How to Keep Yourself from Being Stupid Over a Crush

We all know that familiar scenario.

It’s a normal day like any other.  You’re wandering along, minding your business and doing what you know needs to be done.

You notice a guy nearby.  You’ve seen him around every now and then.  Maybe you didn’t notice him too much, no more than anyone else.  He’s kinda cute.

Every few days or so, you two pass each other casually or sit within the same vicinity.  Occasionally, you catch each other’s eye, but you don’t hold the gaze.  It’s whatevs.

Then, one afternoon, after a long day with your defenses down, you hear someone ask, “How was your day?”  The question and the familiarity take you by surprise, and you turn to find the guy looking at you, watching you.  Perhaps he’s smiling.  You strike up an impromptu conversation.  You part, the event a pleasant little light in an otherwise dark day.

A week passes, and the afternoon repeats itself.  To your own surprise, you light up when you hear his familiar greeting:  “How was your day?”  You talk again, longer this time.  He asks you about your job.  You ask him if he loves the outdoors.  He apologizes for bothering you while you read, but can’t help to ask another question.  You suddenly realize the pretty color of his eyes.

That now becomes your thing.  If you see each other at that same time, you find yourself eagerly anticipating the “How was your day?”  You’re smiling at him as you talk and think, “Why does he suddenly look so much hotter than before?”

And suddenly–

Oh, crap.

via GIPHY

You’ve got a crush.

It’d be one thing if you were still, oh, 10 years old.  Back then, the rush of endorphin is new, it’s exciting, it’s a feeling that you don’t remember feeling before.

And then the symptoms!

The flush of your cheeks.

The inability to think straight.

The classic brain mantra of, “Don’t.  Say.  Anything.  Dumb.  For the LOVE.  OF.  GOD.”

But that’s the thing.  You’re not 10 years old anymore.

You’re a grown woman.  A single grown woman.

And dagnabbit, you do not have the time or energy to let a man who at least might be a pleasant new friend, get away due to your fluttery behavior.

You might have already noticed that I just might be in this predicament myself.

Having always been shy in the first place, one thing that I have failed at was opening my mouth and taking chances that I absolutely should have taken when they arose.  I can (unfortunately) count the number of times I have let a (potentially) good catch slip through my fingers, and let’s face it — it is not a fun feeling.  If you’re like me, the regret can linger in the back of your mind for years.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve determined that I would “fool-proof” my crushing behavior by preparing a list of requirements and prohibitions to ensure that I don’t become a stuttering, desperate, annoying moron in the event I do develop an infatuation.  (Note:  creating this list is best done before the hint of any feelings begin, so I am a little late to my own party.)  Better late than never, though, so here we go.

5 Ways to Stay Sane During a Crush

1.  Always look good — for yourself.

I am a strong advocate for dressing for success and looking sexy.  But by all means, do not do it only for the crush.  By “training” yourself to dress for you and feel proud of your appearance, you avoid the stress of only building up those fashion muscles when you see someone cute.

2.  Get enough sleep.

I know, this one may not make a lot of sense.  For those that struggle with this, though, you know — you are antisocial, insecure, and stressed beyond belief when you are not caught up on those zzzzz’s.  And you most certainly aren’t showing your best face.  So, stick in that extra hour of beddy bye, and enjoy fabulous dream…guys.

(Heh — it rhymed.)

3.  Take a mental snapshot of your un-crushing self.

Remember that silly joke you made that no one laughed at?  What about when you danced the Can-Can in the middle of your office space?  Love to twist off the top of your Oreos and save the cream side for last?

Remember those things, and don’t stop doing them if the urge hits you. No man (or person) is worth compromising what makes you so wonderful.

People (aka me) are notorious for completely diluting themselves when in front of someone they only want to impress.  But think about it.  How did you feel when the guy you thought was hot absent-mindedly made a soft whooping noise every time he dodged someone in a crowd?  Exactly:  unique and adorable.

4.  Flirt with him.

Wait.  What?

You heard me.

Go ‘head on and flirt with him.

What did you do when you were young and you had a crush?  Again, if you were like me, you ran.  You averted your eyes, you snapped at him, and you kept your answers short.  Anything to avoid appearing as if you were interested.

Not only was this the stupidest trick in the book, but it probably only made things more obvious that I liked him.

I mean, heaven forbid anyone see what you are doing or saying to this guy.  They’ll…they’ll…

Not…care?

Okay, you’re probably thinking.  Maybe they won’t care, but the guy — the guy will.  And he will be absolutely…absolutely…

…flattered?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that there isn’t a man in the world who doesn’t appreciate a little female attention.  Even if they’re not attracted to you, per se, any decent man wouldn’t say anything too cruel to reject said attention.

(That aside, ditch the dude and the crush if he can’t respect your mature decision to merely enjoy his company as a friend.  You are too awesome to settle for anything less.)

5.  Let it go, let it go.

If or when this guy either stops talking to you or just happens to not be around you anymore…that is fine.

Maybe it was because of something you did, or maybe it had absolutely nothing to do with you.  Doesn’t matter.

As a coworker reminded me today, there are plenty of fish in the proverbial sea.  Pickins may be slim or harder to wade through, but there are certainly still pickins after this guy is gone.  Not only that (this same coworker told me), but if something is meant to be, it will certainly be.  The Universe is really cool like that.


Even as I’m writing this list out, I find myself relaxing.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the physiological responses our bodies unleash when we see a pair of sexy eyes or a nice smile or a pair of soft-looking…kissable…lips…

Where was I going with this?

Oh, yeah!  The bottom line:  a crush is a crush, and there’s no need to panic over having one.  Enjoy the sensations knowing you can still have them, and let things flow naturally.

And if you’ve got multiple crushes, the more, the merrier.

Like celebrity crushes!

Hello, Mr. Neville.  <3

What Being Car-less Has Taught Me

On December 23, 2015, at approximately 5 o’clock in the morning, I was on the road in my trusty 2002 Grand Am, pushing through holiday traffic toward my mother’s home, seven hours away.  My radio was humming from my mixed CD, and the night around me glittered with the headlights of my fellow travelers.

Then, in the form of a fleet-owned semi truck ramming into the side of my car and veering me off the highway, my transportation world as I knew it changed forever.

Three weeks later, I received the fateful call from the fleet’s insurance company that they were totaling my car, that it was less expensive to just pay me for its value than it was to repair it.  I was mortified, devastated, and burst into tears in the middle of my office cubicle.

I have no car, was all I kept thinking as coworkers rushed over to make sure I was okay.  I live in one of the busiest, biggest cities in the United States, and I have no car.  I have no car!

Fast forward to today — more than four months post-accident, after multiple financial checks, several budget adjustments, hours of new and used car research, and one bittersweet car-buying seminar later — and I am still without a vehicle.  I must admit, I am exhausted.  I am tired, I am wound up, I am irritated, and I am annoyed.

But not for the reasons I thought.

That being said, the lessons that I have learned these last 4+ months have not all been easy — but they have certainly been helpful in how I have been changing my lifestyle.

 

1. I don’t need a car to survive.

The first month and a half after the accident, I was renting a car almost every weekend.  Enterprise offered some great weekend specials, and I used them as much as I could.  Even then, I was averaging between $150 to $300 for just two and a half days of travel.  Not bad for once every two or three months, but after about the fourth rental in eight weeks, I needed to find other means of food and personals shopping.

At first glance, being without a car in a place like Atlanta was terrifying.  Mind, everyone’s experience would also be very different from mine.  Home location, family size, and job location can all affect how this could impact a person’s experience.  For me — single, no kids or pets, living alone and probably more independently (*cough*reclusively) than I should — having no vehicle has given me much time to reflect on what I need and don’t need in my daily life.  It’s also taught me how many ways and opportunities I can to relax and enjoy myself in the comfort of my home — and that I can no longer ignore nor avoid that random pile of junk I need to sort through.

Hmm…guess I still need to get on that.

2.  Mother Necessity is a great provider.

Being raised as someone who was very selective about where she shopped, I would have turned my nose up at shopping for produce at a retailer like Wal-Mart.  Wal-Mart was good for contact lens solution, multivitamins, frozen foods, cereals — and maybe yogurt.  But apples?  Bananas?  Ground beef?  Bah.

Fate would have it that my neighborhood sits behind a Wal-Mart.  Like, literally a five-minute walk behind it.  After my rental car revelation, practicality and one-stop shopping was going to work massively to my advantage.

At first, Wal-Mart tried to shut its automatic doors and lock itself up at 11:30 am when it saw me coming.  “Turn your nose up at me, will you?” it growled as I was forced to resort to entering from the underground labyrinth under the parking lot.

The aficionados who’d told me to only buy produce from farmers markets and small/local grocery stores would have probably cried silently as I piled my cart full of strawberries and oranges and spinach and…those odd little yellow mangoes and two pounds of chicken parts.  But you know what?  It’s close by, it’s accessible, and it’s convenient.

And those pre-bagged ambrosia apples might be some of the best I’ve ever had.

 

3.  People care.

As I always say (or complain; whatever), being a shy, anxiety-riddled introvert can, quite naturally, keep you to yourself at home and at work.  Your friends are very few, and you don’t tell everyone the whole story.  It keeps the conversations from being too long.

Despite my ways, word disbursed throughout my office that I was (originally and still) without a car.  The losing the car lost ground pretty quickly, but the subsequent car search breathed new life each day.

“How’s the car search?”

“Do you have a car yet?”

“Hey!  Are you—”[insert hopeful car-driving pantomime here]

At first, the new attention was extremely jolting, and I shied away from saying much beyond the stuttering, “Oh, you know…just…trying to figure things out.”

But then the questions extended as initial eagerness melted into concern.  “How did you get here today?  How are you getting home?  Are you traveling by yourself?”

The attention confused me.  Why were all these people asking me these questions?  What was their ulterior motive?  What did they possibly want from me?

Then, after a fairly close friend told me point-blank, it hit me.

People were asking me these questions because…they cared.  If they didn’t care…they wouldn’t have asked.

Depression can easily make you selfish and jaded.  You can forget that, somehow, your existence might matter to people outside your own skin.  For friends and coworkers who might have been wanting to find an excuse to talk to you for years, the lack of a standard necessity is the perfect opening.

For me, it’s like someone shining an LED flashlight into a self-created, windowless room.  You try to keep the shadows going, because that’s what you’re used to.  But then, you have the revelation:  you kind of like the light.  You can see where you’re going, and you like how thinks look in the room.  And then you think about other sources of light, their brightness and their warmth, and how you can see outside of the room, as well.  The shadows were getting old, and it can be so much work to keep them up.  And suddenly, not only do you want the lights to see you, but you want to know all about the lights.

So to speak.

 

4.  Time to put up or shut up.

One of the biggest decisions I had to make from the start was one of the scariest:  how was I going to get to work?  My job was in the lower midtown of the city.  The commute via car was between 30 – 45 minutes on a good day.  But I didn’t have a car.  So that meant nothing.

At first, I called my good-hearted Samaritan coworker who lived fairly close by, and we carpooled amicably for the first three months.  But then his schedule changed, and I was both too nervous to approach anyone else and, I guess, too proud to burden anyone any more than I already had.  So, after a head-in-hands session of resolution, I went back to the methods of my college ways, jumped online, and typed two words into the search:

Public transportation.

[I actually typed in “marta bus schedule near me,” but let’s keep the melodrama, shall we?]

The first couple of days were rough.  I had to wake up at 4:45 am to get ready and walk to the bus stop, which I then rode to the train station closest to me.  From there, it was a 25-minute ride downtown, where I then hopped onto my company-specific shuttle that rode me straight to the building’s drop-off port.  The total ride took me nearly two hours — and a lot  more human interaction and stimulus than I’m accustomed to.

But, like with anything, I adjusted.  I had to.  I am a healthy, combat-trained woman who (when she gets enough sleep) has a pretty solid-functioning brain and can (must) mold herself accordingly to get herself to work.  And I’m an adult, dagnabbit.  It’s how I roll.

Of course, my coworkers learned of my change in travel, and two of them who also live in my area have offered to give me rides home when I would like it.  I take them up on it on occasion, but I find I enjoy the mornings to myself and the surge of urgency as I lock up my house and race out of my neighborhood only minutes before my bus is supposed to reach my anticipated stop.

Works better than coffee.

 

Watch for Lessons 5 – 9 in the next post, where I garden, turn myself into a sail, and absolutely loathe all things car-related.

Square B, Round Hole

…the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that hammering is hard work. It’s that you’re damaging the peg.”  –Paul Collins

It was a concern that I’ve been pondering a lot lately, but it lifted to the forefront of my memory when my friends and I were reviewing an old quiz that I had taken when I was in my early twenties.

One of my friends stared at me as the other read the choices I’d left written in pencil nearly ten years ago.  “ ‘You look forward to how you will be punished when you arrive late.’ ”

I covered my face with my hands and buried myself into the couch cushions.  “I can’t believe I wrote that.  I honestly don’t remember writing that!”

“Suuurre.” The second friend smirked, but not maliciously.  I had brought down my book Your Erotic Personality (we’ll just save that explanation for another day) for them to check out (again, for reasons I don’t think I can really explain).  At any rate, it was a refreshing evening of food, wine, and candid talk that I haven’t really had as much as I would like.

In fact, after they had left, I began thinking about how very little I was in the mood to have more.  It was an odd dichotomy, that:  wanting more, but being afraid of it when it was arriving.

I’ve lived in Atlanta for nearly ten years, and since being here, I’ve had a lot of firsts:  first big city, first love, first real heartbreak, first job firing, first retirement plan, first martial art, first black belt, first work-from-home, first road trip with a friend.

Atlanta was also the first time that I was able to label segments of my personality — why I tended to get snippy at times and why quiet was often an important — alright, necessary — part of my life.  Words that I’d never thought about surged into my mind.  Introvert.  Hypersensitive.  Anxious.

And then there were — and are — times that make me wonder.  Was I using words like “introvert” and “hypersensitivity” and “social anxiety” as crutches to keep myself from experiencing the world?  I’d experiment by going out to a party in a location teeming with people — loud, young, boisterous, defiant people — and end up shaking and silent in a corner by the time I arrived.  A friend or family member would ask me what was wrong, and unless they knew about my struggles, I simply lied and explained that “I’m just tired; I had a long day at work,” or “I just haven’t eaten.”

What’s worse, I’d lie to myself in the process.  “Oh, I just took my 5HTP too late.”  Or, more commonly, “B, you’re being stupid.  No one’s attacking you.  No one cares what you do.  Just chat with someone — anyone.  This feeling will go away.”

This feeling will go away.

What feeling?

The feeling that your head is being squeezed like a vice every time you’re surrounded by massive amounts of stimulus.  The feeling that, every time you’re about to make a phone call or order food or even just tell a joke to a cluster of strangers, you’re holding your breath and talking yourself out of talking for long.  The feeling that, as soon as you get home from work (especially Fridays), you just want to turn off your phone, flop down on the couch, and lie catatonic for at least two days straight.  The feeling that, when invited to a public event, you need at least a week (heck, make it two) to pep-talk yourself into believing you will have a good time, and no, you won’t have 30 people laughing in your face — and that if they do, who flippin’ cares??

Yeah.  That feeling.

Looking back, I can recognize that I’ve always enjoyed the company of myself or a few to the company of many.  Some of my favorite childhood, adolescent, and college memories include me writing for eight hours straight with no interruptions, taking 10-mile rollerblading excursions with my older sister, or treating myself to a live wrestling show (or two) where the crowds were shockingly respectful and refreshingly kind to me.

That being said, I have recognized a difference in my overall sense of self that did not exist before.  While there is an exuberance and hope for the future, there is also a fear and hopelessness of the present.  While there is calm that everything will be okay, there is my fear towards how it is now.

How do I finally relax?  How do I learn how, not necessarily to fit in, but to fit?

As a child, there was a strange, billowing, orange-warm aura of naivety that made me less afraid to reach out and try new things.  Now in my thirties, that aura has become thin and brittle, blue and icily aware of too much.  The next step is finding the happy medium — a sweet, calm, soft magenta that serves as the perfect filter to my inner world and the world around me.  Finding it, and being ready for the changes it will entail.

 

The Power of Perception

Last Sunday, while spending the day getting things done and taking time out for myself, I had the chance to talk to two family members on the phone.  While speaking to them (separately), I noticed an interesting difference in each of the exchanges.

Exchange #1

    • Family member 1:  So, how have you been?
    • Me:  Oh, you know.  Pretty good.  My back has been hurting a little today, but I think it’s cuz—
    • FM1:  Cuz you’re old?  [laughs]
    • Me [laughs]:  Yeah, with my grey hair and my bad knees and my bad back…
    • FM1 [suddenly exasperated]:  B, I was joking!  And you got all your grey hair from worrying too much.
    • Me [starting to feel a little annoyed]:  Well, I got the grey hair from Dad.  He went prematurely, too.
    • FM1:  No, you’re a worrywart.  You worry all the time.
    • Me:  ….
    • FM2:  …Anyway! How’s everything been?

Exchange #2

    • Family member 2:  Hey, B!  How’ve you been, sweetheart?
    • Me:  Oh, I’ve been good!  Just been running errands today, taking care of things.
    • FM2:  That is great.  Your father told me how beautiful your new house is.  Are you still kicking butt at that martial arts school of yours?
    • Me [a little embarrassed]:  Well, I’m actually taking a break from taekwondo, but I’m really looking into what my next big adventure will be.
    • FM3:  Well, just look at you!  Sweetheart, I’m so proud of you!  You’re just doing everything, and it’s all just coming up aces!
    • Me:  🙂 Aw, thank you!

Since these exchanges happened so quickly, right next to each other, it really gave me the chance to compare how two people who love you can so easily affect how you feel about yourself.  It also displays how some words, though meant without any ill intent, can hurt.  I mean, they certainly don’t help.

As for me, it’s something I’m going to keep in mind the next time I have a conversation with someone I care about.  If I’m really trying to be helpful with their self-esteem…I’ve now got something of a template.  🙂

My Audition For The Voice

About a week ago, my taekwondo Master gave the adult class a very interesting bit of advice:  “Everybody should do something uncomfortable in their lives to continue challenging themselves.” Apparently, I took that advice to heart and did just that when I woke up at 4 o’clock this morning and drove downtown to audition for The Voice. Originally, this audition was never supposed to happen.   Why?  Well, several factors contributed to this: I gave up my desire to seek a hardcore fulltime singing career years ago. I have been losing sleep a lot lately, and waking up early has been…

A Day at the River

  Nothing like a trip to the river to really put your mind at ease. It’s been a week since I’ve returned from my trip from Arizona, and since that time, I’ve managed to keep the resolves I’d written down into an active practice. Things that I’d been putting off (taking items to Goodwill, enhancing my emotional, physical, and mental lifestyles – that sort of thing) are now forerunners on my list of things to do, no questions asked. Now, as I sit on a park bench and watch kayakers skate the surface while joggers cool down and spit into…

Busy = Productive?

There’s an equation that gave me some thought as I stared at my computer for the fifth night in a row. My Word program was open, but nothing was on the blank page. It was disturbingly reminiscent of my writer’s block a few years ago, and it’s making me wonder if I did something to sabotage that instance, too.

I’m having some trouble getting my thoughts together. At first, I thought it was lack of sleep. So I made a vicious attempt to get seven hours. However, even though my body is feeling better, my mind remains sluggish. Regaining my sleep quotient will take a while, I know, but I’m starting to discover that sleep may not be the only culprit of my lethargy.

For the last week, I’ve come home with the full intention of cleaning my apartment, posting a blog entry, writing in my book (one of them), and ending the day with a soothing meditation. The reality has included plopping in front of my computer and watching old dance routines of Quest Crew members on “So You Think You Can Dance” and “America’s Best Dance Crew”. I laughed, I cried, I sighed at their clever antics and their sincere enjoyment of being together. It made me wish that I had been born a dancer. And six years later in life. And on the West Coast. And a man.

But I digress.

Recently, I’ve taken on several other jobs to supplement my main income. This has left me little time to do much else than plan for the next meeting or session, and it’s bothering me. I’ve literally lost the desire to move whenever I have free time. That’s not me, and I hate that it’s become me.

My goals in life are simple:

  • Writing
  • Music
  • Proofreading and editing
  • Peace of mind

Why is it I haven’t been involved in any of these things lately?

Time for another evaluation of my ultimate destiny.

Good thing I never tire of that.