I recently went on a date with a man I found phenomenal….Like quite literally the perfect guy.
Now as I write that I had to give myself a reality check of his *totality*…he was in fact unemployed, living with housemates, and almost 11 years older than me…but the connection and emotional maturity masked any “negative” I could think of. He wasn’t even my preferred type physically. He was on the smaller side, maybe 2 inches taller than me and had a funny walk.
I was still so into him.
I noticed by the second date I was feeling really self conscious around him. It probably didn’t help that he gave me a walking tour of Stanford (his alma mater) and that he went to Harvard for undergrad.
But I was no longer my carefree, say dumb shit and don’t care type of girl. I was stumbling on my words and worried about what he thought of me.
It was a 180 from the first video call and 1st date where I was more in my element and carefree.
I was wondering what was going on.
Why did I feel the need to impress him so much?
I realize that during our second date, he was talking a lot about things I *thought* I should know about…like history, politics, and world famous artists.
Why should I know all this?
Well I studied it for goodness sake. My undergrad was essentially politics and my masters was human rights, I knew so much about the middle east, current affairs, and I lived in France for 2 years crying out loud. I was surrounded by art, history, and philosophy.
I felt immense guilt and shame for not understanding most of what he was talking about.
I ruminated on it….why am I so dumb? He’s not going to like me. I have nothing to offer. He needs a smart woman, not me. I can only connect with dumb people, like me.
The voice was craaaaaazy….
Guess what I did the next day after the date?
I called him to tell him how inadequate I felt (oh brother).
Now…before you judge me, I actually do not regret doing that.
Even though I probably could’ve waited another day to collect my thoughts, I felt proud of telling my truth.
I did not blame him for a thing (what could I blame him for? being smart? lol)
I didn’t even want his sympathy.
I just wanted to tell him where I was at mentally and that there’s no problem to fix here. I’m simply a human who’s working on improving my self esteem (like every other person).
It felt authentic to me. And I actually felt better after saying it.
What I DID do what discuss my jumbled thoughts with my own coach. (yes, even coaches need coaches)
My insecurity stemmed from no longer knowing a lot of the stuff I once did.
But I thought I should.
In reality, my focused shifted.
Instead of knowing a lot about the world outside me (international affairs) I now know so much about the inside (our thoughts and feelings and goal setting). I haven’t given myself the grace of truly embracing this shift.
My brain so easily went to “not good enough” “I’m a dumbass” “let me hide or seem like I’m smart too when I really didn’t feel like it”
During the date that was the main narrative and it made me feel hollow and unworthy.
After working with my coach and doing my own work on this, I started asking myself better questions.
Why should I know the extent of what I once did even when it was so long ago?
What would it look like if I showed up around him unfiltered (like I do with friends)?
What am I so worried about him thinking of me?
Do I want a man who loves the pretend me or the real, authentic me?
Btw, real authentic me never has to dumb anyone else down to feel good about herself.
I can always be curious, fascinated, or interested in other people’s topics of discussion EVEN if I don’t know much about it.
It doesn’t effect my worth as a human.
This is why my dating journey is my journey to self love.
Loving every part of me that’s now and every part of me that once was.