Just A Little Crush…Or Is It?: Lessons On Love From An Unlikely Source
Being in a committed relationship for almost half a decade does something to you. While you’ve been stuck in your proverbial love bubble, you don’t even notice how much the dating game is changing. And why should you? You’ve found your person. You’re set. Until you realize you haven’t found your person. And you’re not set.
You look up and as the love haze clears you’re faced with the reality that Earth C-137 has been Cronenberg’d. Now you have two options, either hightail it to another dimension and start a new life or get ready for battle.
I chose to battle.
Luckily, I didn’t have to battle too much. Somewhere, between regular therapy sessions, learning to love myself and getting too old to tolerate B.S., my taste in men had greatly improved since my early 20’s.
Each new crush gave me more insights to add to my box of desires. Our encounters were peppered with blissful moments and hard truths.
To the crush who gave me hope:
I patiently waited for everyone to leave the breakfast table and then giddily slid two chairs over to face you.
I whispered even though there was no one around to hear us. (I think I liked the drama of it all.)
“Now that I have you alone. How’d you get the courage to end it?”
We had made fast friends a day earlier on a bus ride, where you opened up about ending your relationship. I felt for you, but I also saw myself in you.
“You just have to make up your mind to do it….just rip off the band-aid” you told me.
You made it sound so easy, but we both knew it wasn’t. But I felt something that I hadn’t in a while…hope.
In the days that followed, I saw in you qualities I had been afraid to admit that I wanted. Too afraid to indulge in what seemed like an unrealistic fantasy. But there it was, there you were – everything I had been afraid to say I desired.
We were just friends. It took one awkward dance between us for me to realize that I was firmly in the friendzone (though my friends tried to convince me otherwise). It didn’t matter though, you had given me hope that maybe my person was out there. Someone like me who wanted to leave the world in a better place than they found it. Someone who could be vulnerable and honest. Someone who wasn’t afraid to act a fool when his favourite song came on.
We didn’t have the chemistry of a great love, but you lit a fire in me. You gave me the courage to leave behind a relationship that had long been broken. Meeting you made me brave enough to reclaim my happiness.
To the crush who helped me reclaim my essence:
As my first crush fizzled, a new one blossomed almost immediately. I slid into your DMs and asked you to marry me. I was only half joking…but also a little hopeful you’d bite.
I delighted in our chemistry. Believe it or not, I forgot I knew a thing or two about flirting. In our flirtatious encounters, I discovered the sensual woman I had previously struggled to embrace. With you, I felt confident to explore within our unspoken boundaries.
A flirtationship is what I called it, and within it, I discovered a sense of wholeness. For the first time in my life, my sexuality and sensuality didn’t feel like they were tucked away in a compartment separated from the rest of who I was. Reserved for passionate moments in between the sheets. They became seamlessly intertwined with the woman I was becoming.
You said it wasn’t the right time, but I’d resigned that maybe I wasn’t the right girl. It didn’t matter. By then I had more notes for my box of desires. I was resolute that being only half desired wasn’t enough. I wanted to be desired in the entirety of who I was. And I now had the courage to claim it.
To the crush who made me believe in love again:
“I love you,” you told me, like it was something you said a thousand times before. I sat there dumbfounded, terrified not because you said it, but terrified because I may have felt it too.
I didn’t want to fall for you.
But I did.
I’m still unraveling you, unraveling us. In my other crushes there was never an us, but you and I…felt like an us.
You were unexpected. I had resigned that I was going to spend the rest of the year unbothered by men. Year of Singleness, I believe I declared to my best friend. I needed to focus. I wasn’t a stranger to losing myself in relationships. Painstakingly bending myself to appease men who never really saw me. I was resolute in choosing me before we.
It wasn’t long before I realized that my Year of Singleness, was me protecting myself from what I feared the most. I was scared of falling in love again. Afraid of making the wrong decision, afraid of getting my heart broken, afraid of losing myself and my happiness. I wasn’t sure I knew how to be me and be happy with another person on board.
You challenged me in ways I didn’t want (read: wasn’t ready) to be challenged. Our interactions revealed my own brokenness. Brought up things I thought I had long mended. You reminded me that even though I’ve done a lot of work on myself, I’m still a work in progress.
I often questioned if I was “o.k.” enough to be any good at this. A woman with a mood disorder, still healing from the trauma of a toxic relationship, afraid to open her heart to love, sounds like a disaster.
But you were brave.
It made me want to be brave too.
I was good on my own. I knew how to be alone. You offered me the opportunity to learn that I didn’t have to be by myself, to be myself. With that, I decided to no longer give my fears the power to keep me from receiving love.
Our ending was ultimately the hardest. But it’s giving me an opportunity to learn how to let go in love. I learned so much about being kind, supportive, vulnerable, and understanding from you.
Open To New Possibilities
Just a little crush, became my playground. I allowed myself to learn from each encounter. I observed what felt good and what didn’t. Soon enough new images of what I desired (and needed) in a potential partner emerged.
I’ve shed my fears of falling in love (and being heartbroken). I no longer feel I have to be the perfect version of myself to be worthy of great love. I remain open to the possibility of connecting with a partner who wants to walk this journey with me, as I’ll walk with him on his. But I also delight in the joy I’m finding in my solitude and the lessons I’m learning from that.
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