Posted by: Andrew Denney | October 4, 2011

Holding back

I don’t take rejection well.  I take it too personally, I think, even in the most impersonal of situations.  It is fear of rejection that makes phoning up bed and breakfasts, or even restaurants, such an ordeal – I can’t bear to be turned away. Sent packing. Can’t we just do this by email?  By internet?  Must you make me phone up and talk to you?  Must you make us both hear the disappointment in my voice?

It might be deep rooted insecurities; it might be the lack of practice of one who has failed at so little. Failed openly, I mean. But it is a fear that has stopped me doing certain things, saying others, and has provoked some fairly ruinous behaviour over the years.

So recent months have had a feel of masochism about them as I have cast myself into the twin amphitheatres of rejection that are internet dating and looking for flatshares.  Both worlds where people have to make fairly quick, instinctive, and necessarily personal decisions about acceptance and rejection.  I have put myself forward for interview and evaluation – acquitted myself reasonably well I think – but emerged politely rebuffed.  Nothing personal, it’s just…

It’s just that something’s not quite right, I feel.  I wonder if the people I meet, however briefly, sense that I am holding something back.  A stumbling answer to an innocent question.  A hasty half-truth.  A whiff, barely perceptible, of dishonesty.  It might be enough to give people pause; and someone else the benefit of that doubt.  I can’t fault them for that, nor fault me for not wanting to talk about illness the first time I meet someone.  It doesn’t seem fair that I have to do that.

So stalemate reigns as I head south to reflect on the end of summer.  After lengthy procrastination the first bed and breakfast I called had a space for me.  I could have wept with gratitude.

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