I got all panicked, anxious and crazy yesterday. I don't know why. Perhaps it's the cough I have sitting in my throat threatening to spread down into my chest and then the fear of not being able to breathe properly when I lie down. It's just that every time I tried to work, to do something productive, I felt like it wasn't happening. I berated myself because I needed to be productive, yet here I was poised and ready to leap onto the keyboard to complete the many tasks I needed to do and I couldn't work up enough energy to do any of it.
The more I worried about it, the more anxious and crazy I became. The more time I spent trawling through websites that wouldn't help me and looking for answers in inspirational things people in the past have said. What I really should have done is stopped working for the day, thrown in the towel there and then to take a step back. Instead of trying to push myself forward when I just wasn't going anywhere or making any progress.
I often look at mothers. I have a whole board dedicated to mothers on my Pinterest (sorry I'm being a hipster) that's how much they fascinate me. I can't remember what I thought about mothers before I became one, I honestly can't. I think I thought they were brave for going through childbirth, sometimes multiple times, and then brave for spending 24/7 with their children, often times without husbands to help or doing it on their own (yes there are single dads and stay-at-home dads out there, but we're talking mothers today.)
It's the same way I viewed sex and relationships. Yeah, bare with me on this one and I promise not to divulge anything explicit. It's just... way before you are married, say you are ten years old, old enough to understand the biology of how babies are made and the mechanics of how a woman gets pregnant and you're in this weird transitional phase of semi-understanding the changes in your body and the changes around you; mostly the difference in the way people speak to you, how they treat you (mostly awkwardly because you're not this cute toddler/6 year old anymore.) It's that curious time in your life where you so desperately want to cling onto playing with dolls and requesting a toy tea set for your Christmas but you really, really want to grow up as well, to open up this world of discovery and just be a part of this adult world you see grown-ups around you moving in, yet you're not a part of the child world or the adult world so you have a rose coloured view of what the adult world is like.
At 10 years old I knew more than my peers about these biological and mechanical goings on in the adult world. Children of my age, and perhaps a year or so older, seemed to know very little. It made me feel weird, awkward, perverse even. And what was worse was that I actually started to like people. Boys. I don't think I ever had a crush on a girl or had a question mark next to my straight sexuality. I just always knew I liked boys.
At 10 obviously I was very much too young to engage in a relationship with a boy - the ones at church were okay, but they were all my friends, sort of like family, you know? And to be honest I didn't see myself in a relationship. I remember when I turned 12, it was a strange time for me. Boys...they liked me. And it was super duper awkward for me because I might like them, but I wouldn't date them. Despite this, I was asked several times on dates, friends brothers would speak to me on the phone (the most awkward thing in the world), asked to school dances, asked to be several people's girlfriend (the worst thing you could ask me at 12.)
Well, one time, I was asked to be someone's girlfriend and for once I actually really liked this person. It is mortifying what I did next and even at my age of 26 I'm still mortified and really want to apologise to this person (but I'm just too embarrassed to do that!) if I ever meet them again - which isn't going to happen, of course.
So, I really liked this boy. He was very close to me; in my life and in my heart. I honestly considered him a very dear and true best friend and when I started to notice I had feelings for him...it was so weird. I remember the day I realised it. He was turning pages in a book (in a class) and suddenly I noticed the way his hands turned pages; something I hadn't noticed before but just melted me on that day. I felt really strange for liking that, but I couldn't shy away from one fact; I really liked him. It grew and grew to the point where everything he said and did was one big awww.
One of my friends had been talking with him and he decided he was going to pluck up the courage to ask me to be his girlfriend because I was giving a lot of signs that I liked him, too. Which was definitely a fair assessment and very astute of him, I must say. Well, as 12/13 year olds do (my friend was 13 at the time) she told me about the conversation with this boy. I really just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me, I was soooo embarrassed that anyone would have 'feelings' for me. I felt this panicky craziness wash over me and despite me really, really liking this boy I knew I had to say no to his question. Why? Well, because I am stupid. And I was 12 years old. And because me being his girlfriend? It wouldn't have elevated my social status. And yeah...that's pretty much the reason. Because I was a shallow, shallow and horrible 12 year old who, at times, cracked under peer pressure.
This friend hadn't exactly been very nice about delivering the ins and outs of the conversation with this boy to me (and to this day I'm mystified as to why he even confided in her.) And it was very clear she thought me and him together would be somewhat of a running joke. So, even though I really liked him, I wanted to fit in with people more. Which, more than anything, just hurt me a lot.
The problem is that I was making it obvious I liked him. We flirted, we had had some really deep conversations (as deep as 12 year olds can get) and I feel like I wore my heart on my sleeve with him - I wanted to make it obvious I liked him so that he'd show his interest and so I'd know. I didn't expect, or really want, anything more. It was too scary to think of it going beyond what we had and when we flirted, shared words and wore our hearts on our sleeves it was comfortable for me - it was my view on what a relationship should be. My rose coloured view, if you like.
Well, this boy, he had his conversation with me and it was so sweet. He made this whole speech about how he was so happy I liked him, that he wanted to do all these things for me and then he asked if I'd be his girlfriend. I said no and couldn't look at him because honestly in that moment I wanted to cry. I knew he wouldn't give me a second chance and to be honest I didn't even want to give myself a second chance. I'd done a really terrible thing. Something I regret even to this day. And I wish I knew how to say 'I'm really sorry for how I treated you all those years ago' to this person but I'm too much of a wimp to even do that, except...am I really? With Facebook and whatnot I could easily find this person and explain things but my worry is that I've held this guilt and these feelings for all these years and they had forgotten about it, that it caused me all this anxiety (to the point of eating me up on days like yesterday) for nothing.
We remained quite close friends for years after this incident, with about a year and a half of awkward silences when we were forced into groups together, but soon getting over this weirdness between us once he got a girlfriend. To this day I think me saying 'no' to him was the right decision, but I made that decision for the wrong reasons. I should have said no because I was 12 years old, didn't need a relationship to add complications to my life and because I wasn't mature enough to handle a relationship - I really, really wasn't. I was still secretly playing with my Barbies at 12 so a relationship plus all the other drama of my life at that age would have been a disaster. Also, this person knew my position on relationships - I didn't want to date until I was 16 - so a lot of the time I tell myself 'well they knew this and should have respected it' but it doesn't change my own crappy behaviour. I should have stopped to really think about what I wanted to do, then explained this to the boy. I shouldn't have left him at 'no', high and dry.
Also, this boy I said no to? He reminds me so much of Bryan it's unreal. Obviously Bryan is a better fit for me, we have a child together, are married and I'm older and wiser...but yeah. This boy is like Bryan and Bryan is like that boy I said no to all those years ago. And for the whole time we've been married there are times where this story comes and bites me on the bum and I just think 'I'm so glad I didn't know Bryan when I was 12. I'm glad he wasn't the person I said no to.'
So before I was faced with this awkward decision at this awkward age, I used to look from the outside in at relationships and think to myself 'people in relationships are brave.' And the thought of a relationship used to cause my heart to speed up (not in a good way) and my breathing to go shallow; that is not someone who is emotionally ready for a relationship. And at 12 I was not ready. But I still feel very guilty and anxious about the way I made my decision and the way I left things with this person.
If you recognise yourself from this story; I am sorry. I was a terrible person at 12, what can I say?