-On the bus
“The first time I used the ‘L’ word with my current boyfriend he didn’t say it back, but said ‘thank you, I am not quite there yet’ and I was like… do you think it is a place you might eventually get to? and he was like ‘yeah, I really think so’. The funny thing was I was totally okay with that… I mean I went home that night and was just totally weirded out with how okay I was with him not loving me back just yet. I mean… I totally would have expected myself to cry myself to sleep if I had imagined that response… but I didn’t… and I mean it turned out okay because he totally reciprocated a few months later.”
“Yeah? I can’t even…. how did that happen?”
“Oh, like, he told me in sign language while we were stargazing one night. How amazingly nerdy cute is that. He is so romantic but in like… an unconventional way.. or that is what he calls it anyway. Unconventional. He made me a mix tape.”
– Real Conversation Overheard on the Bus*
Overhearing conversations between barely twenty-something undergrads on my daily commute is one of the perks (and pitfalls) of working on campus. I listened to the conversation documented above with an air of satisfied smugness. I know so much more than you do in matters of the heart, I thought to myself. Yes, you seem rather sure of yourself and seem to have exit strategies and conversations all planned out and aren’t afraid to use them, I thought… and stopped. Well shit. Who am I to be all judgy and holier-than-thou, when I myself am petrified of the prospect of having to have any sort of conversation with anyone about my feelings or status within a relationship. Heck, I have problems even having those conversations with myself. How do I feel about the people I am seeing, do I even like them? Are they worth having “the talk” with? If not, why am I spending time with them at all?
I am pretty lucky. I have never had to be the one to say “I love you” first…with the exception of one person. No, they didn’t say it back right away, but they totally reciprocated months later. Years later they slashed my heart into tiny pieces, set them on fire and blew the ashes into the wind, leaving me a pitiful person with hollow eyes and an empty chest. Erm… maybe a bit dramatic but sometimes you need to be a bit dramatic to show the full scale of what happened, right? It has been years since that day, in fact this blog was born of that event. And thank goodness for that. Because of this blog, and many, many, MANY other people , places and things I have built a new heart to beat in my once vacant chest. It is strong, giving and happy…but haunted by my previous heart; the spirit of which lingers within its atriums making it flutter with fear at the prospect of being broken.
I refuse to live in fear, or make decisions based on them… I mean, how tragic would that be?
Pretty. Effing. Tragic.
Instead, I think. A lot. I have spent thousands of dollars on developing my critical thinking/ observational skills why not attempt to use them? I ask myself questions. I refer to previous relatable incidents and outcomes and try to develop strategies for all possible outcomes. I try to prepare for the worst all the while hoping for the best, knowing that I will be able to survive whatever happens. Knowing that as long as I retain and work through things in a way that reflects my healthy sense of self worth, I will be okay. NOTE: All I ever needed to know about self worth I (mostly) learned from the Joy Luck Club. If ever in need of a reminder, read it, watch it. Just get it in you. “She doesn’t like ice cream”** is my self-worth mantra.
But back to the girls on the bus. I am curious what lays ahead for Girl #1, her unconventionally romantic boyfriend and clearly desperately jealous Girl #2. I wonder if she will retain her level of cool and keen sense of self worth where matters or the heart are concerned. I also wonder wonder what they are going to do for Valentines Day… “It is so totally dumb and over rated… but I still want to have like, a date or something on the day… but I totally wouldn’t be upset if he didn’t surprise me with a giant teddy bear and a bouquet or roses…or whatever.”
* This went on for the entirety of my trip and included many other specifics of the ways of Girl #1’s unconventionally romantic boyfriend. Lemme know if you want the low-down; Cosplay is a huge part of their origin story.
** I want to make it extremely clear that I LOVE ice cream… just… watch the movie if you don’t get it. Or email me. I can talk about this movie all day.