As the tragic hero of this saga, it is only natural that I should analyze my tragic flaw. I am beyond the point of agonizing over it What did I do wrong? How could I be so stupid? and at the point of solid self-reflection. Initially, I thought the tragic flaw might be my trusting nature, antiquated in the era of stolen identities and Craigslist Killers. It did indeed feel tragic to me- should I, could I trust a man again? Though I have not exactly given myself the chance to find out, yet, my outlook seems intact: decent until proven asshole. Optimism in New York City- that’s no cliché. But my tragic flaw is about as cliché as you get (short of hubris in Greek tragedy). I’m an only child, aspiring actress, who came of age in conjunction with the world-wide web. Could it be more obvious? My tragic flaw is my need to feel special, unique, a stand out. My lust for novelty, significance, and a spotlight.
It’s written all over this blog metaphorically, why not spell it out literally. Though, it is not a flaw in all aspects of life, as the very existence of this blog attests. No, where it reaches Tragic Flaw proportions is in my relationships. As an only child, both my parents love me in a way they love no one else in the world, “special” doesn’t begin to describe how important I am in their lives. They’re my parents, you say, duh. Unfortunately, I want to be significant in all my relationships. I want to be your best friend, or at least the someone you will remember- preferably profoundly. Or at the very least someone you care about enough to read thousand word essays about the trials and tribulations of my life. At least I know I have that from you.
It is this tragic flaw that was the downfall of The Safa Saga. (Remember, only child actress: dramatics go with the territory.) When a 19 year-old, handsome, charming, traveler says he’s only had one-night stands before me I think tragic flaw trumps logic.
Exhibit A: When he says he’s only had one-night stands before me Tragic flaw enables the thinking:Wow, I’m special! He’s never found someone who made him want to stay longer until he found me! Rather than logic: All those girls must have been on to something…Clearly this guy is Bad News. GET. OUT. NOW.
Exhibit B: He’s traveling around the world without a computer. That means no access to internet porn. Therefore he wouldn’t be like the men in the New York Magazine article I had just read, men so addicted to porn they lose their interest in partnered sex. My Tragic Flaw enabled the thinking: In 2011 how many men under 40 are NOT looking at porn on a regular basis? A minority. Really, I may never meet one again! This may be my last shot with a guy with minimal porn exposure. It’s novel. It’s nostalgic. It’s retro. It’s exciting! Rather than logic: If he’s not getting it from porn, he’s getting it from somewhere else…
I’d give anything for a man to make me feel special. Jump through hoops, make something out of nothing, enter denial, rationalize like a pro, and of course, hope beyond hope. Which is exactly what I am doing as we begin out break-up/closure walk. Hoping beyond hope he will say something so I feel special instead of like shit. “What do you want me to say?” He asks. I don’t reply, though I know exactly what I want him to say. I could hand him a cue-card:
When I shagged that other girl I didn’t know you that well, and I still felt incredibly guilty. That guilt and the pain I imagined such a stupid indiscretion would could cause you is why I didn’t tell you. And why I lied to you. When I lied to you I didn’t care about you the way I do now, but I was starting to. I left my diary out because I care about you like I’ve never cared about a girl before- and you had to find out. You are an amazing, generous, kind, and lovely person inside and out. I was so lucky to have you in my life and I ruined it like a fucking idiot. I am so sorry, you never deserved anything like that.
But if he had said that, it would have been a lie, and this was the precise time he stopped lying to me. “I should have told you right away”, he said, “You would have forgiven me.”
“Yes, yes I would have,” I said, “It wasn’t an exclusive relationship, you did nothing wrong until you lied about it.”
“My friends made me think I wasn’t doing anything wrong.” He sighed. I could imagine all his stand-up comedy ticket selling
loser friends slapping him on the back “It’s not like you’re married to her, man!”
“Yeah, but you knew you were.” He nodded. Then I asked the seemingly innocent: “What did you tell your friend you were with today?”
He swallowed. “I wasn’t with my friend today. I lied about that.”
I stared at him blankly. “What? Who were you with?” I asked, sensing and dreading the answer.
He couldn’t look at me as he said, “I was on a date.” For the second time in mere hours, I fell back into a state of shock.