It always starts the same.
We lock eyes from across the bar, he maneuvers his way over to me, and before I can even convert my carbon dioxide to oxygen, he hits me with the "so what's your Snapchat?"
And it certainly hits. Hard. Like a tsunami of unoriginality and disappointment, further drowning my hope that maybe someone will change my views on the fate of authentic communication.
Welcome to the 21st century, where intimacy is now initiated through Casper on a yellow backdrop. However, in this case, Casper is not so friendly.
I instinctively roll my eyes, because I think, whatever happened to exchanging numbers and having those late-night phone calls that our parents use to tell us about, that now seem only imaginable in a distant galaxy far away from our technologically advanced one? Although I am convinced I was born into the wrong generation, I still go along with the "streak generation" because it's, unfortunately, all I know.
And it always ends the same.
I conform to the "streak" culture, and we snap for a few days. For some obscure reason, I become attached and start to expect his morning coffee and afternoon pizza pictures that disappear in six seconds. However, like clockwork, on the sixth or seventh day of our streak, he pulls a disappearing act on me. I get ghosted.
But what makes this time different?
I learned to trust the timing of my life
Essentially, the majority of people value acceptance over rejection. But in the case of learning experiences as a young adult, every loss leads to a gain, and that's just how the universe works. I now appreciate my "ghostings" because I know it leads me one step closer to discovering the person who appreciates proper communication with me and still values relationships. Everything happens for a reason, a cliché saying for a reason, because it's true. Everything's a learning experience, even something as mundane as a Snapchat left-on-read, particularly to not become overly attached to someone who attempts to initiate intimacy through an app.
"Thank u, next" helped me rewire my brain
With Ariana's help, I now bounce back fast and do not allow a silly disappearing act to dictate my mood or sense of worth. I'm no longer daunted by the self-shaming thoughts of "was it me? Was I trying too hard? Maybe because I stopped using filters on my face?" because it's not, and it's not him, either. It's all about timing. There are endless opportunities to form connections, and, thankfully, I've built up untouchable confidence that makes me respond to rejection with a shrug and a "thank u, next."
I learned to laugh it off
Initially, a man's disappearing acts use to phase me, taking a hard blow to my self-esteem. Now I laugh at their loss, and I finally understand the whole "ghost" icon. It's a warning sign for the all-too-common ending of getting "ghosted." I don't love rejection, but I do love the strong mindset I've created for myself.
So, if you left me "on read" and are reading this, don't worry. You're far out of sight, out of my "streaks," and out of mind. Don't worry about me, because I'm not searching, but waiting for a fellow, old-fashioned soul, who was also born in the wrong generation and still believes in a relationship that doesn't start on a "streak."