I’m not sure when I became the girl you advise your friends to avoid. I can imagine the conversation and how it went as a perfect picture in my mind. The two of you, beer in hand, heads laid back on the couch with your phones hot in your sticky palms. “She’s kind of pretty” you’d say in acknowledgment, glancing up and down at my profile with a cursory nod of approval. He’d lean over, breath warm in your face as he rolls his eyes at the girl staring haughtily up at him.. “Oh her, I know her. Trust me man, you don’t wanna go there.”
And you’d take his word, after all, he has her on Facebook. So you move on to the next face in the window shop that is Internet dating, wondering if maybe that one is the one, the true girl for you.
I have to ask myself. When a man classifies a girl as scary, or crazy, or anything less than what is deemed socially “cool”, what does that consist of?
Does it mean she has a past that looks more frightening than a white picket fence and a dog named Max? Does it mean she is passionate about what she believes in and is therefore a challenge? Does it simply mean he does not understand her, and finds it easier to relegate her to the bottom shelf, not to be picked up or examined, just a book without an engrossing picture that needn’t be opened up beyond its title page.
I find it a strange concept. To look at someone and decide right then and there that they are not for you. In my life I like a little crazy, a little mystery. I’s that aren’t dotted and T’s that aren’t crossed. Things that beg you to take a closer look, and that usually reward you for doing so.
Isn’t that what makes a person interesting, mysterious, worthwhile?
Do not mistake my romanticized idea of first impressions for naivety. See, I know that as humans our first instinct is to judge. I realize that it happens in the blink of an eye, our brains assessing and deciding and before we are even aware that it has happened, we have an opinion of someone. Neatly boxed and packaged and not at all in need of reexamination. Except that I think that reexamination is what separates the extraordinary from the ordinary. To be able to look past a first impression to take the time to understand another individual. To remember that we all live in a world where flaws grossly outnumber perfections, a world where unfortunately those flaws are weighed just as unevenly in our assessment of a person’s worth.
It takes a special kind of person to see someone in need of some work, who’s edges are as uneven and ragged as a grain of sand fresh from the ocean, and see that there is potential. To know that the glass that lets them see the world from a safe distance, started out from that grain of sand.
When I meet the love of my life, I can’t wait for that moment of reassessment. I want to know his past, his deepest secrets. To sit down with his demons and invite his fears over for tea. To take his hand and walk with him into the burning plains of his past, knowing that together we can overcome what he couldn’t on his own. To look past the exterior of his flesh and know him deep down to his bones, broken or not, and with a steady hand, slowly begin to stitch the pieces that fell apart over years back together.