I haven’t written to the blog in a couple of months and this tracks with an introspective period I’ve been going through. I’ve been having a lot of Impostor Syndrome feelings – as if I’m not being honest or genuine with myself or those around me. And while part of the way Jeannie and I explore polyamory and our sexuality includes having different personas to act out, I actually feel like I’m the most honest an genuine person I’ve ever been.
Let’s take my bi- or pan-sexuality for a moment. When I’m with gay men, sexually or otherwise, they fully accept me for who I am. Yet I start to feel as if they are too accepting and I don’t belong. When a gay man “let’s me in” to their world and lifestyle as if I’ve been there all along, I feel a little like an intruder. Some of this is simply experience – I haven’t lived the life of a gay man and I just don’t have the same experiences that they do. However, no two people truly have the same experiences, so why is this so different?
Then there is another, very different example… I meet a young, sexy woman and begin to flirt. I immediately feel like we shouldn’t be interacting, as if I don’t deserve such a woman. I feel as though I’m putting on an act to attract them and not being my true self. But in reality, I’m likely being even more “myself” then ever in these moments. Honestly, I’m practically incapable of deception when flirting. I know that a significant part of what makes me attractive to others, especially women, is how genuine and vulnerable and open I am, and how natural this is for me. My energy and my vibes are a big part of what makes me attractive.
As I write this, I cannot comprehend at all why I feel like an impostor lately. I’m absolutely being genuine with everyone I meet. I’m being honest, I’m not putting on an act. I cannot reconcile these two points:
I feel like an impostor yet I am behaving honestly.
As I’ve tried to reconcile this, I haven’t come to any astounding conclusions. I have realized a few keys points, though, and I’m trying to work through these.
1. The need to identify. I constantly feel like I need to identify who I am to others even when I hardly know how to identify myself. When I was married, straight, and monogamous, this was easy and the identity was a simple parallel with society. Nothing needed to be said because it was obvious. Now, I’m still married, so that immediately implies that I’m at least monogamous, and probably straight. I’m under no obligation to inform anyone that their assumptions are incorrect, yet I feel like I should. But when is it appropriate and when is it grandstanding?
2. I’m just not practiced in flirting/dating. Well, to be honest, I’ve always been a bit of a flirt, so I am pretty well practiced there. But when the flirtation was truly innocent and meant to be something fun that went “nowhere” it was easier and more natural. Now I find myself flirting and then having to ask myself, “is this friendly or do I want something more?” If I want something more, I need to act a little differently so that my intentions are clear.
3. Fear of rejection. So now I’m flirting with a specific intent – am I prepared to be rejected? Will a rejection have other ramifications, such as if this is a person that I see regularly? For active daters, this is a common dilemma and I’m only beginning to understand how complicated this can be.
4. Dating is “harder” for men. When I’m actively engaged in flirting with a woman that I want to date or be physical with, I’m so aware of how men in the dating scene are perceived. “Toxic Masculinity” is a very real thing, and while I’m not a part of that problem, I bear the burden of being male and, therefore, many women start on the defensive because of what they have experienced in the past. I can’t blame them, and the ones that truly get to know me realize that’s not me. And the ones that don’t get there aren’t worth my time because I can’t “fix people.” Yet that latter group needs men like me to rebuild their trust.
5. Ageism. I find plenty of potential partners my age to be super attractive. But I also find myself attracted to younger people and while they are generally accepting of me, I always feel like I’m the creepy older guy that is encroaching on their territory.
I need to simply face that this laundry list is real and deal with each item for what it is. Kind of like when meditating, I need to recognize these things, own them, and then move on from them. These things will always be part of the backdrop of my current lifestyle and I need to accept and even embrace that. This is easier said than done, but just writing this has helped me to acknowledge and catalog what I’ve been feeling.
I’ve been considering this post for weeks and didn’t start writing because I didn’t know where it was going. Now I realize that simply writing this has led me to discover where it was going. Maybe now it will be easier to deal with these matters on a practical level and get on with the fun!