I met a guy, and I fell for him really quickly. I did not fall in love with him, but I knew that he was someone I was really excited to potentially have in my life. We hit it off straight away and spent the first night we met laughing and talking and having drinks and most ridiculously, holding hands! Hands! How refreshing.We were at a show and danced and had a really good time.
In between a couple of bars and coffee, we chatted and fell off our seats laughing. I found myself talking easily and quickly, words rolling off my tongue. Witty banter prevailed. It was amazing. It felt like I was talking to one of my best friends, someone I had known for years who understood my snarky cynicism and sarcasm. I did tone it down. Because that is what girls like me do. When confronted by a boy whom we potentially like, we tend to dial down the individualism. There are so few boys to whom I am attracted that I tend to sit back and interlock my fingers and rest my chin on them, watch from under my eyelashes when I find someone who captivates my imagination and engages me because I am scared that I will scare them off if I unleash my crazy on them all at once. I like to hit them with it in little doses instead!
I don’t remember the last time someone held my hand and listened to me, and made me laugh, and put their hands on the small of my back and navigated me through a crowd. It felt good to just be taken care of and spoiled. The best part was the hand holding. People do not hold hands any more They make out in the back of the cab, hop into bed and celebrate their one night stand over Sunday brunch. At least on television.
He almost leaned in for a kiss. I turned my head a bit. I was really enjoying the hand holding and wanted to wake up the next day and say that I had held hands with a boy all night and was very happy about it. I did. I was happy.
We started talking, all the time about everything and nothing really. I missed him terribly when we weren’t talking about nothing and everything. He had pet names for me, cute little names that I would usually roll my eyes at in disdain. But when he said them to me, I would half-laugh and make a cute face. I really liked him and found him interesting and easy to talk to. He made me laugh and smile and be shy and girly, and hope that I had found someone. He made me want to make him my person.
Except when he was not easy to talk to. When he began to be silent and awkward and distant. When he would ask me questions and I would open up to him. And when I asked him the same, he would accuse me of being uninterested and brush me off, and never give me an answer.
Then he would be mean. Unnecessarily, brutally mean. And I cried. Because if he liked me so much, how could he see all those things that were wrong with me? How could he so purposefully hurt me and make me second-guess myself? Why would he make a concerted effort to make me unhappy and sad? The apologies were meaningless; the damage was done. I began to think, does he even like me? Why would he hurt me like this if he honestly feels anything for me?
Ultimately, I could not give him what he needed from me. I liked him so much. Deeply. I connected with him. He made me want to be his person and make him my person and do things with him and hold hands. I was happy. I was hopeful. I thought that we would work out.
He asked me if I wanted to be his girl. I said yes. I meant it. He left.
He went to look for a girl who would be everything he needed. He told me he was going to start looking for a girlfriend. I quietly asked, “Oh? Really? Interesting,” I said. Inside I was crying a little, wondering if he was serious. If he was not I did not want him accusing me of escalating a non-issue again and making me cry. So I played it cool. If he were serious, I did not want him to know that it hurt and that I was upset. I had opened myself up emotionally to him enough.
I hate sharing with people. Because they turn around and leave. And they take your confessions with them. And these people are freely walking around? Knowing little bits of you? Knowing your dreams? Your darkest fears? The monsters that keep you up at night? The reasons you sleep with the light on.
That is for me the most painful part of losing someone you were close to. It is not that they are gone; it is the fact that they got to know you and you invested in them emotionally, and they turned around and hurt you so badly and took your secrets with them. I understand why so many women keep going back to a bad man. The idea of giving up when you have already invested so much is much less terrifying than going out and putting yourself in the firing line again. So when you were telling them your dreams, were they already planning on moving on to the next one? Did they listen to gain confirmation that they needed to get out?
Did my dreams scare you off? Did I say something? Was I too ambitious? Was I too demanding? I have asked myself these questions time and time again, and I have realised that it was never about me. It was about a man who was too afraid to love me because he felt that he was not good enough for me.
“My biggest fear is that I will never be able to love you right.” he said to me. I should have realised then that he would never be able to love me right. He knew it, and I imagine it kept him up at night. I do not want to be the reason anyone is unhappy and up all night.
My best friend kept telling me, when I invariably went to her, crying , that this guy had a bad vibe about him. It were as though he needed to pull me down and chip away at my confidence enough for him to feel that he could finally date me and be my man. How was that ever going to work out?
I am glad that he left me before we really got anywhere. I was able to get over him quickly in that way. I threw myself into my school work, studying feverishly, doing all my prescribed and recommended readings (!) pouring music into my ears, making myself lovely meals and indulging in cup after cup of creamy coffee.
What have I learnt from this episode? That I really want a person who will hold my hand all night and listen to me and laugh with me. But that I will not let him walk all over me just so he can hold my hand and make me feel safe and loved and worthy to be appreciated. I want someone who will appreciate me and love me and make me laugh and laugh with and at me. And hold my hand, not because I need him to, but because he really wants to and he appreciates me and thinks that I am someone who is worth hanging around for.
I hate ending dalliances with boys. I am wary of getting hurt. I do not want to become embittered and snarky. I want to meet a person and fall for them and believe what they say to me. I really want that more than anything. When he says that he cares for me and wants to make it work, I want to believe him and smile and be happy about it and hope that this might lead to something beyond amazing, something beautiful and honest and deserving of a moment of appreciation. I do not want to question his sincerity, curse at his words and proclaim them to be lies. I do not want to be frustrated and unhopeful. I want to fall in love and be happy. I want a person who will not be scared off by my dreams and my words and my being. Because that is all I have.
I have learnt that I will no longer consider men who feel that they are not good enough for me. There is no need for that type of self-flagellation. I will have higher standards, be more exacting and discerning. My heart deserves it, and I deserve it.
Peace. Love. Happiness.