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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Retrospection: Freshman Year

I moved to Provo a month out of high school. I found a left over summer contract at a condo where I lived for two months with some upperclassmen that I almost never saw. I worked a construction job from 7-5 every day, and spent my evenings by myself in the apartment. It was a really lonely time for me. Add to that the fact that my hormones were shooting off the charts making every good looking guy a challenge not to stare at, and it wasn't the best experience. I was very happy when school finally started.

I moved into Heritage Halls for my freshman year of college and met my incredibly energetic roommate Carlos. He was a mix of about everything latino, both South American and European, and he was the most out going guy I knew. He was always ready to go to the next party or get together. Certainly not my personality. But he opened up to me really quick and we became really good friends. 

I am grateful that he wasn't my type, guy-wise, because that would have been really difficult. Now, he had great pecks, that's for sure, but overall he wasn't what I was drawn to, and that made it a lot easier to feel at home when I was home. 

As the year started I was called as Elder's Quorum President, something I didn't feel ready for, especially since the summer had been one hormonal mess. I didn't know that I was worthy with the effect guys had been having on me. But I did my best and it was a good experience. 

I'd like to think that I did a good job. I definitely tried. And I think the guys in the quorum respected me. But I never really felt like one of them. I never felt like I had the connection with them that other guys had. But I was kind, none the less. But it was just one more sign that I was different. And sometimes it was difficult.

College presented another new opportunity, and that was long term relationships. I had always thought that I never had a girlfriend in high school because I couldn't have the type of relationship I wanted while I was there. But college was different. I wanted a relationship, and had a crush or two through the first semester. But they never went anywhere. I had a good time dating. I was comfortable with girls. But once again I felt more like a friend, rather than a guy for dating. Even in my spare time I would go to my FHE sisters' apartment and spend time with them, just "one of the girls," as it were.

There was one girl that I really liked, and I was convinced that she was going to be my romance story. Once again, I was infatuated with romance. In the end I crashed and burned hard. And it was actually that crashing and burning that would lead me to Jessica. 

As the second semester started things were not going well in my "predestined classic romance" efforts, and it took a toll on me. One Sunday evening after family prayer I got to talking with Jessica, who was the ward choir director (of course I was in the choir). She had just sent off Braden, her boyfriend from the previous semester, to serve a mission in Europe. And she was having her own depressive episode. But as we talked we felt a common bond, and we ended up talking for several hours.

Through the next month we spent a lot of time together, taking comfort in one another's friendship. We were just comfortable together, kindred spirits, as it were. Looking back, she was definitely one of the best friends I'd had. Things just weren't so bad with her. And then the day came that I got over the "crash and burn" crush, and I found that I liked her.

At this point I want to clear up that to some small degree I have been able to be attracted to women. Or a couple of them. But any attraction has been much more of an emotional one. Jessica was one of the few that I did feel an emotional attachment to. I still try to analyze that relationship to understand what it was exactly that I felt, but I'm not sure. Perhaps it was just one of those rare occasions that I was attracted, though to be honest, the physical attraction only came after the emotional relationship was in place, and it was when she was on top of me, kissing me. Really, feeling a physical attraction to a girl was shocking to me, because I'd never felt it before. However, my attraction to guys was definitely still there. 

In time Jessica and I started dating. No, she didn't write off the missionary, but somehow I was okay with that. I still had my own mission, after all. But it was difficult, because she still loved reading his letters to me, as if I were one of her girlfriends. So I felt like I was always competing for her. Trying to beat the other guy.

But the other guy was handsome, smart, and athletic (I was screwed there). But more than anything, he was a guy. A guy guy. And I just wasn't. Looking back on that relationship I never really felt like I fit with her. I wasn't the yin to her yang. I didn't complete her as an opposite. And I think to some degree that she felt that. But she was the promise of romance and a classic mormon family life, which I wanted more than anything.

We had our struggles, mostly over this other guy, and over the fact that deep down we didn't feel we were supposed to be together. But we needed each other. We weren't strong enough on our own. And so we finished out the semester, and then went home to our separate states. It would be a month later when I knew I needed to end it, and I did. 

I think I knew deep down that she wasn't meant for me. But the thing is, I didn't know what type of girl would be. I remember looking at couples and seeing how they were together, and I just didn't know what kind of girl would fit with me in a relationship like that.

But I am grateful for Jessica, and for the role she played in my life. She helped me learn to smile after my heart had been broken, and she taught me a bit about what love is. And I think I did love her. And in some ways always will. 

I wonder sometimes if I could sustain a heterosexual relationship, simply because for a while, I did. That relationship, while worthwhile, was not a healthy one, though. Not to mention the fact that I still had this underlying attraction. Interestingly enough my attraction to guys faded a bit while we dated, as attraction to others always does when you start a relationship. But I am positive that had we lasted longer, enough to pass out of that infatuation phase of the relationship, that attraction would once again take the predominant place. 

Maybe with the right girl and the right circumstance I could have a straight relationship. But when it comes to emotional and physical comfort and intimacy, a guy feels more natural. And interestingly enough, I feel more masculine dating my boyfriend than I ever did dating Jessica. And my boyfriend feels natural, comfortable, and fulfilling. 

Anyway, back to the timeline here. I went home to work while I got ready for my mission. And by the time I left for Eastern Europe I was single and planning on attraction taking a back seat in my life. But as you might imagine, spending two years surrounded by guys is not easy for someone like me.


BLB said...

I think in a physical sense, I can handle girls...but emotionally, I'd be absent.

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