In my solitude, I wonder about the reasons I am alone. Am I too fat? Too boring? Too weak? Maybe they think I’m too—what? The worst thing about a blank slate is everything we write onto it. We carry our best selves into public and our worst selves into solitude.
-Kristen Forbes, “Dream Girl“
My friend Erin sent me the link to this Dream Girl essay and so much of it resonated I thought you would enjoy that I wanted to blog about it.
Forbes writes about how we present different versions of ourselves online – the selves we really want to be. She also writes about how that complicates dating, because we choose who we want people to become more often than we choose them for who they really are.
That’s all really good stuff, even if it’s hard to admit and hard to read. The part about sleeping on the couch not because she’s lazy but because it feels less lonely than her big bed got me all choked up, and I actually do fall asleep on the couch out of pure exhaustion 80 percent of the time.
It’s worth repeating – since I’ll be sending you the link for the book tomorrow (!!) – that I’m not against online dating. I just don’t think it works for everyone. In fact, I meet at least two or three people every week who say they found online dating to be tragically horrific (or some version of that). I realize it’s not as sexy to say, “Hey, that might be an expensive and quick-like fix for being shy, but it may not be what you need.” I think the legal disclaimers/waivers that you sign say as much. But the truth is usually not as sexy as what we’d rather believe.
All that to say: I appreciated Kristen’s authenticity here. I experience some of the neuroses associated with solitude sometimes, too. This stuck out most to me, though, I think because it gets at the heart of what we yearn for when we long for companionship and intimacy:
This is the most me I’ll ever be, and it’s the me I work carefully at concealing.
I’d like to meet someone who likes beer and coffee and rain and camping and brunch and smiling, but more than that, I want to know someone. I want someone to know me. I want someone to peel off my persona, see the madness behind my silliness, and like me anyway—not just in spite of my truth, but because of it.