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The Juggling Act

The biggest fear of a juggler is dropping the first ball. Once that ball is missed, his concentration is broken, his rhythm gets thrown off, and all the other balls are likely to follow suit. But this isn’t the reason that I don’t juggle. I don’t juggle because I’m unable to dedicate my full attention to more than one ball. I’m referring to women, of course, not balls.
So why would I feel the need to write a post about not-juggling? Because I’ve been accused of juggling. Not only juggling, but also lying to hide the fact. It really, really bothers me. To fill you in, though, I need to take you back and reintroduce you to some people.
It started with a girl who would become known as Mary in a story I was writing. Mary was (is) perfect in every way except one. She has low self-esteem. Because of this, she is quick to find reasons that counter my pursuit of her. For example, I referred to her, in the original version of the story, as “thicker than the average Stuckey-chick.” This isn’t calling her fat. It’s calling her normal. The average weight of my previous girlfriends is somewhere around 110 pounds. Mary is one of the sweetest girls I’ve ever met in my life, and I think about her quite a bit. She is the girl who wrote the letter I mentioned in this post.
Sometime last year, Mary made it clear that it wasn’t going to work between us. I was pretty depressed about it, seeing as how I thought she was the bee’s knees and all. I dated about three girls after that, and found myself comparing each of them to Mary, and finding each of them lacking. And then, on my birthday, I received an email from Mary. We started talking again, as friends.
Over time, we started thinking it might not be so bad to pick up where we left off, and started discussing a visit. (She lives in Illinois.) The discussion clouded the issue again. Her hesitation started making me wonder if it was worth trying again. I wondered if it would be a big mistake. And then, her hesitation turned into MY hesitation, and I decided it wasn’t a good idea. I wish I could explain it better, but I can’t. I don’t know what either of us were thinking, and I really wish I’d just bought a damned plane ticket.
The other girl, who I will call Laughing Girl (or LG), is the one who laughs, and makes me laugh. I mentioned her in another post. Coincidentally, that post was written right after Mary and I had decided that it probably wasn’t going to work. (Looking back, I wonder if I would’ve acted differently if LG wasn’t in the picture. Probably.) LG and I kept things simple. There wasn’t any talk of a relationship. There was just laughter and good times and no serious talk. Over time, feelings started to happen, and the talk became serious. And then, one day after I decided that I was going to call her up and let her know I wanted to get serious, she calls me, crying, and tells me that she has feelings for someone else and that we’re done. (She also tells me that the someone else is my last roommate. Let me tell you how awesome THAT is.)
So, to sum up the above, I blew Mary’s hesitation off and used it as a find excuse to focus on Laughing Girl, who in turn blew me off and decided to focus on someone else.
I was upset. I couldn’t write about it publicly, because both girls read the blog. Writing about it privately didn’t help. I started to lose sleep. I couldn’t keep food down. Why the hell did I push Mary aside for this? It wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t a conscious decision to break it all off with Mary just so I could try for LG. So what did I do about it? I went back to Mary and told her that I’d made a mistake and wished that she’d visited.
She said that she felt like there was someone else. I told her there wasn’t, and at the time, there wasn’t. Yeah, there was a girl in the middle, but there was never a conscious decision to end it because of LG. Maybe I’m rationalizing it. Maybe I’m justifying it. I really don’t know anymore. And then, of course, she reads my blog last night and flips out.
In High Fidelity, Rob Gordon makes a profound point right before he proposes to Laura. He says that he kept looking at other women because he enjoyed the fantasy of not having real problems. He could imagine how those fantasy relationships would have only cute problems, like buying each other the same present for Christmas, whereas, in reality, he and Laura had real problems.
The relationship between Mary and myself has real problems. (It has cute problems, too, such as her talking too fast in her Chicago accent and me being completely unable to understand her.) I want to work on those problems with Mary. By publishing this entry, I have probably ruined any and all chances of doing that. (Assuming she bothers reading it at all.) But I just had to fucking write it down.
This is why I don’t juggle.

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