on: something new

I’m dating a guy. He is kind and good, and things are simple. I don’t get anxiety thinking about whether or not he likes me, or worse, whether or not I like him. We like each other. We tell each other that.

I read something a few weeks ago. A girl wrote a blog about her boyfriend and she promised her readers that the right guy was out there for them, too.

Meh.

Love, and the in-between words you use before you get there, is a hell of a lot of things. One thing it isn’t … is floating around in the netherworld. It’s inside of you, right? That sounds silly and trite, but it’s true.

You don’t need someone else to make you happy (unless that someone else is a dog). People can add to your experiences. They can not create them. Well, they can, but it never feels quite whole, ya know?

I haven’t had a boyfriend since my last boyfriend, which will be three years next February. The word scares me (it’s just a word! they say. but it’s not), not because it feels permanent — it does and it doesn’t — but because it seems to threaten something I have become.

In the past six months I have fostered such a lovely growth spurt of independence that casually throwing around the phrase, “my boyfriend,” is terrifying. Emma Louise (dog, age 3) and I have become the dynamic duo of my dreams, pushing through boundaries imagined and otherwise, carving a space for ourselves. Me, carving a space for myself.

I’m not afraid of commitment and I’m not gun-shy when it comes to relationships; I’ve never been burned. I’ve been bored, frustrated, and unfeeling. But not hurt so badly that I can’t trust another human.

I wonder if I can trust myself, is the thing. Will I hide behind that phrase, “my boyfriend?” He, the boyfriend in question, is nothing but supportive of who I am and what I do. He wants to help me clean my car, and I think, if he knew the “service required” date, he would tell me to take it in to get the oil changed, too. But other than that.

I got promoted last week at work. I’m the City Paper’s new arts editor. Hip, hip, hooray. That’s me, my name, just me. That’s not, “the girlfriend of …”

That’s not even, “The dog mom of a beloved 50 lb. mutt.”

Or, “Mary Scott’s twin.”

I struggle with my independence — I shy away from it, I revel in it, I question it.

I question this blog, about the point of writing, about how so many people say so many things, are we all just creating a bunch of noise. I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately, people riled up about a number of things they should be riled up about. I get riled, too. Just ask anyone who’s seen me grunt, fling my arms, shout, “I’m on one!”

I don’t think, though, that I’m wise enough to speak about so very many things. I’ll rant on here again, I will. You’ve gotta yell sometimes, because, shit, if you stop, maybe others will too. Silence is no good for anyone.

But here’s what I know right now: I’m kind of giddy. I’m happy. I am, in my eyes, as successful as 25 year-old Connelly could ever hope to be. I am constantly questioning and balancing and exercising then drinking then sleeping then working and wondering which one is best for me.

And, welp, I have a boyfriend.

There it is, a public proclamation of me trying to be myself, and to be with someone else too.

Wish me luck.