Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Feeling stupid, part 100000: When pursuing love goes down in flames.

I've been feeling pretty not-depressed for a little under a month. It's been weird, but nice. It's hard to wrap my head around not feeling like a ton of bricks is weighing on me all the time. But it's been freeing to not feel shrouded in darkness and weighed down by some unknown, unshakable force. I've felt so much stronger and then things started going well in my life, too.

And then yesterday happened.

Yesterday was great until about 11:15pm.

You know the saying, "When it rains, it pours"? Well, it was pouring good things for once in my life. I found out I had been offered an internship I really wanted and my paper had been accepted into my alma mater's academic journal. I received another delightful email in an enjoyable correspondence I've been having with someone who works in my field who had been giving me advice about grad schools and careers as well as reminiscing about her time in two of the same internship programs I've been in this past year. I also started up conversations with two guys....

I guess a lot has happened during my unofficial hiatus from here. But to put things briefly -- I pursued a relationship with the man I developed very strong feelings for this summer, only to receive an apathetic response, so I decided to put the relationship on hold indefinitely. As of yesterday, I hadn't, apart from a brief exchange, talked to him for a little over two months. Two months. It was hard at first, but a series of events made me feel like it was time to let go. At first I was just going to be silent for a couple weeks, but then I became afraid to talk to him again. That anxiety continued up until recently, but overall it was gradually more and more freeing to know I had put myself first and disentangled myself from a relationship that was bringing me more hurt than happiness. I felt free and independent as I traveled alone and focused on myself.

As I moved on from Man #1, a guy who I was working with started to catch my eye, but I felt really shy around him and never got much opportunity to talk to him. So I eventually resigned myself to fate and gave up on the prospect of getting to know him. Lo and behold, my last week there, I interacted with him more and more. Then one of my last few days, I decided to woman up and approach him and have a full conversation with him. I promised to say bye before I left, so my last day, I walked through the museum and found him. Thankfully, nobody was around so we could talk relatively uninterrupted again. I kept hanging around awkwardly, secretly pleading inside that he would ask me out. Then at one point he asked when I was leaving for home, and I answered tomorrow, but then added that I was free tonight. Long story short, we ended up going on a date - my first ever date! - my very last night in town. It was lovely, I felt at ease until I got home and my anxiety set in, he was wonderful. But it was inconclusive where things would go, and I was headed to a state 10 hours away.

Anyways, I've been telling people how much better Man #2 fits me than Man #1, all the while secretly worrying over the fact that my feelings for Man #1 sparked much quicker and burned much brighter than they were doing with Man #2. I felt afraid that my feelings for Man #1 could never be eclipsed by another guy, that I would be emotionally unfaithful and distracted from anyone else that might come along. I felt guilty for asking Man #2 out when I knew that I would be leaving, yet I also felt pretty kick-ass and excited that I had taken control of my love life. But ultimately, that gave way to my typical angst over being seemingly the only one in the relationship who was really invested in the relationship.

I was thrilled at the good news yesterday, and even more excited at the two conversations pinging on my phone throughout the evening and into the night. I agonized over the meaning of messages received and spent minutes revising and rewording replies. I felt vaguely aware of how fleeting this high would be, and guilty for the fact that I was being giddy and distracted from my family, on my phone with boys. Then I realized that that's what normal young people do. All the same, the high did crash...Conversation with Man #1 tapered off, and I told myself it was fine; I needed to let it go when it lost steam because before I would annoy him by talking too long. Conversation with Man #2 went on longer, but I sensed he was getting weary of it. I wrote something, got no response, felt embarrassed, and freaked out and wrote a long note apologizing and saying it was good to talk and I hoped we could reconnect if I returned to his area. He replied amiably, but with an answer I read as very passive about whether or not we got together, like he could care less.

I called my only friend who stays up past midnight, knowing I needed to talk to somebody or I would overthink myself into a tailspin. I distracted myself, yammering away, and my friend reminded me that the guy might not feel as excited about the relationship as I was if he was looking at things pragmatically, in terms of me being far away. I still felt crushed and deflated. Tonight, I frankly feel stupid. Stupid for chasing yet another guy. Stupid for being a hopeless romantic again, thinking we could work it out in spite of the distance, letting myself make my decisions based on the hope that I might get to see him again if I took a job here or there. My other friend told me almost the exact same thing that she said about Man #1 - he was too far away and it was too early on to do long-distance (even though I was about to move only an hour and a half away from him and I ended up driving an hour or more regularly on the weekends to go and visit places.) So then I felt like even more of an idiot.

We're not stupid if we pursue relationships. We are hopeful. We are adventurous. I am driven, I am independent, I am courageous, in my own little way. I went after what I wanted and put myself out there, which is more than these guys can say. I have always wanted to walk the road less traveled, and I will continue to blaze my own damn path. People who have it figured out, who have their career laid out and their boyfriend in their back pocket can judge my choices all they want, but dammit I'm just trying to figure it out without an instruction manual. I'm trying to push myself every day to be a little less shy, a little more bold, a little more true to myself, and a little more confident in my own abilities. I'm constantly trying to create and add to the world and let people know I care. Maybe I'll leave some tiny legacy behind. Just maybe.

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