The Hell Butterfly

Out of My Element

It’s been a few months short of five years since a guy has complimented me.

Today, M24 did.

I have often thought that my anxieties would get me in trouble. So far they have fucked up a lot of things, from big to small. But one anxiety in particular has stuck out in the last few days. I don’t know how to date. 20 years and 8ish months and I have had one admirer. I blew that one. Now it has reached the point where I have a potential second admirer and I don’t know what I’m doing. I have no experience and it has never been more obvious.

M24 told me today that he likes me.

My reaction was nauseating. Shock. Stunned silence. Elation. Realisation. Anxiety. Fear. Within ten seconds of reading the words I was fighting off a panic attack. I hadn’t expected it. I had thought about it, liked the idea and began to want it .. but I had never expected it to happen. And just like with T all those years ago, I have no idea what I’m going to do.

My best friend told me if I was having so many worries about it I shouldn’t rush into anything. My sister told me if I liked him I should just go for it. I don’t know which is right. I don’t know how long it’s going to take to fix myself – I have so many issues it could take years to resemble a normal human being. If I delay and turn M24 away until I’ve sorted myself out I could, and probably will, lose him. Can I take that risk? But if I face my fears and just go for it, what’ll happen if, or I suppose when, he finds out I have these problems. I’m trying to change, really I am but it’s not going to just go away overnight. I don’t want to put him in a position where if he wants to be with me, he’s got to be with my issues.

In the end I told him I like him too. That I was flattered he thought I was the kind of girl he was looking for (in his words, ‘smart, funny, down to earth and someone [he] could understand and connect with’). But I also told him I was out of my element. That I had never done this before and didn’t want to do something stupid. I told him I have a tendency to say the wrong thing without realising until it’s too late – an unfortunate truth. His reply? I could say what I want because he knows I’m not dumb and he understands what I mean.

He seems interested in extending our new-found friendship. I think I’d like to, but of course I’m worried. I’ll be so anxious about doing something wrong that I will. I’ll make a fool of myself, or insult him, or make him uncomfortable. I don’t want to do that. It’s terrifying and I know that everyone will say this is part of the world of relationships but this is one of the scariest things I have ever had to face. I don’t even have the words to express it. I want this, I think. He is a nice guy, good looking and he likes me. Even when I was being a little awkward in my responses and worried about how he would react, he never once seemed to falter. If he picked up on it, he never said a thing.

This could work. If I don’t fuck it up, this could be a thing. I could have a thing. I’ve never had a thing. Hopefully all my years of doing the wrong thing will help me do the right thing this time. If I can act like a normal human being, I might finally have someone.


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