Shakespeare for this one.
I am no Petruchio; I can tame no one. All previous attempts in my (old) life to convince a crush to ride to the top of the Ferris wheel for a quick smooch have been met with smirks of derision or peals of incredulous laughter. Ron is not rondavis, and Ron is not a playa (despite some people once thinking I was). Ron is — I am — an introvert, more suited for a quiet evening at home with a book than a loud party.
So it's difficult for me to pretend that I deserve the best things in life. Oh, I can natter on about my badassery and act like I'm bulletproof, but when I close the door to my bedroom and leave the cat to his own devices, I become very small, very private, and only then does it feel like I'm real.
That guy does not feel very deserving of much.
Last month I wrote about some of the things I love/hate about myself, and one of the "love" things is 10 Things I Hate About You, the rom-com with Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles. There's a great scene where Ledger's character tries to buck up the guy played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, tries to tell him that he can't just let the girl of his dreams walk away, and he says: "Don't let anyone ever make you feel like you don't deserve what you want. Go for it."
That, of course, is the difference between the movies and real life. I may be the shy guy with little real confidence, but because I've acted like a self-confident bad-ass for so long I have no Patrick in my life, no one to say, "Quit being such a defeatist. Quit letting life and love walk over you. Quit being a pussy. Go for it." Every time I watch that movie I think to myself, "Why can't I just take that advice?"And the answer is simple: I've been afraid.
I survived a stroke. I've been shot at, threatened with various weapons, and beaten to within several inches of my life. Bob Dole once yelled at me in front of a room full of people, and let me tell you, that was scarier than having someone shoot at me. I've had Bob Barker royally pissed at me, and we all know what he did to Adam Sandler.
None of those things has made me as frightened as standing up and going for what I believe I deserve. Rejection? Yeah, that's part of it. But only part. It's more about not wanting to put pressure on anyone else, not wanting them to feel like I'm being pushy or demanding. Even if (when) I believe I'm right, when it comes to something deeply personal, I'm too often the guy willing to be second-best so no one else's feelings get bruised — even if that means my own feelings are smooshed.
I must break this old-world habit. I have come to realize that modesty is nice but insecurity is ugly. Battling through this new landscape, I am killing some old habits so I can be a better man.
I deserve what I want. I'm not being pushy. I'm not demanding anything. I'm just stating an obvious fact: I deserve what I want.
I want to be happy.
Care to hop aboard the Ferris wheel? My treat.