When I was in grade six I had a crush on a boy. Not just a boy, the boy. He was two years older than me and anyone that recalls grade school knows just how huge of a social gap this poses. The eight graders were a whole new brand of cool. He was athletic, easy to talk to, and seemed to possess a worldly knowledge my lowly 11-year-old self had yet to amass. He was the basis of most of my conversations to giggling girlfriends at recess and sleepovers. I thought it was pretty impossible he would ever like me back, and resigned myself to playing soccer with him or listening to him talk about football instead of actually confessing my feelings.
We remained friends, although we haven’t spoken in quite some time now, and after my first year of University I came home and met up with a few old faces for beers. We were all reminiscing in a back-in-the-day fashion, and he turned to me, laughing, and said, “Man I had the biggest crush on you back then.”
You can imagine my reaction. My mouth hanging open, I sputtered, “You had a crush on me?”
“Well yeah,” he said, a bit sheepishly, “You didn’t know? Everyone knew.”
Unfortunately I didn’t learn from this lesson, and over the past few years I’ve still avoided truly talking about how I feel or asking questions when the answer terrifies me. Maybe I think it makes me weak to confess my fears. Maybe I’m just not as brave as I act. Whatever the reason, I’m sure it’s cost me quite a few opportunities, and I don’t intend on doing it anymore.
I’m tired of living in my head and wondering how people actually feel about me, or whether I’m doing a good job, or if I’m actualizing potential with opportunities. That’s it. No more. I’m going to start doing something revolutionary for me: I’m just going to ask. And I’m sure it’ll give me a few heartaches. I’m positive I’ll get answers I didn’t expect that hurt me or shock me. But, it still beats the hell out of ruminating endlessly by myself. I think, at the end of the day, it may make me a better person. Or at least a person willing to look critically at their flaws and attempt to improve them. We’ll see
I started today, out for lunch at a jerk restaurant. Turning to my boyfriend, I asked, “How would you rate us this week? Like on a scale of 1-10, 10 being I’m the best girlfriend in the world and you couldn’t be happier, what are we?”
He thought about it for a second and answered firmly, “8.5.”
I asked what could change to make it a 10, and he pointed out a couple silly arguments we had had that I (and he) could have perhaps dealt with better. It was an excellent point, and I feel better knowing how to improve.
Lunch, by the way, was delicious. It came with (as always) the Belizean rice and beans side dish.
We split a jerk platter for two; jerk chicken, pork, fish (snapper), and shrimp. Yum.
Mmmmm. Even better with a couple beers and an ocean view.
Try asking one hard question today (or opinion etc). Just one And if you do, let me know how it goes.