Murky futures and fleeting feelings

I know it’s real when my feelings are persistent. There is no doubt, nor any fleeting. I feel comfortable and embarrassed and content all at the same time. That’s how I know this is something more than the countless other “crushes” I and every other person on the planet have experienced. I know this is something I want, both now and in the near future.

But what am I to do when these feelings are not matched? You, undoubtedly, feel some of what I am feeling because there is no denying the fact that we have some sort of connection. Mostly mental, which for me is even more intriguing than anything physical. Throughout high school I dealt with so many fleeting feelings, with my infatuation quickly dying shortly after a brief conversation and the sinking in of the realization that “we are not on the same page”.

I have always been rather cold with my feelings, never really being one to be overtly vocal or physical. I was and likely will never be the girl to confront you with my feelings or confront your best friend (in hopes that they’ll put “in a good word” for me). I think part of me has always been scared of rejection, as cliché as that actually is, but justifiable none the less. Who honestly isn’t the least bit scared of acknowledging and accepting your feelings only to have their foundation ripped out by the realization that they will never be mirrored.

Getting back to my original point, I feel the consequences of my silence in regards to you and it hurts a lot more than I would like, or would ever, admit. With you, there was another who was willing to go the extra mile and make their feelings known. And you, after realizing she felt this way, decided you too felt this way. Call it coincidence or destiny or whatever phrase you would like to coin it, but I question whether this situation would have had the same outcome had I been bold enough to address my feelings sooner. Maybe I am putting too much stock in myself, but there is something about the way you speak to me and acknowledge little, insignificant things about me that leads me to believe that you also feel what I do.

But then again, maybe you have fallen into the same boat I have and are doomed to sail on, never fully addressing feelings, fearful that they only give rise to murky endings.

Compliments

Do your compliments mean more or are they hollow words only meant to fill in the awkward silent spaces in our conversation? To me, when you compliment the way I look in an outfit, I feel as if this is validation that you do indeed look at me as more than the perpetually goofy, upbeat sidekick. By complimenting my purple hair and thrift-store bought Hawaiian shirt, or the way I approach life and the way my hair looks, you are leading me to think that you look at me differently than the rest.That you see me for my content and not just my appearance. Maybe this is just my love struck heart getting caught up in it all, but I want to believe that it means more. The way you look at me when we speak, and the way you look at me from across the room, fill my heart up to the brink and push me to want more of your alone time. I want to be surrounded by your presence and see the world through your eyes. I want to know what goes on in your head.

But then again, would I like you as much if I was given a glimpse into your personal world? Would I want to stick around, knowing all of your inner thoughts and desires? I find it hard enough to retain feelings after hearing of your hook-ups with girls you have no desire to see tomorrow. I sit here, on my couch, questioning whether it would be worth it to explore your world a little further. I persevere, in hopes that there may be a small place for me to fit in, in your world. A space for just me and you, devoid of the drama and messes associated with college relationships. A place where we listen to offbeat indie music and drink shitty beer, staring at your trippy tapestry and not caring about our individual worlds.

Maybe

It’s so strange to be so completely wrapped up in a person while you’re with them and so totally detached away from them. That is how I am with you. I see you, I talk to you, I am enamored with you. I leave you, I forget you, and I go on with it all. What is it about me that makes me so unable to feel these feelings that it seems like everyone around me is feeling? I want to stay in “love” with someone and see my future with them and all of that jazz, but I can’t. This may be because I just haven’t met the right person, but what if that person never comes along? Will I be forced to settle and make do with whoever happens to be in the right place at the right time? So many questions, and I somehow can’t figure out the answer to any of them. I want to believe that this is how everyone around me is feeling, but I just don’t know if that is true.

For instance, I was in the car with a few of my close friends the other night driving to the grocery store to pick up a few things. While I was riding shot-gun, I listened as the two in the back went on and on about how lonely and in need of a boyfriend they were. The driver echoed their wants and I wanted to chime in, but I fell silent. Did I want these things? I was unable to materialize what I want, because I am so unsure myself. I look at my future and I see my upcoming test and sorority events. I see graduate school and graduation. But I don’t see me with someone. I see my by myself, making my own life and decisions. Does this make me a selfish person, or is this just the way I am programmed? I think sometimes people get so caught up in expectations and what they are “supposed to do” without realizing there can be gray area. Maybe we are not all meant to grow up, graduate, get married, and settle down. Maybe some of us are predestined to wander and never let their roots fully plant anywhere in particular.

This Is How I’ll Date You

“I will date you outside of social media.”

Thought Catalog

IMG_2672-2 Taylor Aikins

I’ll date you because I choose to. I will desire you with every dawn and I will desire you with every dusk. I will date you because you make me laugh, because despite your flaws and your temperaments, my heart feels safe within your hands. I will date you and I will pay no mind to the alternative, I will turn a blind eye to the people who stare because my gaze was made for your gaze. In this generation option creeps into relationships like a dangerous siren, but I will never be swayed by its song, for when I date you, I will date only you.

I will date you in a forgetful way. I wont be able to recall the time you were born, or your mothers middle name. I will forget mini anniversaries, I will forget appointments. However, I will never forget the way you…

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How To Ruin Your Life (Without Even Noticing That You Are)

“You ruin your life by tolerating it.”

Thought Catalog

Erin KellyErin Kelly

Understand that life is not a straight line. Life is not a set timeline of milestones. It is okay if you don’t finish school, get married, find a job that supports you, have a family, make money, and live comfortably all by this age, or that age. It’s okay if you do, as long as you understand that if you’re not married by 25, or a Vice President by 30 — or even happy, for that matter — the world isn’t going to condemn you. You are allowed to backtrack. You are allowed to figure out what inspires you. You are allowed time, and I think we often forget that. We choose a program right out of high school because the proper thing to do is to go straight to University. We choose a job right out of University, even if we didn’t love our program, because we…

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Polar

It hit me hard. Harder than I would like to admit. Before you, I had been invincible. With a hardened heart and realistic outlook on the world, no feelings were too out of line or too much for me to subdue. Insert you. Whether it was your insanely great music taste or your crazy love for anything and everything different, I can’t be sure. There were so many things about you that left me on the edge of my seat, willing you to go on and continue speaking even when words had run out.

I was, for lack of a better word, captivated by you. So completely enamored by your presence that it became hard for me to see my own life outside of my time spent with you. I craved you, in the most simple of ways. I craved to be near you at night when my mind ran rampant with looming deadlines and commitments. I craved to hear your words, and their calming effect on my restless heart. But these cravings left me with a dull, bottomless ache in your absence, desperately seeking anything to subdue the feelings for just a little longer.

This ache became particularly harsh at 4:03 in the morning, or rather the night things changed. I could feel my legs and arms clinging to pillows, acting as a placeholder for where you normally slept. My mind, normally consumed with thoughts of the future, was now blank and doubtful about the existence of a future outside of my future with you. But this was where I was. Alone, restless, and trying to figure out where to go from here.

I had gone so long without realizing it, but you were the center of my life. My friends were your friends and my home was your home. There was no clear barrier or break from what was yours and what was mine. I could no longer remember what my life was before you. Where did I like to go and what did I like to do? At precisely 4:05 in the morning, I was realizing that I was not only missing you, but missing my sense of self.

Before, as in before I met you, I was a realist. I was the girl you could count on to drive around with you at 2 am when he didn’t text you back. I was the girl who could listen to you cry and find the right words to say to somehow ease the ache just enough to realize that he was insignificant. I was not, however, the girl who could reciprocate these emotions. I kept my feelings at bay and kept everyone around me at an arm’s length.  I lived my life with a hardened heart, ignorant to fleeting feelings and their inevitable ends. Or so I thought.

It was October of my freshman year when I first met you. I was starting to find my footing and life felt less chaotic. I had a good group of friends around me and I could feel my invincibility peaking. Only three months into school and I had my life together and in control. Nothing could derail me. So I went out, with a group of friends, to a frat house in search of loud people and alcohol.

Enter you. Clad in your black crew neck and overgrown hair, I could tell you were full of yourself by the crowd you had around you and your overly expressive gestures. You were telling a story and had everyone’s attention. I could tell that you thrived off of this energy and that you were trying to add as many details as possible, hoping to captivate and hold your audience’s attention for as long as possible. You were the center of attention, and the complete opposite of me.

Not to say that I didn’t like a good story as much as the next girl, but I didn’t embellish and fabricate specifics to seem more interesting. I was content with my stories, their dullness and all. But you were creative, twisting and molding other worldly scenarios and events into a continuous narrative, attempting to intrigue the listener as much as possible.

As if you were somehow able to read my mind, full of its doubts about the authenticity of your story, our eyes met and you stumbled on your words. Personally, I was taken aback, fearful that my inside thoughts had somehow permeated their way out into the real world and across the room to you. I was snapped out of this thought when I felt my arm being pulled towards another corner of the room. With this, our mutual stare dropped and your story continued.

This was the only interaction I had with you during that night, and I had all but forgotten about this empty moment, until one of my friends brought you up. I didn’t initially realize she was talking about you, but as I watched her mimic your animated gestures and relay some crazy story of a guy’s weekend at some underground music festival, I began to realize she was one of the captivated listeners of your story. After piecing this together, I soon found out your name was Luke and that you were a couple of years older than us. You were apparently quite the charmer and became the sole source of discussion for the rest of the night.

Luke, an excellent story teller with a reputation that proceeded him. You were quite the catch, as my friends said over and over again.

“Luke has such a cool life.”

“Luke has amazing good hair.”

“Luke has the best smile.”

The compliments were overwhelming and I could feel myself start to fade from the conversation as their attention diverted to me. They could tell I wasn’t listening to their declarations of admiration towards you, and this took them by surprise.

“Kate, did you see him? How could you miss him, he is literally your type to a tee.” This was accurate. While I hated to admit it, your grungy vibe was right up my alley and I was initially intrigued. It wasn’t until I observed your animated story telling that my intrigue quickly fleeted. But my friends knew, and they were correct in realizing that out of everyone in our group, I was the one who should have been enamored with you.

So why wasn’t I? I would be lying if I said I didn’t start to question my lack of intrigue. But as we all began to fall asleep and close the door on our night, thoughts of you remained locked away, destined to be just forgotten memories as soon as the sun began to rise just a few hours later.

Weddings, relationships, and priorities

I have never dated and I used to think this meant there was something wrong with me. As I’ve grown up and watched friends fall into and out of relationships, I have always played the role of a “sideline friend”, waiting in the wings to listen and talk and do whatever else fell under my list of responsibilities. I think, at some earlier point, I felt left out and lonely as I would listen to their relationship drama, but there was always a large part of me (no matter how much I ignored it) that was okay with it; not just okay, but thankful. I was thankful that I could focus on things that were important to me and not worry about some loser who wouldn’t text back or some poorly executed apology. As I’ve gotten older, I have become more aware that my forever singledom was less the doing of others, and more the outcome of my personal feelings. I like feeling free and I do not want to feel obligated to check in and worry about someone else’s feelings and opinions. While I know this sounds incredibly selfish, it would be even more selfish to be with someone and dismiss the way I truly feel. I would be ignoring the other person’s wants and likely end up causing them even more pain when I, eventually, couldn’t mimic their love and affection.

When I think about my future, I think about classes and school and eventually graduating. I think about trips and traveling and what I want to eventually do with my life. I do not, however, think about having a counterpart to share all of that with. I do not think about marriage vows and children. Call it an extension of my youth, but I do not have a family in mind when I think about future plans.

The reason this has been so heavy on my mind stems from constant conversations with my parents and family members regarding dating and marriage. I have grown so tired of questions and inquiries into my personal life, knowing that my feelings do not match the expectations my parents have. With this being said, why should I be made to feel guilty and different if I do not feel that marriage is an integral and important piece of my personal puzzle? Marriage and commitment are not the sole contributors to a person’s happiness, and I believe there are other events and decisions that can make someone feel just as purposeful and fulfilled as someone in a relationship. This should not be as trivial of an issue and it should be okay to break from the norm that dominated our parent’s and grandparent’s generations without having to deal with the guilt trip that usually follows the declaration of an opposition to marriage. At the end of the day, most people will get married and spend their life happy; however, I should not be made to feel any less than for choosing a different path to happiness.