Hey! Welcome back; I am so glad you decided to drop in again for another installment of my self-care journey. If you’re new here, welcome to this safe space where we’re learning how to navigate love and relationships. Recently, I started treating myself to dates weekly, and last week I went bowling. During that time, I saw a young guy and girl on what looked to be a date, and I started wondering what it would have been like to have been on a date when I was their age.
I always thought by thirty; I would have this thriving and fun love life like the women on Sex and The City. I was sure I’d have a ton of suitors that adored and spoiled me. This was what I would tell myself when I was in middle school and high school, being looked over by the people I desired or when all of my friends were in relationships, and I was the third wheel.
A late bloomer is someone whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual. I, for sure, was the late bloomer of my social circle. For as long as I can remember, I have never been popular or cool. I was never the girl who got asked out or had a full calendar of dates. I remember in middle school feeling very invisible and overlooked. Then, somewhere between fifth and sixth grade, my friends started paring off. It felt like the game when there are captains and both captains pick players until there isn’t anyone left. Only I was always the only one left. As time progressed, I would fall deeper into romance novels and movies to take my mind off of my longing to be like my friends walking down the hallway holding hands with someone or sitting at the lunch table sharing snacks with my partner.
In middle school, every Friday, my friends and I would go skating. See, Friday was hip hop night, and most of the middlers and some high schoolers around town would be at the skating rink. My friends and I’d skate around in a circle until our feet hurt. At the time, it felt so cool to be out with my friends, and I thought I looked so cute in my jogger sets. As time progressed and my friends started paring off, going skating became less fun because my friends would come with their makeup and cleavage, and suddenly my jogging sets felt less cool.
I remember telling my friends and people that I knew how much I wanted to be in a relationship, and a constant response was, “just love yourself.” It always felt like such a slap in the face coming from my friends who were all in relationships. The comment also stung because it felt like I was doing something wrong, which was why I was single and they were not. Pieces of me feel like they were the lucky ones not because they started dating younger than me but because they learned so many lessons in love early on that I am still struggling to understand in adulthood. I’d like to think maybe, just maybe they are still working to learn a lot of lessons in love as well.
Check out my latest episode of The View From Here, where I chat with Amy Mostafa about lessons she learned about love later in life and what she’s unlearning about love.