Over the course of the last five months I have made my transition into the single world. And I’m going to be honest here, it has not been pretty. Single for a 20 year old thus far has meant mingling on awkward dating apps, reconnecting with old high school crushes, and dealing with dramatic thoughts that I will be alone forever followed by uncontrollable panic.
But one conversation can change everything. One completely unexpected conversation with practically a stranger can change everything. Instead of a night of taking clothes off, I did something else – I took my walls down. Instead of being physically naked, I got emotionally naked – something I think people don’t do often enough.
Believe it or not, this guy telling me he couldn't hang out with me because he didn't want to hook-up as he had said he did the previous night was exactly what I needed to hear. Hearing him say “I’m not being myself” was enough for me to realize that I really wasn't either – and I haven’t been for a long time. It was like a wake-up call I didn't request, but one that was essential for my well-being.
Just because the world around you may seem like a sex-crazed hormone fest without a drop of innocence left at the bottom of the red solo cup in your hand, doesn't mean you have to be. Just because you’re physically attracted to someone it doesn't mean you have to throw self-control and what you truly want for yourself away. Compromising my own feelings for the sake of settling for something less than desirable has only left me feeling lonelier than I did in the first place.
So I’m writing this as kind of a thank you to that guy. I’m writing this to tell him that without him being brave enough to admit that he wanted more for himself, I wouldn't have been able to do so either. I know I can’t change overnight, and I know it will take time for me to really accept the choices I've made these last few months and decide what I really do want. But I think it’s possible. With a little time and perseverance I can set aside my irrational fears and find someone who is actually interested in me and not just my body – all in due time.