Just say Hello.
These past weeks, since filming my BMX edit, I needed to give an injury on my outer leg a rest. I decided instead of sitting back and letting my mind go crazy, not being able to bike, that I would instead challenge myself in another way. After having been confined to my house and immediate area for several years with illness, it is safe to say my social skills have been left unstimulated and underdeveloped. My world views and self-awareness have grown exponentially, but what use is anything in life unless you can share your joy and experiences with the people around you. So off to meet new people I went!
I often feel that I am socially fulfilled easily; I have friends in all of my passions and hobbies, which I enjoy those things with and those friends are always part of my life. I have a few select best friends who no matter how much time passes we can always pick up where we left off and continue like the years never felt more than a day. Those friends are usually it for my social life and all I need. When I have a significant other that is the reason most my best friends have years of silenced between. Some people find that offensive but that is how I feel. When I have someone to share my little achievements of the day; like the silly picture I drew or castle I built on Minecraft and also have someone whose day I can hear about and whose problems I can help solve, that is all I need. Mix those day to day achievements with an amazing bond, passionate closeness, true honesty you have something that is one of best parts of my life.
Being single is fine with me. I need above all things to love myself and my life with independence. Depending on someone else is never my goal, at the same time that does not stop me from including other people in my life. The joy of sharing is ultimate and depending on people is not unwelcome but my dependence if never a full dependence, just an opportunity to share. A cancelled date or unfulfilled plan does not upset me; I have so much to experience in this life that I can just move onto the next adventure. A broken relationship, death, or confrontation can be so taxing on my soul but I have had the opportunity to see life as a second chance where these problems can be overcome. After having experienced the situation that; after months of pain, illness, insomnia and disability while in a hospital bed, I had to come to terms that I might be experiencing my last moment on this earth. In that moment I didn’t give a shit about my car, my bike, what I was wearing, or even what my favorite pet was doing. I cared about, and only cared about, that my family was at peace, my relationships were solid and that everyone knew I how much loved them and how much they meant to me in my life.
It took a moment of looming death to show me my true priorities, even when I thought I had my priorities figured out. When I had discovered family was what I would care about most in the end, not my ex- girlfriend, lost grandpa, or fights with my best friends. It empowered me to overcome those problems in life and still find the silver lining of the experiences I had with those people before the negativity. I appreciate how lucky I was to experience life with them for part of mine. When I was 18 I fell head over heels and pursued love without regard or knowledge that just as much as love makes you feel amazing, it will blind you and hit you just as hard with the opposite feelings when the love is gone or changes form. Heartbreak felt so crushing and impossible to climb out of the first time. I lost who I was, what I wanted, and those plans that were no longer going to happen hurt and hurt in a way I had never felt. Those feelings sacred me from love, even the word was impossible to say. It was until I was faced with death in a hospital bed, after giving every possible ounce of strength and digging my deepest to defeat a pain and exhaustion without result and I was ready to close my eyes for the final time that I was shown love was great, and the sadness involved after was 100% worth it. Heartbreak as much as it felt at the time, was not the worst thing that could happen to me, there are much worse things out there but damn it took a lot to get me to see that statement as true.
Being faced without being able to bike for the week, I did the only rational thing to do…Went on a biking road trip! (Yep I’m really smart sometimes) But it was to a city filled with social opportunity and close friends. I tried my best to stay off my leg, only tried one double backflip and learned only one new trick (Gosh I need to smarten up sometimes) and used the weekend to experiment introducing myself and meeting new people. Instead of looking at someone’s Facebook profile or asking my friends what so and so was up to, I went straight to the source and asked the person. My life is solid, I have a great support system, there is no reason rejection or someone being disrespectful and making me take a second look at my life and actions will result in sadness. I have nothing to lose but everything to gain. I introduced myself multiple times to complete strangers and jumped on every awkward feeling I could come across. By not being shy I met an entire team of doctors and cardiologists and played beach volleyball with them, among great conversation about health, met a therapist who was able to really discuss social problems in my community, stopped a person in a crowd and learnt about their life and moved on (something impossibly scary to me) I hit a few snags with people who were not interested in conversation, but not everyone has to be, that was fine. Rejection didn’t hurt, it wasn’t bad. I don’t care if I was judged beforehand or after, I will never know, it doesn’t matter even if I did.
Being single does broaden the range of people I felt comfortable introducing myself to and the places I went. I would never go to a club and introduce myself to someone on a dance floor if I had a girlfriend, my own morality would interrupt that, again the thought of a significant others laugh, smile, eyes, and impossibly attractive personality sitting at home would never make me even think of wanting to meet someone new anywhere. I guess I value one deep meaningful relationship over multiple semi deep relationships and limited intimacy.
I realized before I left my last relationship that intimacy was not even close to the reason I left or a problem, so I have not searched for it and instead concentrated on the other connections and let that follow if it feels right. I joined a dating website because it was a new experience that I had not tried and want to form my own opinion but it only took 2 days and about 15 instant messages to figure out that is not a place to build relationships. It’s a place to build sexually transmitted diseases and regret. If I was solely after short term intimacy I would not be practicing my social skills and developing myself into a better person. It is not wrong at all if that is what both people want or need, but I would rather have 4 intense bonds with women over my entire life than 40 names in a black book.
I feel that the best way to get to know someone is to have zero expectations or forethought about what you want, need or expect. Just listen to someone else’s life and go from there. People constantly manipulate and bend a conversation or experience to their personal goals with tricks, unsaid feelings, and hints. Fuck that. If you want to be my friend lets be friends, you need someone to complain to and problem solve, lets problem solve, if you want someone to connect with and build a relationship, than say so and let’s try. I get that these social games are common and fun but it is usually a social insecurity that creates these complex situations of hints, strategic words, body language and unsaid feelings. If I was real to myself like I am, why would I expect someone to know exactly what my needs are and how to play my feelings the right way to be successful in getting to know me? the only way you learn things is by trial and error, so the person that does finally play all the cards right and makes the right social moves, drops the right hints and acted the right way to unlock my conservativeness, has had so much experience from trial and error and completely hidden motives. They just knew how to play the game, because they have played the social game so much, meaning the person who I think I connected with, just check mated me ,and will move on to the next game like I was target practice.
I approach someone with as little judgment as I can possibly see as rational, expect nothing and let the mood and conversation lead the way, the games, hints, and unsaid feelings are left out or not acted upon. I look for true honesty, open book conversation, and innocence, those things will shine through. While hidden sexual, manipulative or judgmental motives will shine just as bright and make me move on. Getting to know someone doesn’t hurt, but letting 100 people you are curious about pass by will just occupy your mind with wasted thought and curiosity. So that person on your mind or that story you don’t know about or that interesting craftsmen you always wondered about, go say hi and be yourself. The relationship might end there or it might take you to a place you could never imagine. Sitting idly by and watching them from a far will never answer your curiosity. GO SAY HELLO!
P.S. That cute girl that you always thought had the perfect life probably has had the furthest thing away from one. The struggles they have overcome make them even more interesting, gorgeous, and impressive. But you will never know unless you ask!