I love roller coasters. The speed, the adrenaline, the not knowing if you’re upside down or back to front or inside out. I love the crank crank crank as your train goes up, and the final seconds of balancing as you wait at the top for the sudden swoooosh and you’re off!
Dating, I imagine, should be a bit like a roller coaster. Some healthy anticipation, impending excitement, bit of confusion about which way up you are, but full of laughter and smiles and adrenaline. Dating, for me, is terrifying.
I don’t remember it always being so scary. Although to be fair, until I returned to the UK, I was either in a long term relationship or travelling, and when travelling, dating is less of a thing and more of a natural progression of friendship with people on the same bus as you.
But now I am so worried about what people think of me, what they think and don’t say, what they’ll do to me, that there’s no impending excitement, just terror.
Everyone always says ‘but how bad can it be?’, well actually, it can be really fucking bad. My self esteem is already at rock bottom, one unreturned message, one odd look, one seemingly blasé comment is all it takes for me to descend into hysteria. Comments like ‘you’ll be fine’ and ‘just do it’ are not remotely helpful actually.
Not that I know what is helpful. I think I’m reasonable competent at socialising once I’m doing it, it’s just getting from my room to the socialising that is the hard bit. Also, I think that superficial socialising is significantly easier than letting people in socialising.
I’m aware of how to establish relationships, I teach it in my job fairly often. But that inner me is just far too pathetic to give it a try.
But maybe it’s time to just give it a try. No safety net. Worst case scenario is pretty much already happening, so, really, what have I got to lose. Just got to take that first step off the bridge.