Crossing to the Other Side

 In Weekly Forum Discussion, Writer in Residence

I like the path I am on. I look over to another path, but why switch? I like this one. Crossing over to another path is scary to me.

I am so uncomfortable with this topic that I don’t even want to write about it.

I haven’t been on a date in 25 years. The very thought scares me. I fear meeting someone new, having them judge me, or worse — what if things go great? I don’t need a big change in my life right now. I am still trying to figure myself out.

I am comfortable with my life. I am becoming content.

Then I was asked out. I was in such shock I didn’t know what to do. The pressure was there. I didn’t know what to say. My mind froze. My body froze. I heard myself say, “Ah, sure” while my head was screaming.

Right after I said, “sure” I wanted to take it back. I felt ill. Why did I agree to torture myself? Maybe I don’t think I have suffered enough.

I can’t talk to a stranger. I can barely talk to people I know. My life has been made up of many awkward conversations. What if we just sit in awkward silence?

Do I pay? Does he pay? Do we both pay? I have no idea.

What if he is mean or condescending? What if he criticizes the way I eat? This can’t be happening. Why am I doing this to myself? Am I over-thinking again?

The date day arrived. I wanted to throw up. Instead I changed my clothes 20 times. I looked too matronly. This top was too revealing. This color washes me out. Slacks are too dressy. Does anyone where slacks on a date anymore? I can’t wear a dress. I settled on a white blouse paired with blue jeans and white shoes.

Then the hair! My hair decided to go back to the 1980s. Yes, I had big hair. I kept wetting it to calm it down. I ended up having to rewash it. Things most men don’t have to experience. I wonder if a man has ever said, “Oh, no I have 80s hair”?

I carefully applied my make-up. I have been wearing my make-up the same for 20 years. I wonder if things have changed. Well, it is too late to Google that now.

We agreed to meet at a local farmers market. I arrived 20 minutes early. My mind was racing. As our date time came and went, I realized I have been in a panic for three days making myself physically ill, and now he was standing me up. Well, at least I could walk through the market without the embarrassment of everyone knowing I had been stood up.

He knew what I looked like. What didn’t he like about me? And why do I care what a stranger thinks of me? I am going to be the same shy, quiet, polite woman who tends to over-think. I won’t change myself again for anyone. If he doesn’t like me, oh well. I am very content with my life right now. I was suddenly filled with relief. My stomach started to relax.

Then as I was ready to leave, he walked in. My stomach began to knot up. I was happier when I thought he stood me up.

He ended up being a nice man. We discovered that we have little in common. We parted an hour later with a hug. I survived a date! And I am good for a while. My stomach can’t take another date!

So I crossed back over to my comfortable path. I know I can survive crossing over to another path now and then. I did it. A weight was lifted and I might be a little more prepared the next time, maybe.

~photo credit Walker Dice

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Guardian Angels

Recommended Posts