As I walked around today, I thought of many ways to formulate this blog post. Should I go with the super cocky persona that I sometimes give off? Should I go with the cheesy, sappy, romantic persona that is who I truly am inside? Or should I just be a total weirdo and combine a lot of genres into one and hope it works? I think I’m going to go with that one. I’m just saying that I know my dear readers who have latched onto my adventures and are living vicariously through me probably think that I am a total ladies man. I know I seem like a modern day James Bond (who is actually still modern because there are new movies coming out about him and that is a horrible analogy). The truth is that I’m probably not as smooth as you may think I am. That I do not have hundreds of trysts with local women that I’ve found throughout my travels. That for the most part, okay the entire part, that I’ve essentially been entirely alone on this trip. In a romantic sense. I mean, I’ve met people, made (hopefully) life long friendships and things like that. Oh crap, I could still totally write a sentence about what I’m about to say and put it in the beginning of this post because that’s what I intended but I’m not going to. Because as I’ve said before, I admit my flaws. Just wanted to say that this is not a review of Aziz Ansari’s book, Modern Romance, which came out last month. Though if anyone wants to talk about, I did read it all and I’m totally open to sharing my thoughts on it. This is just my take on romance. And by romance, I mean one specific girl so there’s a good chance I change this blog title before I’m even done. Except for that I can’t because I included this blurb about Modern Romance so now if I change the title that will make no sense and…wow, I’ve done a very good job of rambling through almost four hundred words before I even wanted to say what I came here to say.
An Ode to Effy: Alright, alright, alright, one last mention of Modern Romance the book so it looks like I actually will include it as the title of this blog. He mentioned that now in the year 2015, online dating is the most prevalent reason for relationships. That more relationships come from it than anything else and that’s like a 30% increase (while everything else decreased) in the last decade alone. Throughout my time abroad, I’ve viewed people through online dating websites just to get a sense of how other cultures use the internet for dating purposes really. I say that because I would message a person or two but I would never really expect to interact with someone because of the program of which I was staying in, the language barrier, etc, etc. During my one week stint in Madrid, I did talk to a girl for a little bit and then off I went to Morocco. Randomly while in Morocco, I decided to message her again because I noticed I had never responded to her or something like that. We got to talking and talking let to Skyping and that led to video chats and that led to more and more communication. I talked to her because I enjoyed talking to her but I never expected anything to come about it especially because I had no plans to return to Spain post Morocco life. I did mention that I was going to Ireland though and she promptly told me how she had visited it and how she had hated it. Even though it wasn’t a glowing recommendation, I still was already booked and excited to have my holiday there. There were a couple of moments where she spoke of coming to Ireland as well so we could finally meet and I went back on forth on the issue but in the end, my final week in Morocco we never spoke of Ireland so I figured the idea had been put to rest. What I’m going to say next may surprise you. Just like apparently there’s stigma with online dating and people are ashamed to say how they use it (which they shouldn’t since everyone uses it now), there is a stigma attached to mental health issues as well. Sometimes I tell people I struggled with depression, sometimes I tell people I just had some issues come up. I mention this because I might not be as confident as you, my dear readers, think I am. I struggle with depression, I struggle with anxiety, and I remember how I reacted when this girl told me she was coming to Ireland. I had a panic attack. I started sweating, I started pacing around my room, I started banging my head into the wall, and I didn’t know what to do. I am an insecure man. This trip has surely helped me become a stronger, more confident, more self assured guy, but I’m still a guy that utterly despised himself just a couple of years ago. The thought of a beautiful Spanish girl spending her own money to meet a guy she’d video chatted a few times for a couple weeks was utterly terrifying and I was scared. I was scared because I didn’t want her to come here and to think she wasted her time. Or money. I would be the first to call myself weird and different and not everyone’s cup of tea. Which is why I was glad we didn’t talk of it my final week in Morocco. Because I thought if we didn’t speak of it that it wouldn’t actually happen. Because that’s how I thought about a lot of things while dealing with depression. I say this because I’m probably going to ramble further about my struggles with romance and depression. I never liked that the catalyst for the start of my depression had to do with a break up five years ago. Looking back, obviously there were more factors at play than that, but at the time and for quite a while afterwards I blamed it strictly on things dealing with romance. Which is what probably led me to such a skewed perception of it. Or maybe not a skewed perception of it, but a feeling of utter terror regarding it and feeling that it was something that I wasn’t deserving of. I have had a relationships since then but I never really felt like I had so many years ago. I always felt that I was going through the motions rather than pouring my heart into it. And I felt that that was all I could do. That a piece of my heart died and wasn’t going to come back. Many times on this trip I’ve thought, well I think I could survive on my own and tolerate it. I accepted that maybe love isn’t something for me and I was coming to terms with it. All in all, that’s kind of a shit feeling and I feel I should rather celebrate that I began to enjoy myself one on one and not have to correlate that with romance. Just because I was finally liking myself doesn’t mean that I would be the only to ever like me. But I can’t always help that I think in extremes and those extremes tend to be negative and that’s stupid. I will admit that’s stupid. Long story short, she came to Ireland. She came to Ireland and erupted inside of me a flood of feelings that had laid dormant for years and that I thought were extinct. She brought me a sense of happiness that I didn’t think another person could elicit from me. In just our five or six days together, I didn’t fall in love because that would be entirely too soon, but I felt the potential to fall in love. I felt the first seeds of that sprouting inside of my heart. Oh gosh, this is getting sappy. If people asked about all the sights I saw in Ireland, I’ll say that I spent a lot of my time walking around with a girl and talking to her and eating pizza. That maybe I didn’t see castles or the countryside, but I got to stare into the big brown eyes of a girl and think I’m very lucky to be in this situation. I got to sit outside and sing Backstreet Boy’s with a girl while both people and birds ran away from us because they thought we were weird. I got to spend an entire week, not thinking how do I get this girl drunk and into her pants but thinking how do I think of a reason to hold this girl’s hand. I also got to remind myself how emotional of a guy I can be. A guy that after walking twenty minutes in the rain to get pizza sat at a grimy table and tried to conceal his eyes tearing up because he was going to miss this girl so much when he left the next day. A guy that felt like an utter asshole when he managed to screw up waking up to see her one last time before she left back to Spain. A guy that realizes it’s extremely unrealistic to ever see her again but the romantic inside of him thinks that somehow it’ll happen. A guy that also apparently sucks so badly at Spanish that he was told that she would learn better English because I’m worthless with her language. Also a guy who is so thankful that he didn’t screw up this amazing week by convincing her not to come because he was scared of meeting her. That he was scared of not being good enough for her even after she gave him no reason to think that way. I just want Effy to know that she’s amazing and I want everyone else to know that I think so too. She’s also amazing because she managed to put up with hanging out with me all day and night and never complaining when I was the weird guy that y’all know I love. I had just forgotten how good it feels to like a cute girl and to just get to know someone who’s just simply super cool. Seriously though, if I had convinced her to not come here that would have been one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Even though I probably wouldn’t ever entirely realize that but that’s not the point. The point is that she came here, the point is that I feel blessed entirely that we got to spend this time together, and that somehow I will see her again. I mean I have to right? She came on a whim to meet a random guy from the internet in a different country where she doesn’t even speak the same language. Or she does speak English, but she’s traveling alone, it’s not her first language and that’s brave. It’s brave, it’s risky, and I’m just thankful she did it. I’m thankful for her, I’m so happy to have met her, to have been around her, and I know I keep using those words but I can’t stop myself. Because she truly is a gem. Maybe I’m just whipped up in the passionate feelings I have, but I do truly think that if I had spent more time with her, I would just keep thinking these things except more so. That she would get better and better and better and I would be me who we all know is oh so great. I didn’t expect to find love on this trip and I’m not saying I did but I found something special. She is special. And I will see her again somehow, somewhere, because I have to. Because I don’t want to live in a world where my last interaction with her was walking her to her door at almost five AM and saying I would see her in a couple of hours to tell her goodbye one last time. Actually, even if I had said goodbye to her I would have to see her again because like I said she’s special. She’s special and I have written far too much. I feel my longest blog post about traveling the world is of course about a girl. Whatever, she deserves it. She earned it. She’s one of a kind. Es mejor. I’m going to stop now because I don’t know how many people care about me pouring my heart about someone. It’s my blog though and I do what I want. Effy, it was truly a pleasure, I hope you read this, and I hope you felt half the things I felt about you. I could live with half, even a quarter, that you didn’t forgot to forget about me when you left even though you promised you would was enough for me. I would write a last line in Spanish but I know I would just mess it up. That’s me. That’s the guy you totally fell for. Because why not? I’m awesome. So it goes.