I’m a hopeless romantic.
There, I said it. I’ve watched practically every romantic comedy in the world; and I jump for joy when Buzzfeed releases new lists of new romance movies. I dream about riding off into the sunset on a lawnmower with the man I’m crazy about, like Can’t Buy Me Love circa 1987. And, despite our generation’s dedication to the world of “swiping right,” I still believe love is out there. My heart sits patiently next to my window each night, waiting for the boombox to begin playing from the streets below. And that’s about the time my brain comes into play.
Sure, everyone wants to be liked, but for me, it’s a requirement.
All too often I find myself over-analyzing a text, conversation, or even a look, looking for signs that someone is upset with me. If I don’t get a text back, I start going through conversations trying to figure out what I did wrong. My heart races. I start shaking nervously. And sometimes I even get nauseous. I am constantly on edge, waiting to discover that my co-workers, teachers, friends are simply “putting up with me.” This has been my life for as long as I could remember.
So, what has this mentality meant for my journey to find love? The journey is stagnant. While my heart is ready to embrace the power of love that New York City holds, my brain is unable to comprehend that I deserve to find love. That I could be loved by someone.
My brain and heart have come to a cross-road and neither one is moving.
I managed to live 23 years with what can be a crippling anxiety regarding what people think of me. Because I am so afraid of people not liking me, or of giving them a reason to stop liking me, I simply lay low. Instead of saying how I feel or what I think, I suppress it and simply crack a joke (usually at my own expense).
Regarding relationships, we can all see how this would be a problem. While many of us have dealt with the difficulties of opening ourselves up to others, for me it has always been almost impossible. I cannot express how much I really like someone in the fear that I will scare them away because I’m too much. I over-analyze how to properly hold someone’s hand. I need too much reassurance about how my significant other feels about me, and if they have a problem then I am more than ready to mold myself into what I think they want. Basically, I am never enough.
My heart will go on…
Since moving to New York, I have started to change. As cliché as that may sound it is true, my friends have even referenced this updated version of me as “New York Constance.” Something about the city inspires you and gives you courage. The city has forced me to pay attention to someone’s thoughts and feelings that for years I have ignored: me. When you spend two hours a day commuting to/from work, there is only so much people watching you can do before you are forced to acknowledge yourself. With 14 hours of my week being about me, I was quickly annoying myself. So, slowly I have had to fix that.
I have told people that I have feelings for them and lived. I have acknowledged when I felt like someone was in the wrong or had pissed me off. And after Thursday night, I have officially played hard to get with someone I thought was cute, ending the night with a simple “you should have kissed me, idiot” text (thank you, alcohol). Sure, I woke up the next morning feeling regretful and nervous for what that meant, but hey, this isn’t a movie where I hit my head and wake up loving myself overnight (Amy Schumer is the real MVP).
While I don’t see any late-night pottery-making sessions to the sweet melodies of Unchained Melodies in my near future, I do see glimmers of a self that could feel she deserves it.