A little over a year ago, I went on what I thought was the perfect date. He was cute, relatively funny, and had a good job as a software engineer. Although I did not have a lot in common with him, I thought to myself, this might actually work. I was so relieved that he had not been grabby, chauvinistic, or whiny that I did not stop to think about any of his other characteristics. When he asked me on a second date, I eagerly accepted. I honestly thought that he was the best that I could do.
On the second date, I realized just how little we had in common. I found myself trying to hide my nerd streak, using smaller words and feigning interest in soccer. Despite having little to talk about, I convinced myself that this was enough to make me happy. Before the second date was even halfway through, he asked me on a third date, and I accepted.
Later that night, he then invited me back to his apartment to play video games. While getting a glass of water, I noticed a dinosaur soup ladle sitting on his counter. When I complimented it, he handed it to me, saying that his mom had ordered them in bulk on Amazon as a gag gift.
Shortly after, he asked me to sleep with him. I turned him down and went home about an hour later. A few days later, he took back the offer of a third date.
Although the date had been boring, I was devastated. I had been so relieved to be around someone “normal” that I had forgotten to think about what I actually wanted. I threw the dinosaur soup ladle so hard that I almost knocked a picture off the wall.
As I picked up the soup ladle, I considered throwing it in the trash, in hopes of forgetting this boy who wasn’t worth my memories or my time.
I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
I gently placed the dinosaur back on the counter. This dinosaur was proof that I was done with settling for “nice enough.” It was a reminder that I should pursue whatever I wanted with confidence, and that I had the right to say no to anything that did not make me truly happy. I prayed that I would maintain that level of confidence and spend the next year only pursuing things that made me smile.
Shortly after that experience, my friends took me out to celebrate my birthday. That night, I met a guy. THE guy. He and I talked all night, never once having a lull in conversation. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I could be fully myself, and it scared the hell out of me. I begged to the universe for some sign that I was not letting my insecurities cloud my judgement. Then I asked him what he did for a living, and I knew.
He studies dinosaurs.
Since that night, he and I have been inseparable. He encourages me, makes me laugh until I cry, and supports me like no one else (apart from my parents) has. I am so thankful to have spent 2018 holding his hand through movies, vacations, surgeries, trivia nights, doctors’ appointments, family gatherings, and everything in between.
I know how I am spending the rest of my life, and it is in part thanks to a dinosaur soup ladle. Thank you, little dinosaur, for making me reevaluate my priorities and pointing me to a man who loves me when I am unable to love myself.