I love a narcissist.

I’ve had one real, halfway normal relationship in my life, which was with my college boyfriend. There’s not much to say about that one other than it was a long time ago and I thought we’d get married. It was unequal in the way you’d expect the relationship a college girl who was self-hating and trying to stay 3 steps ahead of her trauma symptoms would co-create.

But what I did for many years after that relationship was interesting, because I just chased unavailable narcissists, over and over again. The more a person was looking for a relationship, the more I didn’t even see them. The more a person was halfway grounded and interested in getting to know me, the more I sabotaged that shit right away. Blew them off, lost their number, acted like a mess that first date.

What’s nice about narcissists is that chasing them will give you some of the emotional experiences of a relationship, without you ever having to reveal yourself in all your flawed, fat and farty mess. Chasing the narcissist means you put on a show, which is not near as terrifying as someone just getting to know you, and what’s great about narcissists is they don’t even give you that much of their time, so you don’t have to keep up the show for long. You see them for a minute, put on the show for that minute, have some kind of intense emotion, then go back to your own little cave, where you stare and fart and let the dog hair build up on your floors.

The problem is it’s easy to get twisted and get way too invested in putting on that show and winning them over. They’ll let you take it way too far- they know you’re dancing as fast as you can and they need people around them doing that kind of thing to feel ok. So you take it way too far, and then you’re broke, or you’re exhausted, or you don’t even know what it is you like anymore because you put on the show for too long.

The other downside to narcissists is that much later, when you’ve gotten through the “OH NO this special person doesn’t love me!” thing you look back and try to make some sense of why you took it so far, and you see them in all their ordinariness. They’re so normal, in retrospect. Just run of the mill games they were playing, run of the mill drama, run of the mill bullshit too. It felt like magic and destiny but really you would have taken it too far with nearly any unavailable bonehead. When you talk about the relationship you just call it “this super fucked up thing I was in” because you want it as small as possible. You don’t want to frame it as an important thing because then you built an important thing around such a hilariously over the top bad bet. If it was an important thing you my friend are nutso. Only a nutso person would get into such a nutso scenario.

My friends my age are married. Sometimes I feel left behind, but I know I could be in a relationship if I felt up for someone seeing how I live. If I felt up for someone seeing how often I’m just eating macaroni and marinara, or how much dog hair is on my floor, or how much I’m watching youtube conspiracy videos, or how often I get migraines. But if I brought someone around who was interested enough to see that, to hang out all weekend with that, what if it all just kind of collapsed? What if they saw that and they were just CONCERNED?

I mean, I’m concerned about me and the way I’m living. I listen to the same Drake song literally 15 times in a row. It takes an entire french press of coffee before I feel brave enough to get going in the mornings. I fixate on my skin care regimen while sporting hair that is smashed on one side from my pillow, all day long. (I’ll wet it and brush, to try to get that smashed shape out, but it always ends up looking wacky.) I have all these hyper-specific triggers that are pretty impossible to predict. Standup/sex/trans stuff. Although the universe has sort of beat the trans stuff triggers out of me by springing so many over the top situations on me.

(Literally once I was serving a table and the woman starts telling me about transitioning her teenager, before she ordered an entree. Don’t spring gender stuff on your waitress! She is only there to get you your food!)

(Another time a dude actually sprang on me- super, super condescendingly- that he used to be a trans woman. AGAIN INAPPROPRIATE FOR YOUR WAITRESS TO KNOW BECAUSE IT’S NOT AN EQUAL, RECIPROCAL RELATIONSHIP AND SHE CANNOT RESPOND THAT SHE’S A LITTLE BIT DETRANS-FAMOUS HERSELF.)

If you chase narcissists you preserve your right to be a mess. You get your space, you get your weekends, you get your mess, you get some drama and then also you end up getting to feel like the good person in comparison to the shit they’re pulling.

I frankly think God has protected me a whole lot in my lifetime. Even the ways I’m so unfinished and immature for my age- geez at least God didn’t let me get married or pregnant through any of the messes I participated in. At least God was like, “I’ma let this bitch be crazy but she is not gonna have to feel guilty about her kiddo.” (God is using the word bitch affectionately in this context.)

But I do hope God helps me grow up. It would really, truly be a miracle, which is why God has to make it happen, I have no clue where to even start. Probably putting in my planner when I’m supposed to vacuum.

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