I realized something about myself last night, something that I believed had long ago ceased to be true: I still have hope; unbroken, non-cynical hope. And I have to say, I couldn’t have been more surprised if I suddenly discovered I was sporting a tail. After years of crushing emotional defeat, after swearing off trying, after coating my heart with thick defenses of sarcasm and brashness, there is still a tiny part of me that somehow believes in things like happily ever after and meant to be. It happened as I sat on my couch, beer in hand, doofy grin on my face. Lined up at the bottom of my Gmail screen were blinking boxes from four of my favorite people in the world. Slightly tipsy and more than slightly giggly, my fingers flashed over the keyboard trying to keep up with Roo, Wolf, Bones, and Taz. Ditch the beer, swap out Gchat for AIM and I could have been fourteen years old again. Talking to my crush, analyzing every detail with Roo, cracking inappropriate jokes with my guy friends: the more things change, the more they stay the same. And that’s when it hit me.
Taz and I were making plans for meeting up on my trip, plans which I warned him would reveal the true depth of my dorkiness (lasers and Doctor Who marathons were discussed). And I was bouncing around in my seat like a kid on her way to Disneyworld for the first time. Yes, it was partly due to the mega-geekiness in store, which always makes me happy. But it was also the fact that in just a few weeks I’m actually going to meet this guy who has been giving me butterflies and doofy grins and giggles and all manner of sappy patheticness that I would be otherwise ashamed to display. I told Roo all about it and all the things we were going to do and how awesome it was going to be and all that business, until I panicked. Oh my god, what if he doesn’t like me in person? What if it’s just totally awkward instead of awesome and fun? What if he doesn’t think I’m preeeety?
Yes. That happened. And normally, I would be beyond embarrassed by myself. I would be horrified that I was suddenly acting like a teenager with a crush instead of an “adult” woman (haha me, adult) who’s going to meet someone who really is no more than a friend. Cynicism and apathy should have kicked in big time, shutting down all that crap and reminding me of the reasons why this would never in a thousand years work: The fact that neither of us want to be in a relationship right now; the distance; the…wait, that’s all I’ve got right now. Huh, thought it was more than that. Cynical me, down-with-love me, I’ll-never-really-love-again me would have come up with more. But, I can’t seem to summon her right now, and that is scary as fuck.
That armor of don’t-give-a-fuck has done a pretty good job of protecting me. It’s kept men at bay, far away from the squishy center of my heart which can be hurt and burned and broken. It’s also tried to save me from myself. It’s pushed away hope and faith and anything that could possibly let me down if, or really when, it didn’t work out. It put up a grand fortress of bold words and skepticism, pessimism and apathy because I thought that’s what I needed. My poor little heart had been broken, stomped on, and it needed to be protected from the big, bad world. It needed bulwarks and barbed wire and parapets so that it couldn’t limp off and get itself in trouble again. And then while I wasn’t looking, while I turned away on guard duty to keep away the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, something happened with my poor little heart. Apparently it went on a prison workout regime and built itself up to such ridiculously strong proportions that it’s threatening to break out of the barriers I’ve set up to protect it.
It’s not just this thing with Taz that somehow, crazily, I trust things to work out. It’s all the things that I haven’t allowed myself to believe in over the last five-plus years. The happiness I haven’t allowed myself to believe in, the goals I haven’t set because they were too far-fetched, the future I haven’t dared to dream of. Strangely, it all seems possible. My crazy, fired-up, never-say-die heart is painting pictures in my mind that I haven’t dared to even vaguely sketch. And it’s more than a little disorienting. Who am I if not the sarcastic doubter? What do I believe in if I suddenly believe in something and everything? What am I actually going to do now that everything seems possible? It’s a little daunting, but also incredibly exciting. Look out world, my heart is on the loose and I can’t really control this thing.