Archive for the ‘love crushes and all that jazz in between’ Tag
The following post was written for the blog, Peace & Penguins,and tackles the topic of Love & Anxiety- which are two things that I know little and a lot about, respectively.
When Alisha asked me to write a guest blog post on Love & Anxiety for Peace & Penguins, I thought that it would be an easy hour therapy session of rehashing my life stories of insecurity, doubts, and regrets. But unfortunately, for the past week, I’ve struggled to get anything down on paper. So here I am, over a week after telling her that she’d have my piece in no time, trying to figure out exactly what I can say about love & anxiety…which are ultimately the two words that have haunted me during my 28-year old life.
While I’ve questioned how to begin this post, I feel that it is important to start off with the following statement: I’m twenty-eight years old and I’ve never been in a serious relationship. However, and it’s an incredibly big HOWEVER, I’m actually (finally) on the verge of entering one…but more on that later.
Today I came across the following lines in the novel, 50 Shades of Grey, which really struck a chord with me. Here are the lines, and I’ll explain later:
Katherine often teases me that I’m missing the need-a-boyfriend gene, but the truth is I just haven’t met anyone who… well, whom I’m attracted to, even though part of me longs for the fabled trembling knees, heart-in-my-mouth, butterflies-in-my-belly moments.
Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Perhaps, I’ve spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes, and consequently my ideals and expectations are far too high. But in reality, nobody’s ever made me feel like that.
Anastasia Steele (50 Shades of Grey)
For the majority of my young adult life, I have relied on excuses and sarcasm to answer the question, “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” And when stating my boyfriend-free background and getting stuck responding to the inevitable question, “What do you mean you’ve never been in a relationship? How is that possible?”, I find the anxiety tingles kicking in as I do my best to change the subject. But here and now, I’ll put those insecurities aside and tell you that Anxiety is the answer to both of those questions.
Unfortunately I’ve been plagued by anxiety for a while now, and it’s held me back from many things over the years. But above all, it’s prevented me from experiencing the love that I always dreamed of; from finding the love I always deserved. For years I’ve thought that there was something wrong with me. I thought I wasn’t good enough to be loved. I thought I wasn’t pretty enough to attract the attention of a man. I thought I would always be alone, because frankly being single is all I’ve really ever known.
Sure, there were those “boyfriends” during my early teen years that typically lasted a few weeks, and then a few guys in my twenties that stayed around for a couple uncommitted hook-ups. However, for the most part, I’ve been that girl who finds herself attending weddings without a plus-one and heading home after last call alone in a cab while the other girls leave on the arm of their significant others.
Now, every once in a while, maybe on the night of a full moon or during a road trip back to Ohio, I’d find myself flirting with a seemingly eligible bachelor and hoping that something more than a one-night stand would come out of it. But unfortunately, my anxiety almost got the best of me as daylight hit and my internal enemy asserted, “Are you crazy? He’s doesn’t really like you. He’s going to leave just like all of the other ones.”
But something changed this past year; something that I really can’t quite explain myself. In essence, I’ve lived this year under the motto: I don’t care anymore. See, instead of letting anxiety hold me back, I’ve fought off the doubts and insecurities and strived to live fearlessly. (Note: A little liquid courage usually helped too.) I took some chances…including using a few daring moves and brave one-liners every once in a while. And with each one of those incidences, I noticed my anxiety towards potential love decreasing.
So that leads me to “The Now”. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I am on the verge of a relationship. Actually… I’m in one. Yes, the girl who thought she’d always be single is in a relationship. (With a wonderful guy, might I add.) I’m pretty much living in disbelief, as are my friends and family who have heard my “No, I don’t have a boyfriend.” and “I’ll always be a single” lines, but it really is the truth. Even though it hasn’t yet been discussed, I am practically someone’s girlfriend… which means that I kinda-sorta have a boyfriend. Me? Really? Wow.
To be honest, I’m still processing all of this. I’m trying to convince myself that this is really, while also trying to understand why it’s taken me so long to let myself be in a relationship. Why did I let my anxiety hinder my happiness? Why did I let my insecurities get in the way of being someone’s girlfriend? Why did I let my fears prohibit some amazing guy from being mine? While I can ask these questions again and again, I’ll never fully be able to uncover the answers. But I will remember the anxiety I’ve lived with that held me back from being happy all of those years.
Unfortunately my anxiety is something that I continue to live with. It’s something that I think I’ll always live with. But when it comes to love, I’m learning more and more how important it is for me to combat all of my fears and doubts. For starters, I don’t want to miss out on a chance with a good guy like the one I have right now. I’ve held myself back many times before and simply, I don’t want to live with regrets anymore. Sure it’s scary to let yourself be vulnerable and open your heart up, but the risk is worth it. And honestly, I’m at the point in my life where I’d rather know that I took a chance than regret not taking one.
Let me stress that I’m no expert when it comes to love, and in some ways I’m still not convinced that I’ll ever fully understand it. But between you and me, I’m much more open to learning more about it. And that being said, I think I’ll have to start with exploring the whole relationship thing, and maybe officially being someone’s girlfriend.
Sure, it’s not easy and frankly I’m a bit scared, but I’m going to take these chances…starting with this great guy who has seen past my anxieties and boyfriendless past and see what life has in store for me. And hopefully, one day, I’ll be writing a post about love without a mention of anxiety. But for the meantime, I’m just going to take it day-by-day and see what this whole relationship thing is all about.
As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It’s interesting how a new guy can make you realize the doubts and insecurities you have. It may take a few days, call it the new crush honeymoon period if you will, but then all of a sudden your mind starts playing those darn tricks on you again. Why hasn’t he texted me? When will I see him again? Does he really like me? Boys. They are put on this earth to drive our already-crazy minds even crazier.
No, but seriously, what’s up with me? I was many hours (and drinks) into Sunday Funday and had no expectations going into the date he proposed. But now, after having a fantastic first date, here I am struggling with all those troubling thoughts that have scarred me over the past several dateless years. GRrrr…come on girl, get yourself together!!
After mentioning my successful date to a dear friend of mine, she responded, “Breathe and trust. Silence those fears.” To be honest, when this message came through I was feeling ridiculously confident and still high from the amazing kissing that concluded our date. (Yes, I kissed him on the first date. Actually, I kissed him before our first date, but that’s a whole different story.) But I found myself thankful for her encouraging words when those fears started surfacing the very next day.
Breathe and trust. Silence those fears. That’s what’s keeping my anxious mind (and heart) from falling victim to the worries. Between you and me, I’ve let my fears hold me back for a very long time- much longer than I’ve ever admitted to on this blog- but I really feel like it’s time to trust myself again- and maybe learn to let myself trust someone else too.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but there’s been no summer love for this girl. Zilch. Nada. Niente. Besides the green-shirted one night stand a few months ago, I have spent my summer nights in the company of many entertaining guests, sensational girlfriends, and an adorable toddler named Max. Actually, those are the only people in Chicago that I wanted to be with.
Besides spending the summer with friends, this funk (possible Quarterlife Crisis) has gotten the best of my time too. It’s been frustrating trying to figure things out, to say the least, but part of me knows what it’s been all along.
Love- or something like it- has always been fleeting for me. From those crushes and one-week relationships in my teenage years to those drunken college hook-ups, I can probably count on one hand the number of guys I’ve kissed more than once. (Okay, maybe two hands but no more.) My point is that this stuff tends to begin and end all in one breath. Blame it on my fickle heart or theirs, or maybe both. Whatever the case may be, I’ve come quite accustomed to watching guys come-and-go. And because of this, I don’t expect anything of them to stick around for more than a few texts the next day. Which also means that I’ve gotten good at moving on very quickly.
But sometimes life throws someone into your path that can’t be categorized with the rest; someone whose kiss you can’t forget. You swore he was just another fling, but your heart tells you he’s so much more.
And that’s where I’ve been all summer long. Trying to convince myself that it was just a fling even though everything within tells me otherwise. Summer is almost over and, if anything, I feel more off than I have at any point before. I don’t know what all this means, but I cannot help but think that this is somehow going to end like all the others. Maybe it really was just a fling? Or perhaps it was so much more…
Song of the Moment: Long Hot Summer by Keith Urban
I can honestly say that I’ve never been so impressed by a guy in my life. That alone makes it obvious that I’m crushing on someone- oh gosh, I even got weak in the knees before seeing him once. Anyways, he’s pretty fantastic. Better than any fantasy my imaginative mind could concoct. Certainly one of those guys that you can’t let get away. One of those rare finds that you know you’ll never get a second chance with. Despite knowing an array of good guys in my lifespan, I swear I’ve never met anyone like him before.
And while I can say that about him, I’m not sure he’s able to say the same about me. As humble as he’s proven to be, I’m far from his first admirer. I’m one of many in his fan club. I know that I am nothing new. Therefore, I must also admit that I’ve never been so intimidated by a guy either. And that being said, I’ve never been so cautious with my heart either. It’s not that there’s anything to lose… it’s more that there is so much to gain.
With his absence this summer, I find that all I can do is let it go. I always knew it was what I had to do. Always knew it was for the best. However, it hasn’t been as easy as I assumed it would be. Too many times I recall the second part of the infamous line that Alisha reminded me of: … if it comes back, it’s yours.
Even with my doubts, maybe I just can’t ignore the possibility that it will come back? Maybe I’m just not sold on the notion that this is another crazy crush of mine? Yes, I know that it’s a big world out there and many temptations in high heels on those New York City streets; however, an ounce of jealousy hasn’t encompassed my body- at least not yet. And you know why? Because a tiny part of me believes that, to him, that’s nothing new and that I am quite possibly something he’s never seen before. A girl can at least dream, right?
In deciding what to say next, this song came up on my playlist: One and Only by Adele. Somehow it was the first time I’ve heard it despite Adele being a staple in my life these days. While the inspiration isn’t coming to me yet, I can promise you that I’ll be using its lyrics in a future post. Til then, XOXO.
When I think back on my History of Boys…I realize what good taste I have. Okay, there were some questionable crushes & boyfriends back in my middle school days- no names mentioned- but you Hampton kids may remember my dating track record. (Note: Sadly it was more plentiful as a pre-teen than a twentysomething.) But in all seriousness, or at least as much as I can muster up regarding this topic, I really do have decent taste in boys…which is probably why I’ve been single for so long. I kid, I kid. There really are good guys out there and I’ve been fortunate to know many of them; crush on some of them; and even make-out with a few of those heartbreakers. But that’s where the potential love story always seems to end- with a maybe I’ll see you again kiss. I swear I’ve been cursed for not sending those darn chain letters. But then again, is it really a curse since I’ve had the chance to meet, crush on, and/or kiss at least a dozen of incredible guys? Can that be considered bad luck if I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with these once-in-a-lifetime kinds of guys…even if they prove to be unattainable?
Unattainable Guys. We all know at least one guy (from our lives) that falls into this category. That middle school crush. Your first love…and heartbreak. The bartender at your favorite college bar. Mr. Perfect who you always see on your commute to work. Unattainable Guys: Those boys that have a bevy of girls chasing after ‘your guy’ that will never be yours. A group of vultures (aka girls) that your inner-thirteen year self deems is prettier and better ‘girfriend material’ than you. Unattainable Guys: Ones that you can look at and desire with every ounce you have to give, but can never call ‘mine’ (yours). Unattainable Guy-itis is what I’m going to call it, and is something that I’ve had for a while now and just cannot seem to get rid of. GRRRrrrrrr.
Yesterday I found myself continually confessing to my friend Sarah, who’s visiting from Bermuda (yes, as in ‘Bermuda, Bahama, come on, pretty mama’), that my fate in life is “To be single”. I’ve accepted it and, quite frankly, I feel like I have a lot to offer the world of Singletons and Couples based on my Forever-Role as a Single Lady. Of course Sarah’s response was like most others, “Minnie, that’s not true! You’ll meet someone when the timing is right and he’ll be fantastic because you are fantastic!” I stood strong in my belief but also engaged in a night-long on-and-off conversation (with the other girls too) about Love, Crushes, and All that Jazz in Between. Sarah also got to witness the Lovely Boy Scene that is here in Chicago, IL. Yes, please note my sarcasm. I definitely wasn’t “winning” last night, although I could care less since I was in perfect company with my ladies.
(Plus, my ♥ is with Max.)
At 2:30-3 am, after a trip to the Wiener Circle, Sarah and I changed into pajamas for an after-hours Girl Chat and viewing of He’s Just Not That Into You. As the movie began, we found ourselves talking about the Unattainable Guys in our lives, including her boyfriend of 1.5 years. Yes, her now-boyfriend was once categorized (by Sarah, herself) as an Unattainable Guy. This is the same friend, Sarah, who is most confident girl I know. The same Sarah that I’ve witnessed many of boys ogling after for 6 years now. Yes, this girl once believed that she had her eyes on an “Unattainable Guy” that wasn’t interested in anything more than a flirty (sparks flying) introductory conversation and make-out session the first night they met.
So where does this leave me? Has Sarah’s confession given me hope? Not really; however, it’s left me with this thought: What if that Unattainable Guy worries that you’re the Unattainable Girl that he can never have? What if he has the same doubts & concerns that you have about him? What if? What if.
In one chapter of my History of Boys there was one Unattainable Guy whose own history appeared to be quite similar to mine. Having had known him through my friends for a year (or so), I enjoyed having the chance to get to know him better myself- as friends (with some friendly flirting, possibly, in the mix too). To be honest, as my crush grew I found myself getting more intimidated as I realized that he was one of those guys that always had girls hoping to be The One He’d Choose. (I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I didn’t once hope the same thing.) But through that (minor) intimidation over Mr. Unattainable, I came to this realization: I may not be the beautiful girl, but I am pretty great. I may not be perfect, but I have a lot to give a guy. I may not be the one this (or that) seemingly unattainable guy will choose…but someone will (one day).
This realization is still my belief…even in rough, emotional-draining, self-esteem depleting moments like ones I had today. I have this habit for liking Unattainable Guys and I’m going to accept my fate that this isn’t going to change anytime soon. However, I’m also hoping that life will stop teasing me by throwing good guys into my path that I will never call ‘mine’. I’m hoping that I’ll continue to trump those negative thoughts and believe that me being ‘me’ makes me the most beautiful to the one that chooses me. I may not be too good at writing songs (about my History of Boys), but can continue to write my own life story. A story in which the protagonist (yours truly) comes to find that There’s No Such Thing as an Unattainable Guy, and therefore, whole-heartedly realizes that there are more than fifty reasons for a good guy to choose her (me).
*Note: As always, when I make these affirmations to myself, my hope is that you (whoever you are that reads this blog) adopt this Acceptance & Confident mindset for himself/herself. Remember, You Are Beautiful.
Song of the Moment: Hey Stephen by Taylor Swift
As I read Water for Elephants on the bus this morning, one of my all-time favorite quotes and movie scenes from Big Fish popped into my mind (due to the whole circus thing). The line is, “They say when you meet the love of your life, time stops, and that’s true.” and here is the scene.
While Edward Bloom’s love at first sight scene with Sandra Templeton was caught on camera, most couples do not have this luxury. Most boy-meets-girl first meetings are not produced by Disney or MTV; however, cameras are not necessary to capture this fateful Hallmark moment because one’s mind will never let you forget it (or at least the parts of it that weren’t too blurred by those head twists, turns & spins and nerve-wracking butterflies). Every once in a while, you see sparks while catching the eye of another; and since you don’t see sparks that often, you know something special has just occurred. Sparks. Those Beautiful Sparks.
I saw sparks once, and actually I’ve seen them a few times. The last time I saw sparks, I did my best to ignore them. In fact, I ignored them for hours. I was totally convinced that I could keep ignoring those sparks, but eventually stopped fighting (myself) and gave in.
But what happens next? Are sparks just a temporary, one-night thing? Do they go away as quickly & unexpectantly as they came?
Okay, maybe those aren’t my real questions…maybe these ones are.
If you see sparks, does that mean the other person sees them too? If you still sense the sparks days…weeks…months later, does that mean he does as well? And if the sparks fade from his eyes, will they fade in yours? Isn’t that only fair? Why would they stick around in yours if they’ve disappeared in the other’s?
Am I being completely transparent here? Oh well, to each his own. What I’m trying to get out is this: I’ve been let down by life (before) and hurt dozens of times, only to blame myself for my own foolish naivety. I accept my past entirely and actually embrace all the rough patches more than those of ease. However…(isn’t there always a ‘however’)… these days I hopeful that life is unfolding to give me the chances I’ve been working towards. One of those chances is finally turning those little sparks into something less temporary.
There are some blurry spots from that night that sparks last flew, but it’s still quite vivid in my mind. I remember many moments. Most moments, if not all moments. There’s no doubt in my mind that sparks flew that night…but what if they didn’t? What if there were no sparks at all? What if I made them up in my mind? I’m just playing Devil’s advocate here, but seriously, what if? How do you know if what you saw were really sparks? And if they were, most importantly, how do you make them stay?