The Vulnerability of Not Dating Every Week


Dear Readers,

I’m back for this one post, because it seemed right for you as opposed to the readers at the other place where I’ve been blogging of late. Also, I hadn’t realized how popular Fern Gully, Fitzgerald, and Frappuccinos had become in my absence. When I was actively blogging here, it seemed like no one ever commented, but when I logged back in, purely for the purpose of protecting my secret blogger identity while commenting on a friend’s blog, I discovered a number of comments on my posts about taking the LSAT. Evidently my SEO increased exponentially when I decided to take that long, stupid test.

Interestingly enough, today’s post has a little something to do with the LSAT and law school: vulnerability.

You see, God has been working on me lately, and not in an abstract, over-spiritualized, ethereal way. He’s been intervening on my behalf when I don’t really want Him around. There are some crazy, irritating ways He’s been chasing me, but I’ll keep the details to myself.

What I will tell you is that His interventions have really manifested as touches to one particular heartstring.

My vulnerability heartstring is, and nearly always has been, weak. Brene Brown’s famous TED Talk spoke to me in ways that haunt me to this day, because so much of my life has been invulnerable. Untouchable. Numbed. It kills me when she says that it’s not possible to selectively numb, because that’s exactly what I would do if given the option. I would numb vulnerability, betrayal, and failure, because those are the emotions that overwhelm me. I can’t sit in those for even a moment, without seeking out a glass of wine and some aged, extra-sharp cheddar.

I say all of this, knowing there’s a strange paradox in me. I am perfectly comfortable with financial and physical vulnerability. After all, I quit a perfectly good career without any plan for the future. If it didn’t trigger vehement protestations in my friends, I would run at 10:00 pm every night, with three glasses of red wine in my system, no flashlight or pepper spray, in the wilderness or along a shady street. Because my deepest darkest fears aren’t that I’ll have nowhere to live or be raped and murdered. Honestly, money is irritating to me and being murdered might hurt for the rest of you, but I’d be happy to find conclusion to my time on this stupid, fallen earth.

That all being said, the vulnerability that scares me, that twangs my heartstring and sends me into a dark night of the soul is sustained eye-contact with a person who wants to know me.

I’ve been not dating someone named Zach. It hasn’t been super long that we’ve been getting to know each other. Maybe a total of two months. And we’ve agreed to build a friendship, which is why we aren’t dating.

About half of the time, I love this approach. I hate that dating is so often about finding a person to fulfill romantic needs. It’s not about truly caring or about serving. It’s about finding someone who makes us feel whatever it is we want to feel.

The other half of the time, I’m losing my mind, because I don’t know what Zach is thinking or feeling, and I don’t know if we’re ever going to be more than “just friends.”

I don’t like that he asks these crazy questions about my story – he’s very in to “story,” by the way, which I love – and he looks at me when I’m talking. And he doesn’t just look at me, it’s like he’s trying to see what’s behind my eyes, or something, like he’s trying to know the things I’m not saying. And all I can do is look at my hands, because it twangs the vulnerability heartstring to see him looking at me like that.

Zach is pretty much the greatest thing since the invention of the stove-top espresso maker. He isn’t yet the cheese to my macaroni, because it’s only been like two months, but maybe he’s the almond milk to my latte… or something.

He works for an engineering company, but he wants to go back to school to become a counselor. His favorite hobby: going to Skate Country. He plays guitar and used to do karate. He loves heavy metal and Taylor Swift. He has the diet of a teenage boy, and is not fat at all. He likes to run trails, but I think he runs like 12-minute miles, or possibly even slower. And he’s really kind. That may sound like an insult, or a throw-away, like… well, he’s a really nice guy… That’s the kind of thing you say when you’re about to break up with someone. That’s not how I mean it. I mean that he’s kind.

Every week, we go on a non-date. Our non-date site of choice: Skate Country. I’ve purchased myself a pair of leopard print skates with pink wheels, and we go. He takes his roller blades, and sticks with me at least half of the time, even though I’m really slow. When people bump into me and I wobble, he reaches out like he’s going to catch me. When there’s a special going on, like the dice game or cardio skate, we talk. He asks serious questions that make be give serious answers. Sometimes we sit on those ridiculous Skate Country benches, and I just want to touch him, because we have yet to really break the touch barrier. Because we’re friends.

My conversations with God about Zach and the other indisputable ways He’s been twanging my vulnerability heartstring hurt.

I know that I’m ill-equipped for a relationship. I’m broken and afraid. I numb my heart when I feel things, and I can’t look Zach in the eye when he’s looking me in the eye. I don’t trust men. I hardly think of them as people, because they are mean, and demanding, and shallow. To me, they are generally to be avoided.

And I just hope and pray that when I’m not looking at Zach, he doesn’t see how afraid I am of him. I ask God to hold me in the palm of His hand and prepare me, just in case Zach does become the cheese to my macaroni. Because as much as I hate the vulnerability of our weekly non-dates… the feeling that I might invest in this friendship only for it to continue on in perpetuity as friendship and non-dates… as much as my heart twangs uncomfortably with whatever this is with Zach right now, I’ve learned from Brene Brown that the “whole-hearted” are a people who are exactly what I’m afraid to be. They are a people who risk their hearts, with no guarantees about how things will work out… or not. They embrace the “excruciating vulnerability.”

I hope God is twanging your heart too, dear reader. 🙂

It’s good to check in with you again.

 

 

Advertisements