The lady on the right is not me, just to clarify.
I have come along way, me.
I can travel on my own. I can spend a night at home with a book, or a good telly show. I have gone and met a lot of people. Some great value and some I wish I could expunge from my mind. I have a good social life. I have forged bonds with friends that were previously perhaps not as well nurtured.
I am putting myself out there. Yes, I would like to be in a relationship. But, happily, not badly enough to be in any old relationship.
The whole experience that most people have in their teens and 20s, the chase, the courting, the love and then the rejection and over and over. I never had that. I am learning about all of that now. Hopefully, with a bit more confidence and wisdom than I had in my 20s. Perhaps things are more time-critical now, but, hey, I am still young.
I know what it is to take things slowly. I had to learn that. That thing about protecting my own feelings (not at others expense, of course) – learned that too. And hell, I like sleeping on my own without somebody else in the bed slobbering or farting or snoring or kicking me. I can put full concentration into my own things and value them. That’s a new thing.
I have a stronger sense of my own value, and can walk around most of the time with my head held high. Not just in an intellectual sense, but in a way that is integrated into me, and is less assailable to outside insults.
For example: I am clever, I can perform CPR, I can make a person laugh, I cook a mean lamb roast and I have run a fecking marathon. Among other things.
I feel pretty good about myself, most of the time.
Sometimes, I don’t.
I still occasionally feel self-conscious about my appearance.
I fear that certain aspects of myself (even the good ones, like my achievements) might be offputting.
It is all a bit evocative of 9 year old me, at primary school, being the last picked for the team. That’s what I feel like, sometimes. It’s not the truth, but cannot separate the awkward 9 year old self from the confident 33 year old.
Know what makes it worse?
Internet dating. It is a bit harsh and the lack of accountability makes it all the more amusing.
Knockbacks. The bait and switch. Things that are not particularly harmful, but frustrating nonetheless.
“oh I am going to have to stop emailing you because things have just progressed with somebody else” [Sigh]
“You seem like a nice girl and we would get along well but I think I am out of your league..” [Leagues? I wasn’t aware there were any, we are not football teams]
Or this doozy:
“I usually go for more attractive girls than you but you seem clever and brains are important” [That little bit of gold was after I had politely and briefly knocked somebody back]
Or worse, people just ignoring you. That you aren’t even worth the effort of clicking “no thanks”. I once quite appreciated a guy emailing me and saying “sorry, am going to have to decline further contact”. Simple, clear and non-patronising.
As much as I say “it is their loss, more fool them” and I don’t get TOO bent out of shape, most of the time.
But it does grind on me.
Yet the orderly queue of suitable men will not, I fear, appear at my door, so what am I to do?
I have breaks sometimes. That helps clear the head.
I will just keep trying to cultivate my most awesome self. No random fucker can take that away from me.