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Catching Feelings

I wear my heart on my sleeve, is that a crime?

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Let me start this post by saying that I would categorize myself as fiercely independent. I enjoy spending time alone, doing the things I want to do, without judgement or comments or the presence of anyone. However, as most gals that would find themselves saying the same thing, I also know I would not survive without the company of others. I suppose that makes me a walking/running/swimming contradiction.

Here's the long and short of my dating history. I did not have a serious boyfriend until the ripe ole age of 19 going on 20. Yep. That's the honest truth. I dated this guy, for the better part of two and a half years. After we broke up, I spent a little time soul searching. I waited tables, the summer after my first year of teaching, at a local restaurant and made pretty good money. For the first time in my life, I felt free. I slowly chipped away at the wall I had built around myself, and let my hair and everything else hang out. (Not literally, obviously).

Living in a small town on the Eastern Shore is a curse and a blessing. Scenery wise, it's a dream come true. When it comes to cost of living, population of single, tall, educated, polite and attractive men, and location to people my age, well, I definitely drew the short stick. So, after some convincing, I dove head first into the online dating world. I started off with OKCupid, after my cousin Jackie had some success. After a few too many creepy messages, I decided to pay for a three month subscription to Match.com and was equally unimpressed. The same old same old guys popped up, only the ones I did not want to contact messaged me, and if I did have the guts to message the men I wanted to talk to, and figured I had a snow ball's chance in hell with, they NEVER responded. I put match on hold for a bit, after a few bad dates, and went on my merry way. Well, then boredom/loneliness/ whatever you want to call it set in. After a few more bad dates, one cheating jackass, and some oddballs later, I gave up on the whole "online dating" thing all together.

Fast forward a year and a half, and the Tinder craze had just begun. I downloaded the app in it's early stages and was immediately creeped out. I mean, you could see how close someone else on the app was to you, and with the swipe of your finger, you decided your destiny. If you played "Hot or Not" back in the day, you know exactly what I'm talking about. After a few more months, and with warmer weather making it's reappearance, I figured why the hell not give it a chance. There were so many ridiculous messages I received, too many tiger pictures to count, and way too many unwanted sexual advances that I quickly blocked. However, by some miracle, there were a few roses in the thorn bush that is the swipe right or not game of Tinder.

Soon after I made my decision to move to San Diego, (I'm still in Maryland at this point) I met an amazing guy. I will admit, at first I kind of wrote him off because he wasn't as tall as I had wanted, and wasn't as buff as I had been used to either (Shallow Hal checking in here). Honestly he was the complete opposite of any guy I had dated up until that point, and it was incredibly refreshing. I usually went for the tall, 6'2" and above, muscular meathead that treated me like shit, and ladies, we've all been there. But this guy was different. Smart, caring, a total gentleman, and so hysterically funny I thought I would need to buy stock in wrinkle cream. By the end of the date, I had changed my mind and decided to give him a chance. We spent the entire summer visiting each other, making dinners, watching movies, going to baseball games; it was a magical summer. We both knew it wouldn't last; since I was moving to San Diego, and wasn't of the same faith, we mutually agreed that nothing serious would come about this. Or so I let myself believe, until I left.

Not only am I fiercely independent, but I also wear my heart on my sleeve. What you see is what you get. So with Mr. Summer, I fell for him, and fell hard, just like I always do. Saying goodbye was difficult, and it took me a long time to realize that it's ok that things didn't work out between us. Now, I have a fantastic friend that knows me so well, and provides me with comedic relief, support and a friendship of which I am so grateful. (If you're reading this, thank you for being you! And, go Cardinals!)

Within the first few days of moving to San Diego, I decided to give Tinder another go. I went snorkeling in La Jolla Cove, dancing downtown, had a sunset dinner, but none of these had any spark. Until I met D. I swiped right after seeing how tall he was, and he had a great smile. I figured, sure, why not? We both were new in town, and were looking for cool people to chill with and explore the city. After some banter back and forth on the app, mainly about the dogs, we exchanged numbers. His personality shined through right away, and I couldn't help but smile each time I talked to him. After a terribly long day of interviews, Smog tests and realizing how expensive it is to register your car in California, I was just devastated. Until he asked the sweetest thing possible "Would a free dinner cheer you up?" I said thanks, and told him he didn't have to take me out because I had a bad day. His response? "Well I wanted to take you to dinner anyway so here's my excuse." Swoon. We went to Pacific Beach, walked along the moonlit beach, went to dinner and the whole night was just amazing. Conversation was so easy and great, he was so funny, and by the end of the night my face hurt from smiling and laughing so much. When we went to say goodnight, I went up on my tippy toes (for the first time ever I believe) to hug him. After standing there and looking at him while finishing our conversation, I decided to break the "don't kiss on the first date" rule. And I'm so happy I did. Whatever warm, fuzzy, butterfly feeling you're supposed to feel according to all the fairy tales, well I felt it.

Movie marathons, pizza dates, beach dates, dog walks, a little two stepping, shots of jack and ginger ale, animal watching at the zoo (my absolute favorite day EVER, no contest) I honestly don't recall ever being so happy. My heart and soul were at peace, and everything just felt right. We spent the better part of five days together, basically every moment that he or I was not at work, together. Ladies, he even hung out with the dogs. I mean talk about swoon!

Then, the Navy called and gave him his deployment details. Cue the tears. I helped him organize, pack and held myself together up until the day he left. Insert ugly crying face, sobbing and a puddle of tears, here. He's gone for the next eight months on deployment, and honestly it feels like a small part of me is missing. Am I crazy to have fallen for someone in the short amount of time that we had? Maybe. Sure, I probably am screaming "clingy crazy dog woman" right now to 95% of you. But I honestly don't care. I have never felt more comfortable around anyone, I can't remember the last time I laughed this hard, or experienced so much in such a short amount of time. It's crazy, really, to say that. But I don't want normal, I don't want easy, and I sure as hell don't want boring. I want crazy, I want vivacious, I want warm, fuzzy, loud, and real. I think I've found it, but only time will tell.

Now I'm not saying I'm going out and buying a white dress and lining up all my closest chicas to celebrate with me. No, because that would earn me a full ride to the loony bin. I'm just saying that for the first time in my life, I've caught feelings and I'm not afraid to hang on to them.

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