When I’m scared, I go online and listen to old theme songs from shows I used to watch as a kid.
Sometimes I cry or try to logically think situations and circumstances through, but lately I’ve been returning to my laptop to type in those old childhood songs. Why? The lyrics and melodies remind me of a time when nothing could hurt me, and so by listening to them, these songs give me a cushion in life. A reminder of a time of innocence and normality, when the world was safe and in order.
So, is my life out of order? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe it is completely out of whack and in the process of searching for myself I’ve gotten so lost that I’ve drowned – and when I’m revived, I’ll have permanent injuries and scars. Maybe that’s the case. But what if it isn’t? What if this is truly beautiful, like my instincts have been telling me? What if my life is finally falling into place? What if I’ve finally discovered who I am and who I was meant to be? What if, perhaps, I have already been revived and restored with a fresh perception of what I actually need in order to be happy.
I’ve been happy lately. So, so, happy!
Then why all the theme songs and nostalgia? Why am I scared?
I’m in love with my best friend. Madly, passionately, beautifully in love. Madly, passionately, beautifully in love … with her. Good gosh, why?
She is my everything. She’s gorgeous and fun, witty and sassy. Intelligent, funny, charming, talented, insightful, dramatic. She keeps me on my toes. Supportive, inspiring, courageous, and caring. How can she tell what I’m thinking and what I want when I don’t even know? How can she bring me to the light and keep me from the dark? Why can’t I stop thinking about her?
I always want to be with her. I want to experience the highs in life with her, moments of exhilaration and stupid decisions. I want to spend the lows with her, be her strength when she’s down. After all, we’ve already been there, done all of that. She knows my heart inside and out, all my secrets. I know hers as well. I feel as though our souls have formed a bond. I have nothing left to expose. It’s the most vulnerable and frightening feeling I know.
Oh my goodness, it’s amazing – that feeling of contentment whenever I’m with her. I don’t spend my time wishing my life away. I’m content with being right where I am.
Hugs and giggles, hand-holding and good morning/goodnight texts, kisses when no one’s watching – escapades that make me feel like my heart is going to jump out of my chest.
Oh no, I have it bad.
Cue the long hours of me listening to childhood theme songs on repeat. Nothing can hurt me. This isn’t me. This isn’t my life. I am little again. Maybe this is all a dream. I’ve been boy-crazy since preschool. My best friend and I are both straight. No one would ever imagine otherwise.
I mean, sneaking those magazines into my room in the sixth grade meant nothing, right? That huge crush I had on a girl in my class in the eighth grade had to just be infatuation. I was probably jealous of her or something, right? But when she hugged me on the last day of middle school, I was on cloud nine.
No, no! It’s okay! The sounds of innocence rush through my headphones. Everything is fine. Everything is normal. I’ve had countless crushes on boys. It’s okay. I’m still a child. I turn the theme songs up louder.
I turn them up to drown out the disgust in my mother’s voice when she half jokingly asks if I’ve ever kissed my best friend. I’m drowning out the shock and annoyance in her response when I announce that I want a boyfriend or a girlfriend. I won’t let it hurt me when she says that bisexual people will never find happiness because they are never content with the gender of whomever they are dating. I’ll fight back tears when I hear my dad tell me bisexuality is “unnatural” – and though he said he never meant it to hurt me, those words haunt my dreams. Stop it, you idiot! You need help! I say when I catch myself daydreaming of kissing that cute girl who sits next to me in class. Stop being unnatural! I’ll ignore the massive guilt in the pit of my stomach – the feeling that I’ve done something wrong.
Louder! Turn the theme songs up louder! Everything is still normal! Nothing has to change!
I’ll go after that cute boy who sits near me in math class. I’ll strike up a conversation; maybe we’ll fall in love and I’ll realize that, in fact, I was never really in love with my best friend – just confused. And after that guy, I’ll find another one. Sooner or later someone will come along and prove me wrong.
But these plans do nothing but make me numb. I don’t want anyone else. I want her! I’m in love with her!
She tells me she feels the same way, and it breaks my heart.
I’m scared. Why should I care what others think? Why should it matter? Why do people care so much what I do with my life?
Oh no, louder! Turn the childhood theme songs up louder! I have to drown out these thoughts. But they don’t go away. The nostalgic feeling sinks in again, and happiness from the past is taking over. Current happiness creeps into my thoughts.
I’m in love with her.
When I turn the theme songs up, they are no longer my safety net.
So maybe it’s not so bad after all. Regardless of what society thinks, I’ll give beautiful, passionate love a chance, because slowly the lyrics turn into answers.
This is me. This is right. Love is my answer. Maybe, just maybe, falling in love is supposed to be kind of scary.
With love, much like those childhood theme songs, my world is in order, and just maybe everything will be all right.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.