I’ve been in China long enough to get my heart broken: a success story

I know I just wrote but this is my diary so I refuse to apologize. I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions lately and I finally have some answers. As it turns out, I can one hundred percent trust my gut. The boy I was crushing on does not, on second thought, like me. In my gut I already knew. The balloon of good feelings, though only three dates small, was over-inflated with my own wishful thinking and over-sharing, and with the rushed sex we’d had on our last date, at my behest.

The worst part? He didn’t tell me. I finally got over my wishing and waiting and asked him very directly if he wanted to see me again for a hike, and if he wanted to go back to his place after. We’re not dreaming too big, are we kids? This isn’t a marriage proposal, it’s a hike and a lay. That’s when I got the response. The blessed, heart sinking clarity.

I got the news on the subway. After I exited the station, I sat on the stone passageway, leaning against the glass, and stared blankly at the middle distance, then at my phone. People passed me. I got many looks. I texted some friends. I got to use some brand new vocabulary I just learned, 心疼, in real life. I reinstalled a dating app, hoping to get over him by getting under someone else. I swiped for a while then felt sick, the feeling of shopping for a human being as a knee-jerk reflex to being rejected not sitting well with me after all. I decided to go ahead and indulge in my feelings. Sadness, heartache, regret, confusion, remorse.

I chastised myself. Why did you have to be so up front? Why does everyone need to know every pulse of your heartbeat? Why can’t you be more private, more withheld. You’re too eager, too intense. Why can’t you be more beguiling, leave some intrigue. You’re too fast. You’re too sexual.

On second thought, I am honest. I am connected to myself and my feelings. I am earnest and forthright. I am choosing to engage with life and I am brave for opening my heart, willing to withstand the bruising by those who walk in and out of it. I like me. There’s nothing wrong with my sex drive. I am worthy of being liked for who I am, not just tolerated or endured. I deserve to be celebrated. Even if I am the only one celebrating, it’s still a better party than being with someone who is shushing me at every turn.

“Let’s be friends”. I’ve tried this before after six weeks of pent up infatuation, after three years of committed partnership, after one fine but not-feeling-the-spark date. I’ve had mixed results. I’ve never tried it under these exact circumstances, though. And you know, I never wanted him as a boyfriend. I wanted him as a friend (an actual friend) with benefits. And now I have a friend. And benefits are easy to find on the internet, plus I just bought a whole pack of batteries. I should be ok.

My metric for these things is, can I be happy for him if he finds someone to date? If yes, we’re friends. If no, I need to walk away. Simple metric. Current answer: unclear.

Also, importantly, I can absolutely rock a french braid. This is a life-changing revelation. Dutch braids, the only kind I thought my hair could sustain without extreme slippage, are out, french braids are in. Dutch braids, in comparison, seem rather childish now. French braids are elegant, sophisticated. I’ve turned a corner.

I’m getting an MRI for my knee tomorrow. Round number whatever, but it’s what the doctor wanted before prescribing platelet injections, something I still haven’t tried. It’s been two years and I still can’t accept my fate. I won’t. I won’t live life with an unsolved problem that I might still have the power to fix.

I biked through the streets of Xili this afternoon, a couple hours after the rejection, looking for a trailhead, the green canopy blocking out the gentle summer rain, no umbrella needed, not even in loose jeans and a cotton t-shirt. I looked up into the trees and felt a rush of freedom and joy course through me. I wanted to let out a whoop. No boy is worth the price of this joy. My centered peace with myself, with nature, with life. My life is such a precious gift for me to use. I’ve used so much of it already, and it’s ticking away. Who has time for lukewarm lovers? Who has time to wait for a text back?

I am riding through the trees getting rained on and being alive. I can’t, and won’t, slow down for you to keep pace.



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