For once the space between posts was not because of my neglect or lack of material. My computer died and I recently got another. It was quite terrible timing because much was happening and I wanted so badly to write. But maybe it was God, removing distractions so that I would lean into Him even more.
These months have been a bit crazy. I went from having no life to so much happening I’ve barely been able to keep up. Hard, wonderful, painful, exhilarating, devastating, deeply moving, deeply uncomfortable, and yet so so good. It’s been a bit of everything all at once. I won’t go into it all, but I will tell you that creatively I’m trying new things and loving it. I’m writing, I’m collaborating, I’m branching out. I went dancing last night! I’ve got social things on my calendar and am being invited to hang out with new people. I feel alive!
Now: Got to catch you up on the fellas because, hello, this blog is about my singleness.
What Happened with GQ
I went on two dates with GQ. The first was very short (we had lunch on our lunchbreaks), very nervous, and very polite. At the end he walked me to my car and as I turned to get in I said, “Ok see you later,” out of habit…which would not have been a big deal except that my brain freaked out and I started backpedaling like an awkward dork.
“…Or not! I mean…uh!” My panic spread to him like an epidemic.
“I mean…I enjoyed talking to you…” he said, looking stricken.
“No obligation or anything, Ok bye!” I got in my car and squeezed shut my eyes. When he’d walked away enough I put my forehead on my steering wheel and groaned, “What the hell, Ace!” I was certain I wasn’t going to hear from him after that.
But I did. He asked for another date.
The second one was a lot of fun and he kept the date going. Like, we had lunch and did some outdoorsy things, finally got past our polite nervousness, and then on the way back he asked me if I wanted dinner. And after that he asked if I wanted ice cream. By ice cream we were FINALLY comfortable enough to be a little flirty. He drove me to my car and I expressed that I had a great day and said, “be in touch.” To which he said nothing. So I left and then I never heard from him. It was really strange. A bit disappointing, too. But at least the date was nice.
But guys…he was a freaking INFP. OF FREAKING COURSE! I can’t escape them, even when someone else picks them out for me. What the heck. So at the end of it all I am perfectly okay with it not working out. The friend who set us up said she didn’t think he was ready for a relationship after his last one. That was the last date I’ve been on and it was in October.
What Happened with Brynjolf
An excerpt from my diary at some point near the end of November:
Brynjolf – ugh…what a scam artist idiot genius. Good looks were probably the worst thing that ever happened to him. But damn, if he isn’t hot. Damn if I’m not tempted to look at him and seek his attention. He’s still willing to give it. I think he definitely has goals of making me a conquest at least in my wanting him. Freaking mesmerizing like a snake about to strike. But goooooosh if we wouldn’t be pretty together. It’s so shallow, I know. Keep repeating: He’s a f***boy, he’s a f***boy, he’s a f***boy. He’s not doing this because he wants to pursue who you are and connect with you for real. He’s doing it for his ego and the challenge. Effing poopface. And he interrupts and controls everything. Yeah, Ace…more of those thoughts! He interrupted Christy and then KEPT GOING AFTER EVERYONE CALLED HIM OUT! So, not only did he not notice she was talking, he then continued to make his point even after realizing he’d interrupted her, and this was despite everyone calling him out on it! WHO DOES THAT!?
About three weeks after I wrote this the following happened:
In class Teacher calls me up first and then calls Brynjolf and when I turn around to look at him I’m not prepared for how good he looks. He is so attractive and I get super flustered. In the exercise I should have just say what is going on but I can hardly function. Afterwards he apologizes for making me uncomfortable and I interrupt and say, “No. I was being a chicken. You’re attractive and it threw me and I didn’t do good work. Obviously.”
“Oh,” he says, taken aback.
“What, like you don’t know,” I say, incredulous.
“I don’t really think of myself that way,” he replies.
I still don’t quite believe that. All his flexing Gaston-esque behavior would prove the contrary. But that day it was acknowledged that I am attracted to him. Grrrrr. Also that day we planned to have class on Christmas Eve because enough of us said we’d be able to attend.
Then, the next night, I saw him work with Al in Meisner. What Al brought could only be dealt with honestly. Brynjolf was real. And kind. And fighting for him. Al’s pain had me in tears. We were all feeling it. Brynjolf was in tears, too. It was one of those classes that was very intense and kind of a bonding experience. After class Brynjolf and I didn’t say anything but just hugged.
Later that week I hung out with a group of friends from class. I played a song for them I’d just written and Brynjolf and Gypsy both exclaimed, “WHAT!?” when I’d finished because they’d never heard my voice. Later, Gypsy invited herself and some others and I to go with him to take his dog for a walk. He was quiet that night, maybe had something going on. I did check in with him when Gypsy was gone from the room, since she’d kind of steamrolled him into bringing us along. I think he appreciated that.
Cut to the following Monday, Christmas Eve:
I’m the first to arrive. Yes, I’d made an effort to look good that day and the effort was successful. My teacher starts listing the people who could no longer make it. We start talking about what we’ll do if no one else shows. And then Brynjolf walks in. I am simultaneously terrified and excited. What, oh, what will this class be like. Just me, him, and Teacher.
First, Brynjolf unfolds a chair for me, which I confuse by thinking he is going to sit in it, then realize he’s being gentlemanly and appreciate it. After the confusion we sit and I’m calm and collected at first. He comments something about my appearance and an expression I make and I consider if it was true.
(I’ll show you how the exercise goes with these two lines)
He says, “I don’t like that I’m making you get in your head.”
I say, “You don’t like that you’re making me get in my head.”
He says, “I don’t like that I’m making you get in your head.”
I say, “You don’t like that you’re making me get in my head.”
Then I say, “If I’m in my head that’s on me, not you.”
He repeats, “If you’re in your head that’s on you, not me.”
I repeat, “If I’m in my head that’s on me, not you.”
He repeats, “If you’re in your head that’s on you, not me.”
(from here on out assume we repeat every line at least twice unless I say otherwise)
He gestures back and forth between us, indicating our proximity, “I don’t like you feeling uncomfortable because of me.”
I repeat, “You don’t like me feeling uncomfortable because of you.” We both know we’re talking about me being uncomfortable with my attraction to him.
We repeat again and I say, “Come on, you have to at least find it flattering.”
He doesn’t repeat but says strongly and with gravity, “No.”
“No,” I repeat and then he adds to it, “No, I don’t. Screw flattery. I don’t want you to be uncomfortable.” We repeat and he is intense about it in a way that makes me believe him. He sees me accept what he’s said.
I say, “I’m having to throw some things out.” (Meaning ideas about him that were not from what I was getting in that moment). At this he looks visibly relieved, like that is all he’s wanted for months and months. Like he’s been holding his breath and just waiting for me to let go of this filter through which I always saw him.
Teacher has us do a different exercise and my emotions get stirred up and then after that he has us work again off each other. Brynjolf gives me this look and shakes his head.
“Why are you shaking your head,” I ask.
“You’re just so,” he hesitates then awkwardly adds, “Calm.”
Teacher interjects, “Tell him, ‘You said calm but what were you going to say,” so I say that. Brynjolf immediately blushes and gets flustered when he repeats. He laughs this laugh that…augh it is just the most genuine and adorably sexy laugh.
“I loved that laugh,” I say, no holds barred. We repeat and then I say, coy and confident, “But anyway I’m just so…?” Again he gets all bashful, for once he’s feeling how I feel!
“You’re just so…You look really good.”
“Oh, do go on,” I joke, brushing my hair off my shoulders in mock smugness. We both laugh and our laughter breaks the tension. I quickly find myself getting shy again because he’s giving me some looks. Usually when he’s giving those looks he’s doing it with his fake hot guy persona and it’s just annoying and stupid, like Flynn Ryder’s “smolder”. But he is being the new, more genuine version of himself and giving me this look that makes me so nervous. Remember, the exercise we do is repetition with the aim of saying what is true to you in that moment. In that moment it is right that we acknowledge that I’m flustered.
“You’re getting shy again,” he says and I cover my face and then retreat into the hood of my coat.
“Aaand, now your gonna hide.”
“Now I’m gonna hide! Yes! I’m bashful!”
“You’re bashful,” he repeats and then stands up and moves away.
“No, don’t leave. Dang it, I… I didn’t want you to…” I fumble out.
“I want to know what’s behind this,” he says.
“Behind my fear,” I say, knowing he’s referring to how nervous and scared I get with flirty or romantic or sexually charged stuff.
“Behind your fear.” He sits back down, “I think it’s bigger than just me.”
I repeat, nodding my head.
Then I say, “I hold that part of myself very closely. I don’t fall or give very easily.”
“It’s important to you.”
“Yes, it’s important to me.”
Then, him sitting across from me, but the chair pulled close, he looks in my eyes and solemnly says, “I wish you would let me in.”
I repeat, thinking, Is that not what I’m doing right now!?
“I don’t know what you want,” I say, meaning what is he asking of me that I’m not already giving? He repeats and then I change and ask more directly, “What do you want?”
“What do I want,” his repetition makes it clear he’s asking himself.
He shakes his head and then says, “I don’t want anything but you. Just you. Just as you are.”
Ok, NOT what I was expecting at all. It took me a second to take that in.
“Woah,” I said, closing my eyes and trying to let it sink in.
“Woah,” he repeats after a pause. Eventually I look at him again as we repeat. Suddenly everything from this moment forward is really emotionally charged.
He says, “I feel like you are really seeing me for the first time.”
“I’m sorry you didn’t feel like that until now,” I say sincerely and after we repeat I say, “But also you are so open.”
He leans forward and puts his hands on the outsides of my knees and I put mine on his wrists. We sit in the moment until it ends, then he sits back and rests his mouth and chin on his clasped hands, elbows on knees. It is a pose that is similar but not exact to what he used to do as a defense mechanism when he first started the class. But everything about him is different now.
I gesture to his posture, “Woah, that just took me back to the very beginning.”
He comprehends what I mean and is super effected by it, eyes welling up.
“That really got you,” I say, concerned. I indicate I want to know what’s going on, “Good? bad?”
“It made me feel all sorts of things!”
“What’s the bad,” I ask. He can’t repeat and I stand and do my best to hug him as he stays seated.
I sit back down and he looks at me and says, “It’s just been a journey.” I repeat, nodding, agreeing.
“For you and for me.” I smile.
Teacher stops us there. Afterwards the three of us talk about our Christmas plans. Brynjolf and I are pleasant but also understand that what happens in the exercise is left there. It’s like a bubble where you work with what pulls you, so anything goes except physical harm, and then you leave it there. Contained. Occasionally stuff happens where you might feel the need to follow up with the person afterward…if things got ugly and you want to clear the air. Or sometimes if something was really touching you might want to thank that person. But, if, for example, two people were flirty or even kissed in the exercise, it wouldn’t be right for either to assume something was going to happen between them outside the exercise. It’s a weird thing, really, because you cannot help but be affected. The goal is to be truthful, and you can really see the best and worst of people so you can’t help but be affected by what you see or experience.
So it would be foolish of me to think that Brynjolf had feelings for me just because of what happened, but likewise I couldn’t help but be affected by it and feel closer to him than I had prior.
That Meisner exercise, on Christmas Eve 2018, was like a beautiful little snow globe. Contained, but lovely to witness and stir up the memory. Just being seen and knowing he also felt seen, the gift of his openness and vulnerability, and the ability to let myself be open in return, was beautiful. And the fact that he was affected by my beauty, that he blushed, well…that was nice, too. My heart was full. I went home and wrote a song on my piano that sounded the way I felt.
Now…I won’t lie (confessions and all that), I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I knew that I needed to, that he’s not what I’m looking for. That he’s done absolutely nothing in real life to warrant it except annoyingly demand my attention and possess a body and voice I find unfortunately and painfully attractive. But he started to be on my mind a lot after that. I thought he was an idiot for putting on those fake personas all the time because the real him is pretty dang likable. Now the problem was I witnessed the real him that I’ve always known was under there and liked what I saw.
The next week, New Years Eve, our class was only me, Brynjolf, and two other guys. Brynjolf and I were a little flirty in the exercise. Afterwards the four of us decided to go to a park where we walked and talked. Brynjolf invited us to a New Years party that night at our friend’s house. Then Brynjolf, Al, and I went to food and he and I talked about our families and other more personal things while Al listened silently in true Al fashion. It was nice to get to know Brynjolf more personally. He’s not stupid and he doesn’t lack substance. He just isn’t good at being real. More on this later.
He drives us back to the house where our class meets…the house where Shanks lives…and see none other than Shanks in the driveway. I have this odd moment where Brynjolf and Shanks are talking and I realize that I’ve never experienced two men who are taking up space in my brain being in the same place at the same time. Having a conversation. And I’m not considering Brynjolf as an option, but…I mean we’ve had some interactions and I’m attracted to him so he’s in there.
I ask Shanks if he’s going to the party and he says he’s not sure because he was invited to two things. I urge him to do both and he’s a bit noncommittal about it. It is established that people are dressing up.
I go home, get dressed in my beautiful new dress and do my hair and makeup. I look quite good if I may say so myself. Some dude at the gas station confirms this. He compliments my dress and my shoes and my hair. It’s a rare occasion where he is respectful in his compliments and not catcalling. So that gives me a little pre-party boost which is useful to an introvert. Also, I was sick the whole week prior and had spent so much time alone my introvert battery was completely charged and I’m feeling social.
On my way to the party, though, I do start to freak out a little. I have no idea if everyone would be midnight kissing each other at this party or what, and, as you guys know, I’ve never kissed anyone except my best friend when I was 9 which doesn’t count. I’m not sure what might happen. Brynjolf is going to be there and for all I know he might go for it once we’d all shouted our “Happy New Year!”s. And I am of two minds.
Moving has opened up my life in so many good ways. I’m trying new things, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and trying not to play it so safe as I did. This does not mean I’m suddenly reckless or unwise. It just means I’m getting off the bench and playing in the actual game of life. And in regard to relationships I have started to question whether certain ideas I’ve stuck to are motivated by wisdom or fear. When I’m on my deathbed will I be happy that, when granted the opportunity to kiss Brynjolf at midnight on New Years Eve, I did? Or will I wish I hadn’t?
Part of me crying, “Yes! Life is short! Seize the day! Live your life and experience it! Stop being afraid and just do!” and the other part, the idealistic dreamer in me fighting back, “You want better than a kiss from that guy at New Years. You want a kiss that means something. You want it all. And it will be worth waiting for.”
“Not if I’m dead first, wishing I’d taken more opportunities to experience life.”
“It’s not who you are. It’s not true to you. You are just feeling vulnerable right now because things have been so hard lately.”
“But it is there. Maybe it is true to me and I’m just scared.”
I call my cousin on the way. She gives me some great advice that is totally a no-brainer but helps me immensely.
“Just pray. God knows your heart and He knows what you need. And either way don’t be so hard on yourself. You’ll be fine.”
So I do.
See, I’ve always thought that Brynjolf paid me attention as an ego boost. Like, because I didn’t want him it he took on the challenge for his own amusement and pride. And yes, I saw signs of him being intrigued by me, maybe even attracted, but not enough for him to act on it outside of class and actually spend time or try to get to know me much. But the past two weeks made me open to the idea that he could actually have feelings of some sort for me, or in his own way he did actually care about me to some extent. But I also knew that he’s pretty freaking good at manipulation and if he’s viewing me as a challenge, maybe he just knows that being genuine is the only thing that works on me so he started doing it more. Showing me what I wanted to see. And while they may be genuine parts of him, they’re only the parts he thinks I’ll like.
So in my car, I pray that God would make it clear. I pray that if Brynjolf really was a player that I would see it and not waste any more time thinking about this guy because it’s not good for me.
When I arrive I see that Shanks decided to come. He says I look really good, which is super nice considering our awkward history, and then we get shy and he goes and joins a group of people while I speak with some of my friends. He takes his leave not long after that and I tell him I’m sorry I didn’t get to speak with him more but I’m glad he decided to come.
Quite a few people really like me at this party! I have a pretty good time and it makes me think back to when I was a kid and made a friend wherever I went. Brynjolf shows up a while later and doesn’t pay me special attention. That is, until a bit later.
I’m in the study with a couple I just met and she and I are chatting and talking about being creative. I tell them about the novel I’ve written but haven’t published and not long after Brynjolf makes his way in. He sits back against the bookshelf ladder in this modely pose and he’s wearing these stupid fake glasses that I hate because why wear glasses that aren’t real? Especially when you have beautiful eyes? Stupid.
He does some song and dance introducing himself to my new friends where he gives her a fake name and I just shake my head and roll my eyes. They joke and she says, “Ace was just telling me she’s written a book. Did you know that?”
“I didn’t but I’m not surprised. Nothing would surprise me with this girl. She’s super talented.” He meets my eyes with one of those self-assured looks.
What is your game, sir? I think while taking it in and then utter a modest thank you.
Someone else joins and the conversations are split. Brynjolf and I don’t talk much. I do notice that he’s talking to this girl I don’t know. Then, when the countdown happens we all go outside. I’m on the porch with another guy with whom I’ve been making friends and Brynjolf appears nearby. I’m slightly worried, unsure what’s about to happen.
“5, 4, 3, 2, 1, HAPPY NEW YEAR!” They immediately set off fireworks and everyone claps and cheers for the fireworks and no one is kissing! I internally wipe my brow. I turn and say happy new year to people around me and I reach and hug Brynjolf. For a brief moment I pull back and he looks at me, and I know he’s waiting to see if I’M going to kiss HIM. Nope. Won’t be me making the moves, buddy.
A few minutes later when everyone has dispersed into the house again I have a moment of sadness that I’m with none of my closest friends. I walk to take a second by myself and unknowingly pass Brynjolf who is again talking to that girl.
“Hey, you ok?” He asks, loudly.
“Uh…yeah,” I say, not really wanting to have a pity party in front of him and a stranger.
“You just looked a little sad,” he says, still at full volume and still over with her. Did he expect me to spill my feelings? Was he wanting to know if I was sad that he was talking to her and not to me?
“I’m okay,” I lie. I go to an empty room to gather my thoughts and rally.
Looking back I wonder what would have happened if I’d said, “Yeah, I’m a little sad.” But you only live once and you can’t go back so I’ll only ever know that he and the girl disappeared not long after that. That I heard from a different part of the house someone laugh and yell, “Ooo! Someone is having sexy-times in there!” That I didn’t see them again that night. The party was beginning to devolve into capital P Partying and I knew it was my cue to go. I got home around 2:00am or so, feeling a bit better that my suspicions of Brynjolf were confirmed and I could truly put him out of my mind. IF he was truly interested in me it wasn’t enough for him to not go hook up with a sure thing. And that is a big IF. I really do think he likes playing the game of having the ladies come to him. He likes the challenge. It feeds his ego. I do think he actually likes me as a person. I think he has some affection for me. But in regard to the flirting…nope. To him I think I’m an ego-boost, amusement or a conquest. So that night I got home, thanking God for helping me be clear on what kind of guy he really is. And then I get a text from him.
Him: Did you make it home safe
Me: Yeah. You?
Him: Not yet
Wow. I was a bit miffed. He and I don’t text, by the way. Like…dude…you’re going to be hooking up with some girl and then act all concerned about me!? And then essentially brag that you are still out doing God-knows-what. Mmmmhmmm, yeah I see what you’re doing. See, because you want me to pay attention to you but you don’t actually want to have a conversation. You want to butt-in on my conversations but only to be heard and never to listen. You want to point out my sadness but it’s to make yourself look good or you’d have come over instead of yelling it across the room in front of a stranger. You compliment me, trying to prove you see me, but only so that I’ll come to you. Never the other way around.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the cue for the theme-song:
Nooooo Onnnne shoots like Gaston
Makes those beauts like Gaston
Then goes tromping around wearing boots like Gaston
I use antlers in all of my decorating…
So, at last I was able to put him away in my mind. He’s not after me for real so I let it go. NOT that I could act on it even if he was because he’s not what I’m looking for (namely a man who actually loves God and who is not an egotistical player), but attraction is a thing, and the possibility of him having real feelings made that thing more of a thing. If you know what I mean. And now that I know he has no real feelings I can put that thing to rest.
The past couple times I’ve seen him I’ve realized that we can be fond of each other and just live in that state of fondness. I’m ok with that. The biggest thing that has helped that I keep having to go back to is to see him with God’s eyes. He needs the love of God and that love isn’t out to use him as he has always been used and has used other people. I don’t want to use him. I want him to see God’s love through me and that means I have to work to not objectify him or see what I can get out of him. I keep asking God for that perspective. It’s honestly hard to maintain.
PS. This was the most piecemeal writing process for a post. I wrote this over some weeks on varying computers. Since the last paragraph I’ve seen Brynjolf a few times and can say he’s no longer in my head. I am fond of him but don’t give two craps about what he thinks of me so we can actually be friends in the casual use of the term. I’ve really seen him change under the influence of love and acceptance and I hope he continues to find healing. He needs Jesus for that, I’d appreciate prayers for him and for me and the other Christians in his life.
PPS. I missed you guys.