As Lance and I (and practically every other dating site out there) are fond of saying, insecurity is the death knell for any type of relationship. Of course, insecurity has many manifestations, and many of them seem like the opposite of insecurity if you’re not paying attention. For whatever reason, it’s a cinch to to recognize in other people. It’s harder to recognize insecurity in yourself, not least of which because:
- Who wants to admit something icky about themselves? Plus,
- Admitting it means that you have to actually do something about it. Denial is a small price to pay for the bliss of inertia.
Of course, if you’re on the prowl you need to be able to recognize insecurity in other people so you can avoid them (or at least do a little cost-benefit analysis to decide whether it’s worth it to hang with them). However, it’s more important to be able to recognize insecurity in yourself because even when you’ve found that special someone–someone whose insecurities you’re able to deal with–your insecurities remain, and can threaten everything you’ve built if you’re not careful. In the spirit of self-improvement, I’ve decided to offer you all a guided tour of my insecurities, past and present. We’ll begin with why I was so chickenshit in college, which (of course) is due to my high school (lack of) experiences.
The First Form of Insecurity: Honey The Desperate
When I was an undergrad, I was completely convinced that no one would ever want to marry me. In high school, I was always the dorky girl with the frizzy hair and bad skin who was too shy to talk–even to my friends. They were literally the people I felt the most comfortable standing next to in the hall. After a couple of years I joined the pep squad and became more outgoing, but my high school sweetheart and I never went past a french kiss.
We dated on and off for two years, and I remember telling a friend who dated him during one of our “off” periods that he was a great kisser–“open mouth no tongue,” I think were my exact words. I didn’t drink, I wasn’t allowed to ride in a car unless an adult was driving; nor could I go anywhere that wasn’t a chaperoned school activity. I was allowed to talk on the phone for half an hour a day–and the phone was in the living room. Typically I used my half hour to play Jeopardy! with my boyfriend while both of my parents were in the room.
(I’ll take “The Lamest Thing I’ve Ever Heard” for $300, Alex.)
Not the breeding grounds for a sex goddess.
My first college boyfriend was literally the first boy that I talked to, which was in my second class of the day. 10 a.m., Speech. He was so convinced that he was awesome that I, who had never been what I would call popular (maybe “high profile,” since starting sophomore year in high school I got around the not being allowed to go anywhere thing by joining every after-school club that would have me) fell for it hook, line, and sinker. He took my virginity in one of those narrow dorm bunk beds and, even though I got no physical pleasure from the event at all, my first words after it was over were “I belong to you now, so it’s your job to take care of me.” No sarcastic commentary from present-day Honey can possibly express how ashamed I am that I ever said that, or even felt it. But the only way out is through, right?
We dated for just over a year, though I learned later that he got back together with his ex at some point during our relationship–and just plain got with some other girls during that time, as well. But I believed him when he told me that if he didn’t want me, then no one else would. At the beginning of my sophomore year of college I met a guy who was actually nice to me and broke up with dude #1 (though I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t an overlap between the two…). It was when I broke up with him that I learned that I didn’t need to be desperate to get a guy. I’d spent so much time chasing him, and then when I told him it was over, he literally got down on his hands and knees, wept, and begged for me to take him back. When I refused, he asked for joint custody of the Chinese Hamster that I kept hidden in my dorm room.
(Hi, my name is “I’m so cute you could die!” How are you?)
Suddenly, I was presented with irrefutable evidence of the fact that he was not only pathetically insecure, but had hidden it so successfully from me that I never even contemplated it until I’d known him for over a year. Then, like a bolt of lightning, it hit me–there was no reason I had to advertise my insecurities, either! If he could hide it, so could I!
But since I wasn’t yet concerned with overcoming insecurity, merely hiding it, this was only the beginning of the next chapter in Why Honey Is A Flawed Human Being.