Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to Fall Madly in Love and Stay True to Yourself

The other day I set off to go to the post office for my dad.  First I went to the bank, then realized I didn't need to go there, then I headed back toward the post office but drove past it and came back home without my dad's mail.  Explanation: I was distracted.  I was daydreaming about my boyfriend and forgot what I was doing.  And most people would say that that's a bad thing, but I don't see it that way.

When I first started dating in high school, my mom and I ran into some disagreements - she didn't like how obsessed I was acting and that I only wanted to talk about guys all the time.  I was sixteen by the time I really started thinking about guys; prior to that, I had no interest in dating.  For most of my life, I was vaguely aware that when people first entered relationships, they often became giddy and couldn't concentrate and would do silly things.  My mom always said she didn't understand that, and that while she was (and still is) passionate about my dad, she never acted that way.  And since I had never dated, I assumed that if the time ever came for me, I would be like her.

But what I failed to realize was that I'm not like her.  My mom is lives a balanced life, but I zoom in on one thing and tune out everything else.  When I was in my very first play, Oz, back in sixth grade, I got so excited about the fact that "oz" is the abbreviation for "ounces," which meant that every label on every bottle and can said the name of my play!  I took a yellow marker (for the yellow-brick road) and highlighted the "oz" on everything in our kitchen.  I was bouncing off the walls about it practically every day.

This is just one example of how I act when I'm psyched about something. So logically, it never made sense that I would suddenly become rational when I started dating someone I really, really like.  I should have known that I would act giddy and silly once I started dating based on how I acted in other situations.

I had my uncertainties about dating at one time because I wondered if when people acted giddy, they weren't being themselves anymore.  I used to spy on one particular close couple at my high school, just to see how they did it.  I knew that both of the students were very ambitious and had many things that mattered to them outside of the relationship.  And while they really enjoyed their time together, I didn't observe any alterations in their personal goals.  That really cleared things up for me.  And now that I'm in a relationship, it's weird to think that I would have to question something like that.  You are still you and your choices are still your own.

Acting differently doesn't necessarily mean that you're not being yourself; most of us do act differently in different situations, some more than others.  If you got involved with an activity that you loved and became more stimulated or happy than normal, no one would tell you that you're being fake - you're just acting the way you feel.  If your emotions are causing you to act differently, then the important thing is to let the other person know what you're like when they're not around, what you were like before you were in the relationship.  If you are honest about how you normally are, then I see nothing wrong with falling headfirst into all the feelings you have.  It's worth the second trip to the post office.  

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