I have a crush.
It’s just a crush. And it’s not really based on anything besides attraction and a very brief conversation.
I don’t even know his name.
Well, technically he told me but it was late on a Friday night and I had been drinking copious amounts of alcohol. Otherwise I likely wouldn’t have even talked to him at all. But I did talk to him and he showed me his most recent tattoo. And it might’ve just been my own drunken haze, but I think he was attracted to me too.
And then, like an inebriated, flannel-wearing version of Cinderella, I had to leave because it was 2 a.m.
He’s cute, he’s bearded, he’s exactly my type. He’s also a bartender.
Ok, ok, so like … I know. My last experience with a bartender lost me my favorite bar and also resulted in a pretty severe heartbreak. So believe me when I say I intend to tread carefully and at a very, very safe distance.
The point of this little story isn’t that I found a guy – I literally know nothing about him – it’s simply that I have a crush.
And, like … a totally juvenile, high school crush.
I went into his bar a couple of days after we discussed his tattoo to see my crush. But .. I didn’t talk to him. In fact, I mostly had my back to him.
Because here’s the thing, if I do legit crush on someone, I’m incredibly awkward. I mostly stare from across the room when I think they’re not looking and then avoid eye contact at all costs because I cannot hide what I’m thinking or feeling on my face. Ever. And I am certain if I look him in the eyes, he will know that I am crushing on him. And if I start to talk to him, I’ll be stumbling and make dumb jokes and blush, because I can’t help it.
So instead, I will enjoy just sitting across the bar and catching glimpses of him, feeling little jolts of excitement whenever he’s near. While simultaneously pretending like he doesn’t exist. (Side note: I’m starting to see why I’m still single.)
But … I just want to appreciate this … this feeling. Of getting excited and hopeful and nervous and awkward. The giddy, inexplicable rush of emotion when I see him. Trying to casually find reasons to go visit his bar with my friends, but like .. also trying (and failing) to be super cool about it. Getting an overwhelming thrill if there’s even a slight opportunity to talk to him.
This is wonderful.
I don’t need it to be anything more than that. He’s a handsome guy and he can serve me drinks and give me little butterflies and that is enough. I don’t need him to ask me out. I’m not here to see if he’s ‘the one’, I’m simply enjoying a crush.
And this, my friends, is progress.
The thing is … the last guy who I fell very deeply for, Andy, started as a crush. A crush that seemed inconceivable and impossible. All the kinds of feelings. Tiny flirtations, little looks from me to him and him to me. And then it progressed. I didn’t intend for it to go as far as it did. I honestly didn’t believe it ever would. It really was just … a wonderful crush. And that crush provided such a fun release while I was in the throws of casual dating hell.
It was wonderful. Until it wasn’t.
In the years since everything fell apart, I tried to throw all of that emotion and crush nonsense out the window. And I tried to date and jump into relationships, willing these people to be what I desperately had wanted Andy to be. A real relationship. I didn’t want to crush, I didn’t want to feel anything other than security. Stability.
And yet, we cannot force healing. We cannot force love. We cannot force security even. And there is only the stability one has for the day. All of life and love is fluid, fragile and very breakable. Always.
I was terrified by that truth. That I could open myself up to someone again and have them obliterate my heart.
But that’s the truth isn’t it? I might find love again but I also might be crushed again … in the bad way.
The truth is nothing is guaranteed. The truth is a crush could turn into love and that love could turn into a relationship and that relationship could last. But there are also 1,000 other possibilities. 1,000 other choices and outcomes. Because people are fluid things as well. And this isn’t a bad thing. Nor does it have to be scary.
After my Andy crush crashed and burned, it took me a while to see this truth as the good thing it is. It left me in such a strange place of shock, that I … threw all my ideas about romance out the window. And .. I think I hardened my heart in an attempt to protect it. I wanted to plow forward without taking time to heal.
But, well, God/the universe had other plans. And with each failed attempt (including a second go-round with the man who broke my heart), I started to see that until I just took time to just be still and love myself in this very fucked up and broken place, I wouldn’t be ready for anyone ever.
And so I did. And with this pause, I think I’m finally at a place of acceptance. Just like there’s no job security (don’t get me started on that), there truly is no relationship security either. And that’s a good thing.
So many people I know in relationships are, well … struggling. Because relationships are hard fucking work. And yes, I want to do that work, I do. Absolutely. And I’m excited for that growth and progress with another human. One I hope to have a really ridiculous crush on as well.
But … in the meantime, why not really enjoy and relish the fact that I don’t have to do that work right now? Or better yet, why not use this time and devote it to working on just myself for myself? Not for anyone else? Seems like a better use of my energy.
Life is fluid and exciting and so is love. Or at least it should be. And what makes pursuing love worth it, is partly due to the risk that we face. There’s no way to have love and a good relationship without risk.
Finally finally I’m at the place where I understand this and accept it. And at the same time, I feel … really content in being single. I do want a relationship, but I’m not hungry for one. I desire it, but the lack of it doesn’t make me unhappy.
Because the truth is I want a relationship, but only if comes with a crush-worthy love. Only if it is the thing worth taking all the leaps for.
But those types of loves only come along once in a full blue moon.
And they are worth being patient for.
So for now? I wait and I enjoy my crush.
I went to see my crush again this past Friday night. Sat at the bar with my friend till last call. Caught little glimpses of him and just enjoyed it. And then, while I wasn’t looking, he came over and extended his hand towards me and I FROZE. He was right in front of me and his palm was in the air. He kept slowly moving it towards me across the bar and I was like a deer in headlights silently screaming wtf, wtf, wtf until I finally, finally-praise-Jesus, realized he was trying to high-five me and I reciprocated and then we chatted for a short bit. My heart fluttered because he was saying hi because he remembered me. Granted, a good bartender tries to make everyone feel like they belong, so I’m not reading into it. But my crush gave me a high-five and even if it meant nothing, it was kind of awesome.
I have a crush.
That’s all it is and quite frankly, all it may ever be. But I am just so damn thrilled that my heart that had been crushed before has mended itself to the point that it can believe in the hopeful magic of attraction and sparks once again. I am overjoyed to experience all these awkward crush feelings and embarrassing moments.
And I’m so grateful to realize my heart that was once in pieces is finally whole enough to be open to the uncertainty and adventure of a new, ridiculous, blush-worthy crush.