I'm on another first date. It's going well. Butterflies zip through my stomach as I consider I might like this guy. We're laughing and trading stories. I'm confident, at the top of my game. He thinks my jokes are funny and I find him intriguing. I fiddle with my chandelier earring, pushing the beads back and forth. A rosary of sorts.
A part of me knows he finds me interesting but the rest of me wonders whether it will be enough. Is he interested enough? Will this date go somewhere, anywhere? I'm not desperate and I won't settle. But this man before me, he awakens something inside and I find myself wanting to see him again. This should be exciting and it is. But I also sense the rabbit trails of anxiety beginning.
Three hours pass easily and it's time for us to call it a night. I wait as he pays, then tells me he'll walk me to my car. We banter back and forth as I fight the hope rising within. It can't be this simple. We come to a halt and he hugs me goodbye. A few more minutes of conversation before he tosses a “see you soon” my way. No suggestion of a next date or he'd like to do this again, just the vague rejoinder of single men everywhere.
I deflate as I get in to my car. Another first date lies in my future. There will be another round of butterflies. I process this evening, trying to grasp my waning confidence. Messages and memories fly through my mind as I sit there, not quite ready to turn the ignition. One guy's decision not to date me should not approach my self-esteem. For too many years, I let it.
I pull away from the curb and instruct myself not to go down those roads. I am no longer captive to painful memories of broken hearts and misplaced dreams. My car propels down the Nashville highway as I recount tonight's date. It was a good date even if it didn't lead anywhere. I repeat truths to myself: I am lovely, witty, wise. It's not about him. It's about me.
I will not settle for less. I will not offer friendship when romance is on my mind. I will not live in ambiguity when my heart craves security and definition.
I claim my strengths and my flaws. If marriage is in my future, the right man will recognize the beauty in my complications and draw out hope from where I have stuffed it down. I need only be myself.
Being single, even in my 30s, does not mean I am abnormal or unworthy. There is too much love in my life- from family, from friends, from God- for that to be true.
My car pulls in to the driveway and I settle the matter once and for all. Thank God I finally believe.