As I said in a previous post, dating has become the new blogging throughout the past year. For me, this dating thing has been a BIG deal for a ton of reasons, the biggest of which is that I've learned far more about myself and the opposite sex than I ever thought I could know. I've pushed myself to date all kinds of men this year, some of whom I never thought I would allow myself to consider. I guess I've learned that you never really know who you'll spark with unless you give the person a chance. So I've given lots of men lots of chances; sometimes too many, sometimes not enough, sometimes the perfect amount. Obviously I'm still single, so the right one hasn't come along; but I've gained a newfound appreciation for this game they call dating.
I think the biggest, most meaningful lesson I've learned from all of this is that I actually am a strong, powerful sexual creature. It's exciting for me to know that I--in both physical and emotional ways--have the power to excite a man. I've had men tell me that I'm sexy, that I'm hot, that they want me. Until this year, this was uncharted territory in Tracy-Land. It's taken me a long time, but I've allowed myself to become much more physical with men than I've ever been before; while this may not sound like a big deal, for someone like me who's afraid to take her clothes off in a women's locker room, the fact that I've taken my clothes off for a few select men throughout the past year is indeed a very big deal. I've had to learn how to pick and choose which men are allowed to see this side of me, as well as when to let them see it (it just so happens that giving away too much too soon :::coughcoughonthefirstdatecoughcough::: is a big no-no, no matter your size or shape.) While I knew this before, I guess I had to play around before I could really understand the concept.
I've also learned that most men are not the shallow jackasses I once thought they were. Sure, there was the guy who told me I should have surgery because my "leftovers" were a "turn-off" and "hideous" (his words, not mine) and the guy who thought that bigger girls put out more easily than smaller ones because we're more desperate for attention. Both guys were losers who I never allowed to see me again. But more often than not, I've had experiences with guys that have surprised me--those who have been more than understanding about who I am and why my body is the way it is. Those who have told me that they're proud of my accomplishments and want to make me feel as beautiful as they think I am. The one who, so sweetly, told me that when he looked at my body he just saw ME as a whole person, inside and out. It's those experiences that have changed the way I think about the male gender and their attitudes towards women of every shape and size. Though my relationships with them didn't work out, they've all stayed with me in positive ways and helped me to see my sexuality, my body, and my whole self in a much different light.
Most of these guys stayed with me for 2-4 weeks. One of them, however, was a part of my life from January through April. I guess you could say it was the longest romantic "relationship" I've ever had, though neither of us ever declared feelings or titles for the other. It was a complicated situation, but to this point, the most meaningful connection I've had with a man in a long time. We could talk to each other about anything and everything, sharing stories and laughter and, at one point, tears. I loved spending time with him and always left feeling like THIS time was going to change everything, that THIS time he'd want to move our relationship to the next level; that never happened. It took all of the courage I had to call and dump him that Wednesday night at the end of April, explaining simply that I liked him a lot, but needed and deserved more from a relationship. I cried myself that night, so scared that I was giving up on someone who really did honor me for who I was on the inside and outside. It was for the best, which I see now--but it still, even 2 months later, hurts like hell sometimes. I still miss him, especially after a bad first date or when I'm feeling lonely. I realized, as soon as I'd hung up the phone with him that night, that the whole time I was trying to tell myself I DIDN'T have feelings for him, I actually cultivated a very strong "like" (love seems to strong, even now) for him. I haven't felt that way about anyone in a long time, since Andrew back in high school.
I go back and forth about how my feelings towards this dating business. I've learned SO MUCH about myself (there is tons of stuff I could add to this post, but won't) and about relationships. I've had a great time with so many of these people and have--for the most part--been treated like a lady. It feels good to share the soft, romantic, sexy side of myself with someone else AND with myself. I've enjoyed getting to know this side of me. Though, on the other hand, now that I've had a taste of the many perks of being in a relationship, I want more. Moreso than ever before, I want to know what real love is. I want to experience it on all levels. I actually crave physical contact in ways I never did before. The loneliness that I thought couldn't get any worse has actually become palpable. It's all the more reason to keep putting myself out there and keep dating and keep learning--even when things don't go as I'd like them to.
I feel like there's so, so much more I could say, but this post is already quite lengthy. Until next time...