Just popping in with a casual end-of-summer reminder that it’s been A YEAR since the beginning of the end of The Hallowed Wide. 🤯
You know – I sort of feel like I was robbed of the opportunity to properly process the release of this project in writing (as I intended to) because, of course I HAD KNEE SURGERY INSTEAD.
Anwayyyyyy. Yes. So, I was testing out lots of social theories while building The Hallowed Wide, and as we were coming up to the release show and final Spotify launch, I was sort of putting on that final bookend, and beginning a reflective synthesizing of everything I’d learned.
And it seems like I’m just starting to maybe have the bandwidth to pick that puzzle back up again after surgery, after months of intense and painful recovery, after my brother just suddenly cut me out of his life (and his children’s lives) with zero warning or explanation (btw, I’m genuinely shocked at the way so many people in my life have expected me to just process THAT without any trouble or grief at all wft). Oh…and fucking wedding season. AND SCHOOL STARTING! Oof. It’s been an overstimulating year.
But. As you know if you’ve been staying tuned…an interesting thing happened to me last week, and it’s sort of sent me through a wormhole back into that post-hallowed-wide mindset.
Basically [read the full story here], what happened was that a seemingly nice/normal/appropriately-aged stranger went to fairly bold lengths to ask me out for a drink, and when I said I was married, he said “I had to try!”
By the way…I realized I left an important detail out of my last essay. What he actually said to me was “You were really nice. I had to try.” I guess I didn’t include those few extra words because…idk…it feels a little embarrassing to me for some reason? But in retrospect, of course it’s crucial.
So. While I spent about two days sort of obsessing over all the questions I wish I would have taken the chance to ask him, I realized I’d totally failed to ask myself a very important question – one that is tied up in (I think) my own personal obstacles, in my own personal hallowed wides.
What would I have done if I had been…available…at that moment?
I just need to pause to say that I’m a little meh about the word “available,” here. And while I do think I mean it both ways – “available” in a scheduling sense (not expected to be anywhere else), and also in the sense of being romantically unentangled – I think I mostly mean that it’s important for me to consider what the current version of myself might have chosen to do were I…single?
It’s a tricky thing for me to talk about, but I’m finding it increasingly difficult to ignore the ways in which my parents and my religious upbringing taught me never to ask myself what I choose. Beyond all of the patriarchal bullshit I was raised with, I was sincerely bullied by these people who were supposed to love me.
BOTH of my parents actively told me on the regular that I wasn’t attractive, that I simple didn’t have “that thing” that women need to have to attract men (or friends, or really anybody in any context). They made it clear to me that I was not “cool” enough, that I was too smart/driven, that I was much too little of some things, and wayyyyy too much of others. They taught me to make myself so incredibly small.
Even when Andrew and I were dating, my parents both made it really clear to me that they didn’t know how I could have possibly pulled that off. They instilled in me such a deep believe that I couldn’t possibly ever be chosen by anyone. And I spent probably A FULL DECADE thinking that maybe Andrew hadn’t actually meant to choose me, and that at any moment he might un-choose me (if I’m being honest, this still pops up for me way more often than I’d like).
But, while I’m on the subject, I’ve lately wondered if the entire brilliance of my relationship with Andrew is the way we sort of skipped that entire will-they-won’t-they dance, in so many ways.
We were introduced by a mutual friend in a very low-stakes context, we talked on the phone casually (as friends) for like 6 months, and then we dated long-distance for two years. We never lived in the same place before we got married.
It was a set of circumstances that sort of tricked me into being quite a bit more honest, more risk-taking, more no-fucks-giving than I ever could have been if there had been a different sort of proximity.
Err…maybe…who knows? But this is my best guess, and current working theory.
Nevertheless, I DO think there is something under-witnessed here, for me. Just inside myself, I mean.
In general, I never had to do that work of asking myself what it would mean to really honor my preferences, gut instincts, emotions, even whims. I just skipped this entire facet of self-development. And I think it has really negatively affected me.
I’ve been looking for lots of ways to work on this skill. And I’ve already done a bit of investment into a few areas of research lol. But this particular experience of the ask-out illuminated…perhaps a specifically distinct flavor of a blind spot for me.
And. I’m keeping my eyes out.
And I’m trying to show my work, as promised. 🧜♀️
I’m also one million essays behind. More coming soon…
P.S. Listen, I’m not a monster. Of course I’m going to tell you what I think I would’ve done. 😅
Now – I’ve given this quite a bit of honest thought, weighing my actual, regular, default, present-day behaviors/preferences against a very hypothetical context – that is, being single while also having a grasp on my own inherent human value. To be clear, I haven’t been single in over 14 years, and I’ve only had a grasp on my inherent value for like…just a hot second here (and honestly, it comes and goes).
BUT, my best actual projections for what my most joyful present-day (but somehow happily single?) self would choose to do…
I think I would just suggest that I bring my takeout inside, and that we just eat this meal in this restaurant together, right now. 💁♀️ I think I would actually just suggest that.
It would be so silly and fun. I have long conversations with strangers ALL the time (did you forget about my podcast?), and I feel like we would have had SO much to talk about – regardless of any…chemistry…whatsoever.
It would have been a guaranteed slam-dunk conversation. Potently interesting, at bare minimum.
Or…absolutely shocking? Haha. And that would very probably also be worth it for the story, alone. I mean, absolute worst case scenario, you just repack the takeout and be on your way!
So…that’s what I think! 💃