Ablaze in Los Angeles

On page 225, I shove the copy of “Me Before You” that I have been reading into my bag tipsily and clumsily. The last thing I need is to approach this week vulnerable and with these romantic, rose colored glasses on..

When will I learn that drinking wine at 30,00 foot altitude is something I should approach more hesitantly than I do?

I draw in what I had intended to be a deep, relaxing inhalation, but feel my breath shake its way down into my lungs, as if an old roller coaster built on wooden tracks.

Oh, Haley you anxious, drunk girl, when will you learn? I have this deprecating, feigned self pity down to a science, and while I never truly sympathize for myself, (because I genuinely enjoy this state of being moreso than any other state I’ve ever lived in) I’ve become expert at feeling satisfyingly uneasy.

It’s as if I’m not content unless I’m a ball of nerves, sipping slowly and swallowing over a thick, present lump in my throat.

You’re making too much of this, I tell myself sternly, as if to assure myself that it’s completely normal, in fact advised, that I fly across the country to spend nearly a week with a guy I’ve met once.

My mind goes to me lugging my bags into his car, one that I cant picture because i’ve never been in it.. Next, I see myself undressing in his room, with the assured confidence of someone who can completely mask an anxiety attack with the expert removal of a camisole. I have no idea what this room looks like of course, I haven’t seen it.

I picture myself lying there, beside someone I barely know, someone I had one admittedly fun date with, and realize that the picture is fuzzy because even his mannerisms are indistinguishable to me, and his laugh one I know I couldn’t pick out, if heard in a room of laugher.

It’s just a few days, I then assure, with breath so audibly shaky I’m surprised when the oversized man beside me doesn’t glance in my direction.

Certainly this whole panic attack somewhere over Nebraska could have been avoided.

“Yes, I also had a good time, but no, I don’t think I should fly over to LA to spend a week with you when we’ve only met once”, is something that I could have said.

Surely, he’d understand. He’d maybe act (or be) disappointed, but he probably wouldn’t have been angry, or even surprised. He’s an attractive, charismatic young guy living in LA, I’d have half a brain to anticipate he employs the same “on to the next” attitude that I’ve taken in dating, and he’d probably wish me the best, and continue to masturbate to my Instagram stories just like the rest of ‘em.

But no, of course I didn’t leave it at we had an awesome night once.

Hungry for whatever is I seem to think will finally satiate me, I agree to his seemingly crazy idea that we meet up for a second date, this time one that requires boarding passes and sleepovers and shitting-with-the-shower-running and now that I’m a mere two hours and seventeen minutes from greeting him outside LAX, I feel my appetite turn into what can only be described as a hunger strike.

Don’t you dare do this now, bitch, I tell myself in the most cross and stern way.

You’re less than a timezone away from something that YOU agreed to, that YOU wanted to do so don’t you dare sit here and get all fake anxiety attack about it all.

Well then.

Maybe it’s the mini Chardonnays I’ve been drinking like water, but leave it to me not to sugarcoat things.

Because the truth is, while i’m nervous about the logistics of the impending six days, (yes I’m talking bowel movements, makeup removal, mornings after and quite honestly nonstop interaction with a man I barely know) I find myself most comfortable in the excitement of potential discomfort.

Maybe I want things to be unconventional because maybe to me, my idea of normal is anything but.

I’ve made sure to spend the last few days faking my way through forced “yes, it’s totally crazy, right” conversations with girlfriends and colleagues, despite my inner monologue being one more resembling a “what’s the big deal here you jealous bitches”.

I’ve learned to live in a constant state of feeling outcast by my own opinions of normalcy, especially in regards to my behavior, and I’ve become quite skilled at forecasting what those with more “normal” opinions of how things should go will say about a certain situation, so much so that I allow it to fall from my lips first.

“This is SO nerve-wracking”, I squeal, with enthusiasm that I hope that they deem as authentic, all while I’m mentally more comfortable with flying across the country to see a stranger than I am sitting down to a dinner party with the people I graduated highschool with.

My own anxiety manifests as excitement, and because the two have become borderline indistinguishable to me, I find myself seeking situations that will test my nerves, as they excite me and keep me from the stagnant, depressing existence of a mediocre life.

So while I’m still unable to breathe in a way that a doctor would describe as “regulated”, I can’t imagine I’d have it any other way.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have about an hour and forty minutes to get ready for a date in an airplane bathroom, and I have a feeling it will be far from your average second date.

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