David Bailey: All or nothing. Tonight I’ll be the super me.
Steve Dunne: What if the super you meets the super her and the super her rejects the super you?
David Bailey: Then it’s no problem.
Steve Dunne: Uh-huh. Why?
David Bailey: Because it was never you, it was just an act. I live my life like a French movie, Steve.
For anyone who knows me, it was a sign of the apocalypse. His criticism was that I don’t talk enough – words I have definitely never heard before. After a month and a half, he felt like he didn’t know me at all and that perhaps we didn’t “click” – we spent too much time in silence and that I didn’t seem to have any real opinions about anything. Basically, he could tell that, at times, there were things I wanted to say to him but that I was more or less looking at him with a “blank stare.”
In trying to be the super me, I had become my own worst enemy – a Stepford Wife: fawning, submissive, quiet and rather un-opinionated. And the super me was rejected.
I was trying too hard. I felt that by being quiet, unassuming, agreeable and interested, I was putting forth the perfect version of myself … except it wasn’t me. At what point do we become afraid to be ourselves – that who we are isn’t enough to offer someone?
I knew I was doing it, but I didn’t realize that it was having the completely wrong effect. I was wrongly trying to let someone who I really liked, get to know someone that wasn’t me at all. Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t completely pretending to be someone I’m not. I honestly believe that I am a person who cares about others and feels rewarded in knowing that I make those around me happy.
But I’m not a doormat. I’m not quiet. I’m actually kind of obnoxiously talkative. I tend to tell people more about me than they need to know upfront. I have opinions on just about anything, even though I hate to argue. I’m rarely assertive, though, and it takes awhile for me to become truly comfortable being an honest version of myself with others.
Learning to communicate is one of the biggest obstacles that couples face. I regret that I didn’t feel confident enough to be myself – that I was scared it wasn’t enough. While I am hopeful that second chances can be had and that this can be given a viable shot, sometimes all you can gain is experience … and hope not to make a similar mistake in the future.