27 going on 17. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
I’m driving the familiar road to my childhood home, Sun streams through the trees, dappling the road below. Riding shotgun is my imaginary invested audience, a kind of tragic greek chorus who remember me at my worst and enjoy tempering my triumphs when it is most inopportune. Blooms have fallen from the cherry trees, filling the streets with confetti, a sort of organic Mardi Gras. Distrupting my flow, a string of texts appears, sending my phone into a frenzy in it’s cozy position in the cupholder. 5 new messages from Omari.
We’ve seen each other exactly 3 times.
The first time was a misunderstanding. He asked for my number after a night where I drunkenly talked in circles about how much I hate my ex-boyfriend because of his new girlfriend. When he asked for my number, I assumed it was to be polite or to be friends. When I found myself on an accidental date, well, I was blown away. Not only was he 4 inches shorter than me, but I had sort of put myself on dating probation without parole.
Until I can go out with a man / any person and it doesn’t resemble a therapy session, it’s probably best to take a long look under the hood at what’s causing me to intentionally drive away people.
I can’t control my impulsive need to lay out all my baggage on the table. This is why I need to look inside. It might help to get an actual therapist that I like (I hate my therapist, all she does is talk- but that’s a story for another day*). Obviously I’m not. Instead, I am concerned with things like, is he cool at all? The people seeing us together, what do they think? What could I do to improve the cool situation? This is clearly a sign that I am insecure.
The anxiety weight is growing. I’m ignoring Omari. I just haven’t worked up the nerve to inform him. I got excited for approximately one date. Our conversation on the accidental drinks date was flowing and I realized he’s handsome, so when he asked me out again, I said yes (it may have been the 4 martinis). I googled tall girls, short boys and decided it was subversive to date someone so much shorter than me. We went to a hipster sushi restaurant and then, he told me he’d never had a relationship and that this was the longest he’d dated anyone. This was deeply tragic because HE DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE THAT OUR FIRST DATE WASN’T ACTUALLY A DATE AS I’D BEEN HOODWINKED INTO MEETING HIM.
At this point, I have to believe that he is a virgin, which obviously isn’t inherently negative, it’s just… incredibly off-putting? I suppose that makes me terrible, but like, I don’t know how you recover from that kind of bomb drop. So, is it so much to ask to date someone who can kiss me and it’s not cringe inducing? OMARI? Is that seriously too much to ask for?
The real problem is Evan. I dream about Evan all the time. I relive his rejection nearly every night. I never addressed the pain of my expectations. The rejection is a constant companion, a reminder of how much it hurts when I fail. I was too afraid to leave when I knew I wasn’t getting what I needed. I wanted his approval. I wanted to be wanted. Why wasn’t I enough? Were you mirroring back my uncertainty? I turned myself inside out. I became unrecognizable. Meek. Was I too depressed to notice?
I justify by telling myself it’s an experience. A string of choices. I’m here now. I date people like Omari and then anxiety out on the consequences of living in this metaphorical gutter. I pep myself up saying, I’m not less than, I am not more than, I’m making the best decisions I can as they come along.
I’d like to get out there and make something of myself. Sometimes I feel so optimistic and other times, I am on the outside. I am looking in and everyone is beautiful and laughing. I see the party and people who look like me, but I can’t find the door. I am sinking and everyone knows how to have a good time except for me. Something is missing. Is it structured religion? Is it the fact that I’ve been having a slow burning identity crisis for the past 4 years? Changing my hair, my wardrobe, forcing on a costume to try and be someone else.
Workout your salvation with diligence — Buddha
I am ready to have faith. I am ready to uncover a purpose for myself. I will be optimistic. I must choose to be positive. I will continue to find my way. It is okay that my life has not going “as planned.” It’s far too early to give up the ghost.
I need to record some fortuitous events for today — because many good things happen and it’s important to be gracious and grateful. I will be happy and enjoy the moment — I will look back and say — Yes! Look! So many things, both big and small to smile about. The book I wanted was at the library. I like my co-workers. I am doing well in school. I’ve had good luck in parking. I am beginning to accept that life doesn’t go as planned. It may, it may not and neither/either are good/bad. It is just how it turns out. It isn’t a reflection of my self-worth. If something bad happens, it doesn’t make me less. It’s just how it happened.
I can’t look to someone else to show me the right way. I also must stop seeking permission to live the way that I feel is right for me.
*This beautiful experience happened in the past, I’m happy to report I no longer see that therapist and found one that I actually find useful.