The time that I actually got scared on a date

Here’s the thing about dating.

It sucks. I loathe dating. It is a huge game, and I don’t get games. I just don’t. I don’t get when people say one thing and do another – why don’t we settle into mutual like? Of the dating world, though, online dating is the worst. It’s super judgemental, it’s full of dudes looking to just get laid, and if you don’t answer the way that some of men expect you to, they get confrontational. I can’t tell the amount of times I’ve been called “whore” because I wouldn’t agree to a one night stand (Side note to these gentlemen – being a whore is the PRECISE OPPOSITE of refusing to hookup). My theory about the whole thing is that it’s easier to be an asshole when you are anonymous. It’s easy to judge people when you don’t know their names, or their stories. I’m guilty of it too – you have kids over 18? Nope. You don’t have a car, and do drugs? Sorry, but no. Your first message includes any reference to how arousing you find my photos? I’m not that kind of girl. I try not to judge – but it happens. That shield of anonymity makes it easy to judge, if that’s your game.

Anyways, I online date. For a variety of reasons (I’m busy, I’m shy, I don’t know where to meet people, blah blah blah). And I have found that I am a fairly good judge of character with this medium. It takes a lot of messages, but more often than not, I meet nice men. Not necessarily great matches for me, but they are kind, and sweet, men. So, this past week, I was messaged by a man on a dating site. It was a well composed message, thoughtful message. I briefly checked the photos and profile – cute, no red flags. So we start chatting. Lots in common, no curse words (let alone sexual references, which is a rarity). After a few days, he asks to meet me. I agree, because I’m feeling that it’s a good fit.

We agree on a time, and a place. I tell my safety person where I’m going, with who (I send his photo and his phone number), and I tell her that I’ll call as soon as I am done. Call me crazy, I’ve always had a first online date like this. I also tell my lovely work mates about this date, and they recommend that we come up with a “safety phrase” – something I can text them to ensure that it’s me, and not a serial killer who is wearing my skin and texting from my phone. So we agree on one, while I’m laughingly assuring them that I don’t need a safety phrase, and off I go.

I arrive about a half an hour early, right outside of the Moxie’s at Kingsway Mall. Since it was sunny, and I’d lost my sunglasses, I decide to go for a quick walk to see what I can find. My phone buzzes about 5 minutes into my walk.

“You’re more beautiful in person than I could imagine. See you shortly.”

I quickly look up, and scan my area. No one in my vicinity looks like the photos from the site, or the selfies that he sent – is he stalking me? My work buddy calls me to tell me to “abort”. I, stupidly, decide that he’s likely nervous, and meet him anyways. Because we all get nervous, right? And we do stupid shit when we get nervous.

I show up, and there is a gift on the table. And he immediately starts gushing about how beautiful I am, and how his mother thinks the same, and how great my hips are for birthing. Wait, what? Again, I brush it off as nerves, and we order our drinks. I order a Radler, and he orders white wine. “I got the woman’s drink, and she gets the can”, he jokes with the server. At this point, I can only notice on his half missing, rest rotten front tooth. I notice teeth – mine came with years of braces and surgeries, so I notice. It’s safe to say that he’s misrepresented himself online- his profile photos show a full head of hair, a full set of teeth. This person has neither. We start chatting, and we share war stories from our years of customer service. The first major red flag comes when he brings up his observations as a Walmart worker – mainly, how he noticed how single mothers would buy Happy Meals, leave their 8 to 12 year old children to eat, and do their shopping without the kids. He starts ranting that single mothers should be sterilized before they have any more children, and how HIS taxes pay for these useless creatures. I don’t know that it’s too my credit or not, but my bitchy face shut him up immediately. I can tell you that I took pleasure informing him that my best friend is a single mother. It made him look like he wanted to crawl under the table.

I told him to change the subject, and we started to talk about something else. I have a gross feeling at this point, but I decide to finish my drink. He then starts telling me about his past relationship – she took everything, he says, and he doesn’t have a license, a vehicle, or a couch. “But don’t worry,” he chuckles. “I’m not one of those homeless losers. Homeless people should be set on fire.”

A stunning silence falls. I finish my drink in one gulp. He stammers that I’m so beautiful, and he’d like another chance because his “mommy” won’t forgive him if he fucks it up with me. He even knows about my work, he says. It turns out that my first name alone in Google autofinishes to my last name – making a Google search simple. There are my social media accounts, thankfully mostly locked down. My LinkedIn isn’t, so he can see where I work. My volunteer hours, newscasts of me – everything is there, he tells me. And now, he is asking with panic in his eyes, when he can see me again.

At this moment, I was gripped with fear. Intense, paralyzing fear, fear like I don’t understand and have never experienced. I am genuinely afraid of this man. I’m afraid because he knows my first and last name. I’m afraid because he is clearly not mentally stable, and he clearly is into me. I’m afraid this man will hurt me if I tell him the truth – that I’d rather cut off my hands and pull out my eye teeth than ever see him again. So, I lie. I tell him that I need to check my calendar, and I flee. The cherry on top was that he kept my pace, we burst into the parking lot and all of a sudden, I hear a woman screech – “KISS HER YOU FUCKING IDIOT!” Of course, because this jackass doesn’t drive, his best friend is waiting for us in the parking lot.

My final words on this date were “If you touch me, I’ll break your goddamn nose.” Classy, I know.

I have to say – as I started writing this post, I was really amused by this whole event. I found it hilarious, in fact. I’ve had bad dates and awesome dates and dates that were OK, but I try to find a silver lining in them all. But now, I’m filled with dread. My name is so unusual that Google can fill in the blanks. Do I lie about my name in the initial message, and hope he overlooks the reason why I lied when we meet? I already have a very low tolerance level for bull shit, so now I’m on heightened security. What’s the limit to “run”? Is it jealousy? Is it anger? Is it simply the heeby jeeby feeling? What is the acceptable point of “I need to get out of here”? Needless to say, Friday put me off of dating. Indefinitely. I am so uneasy with what happened – how could I have missed such a fucked up person? How could that person have gotten past my usually good judgement?

In either case. I texted my safety word to my work friends, and my safety friend as soon as I got home. And then I drank raspberry beer with my roommate, who delivered this wise line about dating (and friendship, in general): “If you want to find some quality friends you have to get through all the dicks first”. Good advice, roomie.

The aftermath, the green grass & the bravery that follows.

Af-ter-math (noun). The consequences or aftereffects of a significant unpleasant event, or new grass growing after mowing or harvest.

Interestingly enough, both definitions feel true at this moment in my life. I have noticed that the last two years of my life (this ended in January 2015) have been one unpleasant event after another- when I broke my heart, my body broke at the same time (perhaps my lesson for trying to literally outrun a broken heart). So I’m dealing with stress fractures in my feet (goodbye, high heels), painful physio sessions (who knew that a knee injury could blow up your ankles, hips, and pelvis?), visits to specialists… ugh. I have one more appointment this year, and physio sessions until who knows when (although, I’ll admit the exercises from the physio are rather… progressive). But, since my heart is all healed up, I have nothing but hope (and sheer determination) for the body to follow.

The good part of the defintion – the new grass. The new growth, the new beginning.

It’s been a little more than a month since the Get Your Glow On Challenge has ended. I won a free month of yoga to Noorish for my efforts, and have been attending as often as I can. I also signed up to be a karma yogi – I’ll be volunteering one night a week and getting free unlimited yoga in return. Which is SO EXCITING!!!! I can’t say enough good things about that studio, and how happy my heart is as soon as I walk in the door. Also, free yoga! At my happy place!!

I have to admit, though – I miss the Challenge. I miss the weekly calls, I miss the comradery of the people pushing to hold poses, fighting to make all of the classes. I’ve found that the little voices that I gained during the challenge have been silenced slightly, that it’s easier to succumb to the cravings (especially for a cold beer on hot days. Mmmmmm cold patio beer). That said – the sweet little voice who reminds me that I’m choosing convenience over health is still loud, and is there every single day.

One of the hardest parts of being done the Challenge, though, is the dating. Because I set a deadline to start dating as soon as the challenge was over – I am spending time with people who don’t understand this new space I’m in. While they think it’s awesome that I am so invested to my practice, they also seem to think that it’s secondary. That I will pick them over my practice. When I tell someone that I can’t see him because I have yoga, I’m often met with stunned silence. So there is that. However, there is also this:

yes

I have learned how to stand up for my practice, and by extension, myself. And last night, after a particularly delicious dinner with some of my favourite humans, I went to yoga. And it was glorious. As I was standing there balancing, I’m sure I could hear my heart singing – I was overwhelmed by love and respect for this little vessel, and so happy that I have learned how to put myself first. I still can’t say enough good things about Noorish, and the GYGC. I can’t believe how happy I am. And how much I really love myself – my body is getting stronger and glowing more, my mind is able to deal with the things that used to make me panic. Mission Self Love is solidly under way.

This whole journey is something that I wish I would have taken when I was at the last job – when I was dealing with almost daily panic attacks, when I was not sleeping, when my relationships with my loved ones and myself were crumbling around me. I wonder what would be different if I had changed my life years ago. I fought my fate for so long – fought myself, fought the love in my life.

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting someone who made me think about fate a little differently. I don’t really remember a lot of what was discussed over the two days I was around him (I’ll add here that I have never met someone who made me so nervous I literally COULDN’T meet his eyes, even though I wanted to. Whoa. That has never happened to me, ever. There was also blushing. Lots of blushing. FFS.), but I recall our quick discussion about fate. He is a fatalist – everything happens because that’s the way it was destined to, and where you are in your life is because IT WAS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN.

There have been moments since I finished the Challenge that it would have been easy to slide back into old habits, into what I once saw as my fate. Moments were it would have been easier to stay in bed over getting up to go to yoga. Days that lunch would be easier purchased than made at night. I had a panic attack at the new job one memorable day – I can’t tell you how easy it would have been to surrender that day. How simple it would be to succumb to my addictions – back to coffee every day, back to processed sugar. It would be infinitely easier than fighting for myself.

I so disagree that fate happens to us. I do not believe in destiny. I am here. In this room. In this body. Living this journey. And I’m here because I paved this road, brick by brick, all by myself (and with help from the people I love, and trust, the most). I believe that we are given infinite choices – we have every single possibility available to us. And we get to choose our own adventures. I am sitting in this room because I chose to move to Perth, chose to go back to university for a diploma, chose the law firm, chose the man I loved more than life, chose to break my heart, chose to fight for my happiness, chose to run injured, chose to leave the international corporate route for local not-for-profit, chose to learn to love myself. I choose. I will always choose. I truly believe that you get to pick your fate, if you’re brave enough to fight for it and strong enough to never give up. After meeting this man, I can say that I looked at the idea of fate as it relates to my life in this very moment. I meditated on it, lots.

As Merida said: “Some say our destiny is tied to the land, as much a part of us as we are of it. Others say fate is woven together like a cloth, so that one’s destiny intertwines with many others. It’s the one thing we search for, or fight to change. Some never find it. But there are some who are led…There are those who say fate is something beyond our command. That destiny is not our own, but I know better. Our fate lives within us. You only have to be brave enough to see it.”

And yes. I just quoted a Disney Princess.

Happy Wednesday. Remember to love and honour yourself today.