There were specific moments in my life where I found myself in a difficult, complicated, yet adventurous situation. It was scary. It made my mind run faster and faster. It made my nerves one huge bundle, my stomach this twisted contortion of an organ. Yet, for some reason, I craved those nerves, and would accept my mind for the tangled mess it would become. This set of events was one rollercoaster after another, except with a lot less risk and a larger imagination.
The situation is as follows: I would meet someone, whether through middle school cliques, high school band, or even in college. I would get to know them on a surface level, discovering some personality traits and interests. Soon after that, the crush would develop. Small, budding, like a dandelion growing out of my brain.
Once it was in place, is when the rollercoaster of emotions would begin. I would think about this person all the time, as we got to know each other a little more. I would play with the idea in my mind of what it would be like to be with them. Ponder the thought, see it visually, savor it for a moment, and then shove it somewhere else. Eventually, I would become so comfortable in my own thoughts that I would build this relationship similar to how one builds their Thanksgiving meal on their Pinterest wall. The idea of this person would consume me, and the idea of us together would consume me further.
After a while, considering the fact that I was certain that I was on this rollercoaster on my own, it would die out. I would become really busy with other things and these thoughts would dissipate. A few weeks of fantasy that was exciting, and no one got hurt in the process.
Infatuation, an intense but short-lived passion or admiration for someone, is a way I coasted through my so called “romantic life.” I write about this now, because while I may believe I was on my rollercoasters alone, I have a feeling I was not the only person building rollercoasters. Admiration from afar is a mildly lonely activity for the individual involved, but is probably done by more people than people think.
In the beginning, I played with this infatuation because I did not think I deserved to flirt and have crushes on people. My image of myself was the brown, ugly, chubby girl with glasses and braces. In my mind, no one would ever be interested in crushing on me, or flirting with me, or sharing rollercoasters. Instead, I let the crush live in my mind, where it was safe from rejection and hurt.
This defense mechanism was essential for me, especially after I started to discover myself and my sexuality. Being a bisexual woman, if you are experiencing rejection, you can experience it from both spectrums. From the boys who may or may not like you, to the girl who may or may not even be attracted to you. In the mind, sexuality doesn’t matter. However, on occasion, I got lucky. Even with all these defenses, I still dated from time to time. There are exceptions to every rule, and sometimes it is so obvious that rejection is far from the situation and you take the risk. I feel this is important to mention, even if most of my romantic life was spent inside this idea of a person.
The idea of a person, however, is the reason this went on for so long. Once I became mildly comfortable in my skin, I was able to believe I deserved a good relationship, flirtation, and, happiness. So while I could have started to try more in this aspect of my life, I didn’t. Because I was so scared to try, and face the fact that my imagination could be wrong. What if my idea of the person didn’t match? What if the bubble is burst on the fantasy? Where do you go from there? All of these questions stopped me from wanting to risk challenging the fantasy I had built. Why burst a good bubble if I could just make it go away for a few weeks?
While this way of infatuation makes me look frightened, defensive, closed off, and a little crazy, this is just the way I have learned to cope with romantic situations. When the boy doesn’t like you back. When you fall for someone you can’t have. When you fall for the straight girl. Living inside the mind is a coping mechanism to avoid risk and hurt.
Honestly, the reason I began to think and develop these infatuations is because I wanted to get to know these people deeply. I wanted to know how they got that certain scar. Or why their favorite band was their favorite band. Or what holiday traditions their family has. Or what previously emotional rollercoasters they’ve been on. I truly craved getting to know someone on this level. But sometimes, figuring out that a certain individual does not feel the same can be a detriment to how I view myself. When I think of this, and the progress I have made regarding my self-image, I find it best to save myself, and not give it that shot.
So to my previous infatuations, who may or may not have felt the same way, I apologize for my distance, and for my fear. But, please understand that romance and crushes and relationships and friendships are risky and scary and filled with possible terrible outcomes. For those building rollercoasters, for those dabbling in infatuation, you are not alone. You are allowed to want what you can’t have. You are allowed to like the straight girl. And you are allowed to choose the non-risky situation. Just remember if you do, that you are deserving of love, flirtation, and happiness, whenever you are ready for it.