I once listed my rocker and ottoman for sale online.
I wrote of its lush fabric and beautiful pattern. I described the memories created sitting in that chair. I didn’t include the fact that scuff marks were created when it was carried up the stairs, or the arms had breast milk stains I just couldn’t get 100 percent out.
I declined to describe the accident a baby boy had while sitting naked in that chair. I left out the part that the ottoman has a tendency to squeak just at the moment when your little one has finally fallen asleep after hours of cluster feeding.
Creating an online dating profile seems to be much the same process. Putting together the positive details and rainbow colors of my life and personality and exposing it to God knows how many men in the hopes that one of them (or a few of them) will like what they see and want to meet me.
They’ll see the professional headshot, in which my eyes sparkle, and my hair is smooth and on point. They’ll see what I feel is the best amateur photo of me—tan and sitting at the bar smiling with one of my best friends. They’ll see a photo taken of my son and me as we view the ocean and step in into the waves (only from behind, of course, so as not to reveal the face of that little boy I’m not ready for anyone to be familiar with just yet).
They’ll read words about my love of reading. About how I like to have a nice dinner out, as much as I love to sit on the couch under a warm blanket as I watch 80s movies, documentaries, or old episodes of “Dateline.” They’ll know all about how when I’m not being a mama, I’m working, or practicing yoga, or traveling.
It’s boring. It’s common. It’s anything and everything—except how I would truly describe myself and the woman you may end up getting to know.
The truth is darker, but also brighter. Because any truth, even the ugly ones, contain sparks of light as we chip away at the layers of concrete we’ve built around our heart walls after years of heartbreak and missed connections. After the disappointment when the ones you believe to be the one turn out to be anything but.
The truth goes something like this:
I’ll meet you for a first date at a coffee shop or restaurant. Depending on how I felt that morning, I’ll either put a lot of effort into getting ready, or will ho-hum it through my routine of hair and make-up. I’ll wear something flattering—but not for you. No, for me and for the chance to feel as if I actually have something I can control in this effort.
I’ll walk through the doors, and you’ll be waiting—and before we even sit next to or across from each other, I’ve likely already decided whether or not I want to spend more time with you.
It may be the lack of direct eye contact or the hesitancy in your smile. It may be whether or not you understand my sense of humor and can recognize movie quotes or song lyrics. I’ll whisper to myself, “Don’t do this. Don’t give up,” and I’ll try to listen.
We’ll talk about our childhoods and careers. I’ll tell you why I moved from a place that I love to where I live now, and you’ll remark on my selflessness and sacrifice. We’ll glaze over past marriages and relationships, and I’ll describe my last love affair so briefly that it will seem to you that it had little meaning, when the truth is, I’m still reeling from the loss of him—of us—and the dynamic impact he made on my life in such a short time.
I’ll tell you that my co-parenting relationship with my son’s father is easy and cooperative, when oftentimes, I don’t like being in the same room with him because of his domineering attitude and nature. I’ll tell you that I’m adjusting alright to this new city and state, when actually, homesickness sends me running 550 miles west any chance I get.
I’ll skip the part where the only time I felt genuinely full and happy in this new place was when he was in my life, and I had something—someone—to look forward to sharing my time with.
I won’t tell you that there are stretches of days—or weeks—that I don’t believe in magic anymore.
So why am I here? Why am I even giving this a shot? Because of the sliver of me that still does still believe in magic. Because of the work I’ve put in to becoming someone who I would want to be with.
Someone who is a listener as much as she’s a talker. Someone who wants to do life with someone else, who yearns to be less jealous and more understanding. Someone who will jump in the car at four in the morning to see a sunrise with you, or drive to your parents’ house on a Sunday afternoon to have dinner with them. Someone who wants to be your emergency contact and do your laundry as much as I want to help you get your clothes a little dirty.
I’m here because of the simple fact that I’ve felt it. I’ve been there—and can I really, truly say that I can’t be there once, twice, three times again? Maybe not every day, but today may just be the day that I believe.
I’ll believe, because I think it’s possible I’ll meet someone who is in this same cycle. Who is so much more than a few words on an app or website. Who is terrified that, again, someone may check out and leave. Who may feel like they’re on their last chance, but something in them is telling them to just try…one more time.
Perhaps, you’ll look at me like I am magic—but I won’t believe I’m magic because you think I am; I’ll believe it because I know I am.
Beyond perfect headshots and common interests—and the hope that you’ll like my cooking and corny jokes—I’ll believe you’ll see me for me, and I’ll see you for you…and perhaps, we can believe together.
Author: Jenny Roman
Image: Unsplash/Jiří Wagner; Flickr/Mike Licht
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy editor: Danielle Beutell
Social editor: Nicole Cameron
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