"Why don't you ever actively pursue anyone?" That's the question I always get from my girlfriends.
The light our loved ones see us in might not be the same way in which we view ourselves. My friends see me as someone who should have no problem putting myself out there. However, to me, that's one of the most debilitating things someone can make me do.
The idea of baring myself to someone scares me. I'm 23 years old, and I thought that fear would be something I'd grow out of.
I always imagined that when I would graduate and start my first grown-up job, some magical confidence dust would be sprinkled on me, and I'd become Carrie Bradshaw from "Sex and the City." Needless to say, that daydream did not happen. Here I am working a full-time corporate job that I'd always dreamt of, but that debilitating fear still follows me.
I come from an Indian family. My parents came to the U.S. when I was 2, so I was never exposed to the idea of dating early on, nor was it ever something my mom talked about with me. As a grown-up, I realized that the confidence to pursue men was never a concept I learned. I grew up imagining that the right guy would just show up. That everyone has someone for them and that your paths are meant to cross.
There's nothing wrong with dreaming and being optimistic. However, as an adult, you realize how many other aspects of dating there are. It's not as simple as meeting the right person and falling in love. In real life, there's anxiety, insecurity, self-doubt, background, and countless other things that hold you back.
In college, I had the biggest crush on a guy for all four years. That attraction was something that hit me like a ton of bricks.
It was the type of attraction you can't describe or pinpoint. He was the type of guy I had fantasized about, but I never thought actually existed. Whenever we hung out, we were always around friends. When I'm with my friends, I feel less vulnerable. One summer, he asked me to hang out with him alone. You'd think I'd be on cloud nine. I was for five minutes... until insecurity and self-doubt rained on my parade. They always do. They find me when I'm alone and vulnerable. I expect them now.
I never took him up on his offer. My fear that he'd be disappointed when he got to know me ultimately took over and stopped me.
We just remained as is, and I still haven't been able to feel the same way about anyone else. I still think about him from time-to-time and imagine what could have been if I had been able to tell insecurity and self-doubt to go away. If I had been able to break through my shell. I always kept telling myself that these issues would go away on their own. They never did. Here I am at 23 still feeling them intensely. These things still majorly affect my life in ways they shouldn't.
Sometimes, I wonder if I'm the only one that feels this way. I see my close friends easily being able to go from one serious relationship to the next. Then there's me. I can't get past the initial stage of showing a guy who I am. That involves vulnerability.
Being able to make peace with vulnerability is something I have yet to achieve.
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