I'm a total introvert, as in, the Myers-Briggs test is 100% "I" for " Introvert" for me, and to think I've come out of my shell.
Come out of my shell....I have many report cards from childhood which dote on my intellect and sweet personality, but how I need to come out of my shell. It's nice in there, dammit!
I was so shy that I was seen as cold and reticent my freshman year of college... you know, college speak for bitch. Before college, I was also so very shy that I did not even get my first kiss until 17.
Do all introverts have a short list of dating partners? Cause I do. I still have never (and since I am married, never will...) been on just a date, you know, cute Billy asks you out and you go on a date and eat at Applebees, or Jill sets you up with her cousin Jay and you go out for coffee, or whatever. I've never been on a flippant type date or "dated" someone causally for say, two "dates". Never.
I date long-term. Kinda with the intent to marry, but then don't we crazy women all kinda have that thought? Remember writing your name, in a heart, in fancy handwriting, with your new last name (that cute boy in third period who doesn't know you exist, but Lilly Haversham sounds so much fancier than your current name of Lilly McSnuffles). But my intent to marry was more fatalist, as in, I'm so invisible to men that this guy is it, it is him or being a crazy old maid forever.
So I dated a Canadian for over a year, no actual set in place plans to marry, but we were steady and serious and I just knew that even though he wasn't physically attractive and refused to move to the USA and was a total stoner, it was as good as it gets, so be it.
Then there was the totally awesome fun....umm....wait...no...manic depressive alcoholic who showed his very bad side once I was already entranced in the love net. But hey, chances for love are so seldom, gotta stick with it, right? Until I realized after hitting rock bottom too many times that this was a codependent relationship from hell.
So I signed off relationships all together, old maid I would be, some idyllic nomad, a free-lance National Geographic cultural anthropologist. Screw it.
I mean, it is so hard to find a date, long term or short. Sure it seems easy, flirt with opposite sex (or same, hey we are progressive, more on that in a moment) and date. But for an introvert (add in some anxiety disorder, too) and it is like this huge maelstrom of hell, of what ifs, second guessing, conversations in your head that you plan out and never execute.
So in my new found "freedom", and a car, I travelled the local area just....being. I was a poor college kid with nowhere to go, on purpose.
One day, the lesbian couple who ended up in the non-super-hippy dormitory as my dorm neighbors for a week, showed up at my door looking like deer in headlights, teary eyed, "the college screwed up and put us here, we are scared", as if I had a solution. I told them it would be fine, and hey, since my roommate was not here yet and I knew their room had a bed with bedsprings poking out (It was my room the prior year), they could switch it for the better bed of my missing roommate (who was holed up in a hospital, addicted to vicodin, after she got in a car accident on the way to Coachella, back when it was an underground rave destination).
So the college figured it all out, and the couple moved to the hippy dorm and my druggie roommate got the pokey bed. Later on, one of the lesbians said hey want to go to an art exhibit with us and some friends? I'm an art nerd, and when I heard where it was, I was all in.
The art exhibit was at this coffee shop about 30 minutes away that I had gone to once in high school, when my mom had to go to County Records down the road and I decided to wander downtown instead. It had artisan coffees, French pastries, a little coffee shop library, cushy chairs, and an art gallery. I was in love. It was just like my favorite city, Portland, Oregon, inside....a place for modern beatniks and weirdos, intellectuals and foodies to kick back and relax. So when I was invited to go back I was like yes please!
So a group of college kids and I toured the basement gallery, I got inspired, and then we had some coffee and pastries. And then....one of the girls in the "couple" said hey, that girl over there is checking you out. The lesbian-I-sorta-knew's partner began to side-eye me like I was trash.
That's when I realized holy moly, this was a gay coffee bar (hey I; was from a small town I was sheltered and naive) and the one girl was both trying to set me up with a date and flirting with me. Talk about awkward, and, man, I couldn't get a man to even look my way (unless he was a toothless senior citizen pappy or transgender Filipino, the only kinds that seemed to like me) but here I was with two lesbians crushing on me. Whoa. So I had to politely decline, and soon as I finished my coffee (hello, it was delicious!) I got the heck out of there. Looking back, it was such a Portlandia episode.
Back to dating....so..I was going to be an old maid. I even signed up to teach English in Japan, to just jump head-first into a nomadic old maid lifestyle (and be able to afford it). Meanwhile, I had a group of college friends who kept my mind off my fatalistic nomadic adventures, friends to just hang out with, guys, gals, whatever. Even a guy friend who was best friends with one of my best male friends from high school. This friend of a friend had good beer and even occasionally tossed fast food my way; not my food of choice but when you live off of $20 a week, you take any food you can get.
So one sunny day, I drove to L.A. to finish up my paperwork to teach in Japan. I got lost in downtown (101,110, I-10 all different directions can play hell on you if a)you're a bit dyslexic b) from a town without even a stoplight) ...I barely made it. But I did. After my meeting, all that was left was a recommendation letter and physicians form, and they would send me my info on where I would teach and one last final signature would send me on my way. But something held me back. Partially, the anxiety-ridden what ifs, I mean, Japan has volcanos and earthquakes! Partially, this je ne sais quois that held me back. In my fatalistic darkness, there was this kind of warm but faint little pull, nearly indiscernible, that glimmered hope and happiness yet I couldn't put my finger on it.
So, I stayed. I never signed that last form. And I kind of sat back and waited, for what, I did not know.
A few months later, I found myself trying to avoid dating that friend of a friend, because, I was done with people. But that little warm fuzzy pull kept getting stronger and suddenly...
...well, a few months after that, I started dating that friend of a friend.
And now we have been married almost eleven years.
And I'm not settling.
But I still do have a nomadic spirit. I even wonder sometimes, as I peruse random Google Street View places in my spare time (it's travel for free!) I try and guess where in Japan I would have ended up and where my life would've taken me. I've even entertained the idea of writing a book about it, except I have been writing a different book for 6 years and counting.