When we last left our heroine, she was worried about, well, everything. For the back story, read part one.
I'm pretty superstitious.
My belief in superstitions come from my grandma and my mom. My grandma believed it was bad luck to wash one's hair on a Friday; she always had to exit a building through the same door which she entered; and she believed that going out with wet hair meant one would get pneumonia and die - even in the middle of summer. My mom invokes every saint she knows of during a lightning storm (or a snow storm, or when she's driving or baking a cake and sometimes when she's watching Wheel of Fortune or cussing out my dad). Some of my superstitions have become subconscious habits. For instance, when I'm driving and I pass through a yellow light, I automatically knock on my window twice for good luck. I make a wish when the clock reads 11:11 and I always trace a cross on a baby's forehead lest I give it mal de ojo (the evil eye). These little quirks are just part of my daily routine and I don't even notice them anymore. I would prefer that my superstitious nature ends there, but sadly, it does not.
Without a doubt, most of my superstitions are tied to my love life. When I was in middle school, I would decide whether or not a crush "had feelings for me" based on the next song that would play on the radio. When the right song didn't play, I would pull for the best two out of three, which would lead to three out of five, seven out of ten and so forth until Weak by SWV came on - then I had my answer. Thankfully, I've outgrown that belief but I still find myself being superstitious when it comes to relationships. I have always found myself unwilling be happy about a relationship until I am absolutely sure that things are going well. I have convinced myself that talking about a relationship, sharing my happiness or allowing myself to relax will result in utter and total despair.
In recent years, I have worked very hard to try and get past this fear. I have written before that the fear of being happy is something that I have had to overcome and I am acutely aware of the fact that fear continues to be a struggle for me. Awareness if half the battle and while I don't enjoy being afraid, I am able to confront it. If you've been following my blog, then you know that my fear of getting hurt in a relationship is one of my greatest fears. Sometimes, I don't have the energy to confront it and believing in superstitions is how I compensate for my fear.
Take my current situation for example. I've called him The Possibility, my Compañero (companion), the Man and even came up with a list of euphemisms for him (my favorite one being "you know that guy that goes to the poetry night? Yeah, him."). F., as he will now be known, is a great guy. We have a good thing going - we're supportive of each other, we make each other laugh and I can tell him anything. I feel safe with him in a way that I've never allowed myself to feel safe before. I have never had open honest conversations with a man the way I do with him, and as I wrote last week, sometimes it scares the shit out of me.
On Valentine's night we had a low-key evening (neither of us had any interest in waiting three hours for a table in a crowded restaurant, so we went to a pizza place) and spent most of the evening ripping on the horrible music they were playing. Our conversation eventually led into what we want from our undefined lump resembling a relationship, during which F. non-nonchalantly informed me that he calls me his girlfriend.
I'm sorry, his what?
His girlfriend. I was floored - not because I didn't want to be his girlfriend, but because I didn't realize that we were boyfriend/girlfriend. Call me old fashioned, but he hadn't asked me to wear his Letterman's sweater nor had he asked me to the Winter Formal, therefore I didn't call him my boyfriend. In all actuality, I didn't call him my boyfriend because I didn't want to jinx things. Every time my mind wandered over to the thought of F. as my boyfriend, I changed the subject - I literally forced myself to think of something else. I was afraid that if I called him my boyfriend (or even thought it) without discussing it with him first, then things were going to go badly between us.
My fears aren't new and have nothing to do with F. or the way he treats me. Those fears surface anytime I'm dating someone. The difference between other situations and this one is the way in which I deal with it. In the past, I would have hounded him for reassurance - I would have hurled accusations that he was acting different or being "weird" about us all in the hopes that he would soothe my fears. I would feel better for a very short time, then I would need another dose of reassurance and the ugly cycle would continue. I am not going to do that to F. or to myself. I respect him too much to play games, and I have worked too hard at chasing away my demons and I am NOT going to slip back into toxic behaviors. My insecurities stem from my own issues and they are not his to fix. F. is not responsible for my happiness nor am I responsible for his.
I find that when I am feeling especially heightened (which is a therapy term for freaked out), I do things like read my love horoscope for a sign that everything is okay and I'm even tempted to play the "next song will tell me..." game - which means I'm acting like a 13 year old girl as opposed to a 33 year old woman who is in charge of her life. When I let the 33 year old take charge, I don't have to rely on superstition to tell me what to do. I know that I am a complete individual and having a boyfriend is great, but it doesn't define the whole of my existence. We add to each other's happiness, but we don't take away from it. When any of us in this world is happy on our own terms, no one can take that from us.
I am finally facing my fears. I meditate on them, write about them, cry about them, talk about them and now I feel like I am getting to the other side of the insecurity - I've almost made it to the shore, so to speak. I'm not afraid that I am going to jinx anything with my boyfriend - or compañero or the Man or simply F. Although the label is now out there (I even changed my Facebook* relationship status), we are still exactly who we were five seconds before he uttered the word girlfriend: two people who like each other and enjoy each other's company. We aren't moving in together, planning a wedding or picking baby names. We simply exist in the moment. This 33 year old woman is enjoying her time with him, regardless of which song plays next on the radio.
Next time: Bully
*My changed Facebook status created a media frenzy. A friend even asked if the blog is now going to end and my answer is this: no way. There is still so much to write about and I'm keeping the title - but if you notice, I altered it - and I wasn't even afraid to do so.