Thursday, January 3, 2013

My New Boyfriend

Breaking news: I deactivated my OkCupid profile. Yes, again. I'm going on another dating hiatus. I'm not even looking at a guy (blatant lie) until at least my birthday in March. I need to focus on me.

Alas, Ginger Squared is no more. I'm not too bummed about it. I had a great time hanging out with him but I quickly noted a few red (haired) flags that would have kept things from developing into anything too serious. Basically, he reminded me entirely too much of my ex-boyfriends, in some good ways but also in not-good ways. I'm working on not dating my "type" anymore. Progress! Growth! Maturation!

My goal in 2012 was just to date, get some experience, maybe some smoochies, meet a few new people. Prior to this year my romantic history was made up mostly of insta-serious relationships and "friends with benefits" scenarios, or the occasional random make-out, and I wanted to find out what it was like to, you like an adult. Meet for drinks and conversation. Have a dude pick me up like I'm a lady. Practice being charming and witty. Etc.

And I would say that I succeeded. At least, I got a kiss or two. Go me.

The motivation behind this year of casual dating was to make the whole endeavor a little less...stressful? Meaningful? Novel? Basically, I wanted to get to the point where a first date is not a banner event worthy of an anxiety attack and a guy I like is not some magical unicorn haunting my dreams. I believe I have reached that point, which is just lovely. I no longer imbue every interaction with layers of meaning or get too wrapped up in analyzing everything, I'm trying not to assume so much and just go with the flow. I'm finally at the point where I'm less concerned with whether or not a guy likes me than with whether or not I like them. See? Progress.

I've enjoyed my forays into online dating, and I'm not done with it permanently, definitely not. But I do think it's time to go back on hiatus, 'cause I've been thinking back over the last few months and I've realized something super-duper profound:

Dating has been kinda bad for me.

Yup. Hear me out.

I traced my epic downfall of the last few months to July, when I got back from Spain and hit my lowest weight in a century and a half. I was feeling so empowered. That's when things first started to get tough for me, after six months of relative ease. Six months of laser focus and self-fulfillment and achieving goals. And you know what happened in July?

The Ginger dumped me.

Now, I definitely do not want to be one of those girls who allows a guy to fuck with her self-perception and happiness, and consciously, I'm not. But sub-consciously, well...I don't have much control over that, do I? I can tell myself over and over all the things I know to be true about men not defining you and rejection not being personal and all that jazz, but well...

See, I think what happened was, that little heartbreak flipped the switch. I started seeing my worth through other people's eyes, not my own, and judging myself based on what I perceived their opinions to be. I started to view my own beauty depending on how guys treated me, and equated my weight loss with attracting dudes.


I think I carried that disappointment with me and as I continued to shop for a boy-toy online, I slowly but surely lost the fragile self-confidence I'd built up. I started assuming whether or not a man wanted to date me was contingent on whether or not I'd lost any weight that week, and of course my old habits and insecurities began to rear their ugly heads. I wondered why I was working so hard if it wasn't resulting in every guy in LA falling instantly in lust with me, and I found myself hitting the brick wall of "what's the point?" I tried to suppress my anxiety and self-judgment with binging, and then the vicious cycle was in motion. Shit got bad.

So, no dating. At least not for the next few months. I need to focus on getting my shit together again, on yoga and cooking and self-reflection, on going to therapy, on spending time with my friends, on spending time with myself.  I need to strengthen my identity and self-perception so no one else ever has power over it. I need to develop a life where I'm content with or without someone to share it with. I don't need no penis to take me on dates, I am quite capable of enjoy my own company. I can take myself to movies and light candles and have a lovely night with Tree. I can wander the city and take pictures and explore and rediscover that girl who firmly believed she didn't need no man to make her happy. I can be my own boyfriend.

And I will make a damn good one.

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