought I was attractive, and I knew, no matter how short our interaction was and how much I put him at arms-length, that he did. Is it enough? No, of course not. But it will have to do.
However, the disturbing insight here is that my relationships mostly fail when men try to love me or involve me in emotional intimacy. I am not good at that, just like I am not good about wishing I never had to use the toilet or fart in bed. I just don't like being vulnerable and human. I have a real tendency to idolize men, now I'm realizing I want this in return.
In case you're wondering if you follow the same pattern, ask yourself: "Are you having charming conversations in the car with yourself pretending the other person is there thinking you're a bad ass?". Yep, you've got it too.
Note to self, learn to let myself be loved, but let me not settle for anyone who can't admire me as much as I do them.
"I want to stay single for awhile." I'm not ready for a man to be in my life again. And it certainly wouldn't be good for the man. And there are other things that I need to do and want to do.
As I told a friend, my biggest victory out of this project was not walking in a room and immediately scanning it for potential male prospects. There is a part of me that has let go of that, and left it to chance. Will it magically make me more attractive? I have no idea, another victory has been being able to brush of all advances with polite disinterest. It's also nice not to get all dolled up for the benefit of a man, but at the same time, I'd like to learn to get dolled up for myself.
Progress, progress. It's there.
So, in conclusion, this has at times been really painful and hard. I often get lonely, I often want to reach out and touch people. But that contact needs to be in many ways real and sane, not a product of odd fantasies and delusions. In the meantime, a whole life is out there to be lived doing a thousand other things, and I've realized just how much there is to do besides men. (Hee.) I hope to keep in that mindset, so radically different from me in a skating rink in the fourth grade.
And then, one day if that sort of love needs to come in ... it'll come.