This week, I’ve had an aha moment sparked in large part by this article. After I read it, I immediately wondered, what would it be like to experience a date like this? To be courted by a man whose intentions were so crystal clear? Is such a thing even possible in this “wanna-hang-out” dating age? Would I even know what to do with such an advance?
And yet, as evidenced by many posts on this blog, and going back well before that to the unrequited love poems of my bucktoothed, blossom-hat-wearing youth, it occurs to me that I’ve long been waiting for someone to make me feel special like this. I’m not afraid to admit it.
These days this looks a lot like fantasizing of the one who can hold me, and in whom I can pour all my love without fear that it might be too much. In the chaos and pain of our world, we find an ally and ready ear in each other. We press on together, perhaps even working side-by-side, towards a shared vision of community, connection and joy. Doesn’t that sound nice? I think so.
With many suitors, I’ve eagerly let the possibilities buoy me over the clear and chasmal challenges perilous to all but me. I show up, open my heart, offer my food and my home for the benefit of the new us. I proclaim this human as my partner and expect eager and cheerful support from the ones I love. I may be quite literally the dater who cried wolf.
So, the article, it was no big deal really, but it spoke to me in a way that nothing else has. Perhaps it was the matter-of-fact frankness of its instructions: This is how you treat someone well.
What if I treated myself in such a way?
What if the love and generosity I pour into my relationships, I instead poured into myself?
What if I carved out time to be alone and create experiences for my own pleasure – no one to negotiate with, no one else’s preferences to consider?
This year I’ve been writing a lot about the importance of no longer waiting – for the career, the man, the approval, the validation, etc. This article made me realize the importance of pairing that with conscious action. If I say I’m not waiting but then continue with my business-as-usual self pity until distracted by friends and Masterpiece theater marathons aren’t I essentially still creating a framework in which my contentment, happiness, fulfillment, etc. relies on some other outside entity?
In this time of particularly pronounced longing, I must pull myself up by my own graphic leggings and sweep myself off my own feet.
I can be the love I’ve been waiting for, and I now I know how to do it.
Starting today I will take myself out on one date a week – two if things get serious. As suggested in the article, there will be rules for these dates.
- I will show up for myself. I will be on time and not put my commitment to myself on the back burner when something more interesting or more pressing comes up.
- I will make an effort. These dates will be thoughtful and thought out. I will ask myself: What do I really want to do? What events are happening that might be fun? I will try new things!
- I will wear makeup when I feel like it and clothes that make me happy including bright colors, flowers, glitter and anything new.
- I will not use my phone, computer or other distracting device to avoid any loneliness that may arise during these dates.
- I will make my pleasure the priority, even for just one hour.
Maybe I’ll spend an afternoon sampling foods at the farmer’s market? Maybe I’ll pick a café and order a frothy drink, read and intermittently gaze out the window. Maybe I’ll sit in a tub of really hot water and then lay naked under a pine tree. Maybe I’ll go to the ballet? Maybe a cooking class? Maybe a partner dance class? There are so many things I want to do. So much life I’m eager to live.
In truth, I’m excited and a bit nervous about it all. I don’t typically enjoy being a alone, and the writer’s life is already quite solitary. This is in large part is why I suspect dating me is exactly what I need.