I was on a date, recently.
I can’t tell you where I was or what we were doing because I honestly don’t recall. I was gone in a familiar trance—lost in this man’s irises, counting the lines on his face. The anxiety I felt leading up to the date quickly melted into adrenaline. The butterflies were there; the emotion was outrageous. The connection we had was as tangible as the hair on his arm. Our breath was in sync. I was wholly in this moment, with this man, on this evening—completely paralyzed in an intentional daze.
He parted his lips for a moment.
I was captured.
Every word he had spoken so far was so intentional. So wonderfully unexpected. Our conversation was intense—but not in the way that leaves you drained. An energizing intensity. The intensity that comes from being understood. My hypnosis broke from his eyes to his lips. I watched him inhale. I did the same.
“What are you afraid of?” he let out, not breaking eye contact.
My response was involuntary. Everything about everything with him was involuntary.
He was slow to react.
I’m unsure if he was expecting me to say spiders, or heights, or drowning. Maybe even death. That probably would’ve segued nicely into another deep conversation. Maybe he wanted me to say something he could protect me from. Maybe that was the intent behind the question—to force this connection we had built to grow, artificially. To build some kind of reliance. But I’m not afraid of spiders. In fact, I’ve always been the spider-killer in whatever house I’ve inhabited. I actually really love heights. Rollercoasters, flying, etc. All my “jam.” Drowning would certainly not be my first choice in death, but I imagine after a while, when the struggle and fear subside; it would be peaceful.
But I cannot imagine any peace in settling. In any aspect.
In fact, I cannot fathom anything but sheer terror as I constantly exist in a looping video of a totally, unacceptably boring life. With a moderately attractive, mildly ambitious, halfway passionate lover. With a job that tastes good coming out of my parent’s mouth, but that I feel I need rescuing from. With children that I resent, in a town that I hate, with security and normality that were never intended for me.
I only imagine myself in the fetal position of my perfectly adequate bathroom floor, shaking at the idea that I’ve wasted my time and my life on settling. On what I thought everyone else wanted for me.
That’s what keeps me up at night. That’s what makes me want to run and freak out and shiver and cry.
That this… everything I’ve already experienced and everything I’ve already lived through and seen… is all there is.
“Settling.” I said, nodding in absolute certainty.
I had combed through the list of my other fears. Eternity. Losing my brother. Never finding a soulmate.
On some level, I am equipped to handle all of these things, however. Nothing about my DNA makes me equipped to handle not reaching my full potential. Not recognizing the power I have.
“I believe that older you get, the more fearless you become.” –Vanessa Williams
My mind started to drift to those children I resented in my parallel, lackluster life. One of them was a little girl. She was smarter than me, and more outspoken. She excelled at everything she did and left everyone she encountered feeling better than before they had encountered her. She was gracious but assertive; witty and clever. She had the same irises as the ones I was lingering in, now….
That’s when he parted his lips again.
I was captured, again.
He leaned in a little and very gently said, “Me too.”