Leading the Way

I found him. I really think I have.

I always told myself that I would never let anyone in my life again.  I could never endure the pain that I felt, for I do not think my life could handle it once more. But here I am. Allowing my walls to fall, my armour collapses a little more each day.

I wasn’t searching for anyone; I wasn’t looking for him. I had my mind on the goal and thought nothing could steal my gaze. But he did.

I was invited to a byo at a Chinese restaurant on September 23 of 2017. Little did I know that event, that once seemed so insignificant, would change my life forever.

As the evening approached, I began to wonder if I should even go to the byo. Being the nervous new kid that just transferred universities, this place was so foreign and, at times, scary as hell. As the evening grew closer, I convinced myself to step out of my comfort zone and go to this byo where I knew no one. Plus, whats the worst that could happen? Little did I know.

I caught his eye the moment I walked in, unaware that he was in my group. I sat down at a table and introduced myself. The voices echoed in the background of my thoughts. Thoughts of wondering if I wore the right outfit, if I was supposed to laugh at that annoying joke, wondering how people even attempted to make friends around here. These people were not like me. The feeling of loneliness was hidden by my insistence of another jello-shot and trying to make conversation with everyone at the table.

By the end of the evening, I was able to remember a total of 3 people’s names, as that has never been my strong suit. At the end of the night, we realized that we needed to finish off the last of the boxed wine and for us, that was not an issue. That’s when I officially met him.

I filled my last glass to the brim, and he told me I have to finish it. Not romantic, I know. But that is how it all started. Little did I know the spike-haired, tan skinned, button-up pink plaid shirt with rolled sleeves, and polo shorts guy would be smiling at me. Maybe he was just fascinated by the Oklahoma accent that had not yet faded. It was the talk of the night for many people, but it seemed more than that with him.

As the restaurant closed, the remaining of us proceeded to the sidewalk outside. With my arm now linked with his, I asked everyone else where we were going now. I was not planning to have a late evening, but I was not about to let the night be over. As we chatted a little more, we were told about a party.

We ended up at the party and made our way to the best part, the beer pong table. Clearly intoxicated, we were giving the other team a run for their money. It eventually came down to 1-to-1, with the other team sinking the last cup. I was up next and if anyone knows a hard-headed gal from Oklahoma, you know there is nothing she hates more than losing. I take a couple of blinks to clear my vision and release; this was my last chance, the redemption cup. I should have known this was the start of a great future.

He goes on to sink the last cup, and we won. Boy did we win. We were unaware of how much we really won.

Afterward, we made our way downstairs to find the drinks. Drinks that were not needed, but why not? Music was blaring, and space was limited, pushing our way past every sticky and sweaty person. We were hand-in-hand as he led the way through the crowd.

We ended up with another drink in our hand and looking at each other as I placed his one free hand on my hips as we moved to the music that was unavoidable and interrupting every conversation. Final sips were taken, and the one thing happened that I never thought imaginable. Lips touched.

For many people, this is common occurrence for a college weekend. Not for me. Not for the girl that has yet to kiss a single guy all of college. Now a junior, the thought of kissing a guy seemed a million miles away. Not that I didn’t want that in my future, that just was not my focus. Not my priority at the moment.

It continued. I mean who stops at one kiss?

We ended up leaving to escape the sweat and smell and somehow ended up in my dorm. The kissing continued until it happened. Not the usual, my life is not usual. The noise one makes mid-kiss to prevent the proceeding. I do not think it was what he had expected. It’s not what most people expect after meeting a girl and making out with her at a party. Unwanting things to end, he was respectful of my wish. He proceeded to put his number in my phone, but I didn’t think he it would ever be used.

Somehow I convinced him to go to Fresh Grocer with me, the 24-hour grocery store across the street. He did not realize this was just a reason to get him out of my room. Not ready to get rid of him, but as a way to keep myself from allowing things to escalate between us. A way to stop myself, because he was oh so hot.

He walked to the grocery store with me and I had to think of something cheap to buy, not really needing anything. On our way back we stopped outside of my dorm. Take a guess as to what happened.

No surprise, we kissed a little bit more. The way his lips touched mine, I did not want to turn him away. As we parted ways, he promised he would text me. This was not a promise I expected him to keep. However, life does have a way of surprising us.

Earlier in the evening I had felt lonely and scared in a crowd full of people. Unable to find my way, unsure of who I am. While he does not define me, he does a beautiful job of complimenting me.

Still uncertain of where I am at and where I am going in life. Nervous and scared of what lies ahead. Now I have someone with whom to share those fears and uncertainties. To hold my hand along the way, leading the way into the crowd.


Falling for the Girl Who’s Taught Herself Not to Need Anyone

“This one is going to be different. I can promise you that. But I can also promise that you won’t ever be uninspired or bored – this is the girl who will change you, she won’t ever take your shit, and you’ll be a better man because of it.

She comes across as a paradoxical mix of outgoing but introverted, very social but seldom out. When you’re so used to not needing anyone, you know exactly who you are, and she’ll never fake anything because of it. This makes maintaining relationships a constant struggle for her. She’ll connect with many, and they’ll quickly feel comfortable with her, but it takes her a while to feel fully comfortable, so she can only take being around others incrementally.

This might frustrate you. There seem to be so many walls to break down. Just when you start to feel like you’re figuring her out – you find another piece to the puzzle that throws everything off. Be patient. She’s this tough because she had to be. Something happened that taught her to never need anyone. Someone she needed left before she was done needing them. But none of this will spill out easily. She’s extremely uncomfortable with other people seeing her vulnerable or in pain. Her emotions and pain are hers, and this is what she’s used to.

She’ll tell herself she doesn’t need you. She’ll make situations worse by trying to suppress her feelings about them. When you fall for the girl who’s used to not needing anyone, believe that she has more feelings and layers than she knows what to do with. Her instinct will be to try to compose herself. When she does open up to you, it’s everything. Being emotionally naked with someone is how she expresses her love.

She’ll know exactly who she is and what she wants. When you’re used to not needing anyone, you do what you want, when you want, and without asking permission or informing anyone. She loves this part of her identity, but she secretly wants you to confront her. She’s hoping that sometimes, you’ll put your foot down, and challenge her stubborn ways.

She’s strong, maybe even too strong for you at first. Don’t let this fool you. This is her outer shell. Her armor. She is so used to taking care of herself that it’s going to be hard for her to let someone else in. It took a lot of work to get to where she is: Independent, taking no shit and being happy on her own. She’s afraid to let you in because she’s afraid of what will happen if you might leave.

I can promise you it won’t be easy, she’ll hang on to her walls for as long as she can. She will be enigmatic. She will always want things her way, and she’ll fight you when she doesn’t get it.

She’ll even try to push you away. This is how she protects herself.

But when you really get to know her, she’ll be the girl who will change your life. Don’t always give in to her, but be patient with her. She’s strong, but she’s also scared – scared of love, scared of needing someone, and definitely scared of you.

Because even if she says she doesn’t need you, at her core she is just a girl who has more love than she knows what to do with.”

By Anna Bashedly