Last night a man told me that I am going to hell because I haven’t accepted Jesus as my personal savior.
And thus began my re-entry into the world of socializing with the opposite sex.
Let me back up a bit and give you the context for this particular delight.
Early last summer, I was just getting to know my friend Becky. We were both single at the time. We’re both creative types that do a lot of writing. We joked about going to a speed dating event because it would give us great material to write about. Not long after that I got involved in the relationship that swiftly and firmly took me off the market.
Over the last nine months, my relationship with Becky has grown and I thank goodness for her on a regular basis. I am so grateful that she is in my world.
About a month ago, a press release came across my desk at the newspaper for a speed dating event. Of course I forwarded it to Becky and said, “Wanna go?” She immediately emailed me back, “Definitely!”
Let me be clear – a month ago I was absolutely, positively not ready to be dating again. But I was hoping that by now I would be.
Nervous. Sad. Scared. A little excited. Sad. Scared. Nervous. My insides were tripping over themselves yesterday.
Becky and I did pep talks with each other on the car ride – this was about meeting people and having a new experience. Everyone else was as nervous as us. It was absolutely irrelevant if we met anyone we wanted to see again.
For those who are unfamiliar – at a speed dating event, there are roughly equal numbers of men and women. The women each sit at a small table and the men rotate around the room. We got five minutes to talk to each person.
The first guy who sat down at my table told me a bit of his story, and then asked a question that always makes me cringe: “So, are you a believer?” I offered what I thought was a polite response about believing strongly in my concept of God. Which apparently was not good enough, hence his assertion that I am going to hell.
(Please skip this paragraph if you’re easily offended.) I had no idea what to say to that. Today one of my colleagues offered this potential response: “You must be really well hung, but you can’t have a penis big enough to make up for what you just said!!!” :-) Hee hee.
Anyway – the first several “mini-dates” were less than comfortable. But by the second half of the evening, I found that I was really enjoying talking to these men. None of them tipped my fancy as a romantic partner, but as someone to talk to for five minutes, they were quite enjoyable.
I really don’t know if I’m ready to start dating again yet. But regardless of the “dating” piece of it, I learned a lot about myself last night.
I realized that my assumption that I’m uncomfortable with new people isn’t entirely accurate. I’m not comfortable in a room full of people I don’t know who are talking to each other; but put me in a room of people I don’t know and let me talk to each one individually for a few minutes and I’m happy as a clam.
I remembered that showing up as ME in a room is pretty okay. I don’t have to put on airs or pretend to be someone I’m not. People seemed to enjoy talking to me and I enjoyed talking to them.
I remembered that it’s okay for me to feel attractive – and that I don’t need someone else to tell me that I look nice in order to feel that way.
I saw again that the kind of instant comfort, connection, and chemistry that I had in my last relationship is rare and special and should be treasured.
I realized that I’ve been missing and yearning for the validation I got in that relationship – that a part of me still really, really wants him to be proud of me. And I think he is. He’d probably even be telling me that except that he’s respecting my request to not have contact for a while. But I need to learn to not need his validation again. I need to be giving it to myself.
So here it is – I’m proud of myself for taking a risk last night. I’m proud of myself for having a new life experience. I’m proud of myself for going through with it. I’m grateful to have done it with a wonderful friend. None of the rest really matters.
Well, except for that part about going to hell.
Image found here.