I had never read anything by Pia Glenn before this morning, but by the end of this piece, I felt like I had read her entire heart. I know this girl because I know myself.
I was taken at the title of the article, “I Am Dating at My Worst…” There is more to it, but that’s what got me. I am dating at my worst.
I am almost 26 years old. (My birthday is on Saturday, email me for my mailing address. I love birthday cards.) I have never felt more insecure, more insane, more emotional, more anything. I am at the height of my being. I feel unstable and unsure and pretty much all other words that start with that gross prefix.
I grew up as such a confident young woman. I was not that girl who overcompensated for anything. In elementary school, I didn’t make fun of the uncool kids because I thought it might make me cool like everyone else. I was friends with whoever I wanted to be friends with. My best friend was the one that everyone called Werewolf (creative, I know) because she had hairy forearms? I think that’s why? Anyway, she was really sweet, and funny, and she loved her sister, and her mom always made us ice-cream sundaes, so I could really not give a fuck about her forearms. And when I switched schools in fifth grade, I did not join the rest of the immature adolescents when they giggled about everything that was slightly sexual and/or degrading to others. I remember telling my mother that I should have skipped a grade because I was far too mature for this class of people.
Middle school followed suit. I was lucky enough to find really close girlfriends, but we were all the same: non-conformists. I’m still friends with two of those three girls, because not everything sucks in middle school. I loved my life then. I was fat, I think, but I didn’t care. My hair was horrible, and everyone made fun of it, but I thought big flipped-out bangs were hideous, and greasy hair was worse, and if we’re talking boys, I thought everyone with bleach blonde hair tips was an idiot, so. Even if I wasn’t cute, I’m like…who is at 13, you know? And I just knew that.
High school was alright, too. I was super nerdy. I liked Harry Potter so much, like way before it was cool to like Harry Potter, but I wore my homemade (thanks to my best friends) scarf with pride, and I didn’t date, and I got a job at a movie theater, and I fell in love like everyone does when they are 16, but he never even made a move on me because of something unnecessarily complicated, I’m sure. I didn’t lose my virginity in high school, I kissed two boys, but I didn’t care about them all that much because neither of them were that first boy I loved. I had so much self-confidence and no time for nonsense. I wish I had held onto that, but as I got older, it got worse.
College was okay, but it started then. I lost a lot of weight, and somehow became more self-conscious about my looks. I graduated college, and my best girlfriend started doing hair, and she taught me about lipstick and blush, and she verified that I really am an exceptionally beautiful young woman. But it’s like…when I learned that, I started to become less sure of myself. And a lot of that has to do with post-grad life. Not knowing what you are doing with your life makes you so unsure of your character, it isn’t even funny. I knew I wanted to write, but it would be years before I got my first real writing job.
I fell in love. I met this boy, and I fell in love with him immediately. I stopped seeing the guy I was seeing at the time; this wonderfully fun and hilarious and energetic young man who kissed me with intention and flew around the world at the drop of a hat. There was something mysterious about this new guy, though. His oceanic eyes, and dark scruff, and dismissiveness. I wanted to know him. Be careful what you wish for.
In the three years that we were on-and-off dating, he gutted all of the personality out of me. I sacrificed all of my everything for him. I lost my virginity to him, a thing I didn’t want to hold as much weight as it did, but it did. Because that’s how things go, I guess. He pushed me a bit, emotionally, and I thought it was a breakthrough, but until recently, I realized he had the opposite effect on me. He didn’t make me better; he only created insecurities. I knew I was pretty—too pretty to be with him, if we’re being petty. I knew I was well-loved—much more well-loved than he is, if we’re being petty. I knew I was funny, and I would be more successful, and all of the things that one hopes they are more so than their ex, but it has not changed the fact that I feel tiny after giving so much of myself to a boy who did so little with it. If I didn’t say or do enough, he left me. If I said or did too much, he left me. I’m not enough, I’m too much, I am both over- and underwhelming. How can a person be all of that at once?
So now, at 26 years old, I feel like I am starting new. Is that a thing? Is that something everyone goes through? I guess because I never went through that angsty “find myself” period, this is my karma.
I have started seeing someone new, and we have already begun to talk about all of the things I hate about myself, and I am forcing myself to think about it positively. I have never met a man before.
I wasn’t going to stop at that sentence, but I meant it.
I was going to say: I have never met a man before who has called me out on my “issues,” and has still wanted to be with me. The constructiveness is insane. The workability of our respective insecurities is terrifying. The feeling of so-much-like that could eventually become a this-could-be-an-everlasting-love is scarier than a horror movie, and above all, the high-risk situation that is all relationships is just…counter-intuitive.
You know, relationships are hard. Dating someone when you are at the height of your insecurities is seemingly impossible. Where was this in middle school? Why couldn’t I have been a Cory and Topanga situation? Falling in love when you are well into your 20s is the worst. Both parties are bringing so much to the table that it is entirely plausible to want to cut and run—like (obviously) the both of us are used to.
So, here we sit. My own version of dating at my worst.
Things get better, right? Gotta have roots before branches. I think this will make me better. It has to.
Featured image via weheartit.
Jessica Tholmer is a regular contributor to various websites, including her own blog, which consists of her reflecting about the terrible dating choices she makes, and sometimes The Biebs. She has fallen in love like a million times, and hopes to hold the record for "most broken hearts" by the time she is 45. You can find out literally everything about her, because she is everywhere to you.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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