By David Melito
When contemplating the search for the elusive perfect love, I feel the need
to borrow a phrase from the Diet Coke Diva herself — "Learning to
love yourself is the greatest love of all." It’s true, Whitney: the
greatest love of all is easy to achieve; all it takes is self-confidence.
But how do we become self-confident? Can it really be achieved alone? that’s
not as easy an answer. You see, Whitney, there are two types of people:
those who grew up with a sense of well-being and security, and people like
me. We are the Painfully Insecure People (PIP) of the world. What does this
have to do with the search for the elusive perfect love? Stick around: it
will all make sense.
The PIP’s Karmic dilemma:
Axiom A: You can’t love another till you love yourself.
Axiom B: You’re nobody till somebody loves you.
You see . . . you can’t get to B without first attaining A, yet it’s pretty
damn difficult to attain A without getting to B.
Before we continue, let me assure you that there are many advantages to
being a PIP. As a PIP it is your goal in life to get people to like you.
By the time PIPs are in their twenties, they’ve either learned how to get
people to like them or they have killed themselves (or they have a talk
show where they are addressed by an iconic first name such as Maury or Geraldo;
but I digress). We, the PIPs, are generally the funny people at parties.
PIPs were the class clowns that you found most entertaining at lunch during
high school. We take risks in order to get attention. We are the Liza Minellis,
Divines, John Candys, Steve Spielbergs, Rush Limbaughs, and Sam Kinisons
of the world. Some PIPs tell vulgar jokes, some spew right-wing politics,
some sing showtunes — we come from all different walks of life. However,
PIPS all share one primary objective. We broadcast the two following vibes
24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
I. Look at me.
II. Love every single thing I do!
PIPS will do anything to get attention, including telling everyone how painfully
insecure they are (hence this article . . . you are enjoying it aren’t you?).
There is hope for PIPS: PIPS can slowly overcome their fears and learn to
love themselves but it usually takes years and millions of adoring fans.
Barbara Walters’ specials are chock-full of reforming PIPS. The typical
PIP interview generally has three parts:
1. How bad things used to be.
2. A good cry with Babs.
3. How he/she conquered all and made it.
(Note: Part 2 can take place at any time.)
Of course, the most famous PIP speech of them all is the one Sally Field
gave at the Academy Awards, crying, "You like me — you really like me."
And the point is . . .
By now you’re asking yourself, "Where is all this going?" Well,
let’s look at The Karma Wheel. The Yin/Yang Karma Wheel clearly shows that
we slowly start to love ourselves only while others slowly give us praise
and affection. The PIP has a problem: in order to obtain a successful relationship,
the PIP must learn to love him/herself (see Axiom A); however, in order
to do this he/she needs love from others. If two PIPs are to fall in love
they must not only have lots of things in common and be attracted to each
other, but their Karma Wheels (Cupid’s biorhythms, if you will) must be
in sync. Since this is seldom the case, the PIP’s quest for companionship
typically generates a 15-step cycle of self-love/self-hate. Let’s see if
these patterns mirror your life . . .
The scenario: You’ve just asked Johnny on a date. He says no. You’re
crushed. You cry, "What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t anyone love me?"
"It must be my [check all that apply] arms stomach personality video tape collection other________________."
This has happened before. You knew Johnny wouldn’t be interested because
you projected a negative attitude. Did you really think it would work out
if you were looking so hard?
Step 1: Stop looking so hard.
It is a common belief that if you stop looking for love it will come and
find you. This of course is as easy as trying to forget your name. You can’t
do it. The PIP pretends he/she isn’t looking. But secretly in the dark,
repressed corners of the PIP’s mind he/she knows that every single person
they meet is a potential Mr./Ms. right.
a. Give up trying to pretend. You are on the prowl.
b. Accept the fact that no one will love you until you love yourself.
c. Try to love yourself.
Step 3: Use the following argument in order to fail:
No one else loves you. How
can six billion people be wrong? If you thought you were a potato and six
billion people thought you weren’t, you’d seek counseling right? Of course
Step 4: Get really down on yourself, but pretend to hate the world.
This is a good time to get drunk and talk to people who have rejected you.
Try calling them up to ask such questions as, "What’s wrong with me?"
At first people will resist, but eventually, with enough persistence, you’ll
get answers and boy do they hurt! Wallow in it.
Step 5: Now transfer your hate toward yourself to the world.
This is called "getting bitter." Art students are notoriously
good at this. It is at this stage that you should probably start smoking
again. Hang out in coffee shops. Don’t talk to anyone. When you do have
conversations, always make sarcastic comments about how alone you are. If
the person who has most recently rejected you is present, even better.
a. Once you hate the world (God too, if you can swing it), watch a little
bit of television and come to the conclusion that each and every one of
the six billion people who live on the planet are assholes.
b. Decide that you are actually O.K.
Step 7: No, you’re great! Fabulous! Top of the hill!
Accomplish something. Write a novel. Make a movie. Organize your videotape
collection. This is the time to start putting together that stand-up comedy
act you’ve always wanted to do. Show the world your stuff!
Step 8: YOU LOVE YOURSELF!
Listen to Whitney Houston songs. Smile at children. You don’t need anyone
’cause you have you. In essence, you are repeating Step 1, only with much
more vigor. You have truly fooled yourself into believing that you are not
looking. Now, and only now, are you ready to get your heart broken.
Step 9: First meet someone who you think is different from all the rest (see next
step if you think this is tricky).
Step 10: If said person is not different from all the rest, simply convince yourself
that he/she is (the longer it’s been since you last had sex, the easier
this part is).
Step 11: Obsess about the person — it’s fun.
Call all of your friends and tell them
about him/her. There are virtually thousands of ways to obsess — too many
to include in a short article. I am currently writing a Time-Life
series on the subject — look for it on "Amazing Discoveries"
next month. Just remember to be creative, have fun, and try not to harm
Step 12 — CRUCIAL STEP: When it is painfully obvious that the person is not interested, humiliate
yourself by making them say it to your face.
Don’t let them off easy, don’t pick up on their body language. Ignore their
subtle hints (such as if they say, "I am not looking for a relationship,"
then propose). MAKE THEM HURT YOU! Then they’ll be sorry . . . yessir-ree-bob.They’ll
embarrass you so terribly that they will be sure to feel ashamed for hours!
Step 13: Try and hate that person.
Of course you can’t. Just a few days ago you were in love and completely
obsessed. You’ve already picked out china patterns and the site for your
commitment ceremony. You can’t hate him/her; you need to hate the one thing
that is keeping the two of you from being together, which is of course none
other than yourself! (Move on to Step 14, don’t pass Go, etc. . . . )
Step14: Transfer the hate onto yourself.
Remember that the higher you build up your self-esteem in Step 8, the more
atrociously insane you are allowed to act. Sit in front of the mirror and
scream. Pretend you are on an episode of "The Donna Reed Show":
lie on your bed, clutch your pillow, and yell aloud, "Dear God, I may
not be the prettiest girl in the world, but don’t I deserve some happiness?"
Listen to the silence. Take it as a No.
Break something that symbolizes your accomplishments: burn your Pulitzer
Prize­p;winning book; smash your Academy Award. Now is the time when
many people decide to move on to substance abuse (people like Liza Minelli
and Elton John).
Step 15: Return to step 1.
If we could scientifically prove that PIPS are bound to The Wheel, then
we would be content to live out our rotten, miserable, stinking lives quietly
understanding that we will be forever alone. However, PIPs can get out of
their rut, seemingly overnight — and that, folks, is the pisser! You never
know when the hand of fate will gracefully lift you off The Wheel.
I have come to the conclusion that we all travel The Karma Wheel at varying
rates but all at the same time. Remember, while you are riding along and
lusting after person X and person X is breaking your heart — remember that
person Y is probably thinking you are his/her person X. As a longtime PIP
I have seen many of my fellow PIPs move on to successful relationships.
This has been both encouraging and irritating. While it means that the quest
is not futile, the overwhelming question still remains: "Goddammit,
I am going to be a damn fine guest on a Barbara Walters special.