I think that I've always been a hopeless romantic at heart, even when I was too young to know what that meant. So my feelings have always run very deep for the people I care abut and the ones that I love. But when I was discovering those feelings for the very first time, I was also dealing with a lot of other issues that kept me afraid of really pursuing some of the boys or girls that I had the biggest crushes on at the time. I'd like to think that I would have had a lot more courage if I didn't have so much chaos going on in my head...but, such is life. You know?
When I write my stories, a lot of that past angst and doubt and self consciousness resurfaces in a major, and I just remember feeling that way. I'm often baffled by readers who say, "It's been a whole week already! Why doesn't he just ask him out on a date and get it over with?" WHAT??? Hahaha! Was my experience really THAT different from everybody else's? The very notion of asking a girl out, and CERTAINLY if it came to asking out another BOY...was the most terrifying idea in the WORLD to me at the time! WTF? Not only could I have my heart shredded and my dreams smashed to pieces, but then I'd have to continue to see that person every single day for the next few years. And I'm not even going to mention the threat of having my broken heart paraded around the halls of the entire school, which...when you're a teenager, might as well be the whole world. Reputation is everything. As if I didn't have enough to deal with.
So yeah, there are some regrets that I have about not taking a few chances on a couple of people that I think would have said yes. There was actually one girl that I remember from the 4th grade even, Jennifer, that I followed all the way home on the last day of school, because I didn't know how I was going to go an entire Summer without her. LOL! Because...kid logic. Now that I think about it, that's pretty creepy, hehehe, but I was just trying to get up the nerve to talk to her, and maybe trade phone numbers or something. But I walked behind her the whole way, and she was with a couple of her friends, and she got to her house and went inside and I just...kept walking. She used to smile at me on the playground all the time though, and I was so sweet on her, but I chickened out. Oh, and there was that one girl, Karen, that I actually joined the soccer team for. Just to be close to her. (We had a co-ed soccer team. I think this was about 6th grade)
There was a boy, Gabe, the I think was the first boy that I really fell hard for. I was about 10 or 11 years old, and I liked boys before, but this time it was like..."I know what this is. And I do NOT just want to be his friend." And I actually started talking to him a lot more, and we'd hang out at his house or at mine. No parents at home. But...again, I chickened out. Years later, he did come out of the closet and said that he was gay when we were in our 20's or something, but I often think back and wonder what if? You know?
Another one that I really wish I had spoken up and taken my chances with was Ed. Now Ed was actually one of the reasons that the Shack Out Back site exists today. Hehehe! It's true! We were both 22/23 years old, but he had a babyface that made him look 16, tops. And we were both working at the same place, and we just hit it off right away. Everything about him was so perfect, and we would often hang out until sunrise at his house and just talk and laugh and have a good time. I was convinced that I was head over heels in love with him at one point, and kept looking for signs and signals and trying not to write it all off as wishful thinking. And we would have these little 'moments' sometimes. Where I almost felt like, "This is it! Tell him! Do it now!" But I never did.
But something tells me that Ed and I would have probably gotten together if one of us had something. And I wish it was me.
So yes, I have had quite a number of people that 'got away' from me growing up, and I've gotten a bit more brave since then. But I'm not really worried about it. I'm happy with my life the way it is now, and any one of those situations could have taken me down a completely different path. One that would be unrecognizable to the path I'm on today. So I'll deal with what I've got now and be proud of the journey that brought me here.
That's all there is to it.
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