Why the tears, lass? Megan said something of the sort, interrupting herself in between simultaneously giving me directions to our homestay and interviewing me about North Carolina Mike. While likely concerned about my ability to drive unfamiliar highways through a flash flood in my eyes, she was also genuinely concerned and a bit lost. Didn’t you like him? I did, certainly. But the conversation NC Mike and I had about the ramifications of intuition didn’t just strike a chord – it played a freaking symphony on my emotions. Violins, French horns, timpani, and even a wind chime for good measure.
Even now I’m not sure how to describe where my mind flew, why it was impossible to hold myself together. Sure, some of my tears were likely just stress induced, remnants of losing my footing in Virginia, though to say that was more than a fraction of the issue would be balls out lying.* There was the realization that the suffering I’ve felt when I know someone is pulling away in relationships back home, that the anxiety and stress I had due to my ex waffling on wanting to be with me but not able to articulate it wasn’t all in my head. That I had felt in almost every relationship before, from short-term datingships to longer pieces which involved me being the break-upee, something that wasn’t paranoia but instead simply what was (even if the other person wasn’t able to tell me). There was wondering if this outcome was how it’d always be, and if I’d be able to make peace with how I understand other people and not blame them for their indecision or myself for not letting go. There was thinking about how I’d felt that someone back home who I’d grown close to while gone was pulling away.
And then, there was the overarching questions that I think plague anyone in the datingverse, particularly when you’re out meeting a lot potential partners: What if I can’t change enough to be with someone?, What if no one wants to be with me?, What if I’m single forever?, and finally, What if I’m alone? Megs scoffed at this last one, saying I’d not wind up alone, what with friends and family. Sure, I might be single and never have tender touching, but I wouldn’t be alone.***
Yeah, yeah. I knew that. And I know that now as I write this, but it doesn’t mean the worry sits better with me. I suppose that’s one of those bridges you cross if you come to it, or maybe it’s one of those bridges you never cross. I just know that the longer I’m solo, the harder it becomes to go all duet. Like…I’m more and more used to taking care of myself, and really uncomfortable (though not displeased) when someone wants to take care of me. I’m perplexed when pondering what it would look like to have to tell someone where I’ll be and when I’ll be home. Maybe the issue isn’t worrying about being single forever because no one will want to be with me, but wondering if I’ll adapt so much to the single life that I can’t fathom living with someone else?
Which feels like a very natural segue into non-traditional relationships and comforting words about how “one person, forever!” might be a strange notion and I’m not a failure if I am not in a relationship that conforms to societal expectations. Except despite knowing all that and believing all that, I guess at the end of the day what I want for myself is pretty standard.
*Tetherballs, Mom. Not any other kind of balls. I wouldn’t know anything about those.**
** (Think she believes me?!)
*** Mom, this in no way refers to sex and only refers to hand holding and very short hugs.