I raged at a concert with a friend this past weekend.
We kicked it '90s style. I'm talking high ponytails, matching outfits, plenty of shots and dancing all night to electro music. By the end, the bottoms of our feet were so numb, we practically had to be carried out (I'm not kidding).
It was the best night out I've had in a while. I danced underneath the strobe lights with a cute redhead my friend had talked up for me because I was feeling too shy.
But at the same time, I couldn't help but think about how much more fun I'd be having if I were doing the same thing with this one guy from my past.
We had tried to make things work, and I briefly dipped my toes into the girlfriend waters with him. For the second time in my life, I'd gotten a taste of a healthy, functioning relationship. It was the kind of relationship that felt wrong because it was so right.
I knew it was the kind of relationship that would force me to grow up and fully embrace myself for who I really am — flaws and all — which is something I haven't quite mastered yet. I could picture a future with him. I think I even told him once that he was the kind of guy I'd marry someday.
And yet, I fought my feelings for him. I knew just how happy I'd be with him, so I actively let my inner dark side keep drawing me to people that messed with the natural inklings of my heart.
Something was telling me to shelf him until I grew up; That I didn't deserve the happiness I'd experience with him right now, but eventually, I would.
So, I locked him away, but kept the key. Just in case.
And oddly, it wasn't until after I did this — after I cast him aside — that I finally realized I did want to pursue him in a real way.
I felt it that night at the concert.
I realized it because I'm not happy for him when he's with someone new. I want to be (and a small part of me is), but I can't be completely. That's because I know we would have fit together perfectly, if only I was just a little less afraid, and he was a little more timely with his arrival into my life.
I also realized it when I thought of him when I was with someone else.
Or when I remembered his words in a situation that mattered — like when I was trying to decide if I should hike that mountain.
Or, when I discovered that, it doesn't matter if the person looks the way you imagined he'd look or speaks the way you imagined he'd speak. The important thing that matters is how he makes you feel.
And, if the only thing stopping you from being with him is what other people think of him? Well, people's opinions come and go, shift and change. And so will those people.
Give him a second chance when he not only fulfills your emotional needs, but exceeds them. Meaning, he makes you feel more happy than lonely, loves you even when you're down on yourself, and pushes you to be better than you ever thought you could be.
I've reached a point in my life where I've realized I have to trust the voice deep down inside of me, rather than the one-off impulses of my self-sabotaging heart.
That night at the concert, my voice kept articulating to me how much it wanted the guy salsa-ing with me in the dark to be my cast away. Even the boom-boom of the bass couldn't drown the idea out.
There are a million people in this life who exit our minds just as quickly as they entered. But there are also a few who cross our minds and stick, no matter how much we try to forget them. Those are the people we should give second shots.
If you can, break out that key you've been holding on to and grab your cast away while he's still available. Catch him while he still loves you. And this time, don't be afraid to swim to the deep end with him.
My guy is still out there. And I know I'm going to give him an honest chance again. I'm just waiting for that final, revelatory straw — like one more bad date, or getting too drunk and texting every guy in my roster one last time — before I go back to him for the real thing.
He has been the one all along. I just haven't been ready.