I was recently reading a chapter out of Rachel Hollis’ latest book, “Girl, Wash Your Face”, when I found myself relating to almost every word, but that chapter specifically drove me to write this post. The realization that our experiences were almost identical, and that she had the courage to share hers with the world in a book. Knowing that she had a bigger audience with getting a book published with her story, made me think the least I could do was share my very own experience here on my blog. Also to my readers, I highly, HIGHLY recommend this book. It is SO relatable.
Reading her experience made me cringe, and just thinking of telling my story makes me want to throw up first, then go back in time and slap myself in the face. Or perhaps just run myself over. In hindsight, I like to think that this experience only made me stronger, and smarter. Bear with me, as my embarrassment may show through my writing.
Before my husband came along, I got a friend request from a guy named Max. Yes, that is his real name. I had no idea who he was, and by first internet impression, I thought he was really handsome. His persona was lumberjack meets sad musician. He began to message me shortly after I accepted the random friend request. Thinking he was cute, I was quick to reply. Messages were flowing, and we connected over our mutual taste in music.
After a week or so of messaging, we decided to meet in person. For a date. He invited me to come watch him play an open mic at a local spot here in Portland, Urban Farm Fermentory. I had personally never been, and was excited, yet nervous. Meeting new people is not one of my strong suits, but I like people to think that it is. I get all clammy, and my heart beats out of my chest. However, I am not awful with my words. I put on a good show. Upon arrival, I sat in my car for a few minutes, until I could muster up the courage to go inside and meet this complete stranger. I didn’t expect anything from this guy -if anything- a new friendship.
Once I went inside, he was easy to spot. He was wearing a maroon t-shirt that was just tight enough to show off his not-so-terrible body, and jeans. He was sitting on a wooden stool, that was one of many gathered around an old barrel that was being used as a table. As I walked towards him, he glanced up, spotted me, and smiled. I got closer, he stood, and hugged me when I made it to the table. He was tall.
As I settled in, we started chatting as easily as we had been doing for weeks on the internet. Which made things easier. As nothing is worse than meeting someone who you’ve established an online relationship with, just to find out that their online personality is way different than their real life self.
Being that I had never been to this Fermentory, he told me all about what they had to offer, and his fondness of playing his music there when they hosted their open mic nights. We decided to get a “flight” of kombucha. I had never had kombucha before this night, but i’m not one to knock something until I’ve tried it. I ended up loving it, and I still drink kombucha from time to time as a result.
We sat around the barrel on our stools, waiting for his turn to play, exchanging sips of each others kombucha, while enjoying a good conversation. He was funny, and had this confidence that just radiated from him. There were multiple girls that approached the table throughout our conversation, and interrupted to say hello, where he then would proceed to not introduce me to either. I didn’t take much offense, as this was our first time meeting, and I justified the fact that I wasn’t much of anyone in this guy’s life. Looking back on that, I realize that the respectable thing to do would have been to introduce me anyways. I didn’t care who these women were to him, but in a way he seemed to be more interested in running into them, and not bothered by the interruption(s) in the conversation that I thought was going super well.
When it was his turn to play, he had asked me beforehand what song I wanted to hear him play, as he mostly played covers, and he was familiar with a wide variety of songs. So the song I chose was, “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room”, by John Mayer. He was thrilled with my suggestion, as he too loved John Mayer. He sat on the stool placed in the center of this beautiful Persian rug, adjusted himself, and tuned his guitar. Looking up from time to time to smile at me.
He played a few songs I wasn’t familiar with to start, and he was a decent singer/guitar player. I am also one to admit that I am so swooned by a guy that knows how to play any instrument, especially a guitar. I think we can all admit that. So it was not hard to get butterflies, and find my heart pounding while watching him play. After a few songs, he took a sip of water, and announced his next song, which was the one I chose, and dedicated it to me. At that moment, everyone stared at me, and in that moment, I wanted to both scream with excitement, and or crawl into a hole and die. I was sold. At that time I thought it was hands down the best date I had ever been on. I haven’t been on many first dates in my lifetime.
Reaching the decision point in the date where we would either part ways, or take our good conversation elsewhere, he came up with the most unique idea any man has ever had in the history of time. For us to go back to his place. Thinking I was smart, but actually being really naive, I agreed. Thinking to myself I wasn’t going to give him anything. I didn’t want to be that girl, or be seen as “easy”. Thinking that, I thought what harm could come from moving our date to his place. So we both got in our own cars, and I followed him to his apartment, which was only a few blocks away.
Arriving at his place, we headed inside, and made ourselves comfortable on his couch. A respective distance apart, as we were obviously not there yet. This was still only our first date. He offered me a drink, and we continued our conversation from before. We discussed my former “alternative modeling” career. Of course he immediately grew interested in what I had to offer. So I showed him a few of the non risque photos I had taken. He proceeded to shower me with compliments on how beautiful I was, and at that time I was feeling pretty lost in life, and he knew just how to fill this emptiness I was feeling. I ate it all up.
We got a little deeper into conversation that evening on our own personal struggles. As the night came to an end, he noted how much he enjoyed having spent time with me, and that he looked forward to spending more evenings with me, like the one we just had. We hugged a long hug, one where I found myself sinking perfectly into his chest, and he walked me out to my car. We did not kiss. I’m sure there was the urge to do so from the both of us, but we restrained.
A few texts were exchanged once I left. I didn’t expect anything from him, but thought that it was nice that he was taking the time to continue to talk to me, and text me. Normally it’s the woman reaching out to the guy, and putting herself out there, or being the one eagerly waiting to hear from the other. Yet he seemed to be the eager one.
He asked me to come spend some more time with him at his place. I agreed, and found myself feeling a bit more comfortable, and familiar with him having this be our second date. It was similar to the first time. We talked while sitting on the couch in his living room, where his roommate came in, and he would proceed to not introduce me. Again I thought, we’re nothing, this person does not need to know who I am. Or maybe I am just really nice when I introduce my friends, or folks I’m with when I run into someone.
We got more comfortable with one another, and we did kiss on that second date. A lot. He kissed me like he meant it. Not copping any feels, but caressing my face. Being the naive person I was again, I thought that it was a passionate exchange. He had me hypnotized thinking whatever it was we shared, could potentially go somewhere. He had that way about him, and again I remind you this was only our second time meeting. He was so smooth.
There were a few more times where I went over, and we would enjoy the company of one another. TMI, but the furthest we had ever gone was making it to his bedroom and cuddling/kissing. He had this depth that he didn’t want me to understand. Issues that came to the surface in our conversations, but were quickly buried deep after briefing the tip of his tongue. As we had more conversations, he seemed to grow more tense, and sad. I found myself thinking, “did I do something wrong?”.
He led me to believe that I wasn’t the only one growing a fondness for the other. Yet after a handful of what seemed like successful dates, and our progressing friendship, he ghosted me. I would send a message to which I thought didn’t sound too eager, or that I didn’t “need” a message back in return. When in all reality I was sitting there waiting for a response. Up until that point, I thought I was the woman that didn’t wait on a man. That I had more willpower, or strength to not put up with that kind of shit. But time passed, and nothing. His face clear in my mind, gnawing at me. What did I do to deserve this? I was nice enough to give my time to another person. I put myself out there, for what?
When he did end up replying after a few days passed, he would apologize for his sudden disappearance, and that his schedule got so busy that he barely had anytime to do anything. There were multiple times between our hangouts, where he would then disappear. I would let it go, but HE would always come back. Writing this trying not to judge myself. But right then and there, I should have accepted whatever type of apology I thought I was getting, moved on, and not given in time after time. Yet he had hooked me. This whole time, I was there hanging on his hook waiting for him to take the bait. While there was another man out there that was waiting for my love. A love that was greater than any love I could ever draw up in my mind; My current husband.
My husband Joe and I worked together. We had been emailing back and forth prior to the date(s) I had with Max. We were friends, much more than that actually. I feel like such a fool when I realize that I was leading on my now husband, yet feeling crushed when I didn’t get the attention of this man that clearly had no interest in me. All while my husband is hooked by me, and offering me a lifetime full of happiness. I was blinded by this other man. I had never been ghosted before. This was just around the time when “ghosting” became a thing. So I was definitely not familiar. I’m not one to fear rejection, but thought people actually had the dignity to tell someone if they weren’t interested.
The ghosting, and me being in denial happened for a few weeks. I was ghosted more than once by this man, and continued to wait. A few weeks too long. He made me think I was something to him, when all he had to do was treat me with the respect that I rightfully deserved. It crushed me. When I type it out, I think of how stupid I was for thinking it would amount to something, not an ounce of struggle to not think about me.
During this time, I continued to grow closer to my now husband, not realizing he was the one for me. How terribly ironic. I had the ability to convince myself that someone that wasn’t interested in me at all, was the one I needed. But wasn’t able to recognize that my coworker, my friend, who was actually giving me the attention/time of day that I deserved, was the one I really needed. So beyond grateful looking back on all of this that I was able to remove myself from that situation, and come out the other side with something much deeper, and more meaningful. My husband.
In the process of realizing my worth, and what I truly deserved, I learned that I was being extremely selfish. My husband was putting himself out there, and waiting for me to love him back, but I was venting to him about this other man. Like what a face palm realization.
Being able to come out the other side of all of this stronger, and with a man that was still able to marry me after putting him on the back burner has me so appreciative. I am sharing this as I know I am not the only one that has been through a similar situation, and without experiencing this, I wouldn’t have learned the lesson I did. Sharing not to become “relatable”, but to have others know you’re not alone.
Know your worth, and never accept anything less.