Last month I went speed dating.
It came up on my Instagram. It seemed fun, exciting, different. Pre-pandemic I was on some apps with no luck. I didn’t know how to send a good message to someone, I didn’t know how I could tell if I liked someone based on a picture where the person in question was holding a fish, taking a picture with a dog that wasn’t there’s, and offering answers to prompts that didn’t actually answer anything. When the rare moment that a match did occur, I’d just freeze and not do anything. I’d wait until my time expired and we were no longer matched, or delete the app because the idea of answering, of something happening, of opening up and making a mistake was too much for me to consider.
It’s a stupid but true confession. For most of my life I was labelled a worrier and I accepted it, it’s only for the last eight or so years that I’ve recognized that this worry is anxiety. I remember in high school being terrified of dating, of seeing my friends and classmates start their own romances and wondering how it came to them so easily.
I remember seeing my classmates pair up and imagined if that could happen to me. It was never really possible. I imagined a blurred figure coming up to me and saying that they liked me, that they wanted to go out and how sick I would feel when they did. Because then I’d have to tell them that my twin sister was sick and I didn’t know why I wasn’t. That my mom had taken time off work so my sister wasn’t alone in the hospital and my dad worried we would lose the house. That I couldn’t possibly date anyone because of all this, and because I needed to keep my grades up because my parents couldn’t handle any more stress if I started failing. So thank you for being interested, but no. But it would be rude then, to say no, wouldn’t it? After they’d been so brave to come up to me, to speak to me, to ask me out and then I’d turn them down for a reason that wasn’t all that good to being with?
It never happened anyways, none of it so I didn’t have to worry. Just my imagination working in overdrive.
My head, for the most part, isn’t a fun place to be.