Love, Self-Doubt, and the Texas Storm

Love fills the air every Valentine’s Day. Whether it is love for others or love for yourself, it’s just always there. However, this past week I was presented with a vast amount of free time due to the rolling blackouts, lack of clean water at times, and other issues caused by Winter Storm Uri effectively shutting down the whole entire state. This past week included Valentine’s Day. Looking back on things, it made me realize how much self-doubt coexists with love.

I have been habitually single. I never really had a real boyfriend, with an emphasis on never. Things really changed recently when I just decided to go on Bumble and look for someone to talk to. I found someone we’ll call Jake (name changed for anonymity). I talked to Jake for a while, and eventually, it hit the point where we mutually decided to go on a date. We took precautions with getting tested, isolating as best as we could leading up to the date, and being socially distant during the date. It was weird for me because I never really dated. I usually focus on school and myself, so this was unusual territory for me. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.

Leading up to the date, we were texting and talking, but I had seeds of self-doubt planted in my head. If you talk to me, I sound confident, but my mannerisms give off the opposite effect. I was so afraid to be vulnerable to someone by going out on a date. It was exacerbating my anxiety. I remember texting Jake that there was a chance I would bail on the date. Usually, I avoid confrontations of any type, and this counted as one. If I’m not able to avoid it, I try my hardest to forget about it until the last second. This so that I operate on adrenaline instead of fear, which is just what happened with our first date.

On the day of the date, I was coming from work, and I started freaking out about how I looked. I know I look good with or without makeup, and I knew Jake wouldn’t care either way and just wanted me to be comfortable. But I was worried my acne scars would freak him out, and I impulsively bought makeup even though I didn’t need to. The inferiority complex got in the way, and it really sucked. After I got all my makeup and went home to get it done, I did my makeup and started freaking out because I wanted it to be perfect. This made me late. Thankfully Jake was late too and was super chill about it. My makeup was perfected, and I head out to the date.

We went and got food at an outdoor restaurant, and it went great. Despite it being really cold (but way above freezing temperatures like what we saw during Uri), we really had a great time. The two of us just talked for hours, ate food, and had fun. After, I was happy with how it went. I truly was. However, I remember texting Jake after apologizing for how awkward I was because I had self-doubt about how I was during the date. Thankfully he didn’t think I was bad at all and wanted to go on a second date.

We both have busy schedules despite the pandemic, so we didn’t have the easiest time figuring out times. When the chance to go out on another date came, it was actually the free time we got with Uri coming.

If you didn’t know, Texas was hit by a powerful winter storm that resulted in a lot of sleet and snow. Temperatures went below freezing for many days, effectively ruining infrastructure. TAMU was shut down for a week, and we had to deal with utilities being shut off. Thankfully, College Station wasn’t as hard hit as other areas, and I was very grateful for it.

What all that meant was that there was no constant internet to distract me with school, so I was left with a lot of free time. Jake was also the same way. We figured we might as well hang out for the first day of the natural disaster (all while following safe COVID-19 practices). He was careful driving and wanted to come to see me. Well, he came, and we had a blast walking around and seeing the snow, taking pictures, and just talking. 

The thing is that I was feeling so bad about myself because someone wanted to spend time with me. I have such a bad inferiority complex, and  I didn’t realize that so much self-doubt came with trying to find love. Jake wanted to hang out, especially with this opportunity, so there shouldn’t be anything to feel bad about. I just have so much internalized self-doubt from not dating, I think. It grew even more when Jake wanted to go out with me every day for the week because we had so much free time. He would see the weird mannerisms that I have always been so insecure about. I’m honestly lucky because he did not care about them and liked me nonetheless. He liked me enough to ask if I wanted to be his girlfriend, to which I said yes. And so he is now effectively in my quarantine bubble, especially since we are being super cautious. Being often with each other when you have nothing to do can really expedite a relationship. 

This is just a barrier I must overcome if I want to open up to people around me. I’m writing this anonymously because I am early into this relationship and don’t want to jinx things. It’s just hard when it’s something you’re so used to. I feel like I’m not alone in this because being in a relationship means you’re venturing into the uncomfortable. It’s not something I’m comfortable with, and there are many moments when I want to quit and just be content with living alone forever. But I want to make it work, and I just have to put the work in to overcome my self-doubt.