I've done some hard things in my life. Maybe not hard as in climbing Everest hard, but still, relative to my non-mountaineering life, hard enough.
I also think I'm pretty capable when it comes to living this life. I'd even go as far as to say, that on occasion, I could define myself as an adult. Strong words I know, especially coming from the woman who sometimes has Ice Cream for breakfast because she's incapable of making sensible meal choices.
Taking all this into account, it seems somehow ridiculous to say that one of the hardest things I've done recently was to send a text.
I've been on a few dates with someone. We'd met online, started chatting, exchanged numbers, and agreed to meet up in real life. We went for coffee, we had a meal and shared some drinks. We did the things we do when we go on dates.
It was nice. He was nice. We got on well, no long silences, lots of things in common, I'd even go as far as to say that it felt like we'd known each other longer than just a few dates.
On paper it all sounds pretty good but it just didn't feel right. We talked about relationships and babies, exes and bad dates. We talked about things you don't really talk about on first and second dates.
When the time came to say goodbye we'd kiss, but on the cheeks, and it would be awkward, because neither of us knew what was really going on. It was as if the ease of our freely flowing words should have been a precursor to something more, something intimate, something other than just a kiss on the cheeks.
In the end he broke the ice, and ended the confusion, by sending a text saying that he talked too much.
That's really when it properly clicked for me. It wasn't that he talked too much, it was that we both talked too much, it was that we talked like two old friends, not two prospective lovers.
So I composed a text. It felt like the longest thing I've ever written.
I wrote about how I wasn't ready for a relationship. Then I deleted that and wrote about how we seemed more like friends than anything else. Then I deleted that.
I wrote about how my life was too busy for me to commit to anything right now. I wrote about how I'm actually a terrible person to go out with because I'm too independent, too used to my own way, too complicated, too impossible, too open, too closed.
It all got deleted.
In the end I went with the first thing, that I wasn't ready for a relationship, because, if I'm honest, that's the truth of it. All the other reasons are symptoms of that overarching truth, and not worth going into, because they just sound like excuses, and no one wants excuses.
After I'd sent it I had to put my phone in another room. I couldn't stand to know if he'd text back or not. I couldn't stand the anticipation, the feeling that however nicely I'd worded it, I'd just sent a good person something that could potentially hurt them.
This is one of the bits I don't like about dating. It's one of the bits that makes me think about whether I'm actually cut out to date at all. It would be easier if he was mean, or we didn't get on. It wouldn't feel like I was being mean if he started it.
If he was like that guy I went on a date with that kept going on about the girl in Minnesota he was also interested in it would be easy.
If he was like the woman I went on a date with that kept saying "If you weren't trans, this would be a perfect match" I wouldn't even need to send a text.
Of course though, the mean people, the ignorant ones, the "what was I even thinking" ones, those are the easy choices. The good people, that just aren't the right people, those are the ones that it's hardest to be honest to.
After about half an hour he did text back. He said that he wasn't really ready for anything either, and that he enjoyed meeting me, and that we should hang out sometime.
He was okay. I was okay. We were all okay.
Sitting here now, I can't help but think that maybe being honest to good people, however hard it may seem to be, isn't as bad a thing as I thought.