When I was sixteen years old I stage managed a summer stock production of The King and I for my hometown regional theatre. Though I’ve always felt the songs from musicals are pretty cheesy, in the summer of 1994 I was particularly struck by the sheer awfulness of Getting To Know You:
Getting to know you, getting to know all about you
Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me
It sounded like torture to my teenaged soul and to this day remains the definition of what puts me so far out of my comfort zone I start to feel like I’m going insane. There is nothing about the process of getting to know someone that I enjoy. What I want from all of my relationships is to dive in feet first with a splash of total immersion.
I want every cool woman I meet to be my new best girlfriend. And in the rare instance that I meet a man who is an incredible catch – handsome, strong, smart, gainfully employed, brave – and then to feel as though we might have a bit of a spark, an easy level of comfort and understanding… well it only takes five minutes for me to start thinking “Wow. Huh. Maybe…”
Four years of keeping myself almost completely closed off to love and now all I want to do is jump.
There was a second date with the sailboat captain and even a third opportunity to spend time together, each lovelier than the last, leaving me hoping for much more. But phone tag and declined invitations make it seem like a case of me being more into him than he is to me. I’m trying to be cool, patient even, but those are things I’m remarkably terrible at.
Wondering whether or not he likes me is stressful, not because I have a fear of either outcome. I can handle both. I just want to know so I can decide how best to proceed. The uncertainty of romantic love feels like wasted time and so registers to me as the worst thing ever. I’d rather avoid it all together, yet here I am trying to be open.
So I sit here feeling like such a child, wondering why this part of my brain, this part of my heart isn’t fully functional, why other people can breathe through this but I feel suffocated, how anyone in the world could actually find a thrill in this game…
A million possibilities for why he’s not responding and it’s probably something simple like he just had other plans. Maybe if I can work on not rushing, maybe if I can… <<< cringe >>>… pace myself… be grateful for the lovely instead of stuck in my head asking questions I can’t answer…
Take a breath and remember. We still have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow. So why not expect it to be totally fucking awesome?