Wherever I sat she seemed to sit nearby. One day I decided to just sit next to her to see how she took it. The next class I sat in the same chair to see if she would sit next to me. She didn't. I finally decided to take a chair in the very right hand corner in the very front. She decided to take a seat in the next row up and just to my left.
It became obvious that she wasn't going to just leave me alone and let me take notes during the lectures and take the tests, etc. I had been reading "Feeling Good," by Dr. David Burns. Dr. Burns offered a cognitive therapy approach to treating depression. I'd had a problem with depression since high school, and with the coming of my undiagnosed shizoaffective disorder symptoms starting at a the age of nineteen, my depression only became worse.
"Feeling Good" talked about distortions in reasoning that led people to think thoughts that would lead to and perpetuate their depressions. I believe he called these "automatic thoughts." Automatic thoughts would be thoughts that people would have that weren't necessarily put into words. Dr. Burns encouraged people to write down their automatic thoughts and then see what category of distorted thinking they fell under.
So this Latina in my class, what about her? What should I do? Should I just pursue her and see if I could make things work out? That would have been my typical course of action up to then. Since I broke up with Jeannette in January 1986, I simply could not get anything going with anyone. I had some pretty bad experiences in my pursuit of love.
Now, for once, finding love was not my number one priority. Graduating from UT was now my priority. I became intrigued by Dr. Burn's chapter on Love Addiction. Dr. Burns cited Love Addiction as an underlying cause of people's depression, along with Approval Addiction, and I forget what all else.
Okay, so what if this girl offered a chance at love? I felt that way about someone that I had a very bad experience with in 1987. I've come to the conclusion that the young woman from 1987 represented herself as something she was not. Date after date of heavy make out sessions led to nothing. In frustration, I made a crude sexual proposition to her one night during a particularly involved session in her car outside of my house. I quickly came to regret that move in the days and weeks to come, and had doubts about the suspicions that led to the crude sexual proposition. That whole deal went totally in the crapper by the Summer of 1987, and only in the years since have I been able to reconcile my actions with what little I really did know at the time.
So what if this Latina in my art history class offered a chance at love? What if, on the other hand and by all appearances, she represented herself as something she was not? What to do? I pursued the girl in 1987 to the ends of the Earth and came up totally empty handed, and I knew nothing more about the deal than when we'd started.
So what about this Latina? Maybe my problem was Love Addiction. What if turned my back on love? What if I just let this "opportunity" slip through my fingers? What automatic thoughts came to mind? Would that make me a bad person? Would that make me a weak, inadequate man? Would that make me cold, unloving man? Would I be doomed to live an unfulfilled existence? Really, even if I did it just once?
I sat there in my seat in class and made no effort to talk to her or anything. So far so good, I started to think that things could really work out with her and then, one day she came in as I sat there and exclaimed, "What a weirdo, god! God, what a weirdo!" as the guy who'd sit next to her described some guy who'd pursued a girl from Houston to Austin. The class ended and I whirled around and excitedly burst out to her a question about the papers. I turned to the girl next to me and the girl next to me answered my question. The Latina grabbed her stuff, rushed out of class, and slammed the door behind her.
For about half a day I thought that I'd really blown it. Then I thought, "Come on!" Sure enough, next class she tried to play the guilt card. The difference between her and the girl from 1987, was that we were not alone with each other, and she couldn't pit her word against mine. I've never been in any kind of compromised situation with any woman ever since. I had my side too,
The Latina let me know she was sorry, and I gave her another chance, The deal didn't work out. It turned out she was gay. She may have been a virgin at the time, and she may have wanted to have things work out with me, but I cut her loose when it became apparent that, after all we'd been through, she still just wanted me to jump through hoops.
In 2012 I decided to revive the "turn my back on love" experiment in earnest. There was no elusive Latina in sight. Well, there was one, but it was someone I'd dated for like ten seconds. It was easy to cut her loose, and we stayed friends until she moved on and started with a guy and eventually had a baby. The "turn my back on love" experiment really represented a road less travelled for me. I knew by about the Summer of 2013 that what still seemed like just a drill would one day not be a drill at all. And so it has come to pass, several times,
When I turned my back on love in the Summer of 1988, I went on to graduate, apply and get accepted into graduate school in New York, graduate from there, and come back and get a job before I succumbed to my demons for real in the summer of 1992 and receive my diagnosis.
In the Spring of 1990, while in grad school in New York, I came to the conclusion that the Latina in my art history class really did love me and that I'd made a terrible mistake, one I tried to make up for in my subsequent pursuits of woman. One could turn over an hour glass a finite number of times and know that I would one day go completely nuts on this path. I was quite the bad guy in grad school, until I wasn't. When I got back to Austin in the Summer of 1991, I met "Jenna." I tried to romantically pursue her and that course of action led to my grand mal meltdown in 1992.
I ran into the mysterious Latina from my art history class just days after I let go of Jenna. Her name was Sara. I had a date with Alice, and Sara came over with a gay male friend of Alice's. Sara looked at Alice with gay lust, and that's how i found out. That was in late June, and I finally had to go to the hospital at the beginning of August.
So turning my back on love did not make me bad, and I did not have an empty unfulfilled life because of it. Love is just not that important to me any more. If I ever felt the need to once again ask myself, "What if I turned my back on love?" as I have several times these past few years, I would do it again in a heartbeat,