Just words

For the past month I’ve been feeling pretty good.

Work is hard but much better with the new Headteacher. I feel valued and I love my new job.

After a health scare and a series of tests, I’ve been told I have IBS and have discovered I have a gluten intolerance – much better then the pancreatic cancer that Google diagnosed. This has meant that I have cut out a large part of my previous diet. I’ve lost a stone and a half so far. I can see it, I can feel it.

Online dating has been beneficial too. With my more open mind and ‘modern’ dating theory, I enjoyed talking to different men even if the chats have subsequently drifted away. I’ve been complimented and that has helped me feel good. My perceptions of myself are changing.

So, all in all, there’s been a spring in my step.

Friday, I went Christmas shopping with my friend. We went to Manchester, a city I barely know. We went to the art gallery, shopped – tried to find coffee shops with gluten free food and failed – and generally had a good time.

We went to one place particularly as my friend loved it there. It was a market hall of alternative stalls – think piercings, incense and rock band t shirts. Not my thing, but she loved it. As she was browsing, I noticed the stall opposite was selling 50s style dresses.

Before I knew it, I was trying one on. The smaller size. And it looked good! The sweetheart neckline emphasised my full bust, the tight waist band and narrow belt cinched in my newly rediscovered waist. The skirt floated over my hips and covered the parts of me that I still want to hide. I felt beautiful.

I came out the changing room, and beckoned my friend over from the other stall.

Whilst I value the honesty of my friend normally, I did not expect the reaction I received. Frowning, she said, ‘you need to wear a cardigan with that’.

When I stated that I didn’t think I did (doubt already creeping in) she replied that the dress made my shoulders look wide.

I went back into the changing room and took off the dress. As I changed, I saw the loose skin that has appeared as I have lost weight. I saw the areas of my body that still need to lose more. I was deflated.

Is this what’s going to happen when I meet Second? Or Wild Card? I will dress up and feel good, only for them to see my faults??

Later, my friend tried to back-pedal but it was too late.

Just words.

Yesterday, I was not in a good place. My insecurities had all come back, the spring in my step had gone.

Wild Card had called me earlier in the day but I had been at my sister’s. Whilst still being very much covered up, he happened to see more of my body than he had previously. The video chat was brief because I said I was going home soon and then I would call him.

Half an hour later I tried but there was no answer. Hours passed and still no response. So I tried again – this time he was already on the phone. I left it for fifteen minutes and decided to try once more. If I got no response then I knew he’d disappeared. Clearly he hadn’t liked my body. Who could blame him?

I had spiralled in to a pit of self loathing and negativity.

I called. No answer.

I then may have sent a text stating that he had disappeared since he had seen my body. Yes I know, clingy move.

I deleted it hastily, before messenger claimed he had read it. But within seconds he had replied telling me he was driving and to wait.

Anxiety ripped through me. What had I been thinking? How stupid was I to believe the things he said? No doubt his previous video chat when I couldn’t get through was to another woman.

The vile and self depreciating thoughts spiraled out of my head and into the pit of my stomach.

Eventually he called. He was out with family and the call was brief. He said we would talk later.

I finished getting ready for the charity night I was attending with family. Nothing looked right, not even the dress I was now able to wear for the first time because I have lost weight. There were bags under my eyes and my skin tone was awful. My legs looked huge and my hair wouldn’t style.

My family commented on my silence as I drove them to the party. I was contemplative, internal. I considered the power of someone’s words, however innocently and sincerely meant, to change my thought processes. I thought about how I was pining for Wild Card’s attention when I feared he had disappeared. How strong my developig feelings for him were becoming … A man I had only dated on video chat.

I felt stupid, ridiculous. So what if I’ve lost weight, I’ve got so much more to lose! I haven’t even met either man, what was possessing me to think that either could work? I was just a flirty distraction to them, that’s all. There was no way that I was there only me in their lives, this is the modern world. And what a hypocrite I am to even want that, I am talking to two men, just to ‘hedge my bets’.

Just words.

The charity party was a great success and I did start to relax a little. During the night I had brief contact from Wild Card and more regular communication from Second. I perked up a little.

When I got home and crawled in to my lonely bed, I couldn’t help but message Wild Card. I told him I hoped he’d had a good night with his family and that I was looking forward to speaking with him soon.

To my surprise, considering the hour, he messaged back. He asked if I had missed him, and I replied that I had. I was honest about fearing he had disappeared. He told me what I knew all ready – he had been busy with family. It wasn’t the right time to go into how a text stating that, would have saved me an evening of anxiety, but I will at some point.

I’ve stopped going on to the dating apps and how allowed other connections to drift away. I would willingly date either man now, yes slowly, just because I want to know them more.

But my insecurities have now peaked. I’m questioning the logic in focusing my attention on two men in which any potential dating would be problematic. I’m just not sure I have the heart to start again. I know I don’t have the heart to say goodbye either.

And yet, what have I had?

Just words.

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