Fear of Falling

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I asked a boy out the first time in second or third grade, on top of the monkey bars. He said no so I asked another boy the next day. By sixth grade the strategy paid off, and a boy agreed to be my special someone at the bike rack by our elementary school.

From then on, I never struggled to find a boyfriend. Since I didn’t know what I was looking for, I didn’t have very exacting criteria. I didn’t have a “type” I found more attractive, and I was game to try dating just about every boy who asked. Between my low fear of rejection and the reputation I probably earned, it as easy. So easy. So very, very, very easy.

By high school I was out as bi. I asked out probably a half dozen girls and was asked out by one. Two of them consented to fool around with me, but not to date out and openly. I just couldn’t be someone’s dirty little secret. The others turned me down, and those rejections felt devastating. They didn’t roll of my back, and I wasn’t ready to move on to someone else a week later. I didn’t understand why I cared so much more with girls.

I went on a few dates with women after high school, and fooled around with a few more. But at 33 I have still never had a girlfriend. I feel terribly inexperienced, like a child moved unceremoniously from the kiddie table to sit with the adults, with women who have known they were gay for years.

I got pregnant, married and separated within a year at 22. When that marriage failed, I threw myself into school and then work. When my body failed and I couldn’t be superhuman anymore, I found a man to live with and to help me raise my child. But I still wasn’t good at picking men and he was proof of that, and at long last I figured out why. I’m gay.

It’s been a year and a half, and I still haven’t started dating. At first I was in crisis mode, moving suddenly and with police escort. Getting set up in a new city and school district, trying to make ends meet with higher rent. Building a new blog and focusing on my health.

I feel like I’m finally coming out of crisis, and running out of excuses. And now I know I’m terrified. Of rejection. Of not being considered as cute to women as I was to men. Of falling hopelessly in love with a woman who sees me like a sister. Of falling in love. I’m not sure if I’ve ever truly done that, and the possibility seems too big to handle.

What’s dating like when you’re actually attracted? What is living together like if you’re actually in love. I have no idea. I had my first boyfriend twenty years ago. I’ve never had a girlfriend, never had what I really want. And I think inside I’m afraid that if I try, I’ll only learn that I can never have such things. I’ve come so far without them. It’s hard to believe they could ever exist for me.

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