13 August 2018

Dating diaries: on being enough

People think that because I date, I know how to date. They ask for me advice - what to wear, what to say - when clearly, as someone "who dates" i.e. is never in a relationship, I don't know what I'm doing any more than the next person.

There are times when I consider the number of people out there who I have yet to meet, and the world seems exciting and ready for the taking.

But more recently, I've considered how I'm simply one of many - in terms of the city's population and being single - and it's made me feel very small and insignificant.

They say dating is a numbers game, but therein lies the problem - I feel like a number, not a person.

I'll find myself walking down the street and clocking how many beautiful girls there are and thinking, well of course no one wants to settle. Then I'll turn a corner and see someone even more lovely. I'll catch a tube and find myself envying someone's skin, their hair, their clothing.

More than ever, I feel like I'm competing in a game where the outcome is uncertain. It makes things very unsettling, because I know there's always going to be someone better than me. Of course, I'll never be everyone's type; people have preferences, whether they acknowledge it or not. I know it's pointless to be offended by the idea that I'm not attractive in everyone's eyes. I'm okay with that.

Regardless, dating is exhausting. There are so many hoops to jump through before you even find yourself on a date that it's no wonder lots of my single friends refuse to chance it. But I'm one of those, in love with the idea of falling in love, which means that as much as I want to throw it all in, I'm hopeful that my next match will bring me one step closer.

With dating, there are so many endings. Recently, I let myself truly feel an ending, and ended up feeling all the endings I'd brushed off as 'oh, well's. I let myself feel the hurt I'd always pretended I didn't feel. And I cried. I howled. I bawled. I cried for the dramatic crescendos, the anti-climatic hums that tailed off into nothing. Those 'I wish I could have liked them because they would have been good for me's and those 'I wish they could have seen how good I could have been for them's.

And then, just like that, I told myself I'd felt enough, and turned it off.

But what I'm struggling to turn off is quite how much of an option I feel. It overwhelms me to think how many other girls someone could be talking to, or the fact I'll simply do until the next best thing comes along. It's a fact, but it's a fact I'm finding it difficult to make peace with, and it's slowly but surely eating away at me. It gets louder and louder and I can't help but wonder: will I ever be enough?

So I feel like I need to distance myself from it all, somehow. Remember that my worth isn't based on a left-swipe. That I might not be enough for some, but ultimately I need to be enough for myself. And that whilst letting myself feel vulnerable is a strength, I shouldn't allow my vulnerability to lie in a stranger's hands. It's, quite simply, not worth it.

I somehow need to take the power back. I say 'somehow', because I'm not exactly sure how I will, yet.

But I'm working on it.

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