“You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.” ― Cheryl Strayed
Lately, I’ve really been struggling with taking Ms. Strayed’s above-mentioned advice. As we sit in the thick of “wedding season,” and as I see more of my friends and acquaintances from high school and college become engaged or get married, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my own lack of a love life and overwhelming desire to find a significant other.
I haven’t dated much in my life, and I mostly attribute this to two things: The fact that I’m fairly shy, and the fact that I’m always incredibly busy. However, I sort of think that I use the “busy” excuse so that I don’t have to admit that I’m just too damn reserved to successfully meet someone. I mean, I AM busy, and as a law school student, it most likely would be pointless to try and seek a relationship right now, but I think that if I wanted to, and knew how, I could make it happen. But, I suppose when you’re the kind of person who, when out at a bar or an event, is too afraid to walk through a crowd of people to the bathroom by yourself, trying to find a guy to date seems pretty impossible.
The thing is, I’m really, REALLY good at developing crushes and becoming sort of infatuated with guys. And they’re usually the kind of guys who, if we’re being honest, wouldn’t look twice at me. So, I get stuck in these cycles in which I pine after these guys who barely know I exist, but I never get to the point of actually talking to any of these guys, or any guy, really. That’s pretty embarrassing to admit, but hey, I promised I’d be transparent on this blog, so here I am.
Often, people tell me that I’m too shy (which is, as I’ve just told you, true) or too picky when it comes to the guys that I like. Maybe the second part is true, but we all have our preferences when it comes to who we want to date, right? Maybe I should be more open-minded, but I can’t help who I like…you know? My aunt tells me I should go online to date, but I think I’m still a little too young for that…I should be going out, socializing, and meeting people the “old-fashioned” way at this point, especially because I’m so shy and need to work on fixing that little detail…Hiding behind my computer screen and incessantly trying to create a perfect profile to make myself seem better than I really am just doesn’t seem like a great idea. I don’t know.
I had a really heartbreaking situation last year where I fell, really hard, for this guy (who I admittedly didn’t know very well). He didn’t feel the same way about me, and ultimately ended up dating this other girl with whom I was friends at the time (the friendship didn’t survive). After that, I spent months asking what was wrong with me and mentally beating the shit out of myself, and in many ways I’m still doing it. Why is it that I’m not good enough for anyone? You know, other than the creepers who try to hit on me at QuikTrip or the thugs who try to holler at me when I’m doing laundry at my apartment.
“There are so many things to be tortured about, sweet pea. So many torturous things in this life. Don’t let the man who doesn’t love you be one of them.” ― Cheryl Strayed
Everyone tells me that there’s nothing wrong with me, that it’ll be worth the wait when it finally happens, that I’ll find the right person when I stop looking, etc. You know, all of the things kind people tell someone in my situation. Things that may be true, but don’t stop me from hurting just a little when I see that another friend is in a relationship, or engaged, or getting married. (Disclaimer: I do NOT want to be engaged OR married right now! But you know what I’m trying to say here…) I know that I’m young, and I know that I have plenty of time, but that just doesn’t make it any less hurtful, I guess.
And even as I type this, I think about how much society has harmed young women like me by perpetuating this belief that if we aren’t in a relationship, then somehow we have failed. And I guess that belief speaks to the idea that far too many people, including me, try to find their self worth in a significant other, rather than from within. And so maybe I don’t belong in a relationship at all. Maybe I NEED to be alone and learn to appreciate my independence and the fact that I can, and am, doing just fine on my own, before I try to bring someone else into the picture and ruin the whole thing with my insecurities.
I don’t know, maybe what I’ve just written is complete nonsense, but I felt compelled to write about this because I’ve spent all day on Facebook scrolling through the many wedding and engagement photos popping up on my timeline, and I’ve found myself feeling down because of it. Really, I should be happy for those people, not sad for myself. My day (hopefully) will come. But today is not that day, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I suppose something this significant just can’t, and shouldn’t, be rushed. Besides, I should probably learn how to become more comfortable with going to the ladies’ room at a bar by myself before I try to become comfortable with a man, huh? Ha!
So, here’s to surviving the wait, doing so with grace, and hopefully finding the one who makes the wait worth it all.