A long time ago, I had a friend with a celestial last name. It’s her birthday today. Just thinking about that as I pour out a toast and contemplate a week of birthday, D&D, body image, surfeit, and surely other things.
So, last night, was another fun night of D&D. Me and a bunch of nerdy boys. Boys and men. Boy-shaped men. Man-shaped boys. I really only get comfortable and remember what’s going on once it’s about done. But there’s always that one moment where you go OH THIS IS GENIUS, I AM GENIUS, EVERYTHING IS FUCKING GREAT! And then it rolls into you being unable to tie your metaphorical D&D shoes. The highs and the lows – as anyone with any experience will surely tell you.
The dangerous thing I’m coming to realize is I have a crush. A crush on tin whistlin’, very tall, charismatic and unbothered guy at D&D. Guy with a girlfriend who also plays D&D. Guy who is pleasant, sociable, but I refer you to the aforementioned exceedingly unbothered about me. Times being what they were, this once would have been the sort of mental drink I thrill to just nurse for ages. I would spend a great deal of time despairing over the reality of the situation (and probably still will, though I think it will of much shorter duration and intensity), but I would, as an ultimately rational being, accept the facts as they are.
However, I have been told I am single recently. Even if this information has been followed by an inverse desire to speak with me and pat my head and flirt and behave as before – as someone might cling to a life preserver. Sure, life preserver, if you’d be happier floating adrift at sea, I’m fine with that. But if you’re not doing anything, keeping me from drowning seems like a noble way to spend your time. Sigh.
So I’m letting myself scan the world around me for a boyfriend who wants to be my boyfriend. I mean, I guess. That’s awful forward of me, but death dances close and brushes my hems with her own. No harm in looking, single girl that I am. And I go to D&D and suddenly I’m surrounded by wry, clever boys making dick jokes. It’s that one silly slice of high school life that I deserved more of and never really got. And suddenly, I think of that girl that I hated so who had all of the goths and nerds and offbeat guys in as much love with her as I knew existed at the time – because she played Magic: The Gathering. How they would swirl around her and her piercings and go out to the Pit and probably had a lot of other pain and issues going on in her life that I was mentally incapable of seeing because I was this sensitive ball of hot wires that was constantly rolling away from anyone to keep them from getting electrocuted and me from losing the one thing I had – that useless circulating power. I was outside of all of that, but I always believed that’s where I belonged.
Now, somehow, at the table, I’m the only feminine force. Now I’m the one that makes them at least cognizant of the dick jokes…after the 3rd or 4th time. I’m the unattached single girl who is both trying and not trying to be the cliche I cast my high school nemesis. I want the tall D&D guy to see me and approve somehow. I want validation and to rewrite those years. Damn, it’s ridiculous and bizarre and The Onion headline-worthy and far too much pressure to put on myself, but it feels like if I just stay in the awkwardness long enough, something’s got to happen, somehow. Maybe. As of last night, there was already wry, sardonic, clever boy #2 who may or may not be dating anyone but does have a “last girlfriend” who lived in New York with him and may or may not now be in a freezer. This is America. Never assume.
So, given the fact that I am this explosion of bad ideas lately, I am trying very hard to use my dead-end crush to a good end. I am trying to convert it, rather than into whinging posts and mournful emotional exfoliation, into motivating myself into becoming the sort of woman who would have the option, were she immoral enough to take it, of breaking his heart. I wouldn’t, of course. I have boxes of evidence to prove I wouldn’t. But I want my self-esteem and regard to be at the level where I would be pretty sure that were I to press the issue, there would be an issue to press. I want that sort of slow-boil ego. Not spilling out on the stove narcissism, just steady, constant faith that your shit is together enough that he should want a bit of it. It’s a much nicer idea than rolling up in your rumpled sweater and sitting there stiffly in worry and fear and wondering how terrible you’re doing and how shitty you’re RP’ing and being shaped in the shape of garbage in the world. In both worlds.
It’s funny how you begin even to think about how much you need to act in a bit of self-regard, how you let one dream, one person, one thing that is no longer…sparking joy, ahem…go and the energy shifts around you. Marie Kondo is on to something. Suddenly, J wants to do some writing with me which feels like a far more productive thing to do together than where we are right now. Suddenly, a couple other writing opportunities are opening up – personal things I that I want to do – suddenly, rather than clinging to the life preserver in J – I feel like, maybe, metaphorically, I know how to swim.
And painted in the background is the siren song of eating shit. Sugar and salt and shit. Tomorrow, after heading to a restaurant to visit with m cousin and ordering the wrong thing today, a nice tasting but overich croque madame heavy with bechamel sauce, I’ve been invited to invent a quasi-birthday meal out. Everyone’s sick. After just wave upon wave of dining out in a, damn, if I don’t want to stop and just have a piece of celery and walk calmly for 1-2 miles. But my brain won’t allow it. There will be tiramisu and maybe waffles and I’ll submit to the unknown calories and draw a line. So I’m hopeful that we eat early, I get home, and I can just begin the hard work of getting out of my own way here.
I have not, as of this writing, been to Chipotle this year…which is the hill of guacamole I’ve chosen to die on, I guess.
And I’m finding myself too irritating to stand, and publish…