Dating is a funny thing.
Dating is awkward as it is, but it’s even more awkward when you’re sober. I used to drown my discomfort in a glass of wine, telling stories my date couldn’t follow, but since moving to Boston in 2016, I’ve barely dated at all.
Well, compared to when I lived in New York City, that is.
Sure, I’ve met people in various ways- traveling back from NYC on the Megabus, substitute teaching, through recovery circles, and on an app here and there. Each interaction lasted for a very short while, most likely because I detected their bullshit and realized I was something much different than what they created in their mind.
This morning I noticed that The Fix quoted me in their recent article, “Are You Ready To Date Sober?” Ironically, I’ve been thinking about that question a lot lately.
My default answer the past year or so has been “I’m not interested in dating anyone at all.” That’s actually not true, though. I would be interested in dating someone- but only if they were interested in a sober vegetarian cat person.
I’m done with pretending I am someone I am not.
I’m also done with changing for someone, switching my views, or doing things I’m uncomfortable with doing- and I’m certainly not going to pick up a drink just to make you feel more comfortable.
Part of recovery is learning to love and accept yourself for who you are- loving yourself for what your heart says, not the world around you. Despite being someone who prefers to stay in on a Friday night, sautéing up vegetables while drinking a seltzer, I’m confident there’s a lid to every pot…
and mine will be here when I’m ready.
I’m continuously baffled by the things that come out of other people’s mouths.
You can keep your opinion, but I don’t need it.
I’m talking about the small, petty things- things that are meant to critique others, bring them down, or to question themselves. I won’t get too deep, but I’ll give a few examples that I heard in the past week:
“You should grow your hair out.”
“You should go without makeup.”
“You should wear more color.”
You know what I have to say?
“You need to stop shoulding on me.”
I struggle to recall times I’ve given such annoying suggestions to people. I’ve never urged someone to change their style or to do something different with their appearance. It’s just petty and, quite frankly, mean.
If people try and change the person you love (YOU!) then I would begin to question the people you surround yourself with. My real friends like me for me- and those people love me for my black wardrobe, blonde bob, and pink lipstick.
While living in New York I had a hasty breakup with a filmmaker who lived in the East Village. After a few months of dating, he told me I was “nothing but trouble and problems,” only to say how lucky he was that I “graced his presence,” and that he was “undeserving” of my company.
This left me stumped. After the alcohol-infused argument, we never spoke again.
Today I realize he did me a favor on that December night of 2015.
I was pretty distraught with the breakup despite how he treated me. I thought it was all my fault. Then, knowing me all too well, my college friend Nessie sent me an article with a title so true, yet so hard to fathom, that I was finally able to move forward:
You Don’t Need A Man, You Need a Goddamn Warrior.
A warrior? This never phased me. I had just thought I was “too much.”
For the past few years I’ve been unapologetically uninterested in commitment. I’ve seen what is out there, and I’ve worn my own shield of protection to fend off unwanted attention.
However, not everyone is going to try to go to war with me- maybe, just maybe, there’s someone out there who’s strong enough to love my quirks and see the beauty in my imperfections.
For a long time I was scared to share my truth with others- so I tried to act or be a chameleon. This never failed to backfire, leaving me in a worse position than if I would have been honest upfront. Yes, I have been wounded, but my struggles have brought me strength.
Today, I won’t settle for anything but a warrior.