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40 T/D/Y #39: Crush Stories

As a kid, I had my share of secret crushes, as I’m sure most kids do. Even in first grade there was a girl I liked in particular and wanted her attention but felt nervous about getting it. I think around fourth grade is when girls and crushes became regular subjects of conversation among my friends and me, but again I never dared tell my current crush that I liked her, afraid of rejection. In junior high as other kids started dating, I continued to nurse secret crushes.

I wasn’t a complete wallflower, though. I could still talk to these girls in class as regular people, I wasn’t left stammering and blushing, unable to speak. I went to my first school dance in seventh grade, and although at the end of the evening I had to be coaxed into a dance by one of my long-time female friends, I enjoyed the whole experience enough to attend the dances regularly after that. I went to the junior high dinner dance by myself without reservation and had a good time with my friends.

I had a major crush in junior year of high school, although it took me about half the year to realize how I felt. She passed out handmade Valentines to some people, including me, and wrote on mine “U R so sweet!”, which made me very happy. I don’t recall whether I spent a lot of time thinking about asking her to the junior prom, but I do remember overhearing her talking to a friend just before French class one day and her saying something about the prom that made me realize I might already be too late. So, after class, I pulled her aside and stammeringly asked if she would like to go with me; she seemed pleased to be asked but apologetically explained that she’d already agreed to go with someone else. I was crushed but took it well, and ended up going by myself, though I did give one of my good female friends a ride to and from the prom.

In senior year I had a lesser crush on another classmate and asked her to the prom, but she also turned me down. This time though I asked another friend, a junior I knew who also took violin lessons, to be my prom date and she said yes, and we had a very enjoyable time. In the photos my parents took before we left, though, I look very painfully awkward; rather than putting an arm around her for the photos, I instead kept that arm behind my back and held my other arm with that hand. I still can’t believe no one told me to relax and hold her, it’s ridiculous.

During college I had my first halting relationship, with yet another younger friend I knew from violin lessons. Interestingly, I learned at one point that a few of my friends had thought of fixing me up with her for my senior prom date; I believe one of my friends suggested her at one point and I dismissed the idea out of hand. She and I spent a lot of time hanging out after I graduated and we became close, eventually having a few make-out sessions, but she was never really interested in being more than friends while I struggled hard to keep my feelings in check. When she started college, during my fall sophomore semester at Thomas More (she was at a different local school), we grew apart, and by the time that semester ended I knew I had to stop calling her and trying to hang out. Fortunately the Rome semester gave me some needed space and time away; I no longer sought out her company, but I did see her a few times over the next several years as just friends and it was fine.

Throughout the rest of my twenties and into my early thirties, I had occasional crushes but never tried pursuing anyone. Frequently I would only realize I’d developed a crush after knowing someone for several months or more, by which time it was clear that that person liked me as a friend but no more than that. A couple of times I developed a closer friendship with someone but still believed nothing further could come of it. On a very few occasions a woman would show some signs of possibly being interested in me, but never anyone that I found interesting in turn. I wonder though how many times I may have missed expressions of interest because I felt strongly that no one would be interested in me, or whether I could’ve had a chance with any of my crushes if I’d been more confident and less self-conscious.

For quite a while after moving to Seattle, I continued on as I had been doing, feeling lonely a lot and developing one or two crushes that I knew would go unrequited. Eventually I started to put a little more effort into actively looking to meet new people and go on dates. It’s been a long slow effort for me, gaining more confidence, losing some self-absorption, trying different possibilities, trying to be open to different opportunities, and learning to relax and focus on being out in the world rather than on finding a particular someone. I’ve had a lot of support from my friends, who’ve helped me better understand myself and better understand how to relate to others. I’ve definitely changed and grown a lot in the past few years, and though sometimes I still feel I have a very long way to go, I also believe in myself. My crushes don’t always have to be secret, my interest won’t always go unrequited, my loneliness isn’t endless. And while I’m very tired of feeling lonely, being alone isn’t always so bad; I can take joy in the things I’m free to do on my own, and continue to keep an eye out for others who may enjoy sharing some of my life with me.


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Jan. 2nd, 2010 09:27 am (UTC)
Thanks, Andi! I'm glad you've been enjoying the entries, thanks for letting me know.
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