Pump the Brakes

Last weekend, I went on the perfect second date. It was astronomy night at Northerly Island, complete with night walks, telescopes, and nocturnal animals. He packed a picnic with all homemade items and cans of red wine. He picked me up. We laughed a lot. On a walk to watch the Navy Pier fireworks, the sky opened up and poured on us. We laughed more. Soaking wet, he told me I was still beautiful and then he kissed me for the first time. It was perfect.

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When he dropped me off at home, I took a full 10 minutes to celebrate in my head. This boy is a catch – smart, funny, attentive, has a good job, etc. etc. Then the doubting girl brain kicked in: “Hey, girl, wtf?! Don’t you go getting excited right now. He’s a boy. It won’t work. They never work out.”

“But,” I reasoned with myself, “we had SO much fun! He’s different. I feel different. He acts like he likes me.”

Girl brain: “STOP IT!”

This is a conversation I’ve had – in my head – on more than one occasion. As soon as I get excited about a guy, I tamp down that feeling. It comes from years and years of rejection, meeting idiots, and getting let down.

If you get excited about a boy, then you can get hurt. You can get let down. You can make a fool of yourself. It’s better to save yourself from all that. Right? Right?!

Ugh, is it? Because what if this one time, this boy really is the one. The one that makes my heart flutter. The one who likes me too. The one who treats me well. The one who respects me and my life choices. And what if I tamp down those elated feelings and he doesn’t know I like him, too? What if I don’t live in this exact moment and revel in how great it feels to have fun? What if he really is the one and I don’t exult in the glory that is the beginning of my last relationship?

So here I sit divided, 50/50. Half of me wants to jump up and down, smile constantly, tell all of my girlfriends. The other half of me wants to sulk, put up a wall, be cautious.

And then a little niggle comes in: I don’t have to decide what to do right now. Nature can take its course. If he likes me and I like him, then fantastic. If the feelings don’t last for one of us, that’s okay too.

So here I sit divided, 51/49. Hopeful. I’m going to smile. I am going to let myself open up. Because what’s the worst that can happen? I get hurt. No biggie. Been there, done that.

So I here I sit, hopeful with a smile on my face texting a couple girlfriends about the really great date I just had with someone who seems like a really great guy.

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