Even if Buckley’s is bitter and foul-tasting, you’ll take a spoonful of it anyway because you know that it’ll fix you up and be good for you in the long run.
She told me she felt it wasn’t going to work and that it be best if we just be friends, to which I (truthfully) agreed. It took a whole day for the taste to pass but I can feel the healing process underway.
After a couple of hours spent accepting what happened and recalibrating my emotions from our nondate, I went to bed happy and relieved on Saturday night. But I woke up rather stiff on Sunday. I shouldn’t be surprised that there’s a bit of a bitter taste left in my mouth about how it went… but I am surprised. I’ve already analyzed the situation and broken everything down to objective truths – if I’ve accepted the fact that it didn’t work out because you can’t force chemistry, shouldn’t I be able to just… move on?
Perhaps it’s because it feels like failure (even when it isn’t). The point of us hanging out one-on-one is to get to know each other and gauge whether or not we are compatible. We are not. So shouldn’t it be a success?
Perhaps it’s because I’ve built this up so much in my head and filled in gaps of unknowns with ideals (thanks to over-thinking) and watching it collapse in real-time, slowly, in my hands was a massively disappointing feeling. It was like watching a skyscraper crumble – its infrastructural skeleton unable to support the architect’s overly-ambitious plans. And I couldn’t do anything about it.
Perhaps I’m still trying to figure out if I did something wrong. I know for a fact that I wasn’t able to let my walls down. I just couldn’t connect with her and I felt threatened by that, so my walls stayed up… maybe even higher.
Perhaps it’s just natural to feel disappointed. “It is what it is” is one of my least favourite sayings (right next to “I disagree”). I never truly believe “it is what it is” – you can change the outcome, you can try again, you can make it work, there is. Always. A. Fucking. Way.
But you can’t force chemistry.
A part of me is screaming “but you can build chemistry!”… but it would need to come from both sides. It’d take work, but I don’t think she was invested in this enough to begin with. I’d love to think her agreeing to come on our “date” came from the heart, but given how I put her in the spotlight and unloaded a ship-load of baggage onto her, I suspect it may have come from a place of pity or compassion. I wasn’t fair to her. I’m so sorry.
I’m annoyed. I’m fixated on the fact that despite it being over, I’m still struggling with what our one-on-one outing was. I can’t call it a date – I refuse – and it’s a symptom of me still not being able to let my walls down. I just couldn’t, with her. I felt so threatened by our incompatibility that I wasn’t able to let her in. I tried, and I failed. I’m so sorry.
But I am grateful. I’m grateful that this was with her. I could’ve been hurt pretty badly, but she gave me a chance to explore this side of me. She could’ve hurt me. But she didn’t.
I’m sorry it ended badly – I ended it pretty abruptly and I suspect that may have irritated her. Or maybe I’m overthinking.
I’ve learned so much, in particular, there being things that you can’t control – it’s the toughest pill I’ve had to swallow. I’m a work in progress. I’m trying. But these walls aren’t coming down easily.
I asked Jillboard on Tumblr for advice leading up to the (/non)date. She gave an excellent answer here.
But I hate that she titled it “What if she doesn’t like me?”
I mean, I guess that was the first example question that I gave. But my anxiety was coming from so many different places that it felt almost unfair (by no fault of Jill’s) that that was the title. Perhaps it was the way I phrased the question. I wasn’t too concerned about this girl not liking me. I felt like our (/non)date was more for me to figure myself out.
Although she did address my real question, which was “how do you stop overthinking?”, she didn’t provide an answer that I could work with. Moving forward, this is something I’ll need to learn for myself.
I know this about myself: I go after what I want and I don’t stop til I get it. If I really want something, I don’t take no for an answer – there’s always a way.
So why was it so hard for me to chase this girl? Why was there so much uncertainty and hesitation in my steps?
I assumed it was because I was new to dating and ~feelings~. That there was a lot of uncertainty that I would just have to accept. But I found out the real reason today, when I went on a non-date with her.
I was going to leave what I’ve learned at the end, but I can’t wait to share it:
You can be genuinely attracted to someone, but it won’t matter and your attraction won’t last if there’s no chemistry between the two of you.
We had a fun non-date, but I felt it wasn’t romantic. We had a good time. But there was no spark. If anything, there were times when it was awkward. I immediately texted my confidantes after parting ways with her: “I’m even more confused”. I thought after spending this time with her, my feelings would’ve gotten stronger. But nada. They stalled, and if anything, it felt empty on that front. Thus my confusion.
Perhaps it was the lack of deep, meaningful conversation, and not being able to tell the stories I had wanted to tell. Determined to get to the bottom of this, I asked her out to dinner so that we could get to know each other better (because lord knows this non-date didn’t help).
That’s when she told me, upfront, that she felt we weren’t vibing on a date-level.
Nail. On. The. Head.
To be completely honest, I did feel shitty for two seconds. But it was followed by a huge wave of relief. I felt free. I felt like this entire time, I was consumed by all this clutter, how to appeal to her, and my own mental health that I wasn’t even looking at the relationship at hand. I felt the pressure and weight of pretense. The fact that I’m still calling it a non-date in my head is a tell-tale sign. I’m still not sure who I was pretending to/for.
But she had hit the nail on the head with that one. I was trying to make it work when there wasn’t much to work with. It took her telling me “we weren’t vibing on a date-level” for me to really realize it. It hit me that there was no chemistry and a very weak connection. Thank God for honesty and being upfront. I told her I agreed, and we agreed to just be friends.
The three things that attracted me to her – they were real. She has a beautiful voice, she’s morally grounded, and she’s emotionally beautiful. These are things I find attractive. But these are just descriptors now and not things that pull me towards her.
It takes chemistry. It’s all about chemistry.
Unfortunately, we had none.
So I’m glad it happened. I learned a lot about myself – I didn’t think I had the balls to ask a girl out. The issue here was that I wasn’t sure what I wanted and the circumstances at play made her seem like something I wanted. The psychological effects of “wanting something more if you can’t have it” applied – me being unsure of my feelings while the “threat” of “losing her” that week loomed artificially made her more desirable. And that fucked with my head hard.
Two hours after, I texted a confidante:
God, closure feels so good.
I don’t actually know how the song goes but I think this is a lyric (?).
This past month, I’ve been more dependent on my close circle of friends than I’ve ever been. I don’t usually let myself get dependent on anyone or anything. But I’ve really, really needed their help and without them, I may have gone insane.
They’ve all been in relationships and were able to shed light on the dirty, dark details and in-between feelings that come with crushes and relationships. It’s never clean cut, it’s never completely two-sided, and there’s always someone putting in more effort than the other. Or at least, the way two people love can be different in magnitude and look different on the surface.
I was out with friends last night and a little distraught over why She, to keep it short, “didn’t tell me the full story”. I started overthinking. And the reasons that my asshole brain were coming up with were not fair, to her. It was difficult to empathize when your brash possessiveness was getting in the way and interrupting every thought.
“Can we go for a walk?” I asked one of my friends there. I told her everything, and she let me in on how she’d fucked up with someone that could’ve been The One because of an immature mistake. She painted a messy picture – because that’s what most relationships are like. She, like everyone else, told me I’m overthinking it. She reaffirmed my suspicions that maybe She just doesn’t want to mix friend groups, especially since we haven’t even hung out that much.
But why did she have to omit her friend’s name if I know who she is. (“Maybe she didn’t want to hurt your feelings by telling you who it was and not inviting you”).
Another confidante of mine tried reasoning these bad thoughts away via text message. But I just felt so let down by Her. But at the same time, unreasonably so – we’re not together, she’s not mine; I have no right to these feelings. So many angry “Why”s that I couldn’t answer… because they shouldn’t have been asked in the first place.
I’m fighting. I’m really fighting to hang on to these feelings. I’m constantly fighting my defensive tendencies that are telling me it’s easier to let go, it probably won’t work out, you’re a last resort, she’s not even into you, you’re just a safety net, you’re not compatible, you’re too different, you’re too weird, you’re not like her ex, you’re not her type, she’s out of your league, she probably really doesn’t like you at all and said yes to a date because you put her on the spot, you’re just not good enough for her, you’re inexperienced, there’s plenty more fish in the sea and they’ll be easier to have and probably reciprocate your feelings better, you always thought you’d date someone older anyway, you’ve probably misinterpreted her cultural habits as advances and she was just being friendly, you’re seeing things that aren’t there because we see what we want to see.
Basically, the lesson I’ve learned is: it’s a lot more complicated than a fairy tale.
And it requires a lot of patience. And there’s a lot of unknown and helplessness, which sent me into a state of shock last week. Speaking of which, I went to the medical centre on Friday and got a diagnosis. But I felt like I was steering it since I’d told her my diagnosis of the situation and my interpretation of everything. She told me I had “situational anxiety”. It’s nice to put a name to it. I feel like that’s all I went to her for. She didn’t prescribe any medication but she gave me a list of counselling resources just in case. Note: therapy is goddamn expensive – averaging $150 for a session! No thanks. I don’t even know how people who actually have anxiety are able to afford this, esp if this setback makes it harder for them than someone without anxiety to get a well-paying job.
If not for my friends, I may have let her go already. I would’ve been selfish and let my defense mechanism take over and shut down these feelings. It’s taking a lot on their part – it can’t be too much fun coaching a newbie who’s showing so much reluctance and indecision. It’s like they’re more invested in this than me.
Tone it down, Fabs. Turn off your dumb-dumb brain.
I biked home in the rain with a big stupid grin on my face and as soon as I closed the door behind me, a big fat question hit me over the head: “…what just happened.“
I had asked her out and she had said yes.
That’s what happened.
It feels so surreal – like it didn’t happen.
…WHAT JUST HAPPENED??
After about half an hour of me spilling my feelings, where I’m coming from, etc. I struggled with how to end our meeting with something to work with. Personal or professional, it’s the worst thing you can do – leaving a meeting without a solid action plan or anything to work with.
So after spilling my feelings, I blurted out “I guess I’m asking you out on a date?”
I made it clear that I hated that word “date” because it felt so pretentious and it was like we were trying to prove our worth to each other. But as I told her, I felt I already knew her… and there’s nothing she needs to prove to me… I just wanted to know her better, know her more. I guess what I forgot was it was also her opportunity to gauge me – after all, we both knew I had feelings for her.
I’d think for about 85% of the time I was talking to her, every time I made eye contact with her, it was a deliberate move. I’m terrible at looking people in the eye when talking to them about feelings. I can look the CEO of a large company firmly in the eye and talk industry news, no problem. But give me a cute girl and I’ll shrivel up into a ball of awkward. So for most of it, I was looking off into the distance and drawing pictures with my hands.
I was on the same page as her when she said that we’d only hung out so many times and so we’d only gotten to know each other so much. But she added that she was very open to the possibility of exploring what could be there.
It didn’t feel conclusive and I was left a little empty by the lack of closure…
But as a friend reminded me, sure, this wasn’t a complete yes, but it was a step towards yes and most importantly, it wasn’t a no. Whereas the path to “no” is a short, solid, cold one, the path to “yes” is layered and multi-staged. There are hurdles and hurdles to yes.
Feeling so vulnerable was weird.
But I also felt safe.
With her, I felt that even if she were to let me down, I’d still be safe.
I feel better. You should’ve seen that idiot on her bike smiling all big ‘n’ stuff in the rain. And it didn’t even hit me until after about half an hour after I’d left her, after I’d talked about it with a confidante on the phone. I went in there looking for closure and I came out with hope. I feel like a weight has been lifted.
There’s a possibility that this relief is rooted in selfishness – I’m laughing because I’m 100% overthinking this but – this relief might not just be coming from asking her out, but it might also be coming from a sense of regained control. Like this thing that I was feeling absolutely helpless about, I felt I showed myself tonight that I was capable of exerting some form of control. I feel lighter. I feel more empowered.
Holy shit, am I in love or am I just a control freak.
As if coming out to my mom about my sexuality wasn’t enough, I’ve had to come out to her about my anxiety. We talked for an hour and she listened intently. I told her everything… just short of… Her. I tried –
“I think I know why…”
She leaned in, “What?”
“I think I know why…”
“…But I think I should wait for my diagnosis. Because they’re professionals.” I backtracked so fast. I just didn’t want to get Her involved.
As they drove me back downtown – a nice gesture – my dad turned around and said he wanted to talk to me about his experience with anxiety.
My mom had told him and they had trapped me in this car to talk about it. It wasn’t too bad and it made for good bonding, and knowing he empathized with how I felt was nice. The worst thing he could be was dismissive, and he wasn’t it at all. They urged me to get help and offered me full support.
So I have a medical diagnosis appointment with the university on Friday.
I’m seeing Her on Thursday.
To be completely frank, I’m committed to the idea that the closure I’ll get from Thursday will clear everything up. I can fucking diagnose myself. A medical diagnosis for Friday is just a supplementary form of closure. I know what the fuck is wrong with me. I know the problem and the solution… so I’m still in control.
I’ve been trying to put her off my mind – there’s literally nothing I can do until Thursday. Everything I do now will just sabotage me in her mind for Thursday.
I feel sick. In the stomach. In the head. In the heart.
I’m gasping for closure.
The most frightening thing? I found myself for a few seconds tonight getting comfortable with not having her in my life. I’d slipped and my defense mechanism had snuck up on me, trying to take hold of the situation and reason my feelings away. And it was relieving… until I remembered and fought to put myself back in this box.
This is fucking unreal.
When she doesn’t text back, my mind jumps to conclusions. It’s been 40 mins.
“She probably doesn’t care”
“Maybe she’s taking a nap”
But this is the most poisonous of all:
“Maybe she’s debating if she should tell me that she actually hooked up with someone else.”
We’re not even dating. I need closure.
Strange things that have never happened before are happening in my body. I woke up multiple times last night, drenched in my own sweat. I vaguely remember touching my lower back and it was soaked. I shed my covers. The next time I awoke, I touched the back of my thigh. I was drenched… and I didn’t even know it was physically possible for me to sweat from my thighs.
Needless to say, I had a shitty night’s sleep. It’s been shitty for the past couple of nights.
I did a bit of Googling and digging past all the articles citing menopause, I’ve found it’s often a symptom of hormonal imbalance and stress. That sounds about right.
The past couple of times that I’ve gone to the gym have mostly been driven with my emotional and mental well-being in mind. I’ve found it helps to clear my head.
There’s a saying that I remember well that this one guy from badminton training would live by. It applies to all sports and fitness training, and it’s so simple: “Mind over matter.” You bring it out when your body is exhausted and you’re ready to break down and there’s a voice in your head telling you to just stop, please stop, you can stop… But if you hold onto “mind over matter“, ignore what your body is saying, and will yourself and push yourself to your limits, you can fucking do it. And you will be more than you were before.
I hope this applies to whatever it is that I’m fighting.
I always knew there was something wrong with me, but I never knew it could get this bad. I’ve always been a strong woman – people look up to me. I’m passionate, compassionate, driven, motivated, creative, intelligent, goddamn gorgeous (when I try), athletic, artistic, interesting, understanding, relentless*… I’m a god damn catch, and even then I’m selling myself short. I’ve “compensated” all these years for being gay, and now that I know my sexuality is not a flaw, I have all this that I’ve worked so hard for.
So when this anxiety hit, I was disappointed and terrified. I was and always have been the strong one. Will this be a handicap, a setback, to my life from now on? Will I not be able to achieve what I have in the past? I can’t fucking let that happen…
* Writing these things out about myself actually relieved the pressure. Note to self: write positive things about yourself if you have to battle anxiety in the future.
I think this anxiety attack is worse than the one last time because I’m not letting myself shut down these feelings. I’ve shut them down each time, and that’s why I’m still single – I keep myself this way. But this time, my feelings are lingering, waiting, alive until next week:
I might have a solution.
I have to ask her out.
If she says no, that’s fine. I need the closure.
If she says yes, it will get complicated.