Don’t Be Afraid To Be Picky

Upon first meeting me, there are two things that are immediately discovered about who I am: 1.) I have an intense love & obsession for Mac N Cheese & 2.) I am not a cautious person. The second discovery pertains more to what I will be further telling you about, so unfortunately I can’t begin my rant about cheese comparisons & list the top ten best cheeses of all time with you.

Instead, I’m going to delve further into the second discovery of myself, my lack of being cautious. All my life I’ve been a fairly spontaneous person. I don’t like to plan things out, I’m not a list maker, I go with the flow, if someone changes the plans on me last minute I say, “Oh okay… what are we doing now?” I’ll stop with never-ending examples, the point is; I like to take risks & do things without thinking, but there is one thing I am particularly incredibly cautious about & overthink excessively; & that is relationships.

If you’re like me, & are overly cautious about relationships, I’m sure the words, “You’re too picky” have graced the presence of your ears way too many times. Don’t worry, me too. I just want you to know, that’s okay. It is one hundred percent okay to be picky.

If you’re telling a joke you find hilarious & they don’t laugh, that’s okay to be uninterested. If you’re not incredibly happy to see them like you wish you were & don’t feel that spark with them, don’t stay. Wouldn’t you rather spend your time waiting for the right person rather than wasting your time with the wrong one? I once became uninterested in a guy because he said the words “Parks & Rec was okay, but it really isn’t that funny. Why does everyone like it so much?” Trust me. I’m the queen of pickiness.

How I Learned it's Okay to be Picky About Who You Date

I’m so picky that I have only had one serious, somewhat long-term relationship. I was eighteen, & it was my senior year of high school. I hit a few rough patches throughout that year, everything came crashing down around me, & I felt like I was falling apart. I no longer wanted to hang out with & see my friends; I wanted to stay home with a book, movie or television show. I so desperately wanted to escape from my life & everyone in it.

A few weeks later, my high school best friend ended up meeting a boy who lived over an hour away from us. He looked like the character Peeta from the movie Hunger Games, so I will call him Peeta in this story.

Too Picky to Double Date

He was funny & unlike any of the other students who attended my high school & he clicked immediately with my best friend & I, so eventually we all turned into this weird little high school version of the Three’s Company series.

We called each other on the phone every day; we would spend our weekends driving to see him & going on adventures to the state fair & every crazy weird Kansas event imaginable. Eventually we went from “The Three Amigos” to “Two Lovers & an Awkward Friend. “ I watched awkwardly from the sidelines with a bag of Doritos as their love for each other unfolded & my love for the Doritos sustained. Peeta started to realize what was going on, so he started bringing friends from his school to go on double dates with us. They were incredibly nice guys, but once again, I’m Holly McPicky so I was uninterested in them.

So for the next part of this story, I’m going to tell you a weakness of mine. I love men who can act or sing. Always. I’ve spent the past few years of my life acting & working in theatres & it has been dangerous for me ever since. If a guy possesses any type of artistic or theatrical talent, I am blonde putty in his hands.

Anyway, at the end of November my best friend took us to the musical Peeta was starring in. Since I was still in the “Lonely, Sad Teenager” part of my life, I was reluctant to go, but my best friend dragged me along. They were performing “Once Upon A Mattress” & Peeta was playing The Jester. As we were sitting in the proscenium, I briefly grazed through the program & caught a glimpse of one of the actor’s picture & my best friend looked over at me & said, “Yeah, that’s Peeta’s best friend. I’m surprised we haven't met him yet.”

Weak in The Knees

The musical started & one of the opening scenes was the King & Prince characters. The minute the Prince started acting I thought, “Aww, this guy is cute.” Then he started singing & I thought, “Okay. I’m screwed.” The musical ended & I immediately wanted to meet this angelic singing mystery guy.

Peeta invited all of us to eat at Gambino’s afterwards. Angel Voice said he would come with us, so he went home to change & we picked him up later. The minute he walked out of his house I immediately became the awkward shy girl I am deep down & got very nervous. He was wearing a letterman jacket.

See, my thing with jocks is it’s not that I don’t believe I am worthy; I just have this strange idea of them in my head. I suddenly paint them as this picture of the ultimate cool person, who is smooth, not awkward & well, just the total opposite of myself in every way possible.

Usually, in my experience, I have tried to converse with most jocks, not all of course, there are a few exceptions, but most that I have attempted to talk with have not shared any similarities with me. So the conversation would get weird & I of course would default back to being awkward.

So the minute I saw him in that letterman jacket, my heart dropped & I got nervous & shy, which is easy for me to resort to. I just kept saying to myself, “He can sing & throw footballs! You have no skills, Holly. Bail, bail!”

The car ride to Gambino’s was rough. My best friend was an amazingly funny & beautiful person; she could entertain any type of crowd. So she was sitting next to me telling all kinds of funny stories & jokes, sometimes when there was a bit of a lull I would chirp in with a random joke that usually only I thought was funny.

An Awkward Evening & a Lack of Confidence

The rest of the night consisted of us awkwardly making weird jokes to each other & me being mentally paranoid about the cleverness of my jokes. Usually how I operate is, I find a guy I think I find attractive, crush on him for a few minutes & then immediately find a flaw & let my feelings immediately melt away into nothingness.

For some reason, the self-destruct feelings button that I usually press, was failing & the feelings were only growing more & more. He had the same sense of humor I did & was even quoting one of my favorite TV shows that I always tried to get my friends to watch with me, but none of them enjoyed it as much as I did.

We finally got to the end of the night & I was mustering up more of the courage to be myself around him without being the blabbering idiot I usually am. Peeta invited us to hang out at his place, when Angel Voice said the words, “Hey, I actually need to go back to Other Girl’s place.” (Obviously that’s not the name she was born with, this is officially her adoptive name from good ole Holly), my heart kind of sunk & sad violin music started playing in my head & weirdly the first thought that popped into my head was, “I bet she’s funny.”

A few weeks later, we were back in at our plain old high school & I was back to my bummed out slumpy self, when I decided to tweet about something, I can’t quite remember exactly what it was about but I tagged Peeta, Best Friend & Angel Voice all in it so it must’ve been some kind of inside joke from the pizza night.

Twitterpated

Peeta & Best Friend responded with a basic “lol”, but Angel Voice tweeted me back with a sarcastic, but funny response. I responded to him & this continued for two or three weeks, I’m not even kidding. I’m sure we lost countless followers over that period, but I have no regrets. During the middle of the overly flirty Twitter conversation, Best Friend said to me in class one day, “Do you like Angel Voice or something?” I just responded with a simple smile. Eventually, what felt like years later, during the endless Twitter conversation, Angel Voice decided to break the constant flirting feed & sent me a very “smooth” direct message saying, “Hey, Twitter isn’t working on my phone. Here’s my number.” Now, I was in high school, so of course, I had my naive times & moments… but I was definitely not that naive.

We started texting for weeks. Texting turned into calling, calling turned into Face Timing for a few hours, Face Timing for a few hours turned into Face Timing from 9pm to 5am. We never got tired of talking to each other.

I am an easily annoyed person, & while I’m fairly sociable & love communicating & spending time with others, my introvert side very dangerously takes over when I don’t spend enough time alone, so I tire of people easily. I loved talking to him though. He loved my sense of humor & encouraged me to never be ashamed of who I was. He helped me discover my passions & encouraged me to follow my dreams. I loved listening to his stories & hearing how passionate he got about certain little things in life that I never assumed people ever felt passion for. For the first time in my life, I felt accepted.

Being myself felt easy. I had never felt that way before him.

That Meaningful Moment

A way that I can tell if a relationship is truly meaningful or sometimes one that can possibly last forever, is when a significantly awkward moment happens. I don’t know why, but I have so many friends who have had a weird first meeting or first date with their boyfriend or girlfriend that is unlike any other. So they tell that story to everyone & it makes you think, “That moment was so awkward for them, one of them did something so incredibly weird & the other still liked them, even after that painfully awkward moment, this must really be meant to be.”

I had that moment with Angel Voice on our first official date. We went on group dates with Peeta & Best Friend before, but Peeta & Angel Voice never made any types of real moves on us. Of course, being teenage girls we may had dramatically assumed we were hideous & they were repulsed with even the slightest glimpse of us. We never logically kept in mind that they too, were teenagers. Teenage boys who of course were shy to make a move because we may actually find them repulsive. Isn’t high school fun?

Finally, after my frustration of Angel Voice making a grand total of zero real moves on me in a few months, I reluctantly agreed to go on a date with him. We met at the movies, got dinner at a Mexican restaurant across from the theater, saw the film Beautiful Creatures, I thought it would be good, I was incredibly wrong, which made everything even more fun because we both made fun of the movie together.

Then we ended the night at a frozen yogurt shop a few blocks away from the theatre. The chair Angel Voice sat in was wobbly, & we loved it. We made jokes that the chair was unstable, like our lives & deemed that table our official yogurt table. We visited it a few more times throughout our relationship. We sat at our table every time, him in the wobbly chair & me sitting across from him, smiling like an idiot at this unstable boy sitting in front of me.

The First Kiss

Anyway, after the yogurt shop I drove him back to his car in the parking lot of the theater. We sat there & talked more, & then I remembered the fact that he hadn’t kissed me that whole date. I right then & there logically assumed he would forever see me as his pal who made dumb jokes & shouldn’t be taken seriously. I was thinking about this non-stop in my head as he nervously rambled on in the shotgun seat & didn’t tune in until he said, “& I just need to do this because I know that if I don’t, I’m going to be really mad at myself.” Then he grabbed me & kissed me.

This was it. This was the moment. The moment I had been waiting so many long & gruesome months for. The moment I honestly never thought would come, the kiss ended & I was feeling so many emotions. I knew I needed to say something, so the words that exploded from my mouth at him were “Thank You!”

I want to give you more detail of the context of the “thank you” I said to him.

That Awkward Moment

I didn’t say it sweetly, like when someone gives you flowers on Valentine's Day. I said it like when someone owes you an apology that they were supposed to give it to you a long time ago but they waited hours to do it & then when they finally do, you sarcastically say “thank you” at them. Yeah, that’s how I said it. His equally mature response was, “uhhhh okay! Gotta go, see you later, bye.” Then he jumped out of my car. I thought he would never speak to me after that night. Then he called me an hour later. I made a complete fool & idiot out of myself during that awkward moment, & he still wanted to talk to me. That’s when I knew I was in this for the long haul whether I liked it or not. That was our memorable, awkward moment.

Summer Bliss

Summer ended up arriving; we all attended each other’s graduations & celebrated together.

By this time, the four of us were successfully the best friend couple group. About a month after our double date, Angel Voice invited me to a Christian concert with him & his friends, then that night I opened my car door to find flowers & note that said “Will you be my girlfriend” inside.

Throughout the summer, we spent as much time possible together as we could. My best friend, his best friend, him & me. We explored everything their town could offer, we would spend weeks at a time in their town, because we didn’t want to drive all the way home, we lived an hour away. We would all spend nights & mornings in Peeta’s basement just talking to each other about random things in life.

We would sneak into the town’s country club & swim in the pool at night. We would take 2am drives to a donut shop almost an hour away. We spent so many days & nights together, living that summer lovin’ dream. My best friend & I made promises we wouldn’t get in too deep, but of course, we quickly broke those promises.

One night, I was laying on Angel Voice’s couch & we were joking about random things in life. I then decided to close my eyes & just say the words “I love you.” He said them back with no hesitation. We then lay there talking about the moments when we first realized we loved each other, & all the times we wanted to say it, but were so scared to say it to each other. That moment was perfect; I wanted it to stay like that forever. But we all know what eventually happens to perfect moments.

Broken Promises

We were both from Kansas. He was accepted into a private college in Colorado. I wanted to attend Colorado State ever since my sophomore year of high school, but was very aware of the out of state tuition, so I decided to stay in Kansas to attend a community college, because I was awarded a full scholarship & ended up not paying for those first two years of school.

Ever since we first started dating, we had made a logical agreement to end the relationship by the end of summer. The thing with agreements & promises is they’re so easy to make, but then something washes over you & the two of you automatically decide that somehow you’re different.

You’re not like the rest. You can face all odds & destiny or fate or whatever that powerful & seemingly magical force is, will bring you together.

The true reality is, many times you aren’t different than any other couple. You can’t always defy all odds. Deep down, we knew that. We knew trying to stay together wasn’t smart in any way. We knew we had completely different goals & dreams, & we were very aware that if we stayed together, we wouldn’t be able to fully chase those dreams. We just wanted the soundtrack to our lives to continue to play. We didn’t want the songs to end; we didn’t want to find a new record to play a new set of songs for our lives. So we kept the record running as long as we can. That’s a decision I will forever regret.

So we stayed together, even after summer ended.

In the beginning, it was fine. We were doing an amazing job! I was involved in theatre at my old Community College & attended an event for other theatre scholarship recipients & made friends immediately. They all became my little theatre group of friends & caused me to feel amazingly great about the upcoming fall semester.

We're Going to be Fine...?

Angel Voice helped me move everything into my dorm room two days before classes started & a few days before he was to leave for Colorado. My little theatre group of friends came to my dorm room while he was helping me unpack to greet me & to meet Angel Voice. One of my newfound friends was tall & very handsome. He & I had become very close during the two days we had all spent together for theatre. He was always wearing shorts & bro tanks & bracelets that read, “No care ever.” I’ll call him Longboarder.

Longboarder came to help me unpack & spent some time talking with Angel Voice & me. In the evening time, Angel Voice had to head home so I walked him to his car. I gave him a hug & he said to me, “He likes you.”

“What? Who?” I questioned.

“Longboarder. I can see it in his eyes. I’m leaving you here with a guy who is interested in you to live 500 miles away.” He then closed his eyes & tipped his head back, I could tell he was questioning our mutual decision to stay together & I couldn’t stand the thought of losing him, not that easily at least.

“We’re going to be fine,” I said reassuringly. “He’s not interested in me; it’s just all in your head. You’re just paranoid because you’re nervous about leaving. It’ll be fine, I promise.”

He sat there in a moment of silence & then said, “You’re right.” Then he got in his car & drove home. We had many moments like that throughout those extra months. Him doubting the decision to stay together & me pathetically desperately telling him we could do it & it would be okay. Sometimes we blind ourselves from realizing the moments that we’re meant to finally let go.

Months went by & things never progressed for the better.

We attempted to talk on the phone every night like we used to before, but struggles always got in the way. I had awful cell phone reception in my dorm room, so when we would tell each other the events of the day, the call would drop at least two or three times throughout the conversation. It was frustrating & would cause us irritation, which would turn into irritation with each other, which would turn into fights over incredibly dumb & pointless things.

Living College Life & Lying

As the relationship continued, I felt very trapped.

I was making so many new & amazing friends, as was he. Many of his new friends were females & mine were male. I would feel guilty about every time I would hang out with my friends rather than staying in the dorm talking to him, then I would get angry when he wouldn’t do the same for me.

I started lying to him about where I was going & what I was doing because I didn’t want him to be angry at the truth. We had never been jealous of each other before because we were both experiencing our first real relationships, so we were easily trusting of each other. Later on though, we kept constantly getting more & more jealous. We were becoming toxic & dangerous to ourselves.

In the beginning of January, right before the end of winter break. I had spent my last day with him before he had to leave again for Colorado. He came to my house fully intending to break up with me. I knew this was what was going on, but I couldn’t stand the idea of losing my best friend, the guy who helped me find myself when I was so incredibly lost. The person I had become started its formation because of him, I wouldn’t have had the courage to change if it weren’t for him & I couldn’t lose that.

So, once again, what was probably the third or fourth time in our relationship; I talked him out of breaking up with me & to keep on going, because we couldn’t lose each other. At that time, our relationship was all that mattered to us. But we knew, deep down that wasn’t the truth.

About a week or two later, I had a random realization that I was no longer where I really wanted to be anymore.

Restlessness

I was in Kansas, a place I so desperately wanted to escape from in high school, & yet I was 19-years-old, still there & that made me feel like a failure. I now realize that 19 is an incredibly young age.

I’m 22 now & I know that’s young as well, but there’s a difference between being older & looking at someone that age & saying “you’re still young, kid. You have time to get out & do new things. Be patient!” But when you are that age, whatever age it is, you don’t feel very young or like you have much time.

You become obsessed with accomplishing every goal you’ve ever had as soon as possible. So once I had realized that, I realized I needed to change at least one thing in my life if I wanted things to be different. I finished hanging out with my friends & decided to call Angel Voice.

I told him I needed a change & tried to talk with him more about how I was feeling & he didn’t seem to want to pay very much attention to it. He was going through hardships currently in his life that my problems didn’t even begin to compare to. There were heartbreaking things that I had no idea how to even begin to help him deal with. We started arguing with each other about nonsense again & then I said the words, “we fight so much, now.”

Then he said, “We really do. We never fought before.”

Then I told him, “You have so much going on in your personal life you need to deal with. & I don’t want it to be me.” Then I said, “I think we should talk about breaking up.”

He responded with, “You think so?” As if it wasn’t something he had thought about for weeks, maybe months, like it wasn’t something we both had been considering for a while.

We then had a conversation for over an hour about everything dealing with a break up. Topics ranging from, “Should this just be a break or a full thing?” to “How & when do we tell our parents” all the way to “What do we do about our Facebook statuses?” We thoroughly discussed it all. Until finally, we concluded that we, for once in this extended relationship, needed to be logical & break up. Our last words to each other were, “Well. Umm. I love you, I guess.” & “Yeah, I love you too.” Then we hung up.

Weirdest breakup ever, I know.

Nothing was weirder than that remaining year, though.

The Weirdest Part Was Yet to Come

Despite our decision we made when we had hung up the phone, we didn’t stop talking. Once again, we thought we were different from everyone else. We thought we could constantly talk & stay friends & everything would be okay, but it really wasn’t.

We texted every day & I experienced the single life.

I ended up going on a few dates with Longboarder & going out more with all of my friends. I always went back to texting Angel Voice at the end of the night, though. We usually texted, sometimes called.

We told each other everything about our day & what was happening in our lives. We felt like we needed to do this, because it hurt way too much to just let go & not have each other to lean on. No one understood us like we understood each other. It got even more toxic for us & our friendship.

We got jealous easily, & mad when the other would hang out with friends, instead of calling or talking to the other. We would talk about getting back together & then get in a fight about how that wouldn’t work & one of us wasn’t ready to do that again. We had no idea what we were doing.

Eventually, while I was dating different guys my sophomore year; I started to become very interested in one of them. Almost as much as I had liked Angel Voice. That was the first time any man I had met had come even a little close to comparing to Angel Voice. We started dating more to the point where I really liked him, but I was still continuously texting Angel Voice. So I texted Angel Voice one night & told him I was really liking someone & wanted him to know. He got mad at me, saying he didn’t know we were dating other people (it had been over a year at this point). This was when we realized we were slowly injuring each other, like deep, incredibly difficult to heal wounds.

We stopped talking right after that.

Living, Learning & Moving ON

It’s been about two years now. Angel Voice is now engaged (he started dating a woman at his school about a week after that last conversation) & I’m living in Colorado attending Colorado State, about to graduate soon.

I love where & who I am. I really hope he does too.

We don’t talk at all anymore, unless it’s polite “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Graduation” texts. I guess I want to end this by addressing the younger men & women who could possibly be reading this.

I just want you to know that it’s okay to let go. Don’t try to hold on so tight to something, that you’re missing what is going on around you because you’re focused on holding on to this one, seemingly wonderful thing. Don’t feel bad for being on your own when you graduate high school. Try to experience a brand new world on your own. Chase your dreams, do what you love, try to live with no regrets.

If I would have stayed with that guy longer than I had, I know for a fact I wouldn’t be who I am today. I lived in Maine for a summer on an internship, I lived & worked in Disney World, & I’m travelling to London soon. I’ve also made incredible friends who live in New Zealand, so now I have plans to travel & possibly move there.

I don’t think I would have gone on all of these incredibly adventures if I would’ve stayed with him. I’ve remained single since then & I’m incredibly happy. I’ve dated a fair amount of men, but I haven’t found one that makes my heart skip several beats like it used to with Angel Voice. & that’s okay.

Our life mission shouldn’t be to constantly search & scour the earth for love. Be your own love for a while, & let that special someone find you. They will, I promise. Just remember to find someone who supports you, brings out the best in you, & doesn’t let you lose sight of the person you truly are.

Don’t be afraid to wait for him or her, don’t be afraid to let go & don’t be afraid to be picky.          

The Essential Life Contributor

About The Author - Holly Landis

Holly Landis is a senior attending Colorado State University, graduating in December 2017 with her Bachelor of Arts in Media Communication & Film Studies. She is a lover of film. television, theatre & all things entertainment.

Holly hopes to obtain a career in the entertainment industry either writing or creating promotional content. She is becoming a lover of travel & is constantly on the go. Holly is passionate about puns & learning about proper cheeses & wines to pair.

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