Why I Don't Trust Anybody

Wed Aug 06 2003 11:40AM -0600

Might as well write this down while it's in my head. I'm currently just listening to a bunch of mp3s sitting on my hard drive as I prune my library after a psync mishap, but that scarcely matters.

As I've said, the constant commuting has given me far too much time to analyze what exactly is wrong with me. (And that's really part of it, the fact that I keep thinking there's something wrong with me. While it might be true from a third person perspective, I think I have already thoroughly demonstrated that believing you suck as a human being is ultimately incompatible with life.)

It honestly has never dawned on me until now that I have some very serious trust issues, which really prevent me developing relationships to the fullest. Not just Relationshipsâ„¢ but friendships and relationships with family members. I mean, obviously, given that my only real Relationshipâ„¢ ended quite messily (in what seems like a lifetime agoâ€â€I obviously exaggerate, but to say a decade is honestly not that far off the mark) this is not surprising. When someone declares unconditional love to you and then goes ahead and sleeps with someone else, I mean, hell, it doesn't exactly do much to affirm your faith in humanity. But there is, really, more to it than that. There was that time in high school that one of my so-called friends told everyone that my girlfriend-at-the-time was screwing around on me with my oldest friend, so I ended up not hanging out with anybody in my last semester of high school. Then there was the clique of guys in elementary school who often times despised me. I can pull out all sorts of theories from my ass: because I was a nerd, I sucked at kickball, and I really wasn't into what they were into. In college, almost default, I ended up on the periphery of the Filipino cliques (which I've always been wary about anyway, so no surprise), and I know that a lot this was my own fault, in terms of perception, and in terms of my inability to reach out, but sometimes I even felt on the periphery of the periphery.

But I think (WARNING: I am so pulling this out of my ass, it's a wonder that toxic fumes aren't emanating from the screen) that a lot of it has to do with the mild social instability permeating my childhood. As I've said, at the time, the fate of my parents' marriage was very much up for grabs.

I think this is when I learned that people who say they love you, who might actually even do love you, will still do really, really fucked up things to you. It sucks, and in an ideal world, it would never happen, but here we are. This is when I learned my favorite coping strategy taught to me by my dad: to run away from problems. (My mind drifts to that Ben Folds Five song, " Evaporated.") And perhaps my inability to think very highly of myself. Coupled with my mother's smothering overprotectiveness and inability to delegate responsibility, I think I learned to adopt the stance of learned helplessness a long time ago. (Shit. I wasn't kidding about this as a cheap substitute for psychotherapy.)

So coming out to Illinois by myself, I basically decided to be mercenary about it, to just get my shit done and not make any friends. And my distrust was rewarded well. From that first year out here, before I actually started med school, I only really keep in touch with exactly one person, and that trust was hard earned indeed. There was September 11th, when no one agreed with what I believed in except, I think, my sister, my brother, and a handful of friends from college. Everyone else looked at me with derision, family members included. Then there was last summer, when I just felt abandoned by everyone (yeah, I know, a lot of this is paranoia.) This last betrayal, if you can really call it that, is really subtle. I guess it's just this: with some of these people, I know that I can only push the envelope so far. I don't really trust any of these guys to go to the front lines with me. Really, there are a scant few in the world who would, who would maybe even take a bullet for me, the people I trust only because we worked long hard years to forge this trust and even had long drawn out arguments and even physical fights. Nothing proves things to me like the test of fire, although sometimes I think it's a shame that I have to put people through this in order for me to trust them.

Then there was the misguided attempt at reconciliation between me and my ex a couple of years ago. We are now, very bizarrely, still friends, with a long and painful shared history, but she has her own life to lead. In time I have no doubt we will drift apart. Such is life.

The thing I have learned is that even people who care will eventually leave you if there is something better. And sometimes it's my fault, because I am a difficult person to get close to. I have, out of necessity, learned to survive on my own, but I've hated it. I hate the loneliness. I am trying to teach myself the beauty of being alone. It will be a hard lesson.

There is, really, only one person who I think I've instinctively trusted from the get-go, and I have no idea how to go about reciprocating this, how to let this person know they can trust me in return. Because, I suppose, maybe they can't. And I don't dare push this envelope. I'm tired of screwing things up because of my misguided expectations, and yet, if I always accept the minimum because I'm afraid of being disappointed, then how can I really say I trust anyone?

Everything eventually comes down to a leap of faith, that blind jump into who-knows-what. Maybe, just maybe, someone will catch you. I'm just afraid that instead, I'll be screaming all the way down to the bottom.

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