The “Assertive” Spider-Man
This week I caught a showing of Spider-Man and besides the fact that I think it was very well done and much better than the 2002 version, it taught me a few valuable lessons. 1st, Martin Sheen & Sally Field are the best TV parents of my generation.
Second, and on a more serious note, I realized a flaw in my own character that I need to work on and fix. In the movie Andrew Garfield acts very naturally using a similar style as some of his other work (Boy A, Social Network & Death of a Salesman) that indicate it is Garfield and not Peter Parker doing this. There are times int he movie where he is awkward about asking Gwen Stacy out on a date and the awkwardness manifests itself in some physical motions. This drew it to my attention and during the movie I wanted to shout out and say “Just ask her out already, what’s the worst that can happen.”
It was at this point that I also remembered that he is supposed to be in High School and so this made sense. Meanwhile I am at the movie not because I took the initiative to set something up, but because a friend of mine asked if I was free and wanted to hang out. This juxtaposition of events weighed on me until today when I realized that I have been lost in high school mode when it comes to my social life. While I feel quite confident in my ability to flatly ask someone out on a date (assuming I know they are gay), and my newly found confidence to introduce myself to someone and start networking, I am still that scared little kid who is afraid to call his friends to do something fun for fear that they will say no.
I don’t know why, but I like being invited to things and not doing the inviting. I have faltered to take the initiative and it has been pointed out to me a couple of times, most recently by a great friend who is the only one who stayed in contact with me after I left DC. Not because of anything I did, but because of the effort she put into maintaining our relationship.
This is probably a fatal flaw in my dating life as well as I tend to want things to develop without effort, without initiative. This attitude might be flowing over into other areas of my life as well. It is for these reasons, and because I finally stopped re-assuring myself that I really am an adult now, that I have decided the next piece of personal progress that I am going to focus on is taking the initiative in my own social calendar.
Some of this will involve staying in contact with friends who live on the Left Coast, some will involve writing physical letters to dear friends on missions, and some of it will involve reaching out to existing & new friends in DC to actually do stuff rather than try to let things happen organically.
However this manifests itself, I feel that it will be for the better and that my life will improve because of it. I am not going to sit idly by and watch the world pass by me, I am going to take up my responsibility and reach out. This is likely to change who I am a good deal because as I write this I have thought of other areas of my life where I have faltered in being assertive, but that will be okay. Because while I might change and grow I always know the answer to the question “Who Am I?”
Spiderman David B. Baker