Battle Scars

Vivere was wonderful and did her introduction first. Thank you Vivere! I might have suggested this blog, but actually putting down my dating issues onto the general internets is effing scary. Like sitting, baseball flying at your face when you have no bat and are surrounded by angry mother grizzly bears scary.

But hey, I figure if there is any appropriate place to share such hangups (besides with a therapist), then it’s on a blog about writing erotica under a shameless pseudonym.

Right? Right. Here goes, internets.

When I was in high school I played sports, and one of these sports gave me all kinds of bumps, scrapes, and bruises. Specifically the skin on my shins would get torn and bloody frequent enough that I acquired a good number of scars. In this world of photoshopped beauty, I found I loved my torn-up shins; they proved that I could take a hit, come back, and win state and national championships. See these scars? They belong to a girl who didn’t back down from a challenge. These scars belong to a boss-ass bitch who shed literal blood, sweat, and tears to sing “We Are the Champions” with a gold medal around her neck.

They’re my battle scars.

I’d like to say that my attitudes towards my shin scars trickle over to the rest of my life, but in recent years I’ve realized that I’m less of a boss-ass bitch and more of the girl who throws in the towel. Truth be told I’m not sure if that means I’m wiser, tired, or just simply more cowardly, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. You might not be able to physically see those scars when I wear short-shorts, but they’re there.

I don’t have an issue with physical intimacy, but I DO have a very serious issue with emotional intimacy. Funnily enough, this means that I don’t date very often, because with dating comes feelings. Ain’t nobody got time for FEELINGS!

Unlike Vivere, I don’t have the excuse of having incredible mental control over my body and denying my attractions for any reason. I knew I was attracted to men since I was five and rooting for Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, followed by Captain Chang from Mulan, followed by Worf on Star Trek the Next Generation. I love men, manly men. To me there is nothing more erotic than kissing a man with his fingers through my hair or laying on his chest after headboard-rattling sex.

My first boyfriend taught me all of this. He also taught me what it felt like when the man I loved cheated (with at least five different women) while calling me every night to tell me he loved me.

And I’m a rape survivor.

My brain eviscerates me daily by telling me I’m a “fucking idiot, always have been, always will be” and that I have a difficult personality that makes me difficult to be matched with.

My brain’s a jerk, and unfortunately (see above issues with men) there is enough life evidence to give that voice weight.

Long story short, the issue I deal with most in dating is merely accepting the fact that a man could both want to sleep with me AND love me. I can believe that a man wants to sleep with me. I believe that a man can love me.

Can a man do both at the same time? FUCK NO! DANGER! RED ALERT! RUN AWAY!

The cake is a lie!

My previous relations with men have left me bloody and scarred, like my shins. In college I had sex with a guy friend with no intentions of pursuing a relationship. When we had finished he asked me to stay the night, because he enjoyed sleeping with the girl he was sleeping with. (Man that’s confusing.) We’d fallen asleep together before and we’d had sex before, but we’d never done both on the same night.

I agreed, hesitantly, and cuddled with him for perhaps five minutes, trying desperately to keep my breathing under control. My heart was pounding in my ears, and I felt like I wanted to claw my way out of my skin and bolt.

Several years prior I had woken up to the man who raped me touching my hip, looking down at the floor to find my clothes, finding my spare condom gone, and having only a few seconds worth of memory of what happened. The man touching me was someone I had once called friend.

What I hate the most about him was that, years later, he made me so afraid of falling asleep next to someone I really did trust that I couldn’t even rest five minutes with him before saying, “I’m so sorry. I can’t stay.”

It’s a little hard to date when your knee jerk reaction is that male friends will abuse you and lovers will lie about loving you. If that’s the case, what’s the point of even trying?

Not trying to date is a really great way of not getting hurt again.

It’s not so great if you actually WANT a relationship.

I checked myself into a psychology office this past year and asked for both therapy and an antidepressant. I was really lucky to find a wonderful psych (I don’t like either shrink or therapist) that pinpointed my issues of self-talk (remember how my brain is a jerk?), and introduced me to both cognitive and meditative-based therapies. The difference this combination of things makes in my life is phenomenal. Full stop.

After the meds and many long conversations with Vivere, I was listening to some of the women at my work talking about Tinder. Everyone LOVED hearing weird Tinder stories, and two of them talked about why they were even on the app to begin with. Both were divorced, one with kids, and despite horrible stories husbands leaving after five years they were still getting back out into the dating world.

And enjoying it – the weirdos!

I sat back in my chair and was struck by a thought. Other women have had horrible pasts with men, and other women have had much worse to deal with than I have. If these women can still find it in themselves to go out and date despite all their heartaches, maybe it’s time I need to take a lesson from my championship battle scars and reacquaint myself with my inner boss-ass bitch.

Armed with meds, treatment, and a friend to get ice cream with when things go haywire (thanks Vivere!), I want to try dating again.

I see this blog as those office tinder stories, of having a place to sit down and share triumphs and broken hearts alike. My hope is that sharing this emotionally raw journey might help someone else out there feel less alone when dealing with what Vivere and I are tackling. Vivere is the dog-loving lesbian who’s figuring out what attraction really means, and I, Nova, am the cat-loving straight girl who’s convincing herself she can be loved because of her scars, not despite them.

Scars are beautiful. They prove you’re the kind of person that survives.

Welcome to the Dating Diaries.

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