I've been getting hit on a lot lately. A few weeks ago, it was this twenty-something punk rock girl working at Jiffy Lube saying how my wife was such a lucky woman because I was so hawt. Last week, it was a dusky MILF who told me point blank that she was sick of dating and we should fuck. This turn of events isn’t just flattering. It’s shocking! I’m well over 40 years old and this has never happened to me, not ever. It’s making me reconsider the assumptions I’d made long ago.
When new people meet me they often ask if we’ve met before, my extremely average looks making me vaguely familiar. On the down side, anytime a suspected child molester is on the loose it sounds like me because I am a 5’10” 30-40 year old white male with an average build, brown hair and brown eyes. Point being, it’s not my dreamy good looks that makes me highly attractive to women all of the sudden. It’s my attitude.
The punk rock girl even said so. She was attracted to my confidence although what she’d picked up on wasn’t exactly that. It’s my profound happiness. I’m lucky enough to do what I love and love what I do; it feels like I’m accomplishing something important.
When you set yourself on a path of good work you’re going to give off good energy. Try it.
Of course, this wasn’t always the case for me. For thirty-plus years I suffered through crippling depression and a profound alienation that lead me to thoughts of suicide. As you might imagine, I did not get hit on during these years, a period which began in adolescence. Depression distorts the entire world. I interpreted all my perceptions through the prism of depression and those interpretations led me to the beliefs I've never reconsidered until now. Why should I?
In the past, I refused to see my unhappiness as a function of internal dysfunction. No, it was this crazy fucked-up world making me unhappy I didn’t see my loneliness as a symptom of plunging mental health. All girls were cold and aloof. Me? I was fine. They were stuck-up and that’s why they hated me. The legacy of my three-decade-long depression made these ideas hard to break away from. In fact, I could never understand how or why my wife of 15 years found me attractive. So, I discounted her insights into my true character and figured she wanted me around for other, much more practical reasons like killing spiders and taking out the trash.
Except my external reality is contradicting my previous delusions in such a stark way I’m forced to rethink the negative assumptions of the past. My new status as a hot piece of ass forces me to reframe and all those prior failures to connect. Was my lifetime of isolation and dissatisfaction less tied to the external world and more tied to my internal state of mind? Could it be possible that the opposite sex wasn’t united against me in some solemn oath of disdain? Had they detected my profound sadness and dysfunction just as the women today detect my joy?
The lies I told myself before blamed everyone else, and certainly, there are people to blame. Namely, the child rapist who abducted and sexually assaulted me when I was just seven. (Take your inspiration porn about the struggle making you stronger and shove it up your ass. There is no silver lining to child molestation and if you think there is, then I’d invite you to go out and get raped for yourself. Then you can tell me how strong and empowered you feel.) But pointing the finger of blame all those years didn't get me anywhere. I got where I am today by accepting responsibility for my self. I've found happiness because I had the courage to act.
First, I found a doctor and we indentified the right medication to stabilize my mood. Next I found a regular therapist who helps me to untie my knot of distorted, depressive thinking.
Now I’m unpacking the old, ancient lies and realizing why no one wanted me before.
This isn’t simply a self-congradulatory meditation on why I'm so great all of a sudden. It’s an invitation for you, the reader, to reconsider those quiet assumptions that go unexamined, often times for years. If you see yourself in these paragraphs, if you find yourself blaming the world for your unhappiness, you'll benefit from unpacking those beliefs. Unwrap all of your underlying assumptions like sandwiches at a picnic. Spread them out across your blanket of consciousness and really look at them. Decide if these negative beliefs are truly serving you and then decide what you're going to do about it.
The first step in being happy and healthy is acknowledging that you have the power to act. You are in control, no one else. Some people don’t believe (or don't want to believe) they have that power. Some people are sure they can't be happy, that they’ll never seem attractive. I was sure of those things. Now I’m Don feaking Juan. How come? Because I am in control of my life and my emotions, and I keep doing the work to change my life. Sometimes the difference is simply having the courage to act. The rest will follow.