I haven’t written much lately (Jeez, how many times have I said that the last few months), but that’s because I’ve been thinking all the thinks and not necessarily writing all the writes…or doing all the dos for that matter. (Incidentally, I’m rereading The Tao of Pooh.) This is one of the many thinks I have been thinking that have been taking up all my words:
Up until a few weeks ago, I had kind of been avoiding my crush (who was actually in the country all along; it’s a long story that involves me remembering conversations too well and people not dating photos appropriately on Facebook). There’s really only one place I know I’ll run into him, and though I’d wanted to go by there for a while, I kept finding excuses. Lack of time. Lack of money. Other things I needed to get done. This went on for oh, I don’t know, two months or so. And then one day I found that I didn’t have a good excuse that week. I was going to be in the area-ish anyway. I’d just gotten paid. If I went home, I probably wouldn’t have gotten anything done aside from binge-reading or catching up on sleep. So about mid-week I decided to go that Friday.
And I promptly freaked the fuck out.
I have discovered in times like these, when the freaking out is happening and I can’t determine the cause, there is really one place I know I can figure it out: the shower. The shower and I have a long relationship that is only partly to do with bathing. It’s a place where I can detach from everything. I can’t try to multitask beyond letting the conditioner soak into my hair while I shave my legs. But none of these tasks takes immense focus, so my mind is free to wander. It’s the perfect place to think through things that don’t make any sense. When I have a big think to think, this sometimes results in abnormally long showers, but it’s a risk worth taking since I’m on an allocated system and don’t pay for the amount of water I actually use.
So I took my ponderings about the freak-out to the shower, and discovered something interesting: I wasn’t necessarily afraid of being rejected.
I was afraid of what might happen if I wasn’t.
There are so many what-ifs. What if he did want to go out with me, but after a few dates one or the other of us lost interest? What if he was only interested in something casual, but I got attached (like I do)? I have found that I cannot separate the emotional aspect of sex from the physical. As in, I am incapable of experiencing any kind of sexual satisfaction with someone I don’t really care about (that was fun to discover, as you can probably imagine). What if he was the polar opposite? What if my careful asshole-screening judgment failed me, and I got shamelessly used for my lady bits? Or worse, what if we did get to the point where the hibbity got dibbity, and I didn’t enjoy myself?
All of that pales in comparison to the last one, though. The kicker, the real reason just deciding to go to a place where I was certain to encounter this individual left me in a near panic:
What if it worked out? What if everything was as close to perfect as a relationship can get—right up until it ended? What if, in the long run, things didn’t work out and I was left once again with a broken heart?
Because that’s kind of what happened the last time.
I won’t go into the details, because that’s between me and my ex. Suffice to say that though the decision to end the relationship was mutual, the discussion that led to that decision was instigated by him at a time when I thought everything between us was okay. It turned out for him it was really not okay, and he was just exceptionally good at hiding it. The whole thing kind of blindsided me, and I went from happily together to miserably single in about three hours.
That breakup was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through. And I’m still not entirely sure how I got through. The fact that we stayed friends was a miracle (thanks in large part to the fact that neither of us dated anyone—even casually—for about a year after we broke up). Now that I have more than three years of distance and perspective, I can see that we’re better as friends; that he and I are both happier and healthier people apart. Through that heartbreak, I learned more about myself and what I want out of a relationship and out of life than I ever would have with him. But even three-plus years later, sometimes it still hurts.
And my biggest fear is of it happening all over again. I don’t see how I could survive it a second time.
Admitting that to myself, standing there quietly crying in my shower, made all the difference. Just knowing that that was what I was really afraid of. I can handle rejection, even when it stings. But risking my fragile, weather-worn heart is a whole other ballgame. Of course the only alternative—living the rest of my life with no possibility for romantic interaction—isn’t all that appealing either. I don’t mind being on my own, but it’s not a situation I want to make permanent. I’m too allergic to cats ever to own more than one; crazy-cat-lady is not a viable option in my case. So it’s a risk I’m going to have to take.
Just processing that and going through it with myself logically calmed me down quite a bit. I decided then that it was probably best just to be myself—not worrying about trying to be direct or bringing the situation to any abrupt resolution. It doesn’t really matter if this guy likes me “that way” or not; he’s a cool guy and I’d like to get to know him better even if we just end up being friends. Maybe for me, it’s better to be a bit more of a Taoist: to just to go with the flow of things and see what happens.
So I went, I saw the crush, we hung out—I actually SPOKE; it was insane—and I had a really good time. I did, however, make a disheartening discovery. A discovery I don’t think I was intended to make; after I overheard him imply said discovery to someone else—twice—which is only kind of eavesdropping because he knew I was standing right there—I asked him about something he’d mentioned the last time I saw him. He looked at me all wide-eyed and said, “Wow. You have a really good memory,” in a way that suggested he thought perhaps he should be a little more careful what he says in front of me. Not that I would ever say anything to anyone (aside from here, where I can be mostly anonymous and hope that only the handful of people I’ve talked to about this will know who in the hell I’m talking about…unless he ends up reading this, because them I’m fucked).
Anyway. Big discovery of that night:
My crush has a crush on one of my friends.
*facepalm, facepalm, facepalm*
Not that I can really blame him. This particular friend of mine is pretty freaking cute. If I were a dude or a bit more bisexual, I’d be all over that. She’s cute and she’s sweet, and I don’t want to describe her more for the sake of everyone’s anonymity. She’s also seeing someone right now, so there’s that. Granted, there’s no telling how long that will last, but at present she is unavailable.
I just don’t know. Like I’ve said before, I like this guy. I’m attracted to him, but I don’t know him well enough yet to think about more—beyond my hyperactive, neurotic imagination exploring every possible what-if, that is. I’m trying really hard not to compare myself to his crush, but that’s a lot harder than it might seem. She’s kind of amazing. Makes it a little difficult to remember that I’m kind of amazing, too.
I’m going to go with the flow of things, letting my hopeless romantic hope just enough to keep her happy but no more than that. I’m only entertaining the possibility, not allowing myself to think of it as anything more than possible…and trying not to bruise myself with all the facepalms…or to use up the world’s water supply thinking big thinks in the shower…