I bring to you, my most likely exasperated readers, the first proper Elm-love-life-update in, probably, a year. It’s the start of one. It’s the feelings. It’s the freedom I haven’t had in ages because for once, the person I’ll be talking about won’t be reading this. I need to talk about it so I don’t forget that I’m capable of this kind of feeling, writing, again.
Today, I met a girl. I’ll call her Pearl for the purposes of this blog because I want to give her a name at least connected to nature. We started speaking about a week and a half ago, online; even saying that makes me feel like people are judging me because it was on a dating app. I signed up to it because I’ve been feeling really uncomfortable with some internalised, unpleasant thoughts about my sexuality because of what people have said to me before (a post on that to come!). However, I didn’t start speaking to her as a way to “prove” something to myself. I started speaking to her because she was interesting, funny; because the first conversation we had included reasons why certain types of boxes were great; because I dn’t have to tone myself down like I have to do with some other people.
Every single day since then, we’ve spoken, as if we’ve known each other for ages. When she told me she liked YA novels, I shrieked out loud. When I fangirled about Simon vs., Autoboyography and books in general, I messaged her. Most of our fangirling conversations include all capitals and I don’t feel like I’c being annoying. My insecurities aren’t gone when I speak to her but they aren’t all-consouming and don’t make me want to shut down.
It wasn’t until earlier this week that I talked about meeting. Usually, I’m more cautious than this: I wait for a while before meeting people from online and often get terrified beforehand. With her, I suggested it, convinced she’d say no. We’d exchanged numbers a few days before and in my typical fashion, I said it in the cringiest way possible (including the fact that I was cringing in my message). When I asked if she wanted to meet, instead of ignoring me, she replied with “OMG YESS” and I was so happy that this was going well that I laughed. I’m not used to this, as you can tell. Then, I was done with being too cautious. I didn’t even pretend to not be apprehensive: I was nervous but not scared. I wanted to meet her because my disability wasn’t a talking point for her, because my talk of my family and endless wailing about things I loved didn’t put her off. She didn’t dismiss me or make me feel small.
When I talked to Wren about it, the only one who knew about it properly before it happened apart from my dad (for safety, just in case), I spoke about it in the most carefree way. I got taken over by this feeling that seemed foreign only because I hadn’t experienced it for a long time. It was anticipation. I was doing something I wanted to do, casually and without a massive fanfair, but it was still important. Pearl and I spoke on the phone and our planning turned into a conversation diversion about friends, our inability to plan and then finally some concrete ideas about when, where and how.
This morning, still tired from going out to London yesterday, I did a bit of creative “lying” to my mum. As she wouldn’t be okay with me seeing anyone I met online, least of all a girl, I told her I was meeting Ivy who you can read about here. I’d been texting Pearl all this time, figuring out which bus she was arriving in on so that I went to the right place. In the car journey on the way there, I kept smiling widely, to the point where my mum got suspicious and asked, “Are you meeting your secret boyfriend?” I burst out laughing, couldn’t stop and then told her that was bullshit.
When Pearl eventually found me, after my mum left, we hugged and I probably acted painfully weirdly. It was so natural from the start of it; we both already knew we were shit at making decisions and so our first stop was Costa. We stayed in there for an hour and a half, talking constantly about instruments, books, relationships and only remembering to order something when we were asked by someone who was most likely getting irritated by our chatter and me occasionally raising my voice to more than a conversational murmur. By the time we got out, it was gone 12 and because the weather was lovely, we decided to go to the nearby park.
Walking along the path in the quiet with her, whilst the sun shone on the right side of my face, felt so open. It was then we spoke about our childhoods and how cringey we were, regailing each other with stories that made me laugh so loudly that I’m sure it reverberated around the place we were standing. I never usually go out anywhere with people like that, mainly because I only have 3 friends who live near me who I’d be comfortable just wandering around with. This felt different: it felt relaxed.
It continued like this for the whole day, through lunch and when she came to my house. We sat on beanbags as she showed me videos of her when she was younger and I cried with laughter; she saw my infamous ornament shelf in my room and far too soon, it was quarter to five and we’d lost track of time. I remember thinking that I didn’t want the day to end because I’d felt absolutely comfortable, not like I was pretending to be funny or happy or anything. It felt right and when we hugged goodbye and she said we had to see each other again because this day was nice, I echoed it back to her and told her I’d had a great day. We’d spent the time talking about our lives and there wasn’t a second of our conversations that I wish I hadn’t said.
It’s safe to say I “like” her, in a way. I’m trying to not rush headlong into these feelings, or the beginnings of them, because that’s got me nowhere before. However, what’s so wrong with having them? Why is it that I’m holding myself back? It’s a fear of judgement, which I didn’t feel today. The day wasn’t romantic; we didn’t kiss, we didn’t hold hands; I certainly didn’t act more strangely than I usually do.
I thought I wasn’t able to do this anymore. To breathe and live, like I was worth something more than the twisted version of myself that appears inside my thoughts. I didn’t even have to try. I don’t have “feelings” for her but I might be on my way there and I know it sounds ridiculous, after a week and a half, but I need to cut myself some slack. It’s okay to have non life-altering, non earth-shattering feelings. It’s okay to be happy with that. It’s okay that the consequences, however scary they might be, won’t upset me as much as the last few times.
I’m okay and I’ve had an amazing day. I miss her and I know she didn’t feel the depth of emotion I felt today but I’m really glad that she wanted to spend time with me, genuinely, because she thinks I’m not boring or dull or any of the adjectives I describe myself to be. She’s not on a pedestal for me: she’s a person who makes me smile in a way that I thought was lost.
To the majority of my friends, this is completely new as I didn’t mention this before, at all. However, I’ve come to realise I’m now incredibly uncomfortable when talking about anything to do with my “love life”. I feel terrible that I didn’t talk about it before but I don’t know how to anymore; I don’t trust like I used to and that makes me feel guilty. I can’t let this ruin my day, though.
I’m not too bothered if people judge me for how I met her because I can live my life and I want to make the most of this time. What’s so wrong about that?
From Elm 🙂