part vi: on wobbly legs.
by Michael King
One side effect of coming in possession of a broken heart, in most all cases, is a bit of a blow to the ego. In your case, you devoted months of your life to turning your love into actions, a language he would understand, and he responded by letting you go. It would be unusual, we have found, if you didn’t wrestle with a little bit of self-doubt.
In any case, it’s been some time since you ventured out into the world of dating. More than likely, you won’t be certain you’re ready in the first place, which will make you unsure of what you want, and you’ll be annoyed at your friends’ eagerness to see you ‘getting back out there!’
One Friday, however, once work has subsided and you return from a run, you will look at your spot on the couch, the blanket still curled from your last rendezvous, and you will turn instead to your closet. You will pull on a crisp white button-up, beckoning your friends to join you for a night out, and you will set out to find a little bit of confidence.
On that particular occasion, we’re happy to tell you, you will make eye contact with an extremely attractive stranger, and he will smile at you. For the remainder of the night, you will practice making intentional, prolonged eye contact, and you will find yourself blushing as he glances downward and smiles. At the end of the night, when he hugs his friends goodbye and makes a beeline to you on the dance floor, you will have an out-of-body experience. And, after he pulls you into a kiss lasting the span of two songs, you will re-enter your body, glad you ventured out.
And you will tell him ‘good night,’ surprising him and yourself, because it will turn out that you aren’t ready. You’re simply figuring out how to stand again, how to make use of these wobbly legs.
There will be similar forays into the world of dating, each of them seemingly ill-fated in retrospect, but their purpose will not be to find you onto the next great love, but to direct you back to yourself. You are learning, reader, to stand and breathe and rest in your being. These are vital lessons in healing, and they are essential skills to discover anew.
You will entertain a 72-hour first date, and you will realize about 6 hours in that you are in over your head. You will develop and nurture a crush on someone whom you will not be able to pursue. You will have a number of coffee dates, each of which will find you shaking your head as you drive home, wondering why on earth you ever left in the first place. These will bring you laughter, of course, and more than few feelings of foolishness, but they will also give your legs some much-needed practice: You are learning to stand, to walk, to run. Please allow your legs to be wobbly.
An important side-note, during this time: Please make note of the friends walking beside you, ready to catch you if you stumble, and rejoicing when you find your footing on new terrain. These are your people who stay (more later), and they deserve some of the love you haven’t been certain how to repurpose.