What does being emotionally unavailable even mean and why have I been obsessed with this idea for years? Well, I can tell you what classically unavailable is because many of the men I’ve obsessed over have been in relationships. That’s a pretty straightforward way to be unavailable! I even have a journal entry from age 17 that says: “I’m only attracted to boys who have girlfriends already”. Technically an attraction like that lights up in the brain but you feel it in the whole body. There have been moments when an unavailable man has just entered the same building I’m in and I can feel him. I can actually tell he’s there like some people feel the rain in their knees.
I have a lot of dreams about these men with very specific motifs: Ice, frozen lakes, slush – when feelings are seized or stuck or conversely starting to melt and move and resolve. Stairs, weddings, ceremonies – when I feel left out, uninvited, or doggedly in pursuit. Elk, moose, cows, whales – one dream had a frozen elk with very beautiful with antlers like icicles; one dream had live, docile cows laying everywhere in half frozen slush. I rode a blue whale in a dream once for hours. I don’t really know what the mammal dreams mean.
After that wholly unpleasant but totally necessary experience with the editor, and after several manuscript rejection letters, and just this overwhelming feeling of NOT wanting to be transparent and exposed, I put my online life in privacy mode, like the whole thing. I put passwords on my websites, quit Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. It was the best feeling in the world. Have you ever felt really exposed but you knew you'd support your own being no matter what you wrote or showed on social media or spread in bed and no matter how much shame you felt exposing yourself, you felt safe doing so because you would not betray your own being?
Maybe you were born with it, but not I. I had to get sober and write a book and expose myself online even though it was humiliating and go to therapy and cry to strangers and feel every fucking feeling and trace advances in my mental health based on the mirrored unavailability of the guys I was attracted to. And each time I emerged and opened myself up, the men seemed to get a little better. Have you ever felt a savage need to contain your selfhood and keep it safe? I can’t believe how savagely I wanted my own being. I understood why I had to expose it because I needed to feel that feeling I had when I shut it all down which was savage and protective and maybe for the first time in my life, private...
So the next guy after the editor did seem nicer. He had a jovial sense of humour and a talent for harmless puns. He played the piano for me and we bathed together and he let me put a mud mask on his face. The first night we had sex he whispered, "So much beauty" into my left ear. He liked really enigmatic music and film but he still fell into a category of nerd I feel safe with. I really enjoy weirdos because I want to get into weird spaces with people in every, single way. I felt way better about dating him right off the bat because he hadn’t read anything I'd written so he wouldn’t know about my past. After just one romantic weekend (much like the editor), nerd guy totally flipped out and completely cut me off. In fact, when I ran into him again, he actually turned and went in the other direction. Yeah. The guy who I’d told myself I couldn’t sleep with (because, like, new boundaries), and did sleep with (fuck), was by Monday afternoon of our three-day relationship, physically running away from me.
So one was scared by the book, the next one was just scared. This seemed like progress. I was hurt but also just really annoyed. Annoyance was real progress though because the pain washed through me quickly and his insane behaviour helped me feel superior. Like the slush in dreams, each slushboy melted and moved something through me. Spring flowers, spring melt, spring, running, rushing spring. Uh oooh, here comes summer.