So. There’s this boy I like.
I think that’s the most teenager-ish phrase I have written on this blog.
Years ago, I tried to talk to him. When he socially rejected me (not really, but I was in a sensitive phase at the time), I promptly swore to ignore him for the rest of my school years. He, having picked up on what I was doing, did likewise.
So we did this for a few years, this strange tension hanging in the air between us whenever we came in close proximity, all the time, invisible to everyone but ourselves.
And I hated it. I hated it because I wasn’t in good state of mind at the time. I hated myself, a lot. I had an inferiority complex, knotted and gnarled from a young age, and didn’t even know how to begin unraveling it. I hated that I was hurt by his lack of attention, as if I were a beggar starved of love. I hated my own idealization of him. I hated my own coldness towards him. I hated that I felt lesser than him (he is a very confident and extroverted person) and I hated, most of all, that I liked him.
He is nothing like me. Nothing at all. They say attraction doesn’t always make sense, but my brain is truly open-mouthed and agog at the idiocy of my own heart. For one thing, he denounces (if playfully) everything that I believe in: creativity, imagination, literature, books, art. He prides himself on his rationality, adores numbers and science, and believes anything other than what is objective and can be proven is airy-fairy dream dust. He’s blunt. I’m sensitive. He’s assertive. I’m passive-aggressive. He’s intimidating. I’m about as intimidating as an earthworm. He’s loud. I’m quiet. He’s surrounded by crowds of people. I always walk alone.
That just screams incompatibility.
But I…like him? Why? It doesn’t make sense. Really, it isn’t my heart speaking at all. It’s something else. Lust? No. I’m not a lustful person by nature. It’s more about the mind than the body. The body is just a flesh receptacle. Is it my soul? I don’t believe in souls. I think. I don’t know what I believe. I’m a mad, alternating mixture of rationality and irrationality. One moment, I believe in destiny and fate; the next, I denounce it as mere coincidences.
That’s another thing. Despite forcefully telling my brain to forget about him, we keep on bumping into each other. Everywhere. Not just at school. Out of school. Just, everywhere. In the most unlikeliest places, even far from home. Once, I was at some far-off area, and then I literally froze at hearing his voice right behind me, talking to someone. I couldn’t believe it. I just stood there, in utter disbelief at my own senses. Was this happening, in actual reality? Of all the places, times and days, he just had to be where I was, for, what, the fifteenth time? It’s happened often enough to veer into the surreal.
And part of me wants to shut it all down. To fire arrows at each of my flying feelings so they fall to the earth as wounded birds. Better for me to hurt myself than for him, or my hopes regarding him, to hurt me. It’s just coincidence, that’s all, I scold myself. The universe isn’t prodding you two closer. That’s just your stupid, little, hopeful heart talking, and you know how much trouble that can get you into.
Sure, he is intelligent and a lover of justice, but are you sure that it’s not all in your head? You can’t trust your heart because you dream too much. He can also be calculatingly cold and conventional and arrogant, at least in public, though you secretly think it’s a social front he puts on. You know very well you idealize people. Maybe you’re just seeing what you want to see.
But I there are some things I can’t ignore. Some things that I feel are true. That slightly embarrassed but disarmingly sweet smile when he greeted me in person for the first time. That internal pain and sensitivity that he tries so hard to bottle down by building up an armor, kind of like the way I put on a cold and aloof front so that people can’t hurt my feelings or get too close to me. And just a feeling. Of rightness. A chirp of golden light behind my left rib.
When he smiles and looks, I smile and feel seen.
Gosh, this is melting into sappiness.
I’m in a much better place now. Though I’ll never be the girl strutting down the sidewalk, I’m much more content with myself. I’ve accepted myself. I like myself. My confidence is not flashy, but quiet and understated. I have a surety in regards to who I am, what I want, what I love, and that keeps me strong. Of course, I’m still prone to the odd surge of self-loathing and criticism, but I’m getting better at it. I’ve always had high standards, and I don’t think that’s always a bad thing. Everything in moderation, as they say.
And even if nothing happens between us, his existence has been a blessing. Each time he crops up in my day-to-day life, I’ve re-thought some thoughts I have regarding other people and myself. His very existence has made me a more optimistic person, because he is an optimistic person. It has encouraged me to smile and laugh more, to not take everything so seriously. To even love myself, by using him as an example of steady confidence.
I do dearly want love. I want to be understood, for who I am – to be seen. I feel like he can understand, better than others, but I don’t want to think about that because I don’t want to hope too much. If I ever did love someone, I would be utterly loyally, and give it all my heart. I love very, very deeply, when it’s the right person. It’s just the right person has never really come along.
And now maybe he has. Or maybe I’m just seeing shapes in the clouds that aren’t there. Either way, I’m learning, I’m growing. I’m concentrating my efforts on bettering myself rather than pining. Love isn’t about devotion, laying your life down for someone. It’s about deep, mutual respect and deep friendship and sweetness and laughter.
Love is a gift. If it comes my way, I’ll be incandescently grateful. If it doesn’t, I will still be wonderful. I will still carve out my own dreams. Build my towers. Weather the rains and storms. Become a better person. Grow. Live my life.
I’m happy with me. I’m nice and kind to myself.