Every one remembers their first time.
The rolling waves of nerves behind your bellybutton, your clammy hands and racing mind. The quickening of your breath as they moved into your hemisphere, and the birdsong of elation when they looked at you and smiled.
Every one remembers their first crush.
In my 20s, I feel like the word "crush" is rather juvenile. It conjours images of sweening pre-teen's; scribbling hearts and names followed by "4eva" on notebooks. But for the life of me I cannot think of an alternative, so we are left with "crush".
This post is meant to be all about how I got over my crush. By their nature, a crush is a devilish thing. They turn the most rational and level-headed person into a quivering vessel of emotion, bubbling to the boil.
Difficult to overcome at the best of times, unrequited crushes induce an internal battle within oneself - a paradoxical desire for the person who does not want you and the desire to not want them.
It's not often I openly offer my romantic affection. I carefully guard my heart, hiding it under an aloof veneer. A close friend of mine marvels at how open I am when it comes to my writing, but how difficult I find it to diffuse my defenses in one-to-one relationships. I told him it's a lot easier to sing to a crowd than it is to serenade an individual.
A while back, I declared my sentiment to the object of my affection and suffice to say, it did not illicit the outcome I wanted. Feeling foolish and exposed, I focused my considerable mettle on getting this person out of my system. I assured myself that it would pass, these things always do, right?
It's passing has been slow. Time is indeed a great healer, she soothes even the most blistering wounds. So since my bold action of honesty, time has ticked by. Life goes on, as it has a habit of doing. And yet - in the back of my mind, in quiet moments and the presence of more frenzied ones, my sentiment jumps into the peripheral, forcing me to acknowledge it's presence.
I do not want it there. My pragmatism rages against longing for something it cannot have. This side of me - the logical, practical reasoning of my mind - has forced the candlelight to burn low, but the final step of snuffing it eludes me.
Talking about it with friends, I can plainly see the humour in the whole scenario. It's ridiculous. It's absurd. It should have been consigned to memory by now. They tell me I should date. I briefly toy with the option. I submit myself to the first steps of the dance of courtship. I engage in dialogue with potential suitors and even agree to go on a few dates. I don't go on any of them. Not because I'm holding onto false hope, but because despite the knowledge that nothing is going to happen with my crush, I cannot change how I feel.
I tell the men that I'm too busy with work/obligations/bad timing to accept their pursuit of interest. It is a hollow excuse, but it sounds better than attempting to explain to them the complexity of my desires and how, at least to me, it would feel disingenuous to begin something with them when my heart isn't really in it.
I'm a terrible romantic. A sentimental fool with the soul of an elder. For many years, I've been nourished by Yeats and Donne, Fitzgerald and Brontë. I drank the Kool-Aid at an early age and I've been hooked ever since. As such it makes situations, like the one I've been inhabiting, rather tricky and confusing. A voice in my head says Ah, the heart wants wants what it wants - before going The heart is an idiot.
So I've gotten over my crush in the sense that I'm no longer consumed by it's initial fever. I don't see them in every common interest, or hear them in every corny song. But it lingers. It lingers in a way that other crushes haven't. In an annoying fashion that makes me think I will always feel... something... for this person, without it ever coming to fruition.
The best I can do is to take that something, seal it in a box and shove it to the back of my subconscious. Without action or reciprocation, it has no use and I have no wish to hold onto it.
I'm moving on, letting go, starting fresh - and every other damn cliché that's out there. Our lives are shaped by opportunities, even the ones we miss.
I must try look forward to the next opportunity and when it comes, approach it with bravery and openness once again.
In This Side of Paradise, there is an exchange of dialogue which I think is a fitting way to end this post:
“You'll find another.'
God! Banish the thought. Why don't you tell me that 'if the girl had been worth having she'd have waited for you'?
No, sir, the girl really worth having won't wait for anybody.”