Flowers (Meditations on Dating)

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It’s just after the new year when I finally make it to the salon for my quarterly haircut. It’s the coldest day of the winter so far. My hairdresser’s coworkers are gently teasing her about the massive flower arrangement she received at work that afternoon. She’s embarrassed, but excited, pink with the flush of new romance. Her joy could turn the winter to spring. I’m happy for her, and her mood is adorable and infectious, but my heart twists slightly with jealousy as I admit to her that no one has ever given me flowers. (Well, my grandma did once when I was in a play in middle school, but that doesn’t really count, does it?)

What I don’t mention is that the lack of flowers is entirely my own fault. When I was younger most of my partners were the kinds of immature guys that would never think to buy flowers, but when I sensed someone might try to buy them for me I said “don’t.” This wasn’t because I didn’t appreciate the thought or how pretty they were, but because it seemed pointless and wasteful to spend the money on something with such a short shelf life, to spend so much on something that would inevitably die. 

And yet, when I think about it I see how I have repeatedly spent so much of myself on situations with short shelf lives. If I had paid attention, I perhaps could have protected myself from being left to wilt. The past shouldn’t be changed because we are who we are because of our experiences, but who I am is so tired, especially by the thought of dating. 

My mom keeps a big ornamental grass in our backyard. Every winter she cuts it low when it dries up and every summer it grows back, full and lush. My last date was about two and a half years ago. Part of me was cut back then too, but I have not yet found the energy for regrowth.

How pointless to give time to someone, to become comfortable and open up, when they can suddenly decide you no longer fit the scheme of their garden, yank you up at the root, and chuck you out.

How wasteful to spend time grieving something you could not preserve, clinging to the memories like you’re pressing flower petals for framing only to have the blooms dry up too much and crumble to dust.

But when romance is freshly blooming, when they send you flowers at work, when they smile at you in a way that makes your heart feel so full it could blossom out of your chest, that is the point, that is the opposite of waste.

So when I see Sara, flush faced, caught up in something new, the flowers not yet wilted, I think that maybe this will be the year I try dating again. Maybe this time I’ll wind up with a field of bright blooms.

This is Krys.

The last guy I was in a relationship with is named Chris. (Normally I’d change the name to protect the innocent, but this story won’t make any sense if I do. Almost everyone he knows calls him by an extremely unrelated nickname anyway, so it should be fine.)

One night we went to eat at a diner (I’m from New Jersey, occasional diner visits are mandatory or I get kicked out), and there was a bit of a wait, so I put my name down on the hostess’ list. Instead of giving her my full first name, which I’ve often had misheard as other names, I told her to put down Krys. (Which she probably wrote down as Chris, but whatever.) So when she called for us, she asked for Krys, and Chris said, “Why didn’t you put down your name?”

My response? “I did.”

He had no idea, and neither would most people.

Hello, I’m Krystal, but very rarely, mostly to my family, I am known as Krys. I’m called Krys so rarely that it sort of feels like a secret identity. And yet, Krys name is the one I’d like to use on this blog. The use of such an extremely personal name is a reminder for me to be my most personal self here. I already have a well-worn-in online handle I could have used — I’ve been krystaaaalkay since 2012, if not before. But for this blog, I want to abandon that name, for a couple of reasons.

  1.  There is a little problem with the name krystaaaalkay called “nobody can remember how to fucking spell it.”
  2. krystaaaalkay is more or less my “brand,” and in some ways it has become an alter ego. Yes, krystaaaalkay is candid with her thoughts, but she’s also highly veneered. She rarely appears in front of a camera without a full face of makeup, and won’t talk about certain uncomfortable things from her life that maybe she’d like to talk about if she didn’t want to make people uncomfortable. (Except mental health. She’ll always talk about her depression and anxiety.)

Krys is easy to spell. Krys doesn’t give a fuck about a lot of things that krystaaaalkay does. krystaaaalkay needs a full face of makeup to do a video. Krys is currently writing this blog post with her hair wet from a shower, wearing her pajamas — a floppy tank top, Walmart leggings, socks to hold in the lotion on her feet, and Crocs (her house shoes).

So here we go. Let’s lose the veneer. Let’s get sloppy. Let’s get personal.

Much love,
Krys

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