As defined by dictionary.reference.com, cowardice is the “lack of courage to face danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.”
Self-protection is fundamental. There is absolutely nothing shameful about taking cover when someone is shooting at you. Cowardice is the point at which self-protection is placed before other concerns that are more important. It’s hard to find that point, and there’s a lot of gray area there.
I think I live in the gray area, in more ways than one. I am simply unwilling to take risks, which is well-balanced by the fact that none of my other concerns are much more important (to me) than self-protection. But I’m starting to question that policy.
As I’ve said before, I’ve fucked up impressively in the past. I can point to a number of times when I was simply too afraid to take risks, particularly social risks, and ended up crashing into the dust thereafter. Maybe I just choose the wrong dust to fall into.
Again, though, I’m defending cowardice. I’ll come right out now and say that this is all about romance and love and all the other bullshit therein. Let me briefly sum up the exact problem I have always faced in a bulleted list:
-I am male.
-I am a nerd/intellectual/elitist.
-I have avoidant personality disorder.
As impressive as those bulleted points may be, you are probably still wondering just how they come together. Well, get ready. Are you ready? GOOD.
As a male, I am expected to take the active role in pursuing a romantic relationship. Dudes, and by that I mean dudes, are supposed to be brave, courageous, cool, suave, and sexy when they talk to girls. I have a number of problems with that. Let me first say that I have a reasonable response to your objection here. As I am a nerd, I tend to be both around and interested in intelligent/elitist girls. Those also happen to be the very girls that (usually) assume a shy, inert role when it comes to love, at least at the start. They are all just sitting around, waiting for Mr. Darcy, like Geraldine(?) in that one book. They are also usually quite intimidating. Those women who fight the norm are often less interesting, or at least less appealing. Also, I do know that the character’s name is Elizabeth, just so that all you wonderful nerdy girls won’t lose any esteem you have for me for making a dumb joke. For the rest of the girls and all the men, I still haven’t read the book, because I am full of testosterone and other such hormones.
ANYHOW, I am not properly equipped for those girls. I am a wimpy, reclusive coward, and for good reason. I suffer from avoidant personality disorder, which has caused a number of problems with my social interactions. I have spent a long time believing that there is something horribly wrong with me. For a long time, I used the word “unlovable” in my own head, often like a mantra. Not only was I sure there was something wrong, I was so sure that I never tried to act otherwise. Occasionally I was able to avoid risks entirely, usually in the simplest of situations, and then I’d make an effort.
Even so, I hated big groups, and still do. I hate birthday parties, concerts, drunken get-togethers, and similar situations. I try to be there when people ask, but even so, I usually find myself in the corner of the room, staring at the floor, wishing I had brought a book. Naturally, I turn all of this into more self-disparaging rationalizations, so I can sink my self-esteem even lower. I usually feel like I can only ever see people in small groups or one-on-one (which is somewhat true), and that in some ways it’s just a huge burden for people to be friends with me. I’m not saying it’s true, but it is how I feel.
I think if anyone ever said “I love you,” my first response would be “why?”
Anyway, I’m not trying to make excuses, although I definitely did. I just want to say that I am trying. I want you all to know that, and I will keep trying my best with all of this. I think I just want people to understand why I fuck up so much and so well. Expect more of the same in the future. Maybe I’ll do something right one of these days.