I have done my fair share of self-examination, to the point I feel an expert. I’ve examined my life repeatedly, from every angle multiple times, from other’s points of view to younger versions of myself, to future versions looking back, for years on end I’ve done this. Once, I felt perhaps, I was too close, too immersed, so I backed off, took a break. I’ve examined how I examine, torn apart my whole process, studying the whole thing from micro to macro, backward to forwards. I’ve dissected this so many times, I feel I’ve come at it from every point I could humanly conceive of. And I’ll continue to do so.

My priorities, expectations, goals, desires, intentions, talents, energy, opportunities, luck, DNA, upbringing, parenting, friends, lovers, circumstances…there isn’t much I haven’t explored, questioned, dove into, and picked apart utterly and completely. I know people don’t see me the way I see myself, understand me the way I do. I know people do not see the world the same way I do, and not just because they’ve told it to my face, many times. I study people. I’ve seen exactly how we’re different, how we’re the same. It’s just something I’ve always done.

So, from the outside, it can seem I’m stuck in a looping pattern when it comes to dating, but it is simply just circumstances. It’s me with a goal versus the randomness of the universe. There is no real pattern, nor cycle, just what I make of my life, and sometimes the choices repeat. My choices, meeting my goal comes down to three things, my luck within encounters, how much I shift the requirements needed to meet my goal or an abandonment of my goal altogether.

Perhaps, this isn’t clear, perhaps it never was, I choose this void of emptiness while embracing the ache of loneliness, over the alternative: an average relationship. I pass up opportunities to be happy every day because something inside me desires more than being content. And as much as I fight it, it wins, it will not let me compromise. It believes I deserve something…more, something greater. Part of me knows the sunk cost fallacy has wormed its way into my brain like the parasite it is. Understanding love grows over time and if I just push through, commit to someone, my brain and heart may fall in line. But I’m cursed with the belief that it would be lesser. I know exactly what type of person I’m attracted to. They are rare, but not impossible to find. I just have to have the gumption to get off my ass and tap a few on the shoulder, whether that’s virtually or outside my door. Recent years have made that more difficult, not just because I’m physically more tired, but mentally, a new war has ignited. Four new horsemen have entered the battlefield: Pessimism. Despair Hopelessness. Despondency. And while I know that they’ll never win, their power over me weak, their presence alone leaches energy. It’s a burden that keeps me from tapping shoulders.

The struggle has shown me the limits of my so-called free will. This is the path I am on, I’ve attempted to rock the boat a few times, and may again in the future, but I always stabilize. We have been programmed all our life, in the womb, before our birth, and even before the births of our mothers, as we’ve discovered with epigenetics. Do we really believe we can do ANYTHING? Or can we only do, think, behave within the parameters of who we are? Our personalities, environments, moods, etc. There is what I feel I can change and that which I cannot. I think most people choose not to acknowledge that there is a part of themselves that cannot change. That said, I think this is a way more complex issue because I do think there is very little that we cannot change about ourselves, but most don’t examine themselves closely enough, do not have the time, nor energy, nor gutsiness to do so. For we must first realize we can change, then birth the desire to, both of which require time away from routine, an open mind, and a spark to ignite us.

An analogy I find helpful is to see myself as a chess piece and the player at the same time. The piece is limited in their actions, but the player can cheat, or reinvent the game if so desired. But the player is stuck with that one piece and it does come with some intrinsic properties.

So, here I sit. Always self-examining. Not being understood. In this void of emptiness, embracing the ache of loneliness. Fighting my horsemen. Hoping one day, I’ll tap that rare shoulder. And they will turn, smile, and say, Thanks for waiting.