emotional pyromaniac [ih-moh-shuh-nl pahy-ruh-mey-nee-ak]
an obsessive desire to play with boys in a manner that will result in inevitably getting burned.
My mother always said I was the type of person that had to get burned in order to learn a lesson. In fact, one of my earliest memories was of gingerly placing a finger on the hot iron and wincing in pain as that finger throbbed in agony for hours. Taking it in silence, not wanting to prove my mother right.
Then came playing with fire. As a teenager, I found lighting matches to be soothing, almost cathartic. I’d sit and watch the flame burn. Writhing but never wavering. Greedily lapping up the wood as it made it’s steady way down to the end of the match. I would play “chicken” with it, letting it get impossibly close to the tip of my finger before finally blowing it out. Not without some regret, already reaching for my 2nd or 3rd or 4th.
Years later, when I would be curled up in a ball and for what felt like the millionth time crying bitter tears over one of what would become many disappointments brought on by the type of men I chose to date, realization struck. Even though I had long since gotten over playing with matches and no longer needed to touch irons or stoves to validate how hot they really were, I still needed to talk to, flirt with, sometimes even sleep with various men in order to validate how hot I really was. But whether it was a hazard of the trade or just poor judgment, I always ended up getting burned. Pretty soon I began to understand; it wasn’t something these men were doing to me – It was something I was doing to myself. And I couldn’t help it.
The term Emotional Pyromaniac came to me the same way a person putting together a 1000 piece puzzle might suddenly come to realize what it was they were building all along. Those feelings of doubt (What if I got a dysfunctional game? Am I doing this wrong? Did that one piece really fit or did I just want it to fit?) suddenly disappear and it is with great relish that they find they are finally able to say “Ah! Its a dog walking through a park shooting lasers from its eyes!” (or you know, whatever they make puzzles of these days). It was like one day all the pieces of the puzzle came together within myself, every action, every reaction suddenly made sense and I finally knew what my end game was. I loved to play with fire. No matter how much of a douche I knew a guy was, the fact that I had caught his attention was enough for me. We had a game started and I wanted to play. The idea that I would get hurt in the end was only a distant possibility and besides, I could have fun and tap out when it got too scary right? But the problem was, I never knew when to stop. That’s actually the part guys are really good at and I could never fully grasp. They know when to stop just before they get hurt. But I suppose a part of me will always be that 5 year old girl who, almost as if in a trance, gently places her finger on the burning stove, just to know what real pain feels like.