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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Remember Your First Date?

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. And, I suppose that this is a good thing, given that I have a lot of free time on my hands this week (this is day one of a nine-day long holiday from my paying job). Even more timely is the fact that this is the Thursday Diary entry, which allows me the chance to open up to all of you about exactly what is going through my mind – whether you asked for it or not.

Then again, I suppose that if you didn't want to read it, you could always skip over it. But one of the things I want to achieve by doing a Thursday Diary entry each week is to open myself up and put myself out there so that by doing so, it might make other people realize that there is no shame in opening themselves up to others. Believe me, I know that when I first began this blog two years ago, the thought of sharing my deepest, darkest secrets scared the hell out of me. Now, I'm more or less an open book.

Well, okay...maybe I still have some secrets. I refuse to tell you what my social insurance number is, how much I make an hour, or what colour underwear I happen to be wearing at this very moment. Hey, I have to keep you all guessing on a few things, right?

Anyway, today's entry has me thinking a few thoughts about something that has always been very elusive to me...and after doing a lot of thinking about it, I'm beginning to understand why that is the case.

But before I go ahead with the blog entry, I just want to reiterate one thing. My intention with this piece is not to get people to feel sorry for me, nor is it to make people call me out and try to psychoanalyze me as if they were Lucy Van Pelt in that makeshift booth, begging people for a nickel every single time they offered a little nugget of advice. I'm just putting thoughts out there and batting around possible ideas as to why I am the way I am in hopes that if I get it out there in writing, I can possibly learn more about myself. What makes me tick. Why I've made some of the choices that I have made in the past, and how I can possibly undo some of the mistakes that I have made, and how I can go ahead with the future.

And in the spirit of Spirit Day (a day that raises awareness towards bullying), I'm going to do this entry in purple font today.

So, here it is. Today's Thursday Diary entry...and it's a doozy.

October 17, 2013

You know something? I have a major, major confession that I have to make here. And, I'm not exactly sure how I am going to talk about what is going through my mind at this moment, so I'm just going to come out with it.

How many of you guys remember your first date? Come on, I'm sure that you all have had at least one first date with someone. I'll share my story.

My first date ever took place when I was just fourteen years old. It was June 1995 – the night of my grade eight graduation (which now makes me feel extremely old knowing that I graduated from elementary school almost twenty years ago). Prior to the night of my graduation, I had already made it well known that I was not even expecting to take someone else to the grad. I was just as content going to the ceremony to get my diploma (and unbeknownst to me, the eighth grade faculty award for English), and head home afterwards to binge on chocolate brownie ice cream.

Of course, fate stepped in, and changed my plans.

Midway through the year, a new girl transferred to our elementary school. Her name was Heather. And, although she was in a different classroom, we became friends as we chatted with each other in the school hallway during our morning break. It was quite cool how we just clicked with each other. Our backgrounds were slightly similar in that we were both kind of the outsiders wanting into the so-called in-crowd (only for me to realize years later that the in-crowd wasn't as much fun as they made themselves out to be), and as it turned out, we had quite a lot in common.

I mean, we only knew each other for...oh...four months or so, but it was nice to have someone to chat with. I imagine that had we been in the same class together, we likely would have gotten in trouble for talking in class so much. But hey, it was the one year where we were the big kids of the school. What could the teachers do? Hold us back for another year because we were talking in class?

I honestly don't remember whose idea it was for us to go to the eighth grade graduation dance together. As I remember it, I think it was her who suggested the idea and I went along with it, but I think it could have been the other way around. As great as my memory is, I don't seem to remember that detail at all. Whatever the case, we ended up making the decision to go to the dance together. And, I was thinking to myself...maybe this grad dance could turn out to be a fun experience after all.

Of course, in our little graduating class of seventy kids, word travels fast, and sure enough, a couple of the brattier kids in the school were poking fun at both of us. One even recoiled in horror over the fact that I was taking Heather to the dance. Can you believe that?

I chalk it up to plain green-eyed jealousy. After all...Heather and I had dates and, well...they didn't.

Anyway, the night of graduation, I was very excited. Even managed to scrape up enough money to get her a corsage. After all, it was my first date ever and I wanted to make a good impression. Of course, I didn't realize that her mother had already bought her a corsage...but hey, she was the only girl in the school who had a double corsage!

And you know something? I can only speak for myself, but I thought it was a great date. We danced to all the slow songs together. But we both agreed that I was a terrible dancer to even attempt to do the fast songs, so when people were grooving along to Ace of Base, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Janet Jackson, Heather and I sat down on one of the gym benches and talked. It ended up being a very nice time.

If anything, the only regret that I had was that we never gave each other a goodbye kiss. But there were reasons. For one, we didn't want the whole school talking about it the next day (we still had two more days of school to get through before we were finally free of elementary school), and secondly, her mother had arrived to pick her up early and she watched us dance the final dance of the night. Now that I think about it, it kind of made me somewhat nervous. But, then again, wouldn't you be nervous too if the parent of your date was watching you?

At any rate, that is the story of my first date. So what happened? Unfortunately after graduation, Heather's family relocated shortly after, and I never saw her again.

Yep...just our luck, I suppose.

The more I think about it though, as much as I hate to admit it, I doubt that any sort of relationship would have come out of that one date. After all, had her family not moved away, we would have attended rival high schools anyway (though I admit that had she stuck around, it likely would have prompted me to transfer high schools and all the hell I went through in high school might not have happened...but I try not to think about that too much). I mean, I'm sure that we would have tried to make things work, but it seemed as though the odds were against us from the get-go. I don't even know where she is now, but I hope she's doing well, and I hope that she's happy.

So, what does this have to do with my opening spiel about something that I have always wanted but have never been able to find?

It's simple. I guess in some way, I've been using that experience after my first date to justify why I have not yet found the love of my life yet.

I hear so many people say that everyone in the world has their soulmate, and how there is someone out there for every person in the world. I really would like to believe this to be the truth, but I don't know if I can because I've never really felt strong feelings like that.

Well, okay...that's not entirely true. I've had crushes on people before, but they've never really amounted to anything before. There have been times in which I've mistaken my feelings for love, but they ended up being feelings of deep friendship (and I am thankful that I do have really good friends that I can talk to about things like this). But when it comes to the chemistry of love, all of my experiments have flopped, and I end up getting a great big “F” in the subject.

Oh, sure. Some people have suggested that the reason why I have a hard time finding love is because the dating pool is so small in town. And, well, I'm going to be honest with you. I tend to agree with them. There's not a lot of single people my age in this community at all to mingle with. But then again, I haven't really made the opportunity to see where all of these swingin' singles are, so I can only blame myself for that one.

I've had people tell me that I am way too picky when it comes to finding a mate, and to that I ask them...weren't YOU the same way once upon a time? I mean, I'm not a shallow person. When it comes to looks and some personality traits, I don't really care that much. But at the same time, I won't date anyone who has a mean streak, who makes me feel stupid or embarrassed, or who is so self-absorbed that they can only think of themselves. Unfortunately, many of the girls that I had a crush on in high school ended up being all those things and more, and my crush ended up being crushed rather quickly.

You want to know the real reason why I've been unlucky in love? I'll tell you. It's because I lack confidence. I find it really easy to write about my thoughts and feelings in an online setting. It actually makes me feel better about myself when I do. But when it comes to asking a girl out on a date, I can't get the words out. Even at 32, I still struggle with this. There have been many instances at work or in college where I have thought about asking people out on a date before, but I chickened out at the last minute. And then when I finally worked up the nerve to ask them out, they had already gotten involved with someone else, and once again, opportunity was lost. And, I'll own up to it. It's my own fault.

I guess I just wish that I had the confidence in myself to ask a girl out on a date, but then I think about everything that I can offer them, and when I look at it from a materialistic standpoint, I don't have much. But then again, would I want to date someone who was essentially a gold-digger? Absolutely not!

I guess when it all comes down to it is this. Until I find a way to improve my self-confidence, I have really no business getting involved in a relationship right now. And, I guess I have to be okay with that for now.

But am I giving up on the search for love completely? Not yet. After all...I'm not entirely a dateless wonder. There was that one night in June 1995 where I had a great time with someone special. Maybe I can recreate it with someone else that is very special.

Only without the lame mid-1990s music.

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