Next weekend I’m scheduled to speak at Christopher Newport University. Ironically as I was brainstorming exactly what I should be talking about, my mother called to tell me that she was cleaning out her basement and had stumbled across my old diary (which I am sure made for good reading material for her.) I immediately retrieved my journal and settled in for a nice little trip down memory lane.
However, the trip was not nice, or little. Wow, how embarrassed was I to read the thoughts of my younger self. The first page was dated 1-15-97. I was twenty years old. Now, at thirty-one, my daily life consists of lots of things: my career, my family, my sister’s upcoming wedding. My work out goals, my eating habits, my friends. My book, my blog, and last but certain not least, my boyfriend. At twenty, there was only one thing I talked about. Nothing else existed, or at least was pressing enough to write about in my journal. It would seem I was solely consumed with BOYS.
Tell me I wasn’t the only boy crazy twenty year old? The funny thing is, I didn’t think I was boy crazy at the time. In fact, I mention several times in the diary how boy crazy every one else is! I think the worst part was the majority of my craziness was focused on two guys that were blatantly not interested in me. The first guy was a friend. Someone I worked with over the years and developed a strong relationship with. We spent lots of free time together and when he went back to school in New York, he’d call me all the time. The only thing that we never did, was hook up. I validated this in my head by saying he had too much respect for me and only hooked up with girls that he wanted to use for sex. I told myself that he secretly loved me and just wasn’t ready to take our relationship to that level. For three years I pined after this guy, made myself available for him, jumped at his every whim, and waited patiently for him to come around…which never happened.
The second guy was one of the hottest guys on campus. It took me an entire year to find out his name and exactly who he was. Nonetheless, I stopped breathing when he came within 50 feet of me. I couldn’t muster anything more than a “hi” when I saw him. And when I actually got the opportunity to date him, I completely blew it by getting too drunk (out of nervousness) and telling him how hot I thought he was.
I laugh and cringe looking back on these stories. Is it just me, or does everyone relate when it comes to college crushes? It seems that there are two lessons that I just didn’t grasp when I was younger. Lesson one: I didn’t know (or didn’t want to) read a guy’s buying signs. My guy friend was clearly not interested in me, and thought of me like the little sister he never had. Looking back now, and still knowing this person, I can say with 100% certainty, that he was NOT my type at all either. I was just so busy trying to figure out how to be his type, I never noticed that he was a bad fit for me. Second lesson, learned with the second guy, was that I somehow convinced myself I was enamored with someone I didn’t even know. Every time I saw this guy, and the rare occasions I talked to him, I completely lost my bearings. I wrote in my journal several times, “He walked by and said hi today. We looked at each other and kept our stare longer than last time. I know that he must feel this too. I know that he is the one for me. Why is this taking so long!” Years later I ran into this guy at a bar in DC. He was overweight and had lost his hair and his job. He got wasted and puked in the bathroom that night. If I had had any sense at all in college I’d realize that this guy was a poor sap dressed in wolves clothing. I built him up in my head to be some great thing. I never even questioned the fact that I didn’t really know him at all.
If I could go back and talk to my younger self I don’t think I’d be successful at trying to persuade me to focus on things other than boys. I don’t think I would listen if I said, “Hey, just concentrate on your school work and friends, and then the boys will come to you.” No, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. But I wish I could have gone back and told my younger self that if a guy doesn’t act interested, it’s because he’s not interested. And no means next. Find someone else. Don’t waste your time. Also, for the love of Pete, remember that you can’t be in love with someone that you have only spoken five words to. I think that is something I still see today. Women who go on one date and become completely obsessed with a guy. Don’t let yourself fantasize about who you think he is. Don’t make him something he’s not. I know I’ve come a long way since college. Thank goodness. What about you? What kind of lesson would you want to tell your college self? What hilarious, embarrassing, or down right disastrous story do you have about your college years. Come on, I showed you mine….