You First

by Jamie Arcelay 2 months ago in humanity

A Journey of Self Love

You First

I guess I saw it coming. Guys say that they’re into damaged girls but they don’t mean girls riddled with anxiety. Hell, I spend more time thinking about what I’m going to say to someone than I do actually talking to the person. Jack was just tired of my insecurity bullshit. By now, I’ve accepted it. People break up all the time.

He was my first real boyfriend. I had so much more to learn about myself before I could really give my heart to someone and settle down.

At the time, I naively fantasized about being with him forever.

He used going on tour as an out. We certainly could have made it work if he was willing to put in the effort, like I had. I had always believed in us more than he had. Damn, if I had known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have made the same decisions. But I wouldn’t have grown either.

As far as I’m aware, he was loyal. However, he never loved me as much as he loved himself, a Dorian Grey in his mind.

Post breakup, my confidence was shaken. I spent two months listening to the Backstreet Boys on repeat and eating cookie dough out of a waffle cone, before even entertaining the possibility that it was for the best.

After my mourning grace period ended, my best friend, Chloe, dragged me out of my depressed stupor to the bar. I felt a tad better after showering and making myself presentable. I was at maybe a 4 on the Happiness scale, but out of 100.

They always said that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else, but for a demisexual person that’s pretty difficult. On top of that, my anxiety level is always high leaving me with no game. I digress.

Being demisexual means that I need to be emotionally attracted to someone to want to sleep with them. For example, you may see this very attractive person at a bar. They strike up a conversation with you and invite you back to their place. I would not go home with that person because I don’t know them. Sure, I can acknowledge that this person is attractive; however, in order to get physical, I want to know what he’s passionate about and what he wants out of life. Small talk isn’t enough for me.

When I met Lex it was a complicated situation. He was handsome and charming. I made him laugh despite being more awkward than funny. He didn’t ask me to go home with him, but he asked for my number. I didn’t expect him to call or even remember my name. It’s better to have low expectations with guys like that.

It’s funny because when I saw him at the bar, I liked his jacket. Of course I didn’t tell him. My typical anxiety and fear prevented me from doing that. He approached me, which felt very Nora Ephron. I was immediately drawn to him.

That night seemed like a dud. I was sobering up and didn’t want to be there anymore. In Chloe’s defense, neither of us knew that it was country night and neither of us were into country music enough to enjoy ourselves. The only reason we were there was because Chloe had just gotten engaged to her long term girlfriend, Shayla. However, the party was winding down, Shayla was getting the bill when Lex sat down next to me.

“Is this seat taken?” he asked.

“No.” I shrugged and turned away from him.

“I like your septum piercing,” he said.

I turned around, beaming at the compliment. “Thank you.”

“What are you drinking?”

“Water,” I responded, feeling a bit proud of myself for the decision to be sober at the party.

“That’s different. Kudos, though.”

“Yeah, I’ve just been on a month long bender. I felt like it was time to slow down.”


Cool, this guy probably thinks I’m crazy, I thought. Or maybe he thought my neurosis was cute?

I introduced myself and shook his hand. Mine was probably super clammy but his was soft. “You have a nice smile. But I’m sure every guy has told you that.”

“I wouldn’t say it’s uncommon for me to hear.” It wasn’t. I heard that all the time. But with my low confidence, every compliment is welcome.

“Cheers to lame compliments.” He picked up his glass.

“Oh wait, isn’t it bad luck to cheers with water?” I suggested.

“Well then we’ll pretend that we cheersed.” He shrugged, with a smirk.

“Metaphorical cheers.” I nodded.

We talked about traveling and our career goals. He had dropped out of college to pursue acting and planned to move to Los Angeles by the end of the summer.

I told him about my screenwriting dreams. Los Angeles had never been in the cards for me but every teacher of mine had suggested going there. Look, I get it. Los Angeles is the best place for the television and film industry, but Manhattan is a close second.

Also, I’m terrified.

Okay, so that’s the real reason I won’t go is the latter.

Let’s journey back to 2009 was seventeen, applying for colleges and deciding a major. My uncle came over for a BBQ with my family that day.

Now, I know the creepy uncle trope you might be expecting. Don’t go there.

My uncle is not a pervert. However, he’s still a shitty person, flaunting his “Make America Great Again” baseball cap.

I told him I wanted to go to school at UCLA to become a screenwriter. He replied with a chuckle, “L.A., huh? Those sharks will eat you up.”

I know, screw him, right? A guess that’s the attitude that most people would have. They’d use the negativity and doubts as fuel to prove them wrong. But back then, I was an insecure, chubby, seventeen year old who didn’t realize the talent I actually have. That’s what this story is really about.

Breakups happen and you don’t realize the blessing in disguise until you realize your growth.

The usual tripe of all those fun, but toxic romantic comedies is, “I won’t be happy until I find a guy who will love and complete me.” But seriously, screw that. This is just about me and my shit.

Read next: 'Chocolate Kisses'
Jamie Arcelay

I'm just a girl following my passion... come read what's on my mind?

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