Stupid Face and the Trouble with History
I was thirteen when I kissed my first straight boy (first kiss ever honor goes to Brandon, and I wouldn’t have it any other way). I hadn’t been prepared for any kind of romantic encounter that day, and certainly never thought it would happen with one of the most popular, most pursued guys I knew. But it happened, right there in the fellowship room at church. The kiss was over as soon as it began, but it started something bigger. For the next three years, I found myself wrapped up in an unhealthy, secret relationship with him. I spent years feeling like if I was just thinner, prettier, or cooler, he wouldn’t be ashamed of me and I wouldn’t be his little secret. It ended somewhat unceremoniously, and for the thirteen years that followed, I was lucky enough to rarely see him.
On February 29, 2012, I was in my office at church when he called me. He wanted to apologize, explained that he had regretted how things happened between us, and that he had, in fact, liked me, not just my boobs. I apologized as well, because I knew what we weren’t supposed to be doing and I did it anyways. That conversation, and a few that followed, amounted to the biggest lesson in forgiveness that I’ve ever had. But this post isn’t really about forgiveness.
The other thing that long-overdue conversation did was start to heal some of the very old, very deep wounds about who I thought I was and what I have to offer. It didn’t undo years of anxiety and doubt, but it was a step in the right direction.
About a year ago, I reconnected with an old acquaintance, and we seemed to have decent chemistry, but sweet merciful mother of pearl, the timing was bad. Has been bad. But it didn’t stop us from getting together a few times and texting, more often having to cancel plans than keep them.
I hadn’t planned on it. It just sort of happened. I hadn’t been interested years ago when we had first known each other. He hadn’t noticed that I existed at all. But he makes me laugh and I can be myself with him, which is unusual. We don’t live near one another, and at one point, I’d tweeted that I just wanted “to see his stupid face,” not identifying him. Over the course of a couple exchanges, “stupid face” became code for him, not because he’s anywhere near stupid (he’s really quite smart), but because there have been moments of frustration related to the distance between us.
In the beginning, I was OK with casual. It fit where we both were in life. There are a lot of reasons why casual is what was best for both of us. If I’m honest, there was a little part of me that figured I didn’t have much else to hope for, so if casual was it, that was OK. A lot of those old insecurities were still there. History can become the present if it hasn’t been totally laid to rest.
In the last year, I’ve been getting a lot more comfortable with who I am. Becoming more confident. Figuring out what I want.
Well, a while ago, I figured out that I want more than casual. I’m not looking for a big, immediate commitment, but I figured out that it’s OK for me to want more. For years, I had settled for believing that all I had to offer in a relationship was asexual friendship or boobs (but the boobs guys never seemed to want me as a person). I’m not that person anymore.
I’m smart, funny, loyal, and a fantastic cook. I have something to offer. It sounds pathetic to admit that it took so long for me to realize this, but better late than never, right?
So here I am, with something to offer, wanting more than what I have at the moment, specifically with dear ol’ stupid face. In a moment of blind, anxious bravery, I spelled it all out and hit “send.”
That was Monday.
All I’ve heard is that he’ll get back to me because he’s at a conference.
In the last couple of days, I’ve been ridiculously anxious. I’ve rehearsed just about every possible way he could break my heart. I’ve barely slept and over-eaten and cut my own hair (OK, trimmed my bangs, but still). I can’t seem to focus on anything but the uncertainty of his response. I’ve tried to keep a little bit of hope going, but anxiety is loud, my friends. My closest friends have been really great about listening, like always.
Tomorrow, he’s done with his conference. I don’t know when I’ll hear from him. I don’t know what he’ll say. If it’s not what I want to hear, I’m pretty sure he’ll at least be kind about it. I hope things go my way. I hope I get to see his stupid face because I really like his stupid face.