As insecure as this sounds, I never thought I'd have a real admirer. I mean one who has both said and shown his appreciation, not simply one rumored to be an admirer but never makes a move. It was always common knowledge to me that I'm a nuisance to others, and they are better off not having me in their lives. It's one thing when one of your acquaintances has a five-minute crush on you. It's quite another when you've built a solid friendship and then suspect that this is turning into something else. A rando is easy to turn away (I've never had to, but I imagine it to be), a friend's is a heart I'm far less willing to break and far more willing to reciprocate the favors.

If someone cares for you as a person, gives you those words of affirmation, tells you you're beautiful, valuable, and that he likes to spend time with you, it really is flattering. It left me speechless and even a bit nerve-wracked. He said that all who have dissed me and claimed I wasn't loveable were not only wrong, they are missing out. I can't simply push this back. There I was, weeks prior to suspecting he was into me, saying to my friends that I'd never bother with a relationship, that I had no chance...but I was fine with that. After all, I have enough street smarts to look after myself. Plus, I'm not a romantic. At first, I wondered if I had done something wrong. Did I make myself look too desirable? Was it my dressy style? Was it the discreet yet noticeable amount of makeup I wore for face-to-face customer service? Was it because I revealed too much of who I am as a person? I must have done something wrong to have a guy like me, I thought (my upbringing is partly to blame).

Scrupulous fear and guilt have been running rampant as a result of this. I've benefitted from the friendship and so has he (a sufferer of his own share of troubles). He's been showing me what fun and happiness is, breaking me out of the severity I had embraced, adding a creative mind to what was, this past summer, a studio of one. I'm becoming less ashamed to be myself. It's great to be appreciated, to have a special someone (though it's platonic). I'm not disgusted that I have an admirer. I like it. That's when the fear and the guilt attack, making me feel like I've done something dirty by even imagining that my admirer and partner-in-art can possibly become something else, that I'm cheating on God (I have considered the convent before), that I'm wasting time by having fun and being creative.

However, I like being creative. I have finally allowed myself to let someone into my former studio of one. He is helping me to make this dream of adapting original stories into short films possible. Why would God give a girl talent, beauty, and brains just to lock her in some cloister? I'm doing nothing wrong with my art. I have no bad intentions so what do I have to be guilty about? What do I have to fear? If his path and mine have crossed for a reason, I'm not surprised at all. Even if he's not "the one", I've at least been more at peace, had more emotional stability and enthusiasm about living then I had before. It has got me questioning, was that nagging thought to join the convent really a calling from God, or was it just my mother's idea, a role she assigned me, all along? Will it be wrong of me to lose interest in pursuing that state of life? At my age, I have to seriously consider my state of life. Discernment has been such a pain because I ruled marriage off and everyone told me I was wrong to do that. I said if the convent did not work out, I would stay single. I didn't trust anyone enough. That frame of mind is starting to change, though part of me fights against changing it.

He invited me for Thanksgiving and I look forward to being his "guest of honor" and showing him a cooking tip or two. We've had a few not-dates. We vlogged ourselves, him showing me how to carve a pumpkin, me showing him how to roast pumpkin seeds. We had brunch at a restaurant and I showed him some pointers on technology. He makes plans so eagerly. It makes me nervous, not him, not the fun things he wants to do, but since day one when he asked to collaborate I had the foreboding thought that it was going to turn into something else.

He loves me more than the sleep he needs, saying he doesn't mind staying up past his bedtime to chat with me. (As flattering as that is, I've been encouraging him to take care of himself.) He said he could listen to me sing forever. His goal is to make me laugh (my obnoxious cackle is a sound I rarely produce). I've stopped denying that something is there. How long will it last? How long will our show go on until becomes our life? Fear can keep one safe, but a certain kind can hold one back. I guess if we've been benefitting, if these feelings are natural, I guess these fears are of the wrong sort.