In the last handful of years, I've watched single friends struggling with dating, and while I was grateful not to be in that water, I've had plenty of advice (even if I mostly kept it to myself, because handing out unasked-for advice is a good way to get people to stop wanting to hang out with you).
But apparently my safe vantage point was slipperier than I thought, and now I'm treading water, myself.
Now it's time to see if I can put my money where my mouth (or at least my brain) was.
I have to take the risks. I have to be willing to take the first step and risk finding there's no solid ground. I have to be able to shake off the rejections in order to be available for the acceptances. (It's scary. It's so incredibly scary. I feel like I'm in eighth grade again. "I like you. Do you like me? Check one: [ ] Y [ ] N" How's that self esteem today? Completely squashed and lifeless? Excellent.)
I have to be willing to say no. I have to be willing to say yes. I have to use my words and communicate. I have to be clear about what I want and how I'm feeling. I have to trust that the person I'm with will do the same. (Yeah, trust is going to be a problem, because of reasons.)
The number of girl friends who've reassured me that of course I'm beautiful, that of course I'm desirable, that of course I'm going to find someone: more than I can count. For which I'm grateful. But...
The number of guy friends who've said the same thing? Well, I don't need any fingers at all to count those.
It's terrifying. I expect to be hip-deep in self-loathing by the end of the year. But I'm going forward with it. Because not even trying is the worst kind of failure. It's the mark of a coward. And I'm done with that.