Being a Hard Rock is Exhausting

Being a Hard Rock is Exhausting
By: Ryan D. Daniels

Don't be a hard rock when you really are a gem...
For those amongst us who think “X Factor” is a remix of “Nice For What” the above quote is a line from Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing).

Over the past years, my love life has been for a lack of a better term, shitty. A lot of disappointments and false starts but hey that’s just how the cookie crumbled and I ain’t tripping. However, these disappointments and hard heartbreaks have hardened me. I can be jaded, I can be blasé, and I can be harsh. I’m measured, I don’t get my hopes up, and I’m never willing to put myself out there.

To be honest, I don’t think I have genuinely even liked a guy in almost two years. Sure, I’ve dated and been out of dates but it was just going through the motions. I’m quick to cut some off, for better or for worse. I’m quick to lose interest. I’ve come to expect disappointment and I often preemptively strike to avoid being let down. My heart has become calloused and currently, I am realizing how exhausting it is.

Along came Kwame*, the first time I hung out with Kwame I realized I actually liked him. He has a sharp but charming wit, he actually hears what I am saying and remembers (trust me, I’ve tested his memory), he wasn’t trying to rush me into bed, and he genuinely seemed like a good dude. Realizing I actually liked him scared me so I went into my self-defense mode. I found the one thing he did that I didn’t like and used it as complete justification to cut him.

Around his birthday, I realized I missed texting with him because he was actually engaging me in conversation and didn’t “Wyd?” me to death. So I decided to test the waters and texted him to wish him a happy birthday. I got a dry ass thank you in response. In my mind, I said hey at least he texted back. A few days later I decided to go ahead and dive in I texted him to see how he was doing and I got the soul-crushing “Who is this?” text in response. I couldn’t get mad because I had blocked him on every social media outlet because.... petty. I jokingly said, “Clearly, someone whose number you deleted. It’s Ryan.”

After giving me shit for a few text messages, we finally eased back into conversing and we spent time together a few more times. And that’s when I felt that sense of dread creeping up on me all over again. I liked him and I found myself mentally trying to find the flaws again but something has to be wrong with him, there had to be a secret girlfriend somewhere, there has to be some type of manipulative behavior at play. Something HAS to be wrong with him as I type this I’m trying to figure out what it is.

I’m a G, I can’t be outchea catching feelings. I can’t be out here being vulnerable and actually liking someone and expressing that to someone. My brain keeps telling me to push him away, don’t text back, ghost him, say some mean shit so he’ll leave you alone, or just cut him off again. I’ve got to keep my composure, I can’t be out here being soft, I can’t let myself get caught slipping. I keep telling myself eventually he’ll do something and I can sit here and write another blog proclaiming he ain’t shit and using him as a focal point for another blog. I keep saying eventually he’ll be everything I feared he was and I was well within reason to cut him off and not let him in. I’m so sure that he’ll fuck me over that I won’t even tell my best friend his name. I’m so sure that if he knew I actually liked him he’d take advantage of that and screw me over to his advantage; I have to protect myself at all cost even if it possibly means missing out on something.

Last night I texted my best friend and told her I didn’t like him anymore so trying to convince myself than to convince her. When she asked me why my response made no sense. Here I am, grown AF, doing mental gymnastics to justify not liking a man that I clearly like.

A few years ago, a friend warned me about allowing my then soon-to-be-ex boyfriend turn my heart into a calloused mass. That man put me through every single ringer he could find. He stunted my growth and instead of becoming a diamond I was stuck at coal phase. The guys I involved myself with after him were all disappointing for their own unique reasons. All of these experiences further hardened me and made me less willing to be vulnerable.

I developed a hard exterior and decided it was discernment. I was lying it’s not discernment it’s a defense mechanism. Instead of using my better judgment I see every small misstep as grounds for dismissal. I see even the smallest fault or shortcoming as support for termination.

Every time I’m around Kwame I’m at ease because he puts me at ease but I’m also terrified. I am terrified that I will set myself up for failure, I am terrified that I will set myself up for disappointment, I am terrified that he doesn’t like me at all. I keep telling myself in four months I’ll regret ever meeting him. I’ve allowed my “hard rock” persona to make me doubt my own eyes, dismiss my own heart, and lie to myself.

At the end of the day, I have no idea what the future holds for this situation. Maybe it will be something, maybe it won’t. All I know is that it is making me take a hard look at how I process my feelings. It is okay to be vulnerable but I have to learn how to be vulnerable. I have to learn how to trust myself to let things move at its own pace. If Kwame doesn’t end up being someone who things get serious with I need to be okay with that. However, I won’t know unless I’m at the very least willing to see what could possibly happen. Sure I need to keep my lessons learned in mind but I shouldn't let them be the compass of my course, either. I shouldn't allow them to hinder my vision. No one is perfect and I'm sure at some point or another Kwame will disappoint me but that's just life but that disappointment isn't fatal nor should it be final. 

I don’t want to continue acting like I’m a piece of coal when I’m truly a diamond. I want to allow myself to glow. I want to allow myself to be appreciated and to be appreciative. I want to allow myself to really be at ease versus acting nonchalant.


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