Crush Genesis

With my nearly three year long destructive crush fading behind me, I discovered I had a whole lot more energy to dedicate toward thinking about relationships with other people.

High school, with the plethora of pop culture mythology I had firmly loaded in my head by the time I started, struck me as the perfect time to explore those thoughts.

Unfortunately, reality proved to be far removed from The Wonder Years, Happy Days, and Some Kind of Wonderful (as well as a whole lot of other TV shows and movies I’d been watching a whole lot). I most certainly wasn’t one of the popular kids. I didn’t have a group of “adventuring” buddies. In fact, I barely felt connected at all to the people around me. Most of the time, it was more like being on an away mission in Star Trek–observe, but interaction can be problematic.

Not that I was stopped by problematic things. Heck, I’d spent the previous three years punishing myself in that crush… I was bound and determined to have high school be different.

And in some ways, it was.

My status as a more or less invisible man let me see people from many angles. That gave me some insight into what was going on inside the heads of those around me. What it didn’t do was give me any kind of clue how to apply that to myself or my interactions with them.

So I floundered about just like any high school kid does. Except I think I may have kept more excruciating mental notes than most.

The first thing I realized was how quickly I’d fall for someone. Without the fixation on one person, my attention jumped like crazy. Each and every crush was different. In some, there was a promise of adventure (yes, I fell for the “bad girls”). In others, a personal challenge (yes, I fell for the “popular girls”). And in still others, something that I’d later figure out was a feeling of being around a kindred spirit–someone who was as lost as I was an as actively trying to find their own way.

Mostly, though, I found that as much as a crush inspired me to action, my fears and uncertainties rarely let that inspiration become reality. The mental blocks were too large to climb over or push through. I’d get caught in loops of planning and miss every chance to execute.

Eventually, I figured out two things: 1) The more I looked at my crushes, the more I learned about myself and 2) if you can’t go over or through your barriers, you have to find a way around them.

The first realization led me, eventually, to engage in this blog project. The second realization led me to change the way I looked at things to the point where I could manage to not get hung up on the idea of dating.

Instead, I focused on the little things–like saying “Hi” and engaging in some sort of conversation. At first, that was very difficult. But when I saw an opening for conversation–especially if it was on a topic I knew something about or could help with–I’d take it.

I never got quite aggressive enough to get a lot dates out of that method (which is probably for the best), but it did let me help a lot of people out… and gave me the distinction of spending a good deal of time with some of the most beautiful women in my class and the one ahead of mine.

If nothing else, it was a good solid ego booster, which would come in handy to offset a lot of the other things that went on in high school, relationship-wise.

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