I occasionally forget what it feels like to have butterflies in my stomach. At times I’ve gone for years without feeling them. If you’ve ever had them, you know the kind I’m talking about. It’s the feeling you get when you are thinking about, or are with someone you find attractive, not just physically, but mentally. I’m not talking lust, or desire. Butterflies.
The butterflies make me laugh a little too hard and a little too loud at jokes. They bring out the secret smile that most people never see. They flutter at the sound of text messages in anticipation. They make me go out of my way to ensure that it was all more than just one chance meeting. I heart butterflies.
I also hate them. They come out of nowhere, blindsiding me. One minute everything is normal, and the next, POW! I’m suddenly acting like a teenager, all giggly and silly, needing reassurance when I never have before. It’s like I’m not in control of my own body. There are constant cravings that suddenly need fulfillment. Stat! I have to find a way to see him again. To see him smile, to hear his laugh, to get a text message, or just tell him how my day went and ask about his. How? What can I say, what can I do to make it happen?! All these things are racing through my head at all hours of the day and night. All while the other side of my brain is asking, “WTF is your problem? Why him? Why now? Really? You were perfectly fine just hours ago. What happened?”
Most of the time, butterflies for me are within hours of meeting a person. But occasionally, I don’t notice them at first. They sneak up on me. It starts by noticing his absence and wondering where he is. Then the slight twinge when I hope he will happen to show up to wherever I am. Next, I start manufacturing reasons for us to meet. The butterflies are like a drug and I just keep needing more.
However, if the butterflies aren’t reciprocated, they become an annoyance. There is the constant distraction every time my phone makes a noise and I jump to respond like a Pavlovian dog. There are the wandering day dreams that interfere with my concentration. Then there’s the constant desire to just make some sort of contact, which I have to learn to ignore. Not to mention the general frustration of not understanding why the feelings aren’t reciprocated—the logical side of me knows that it doesn’t matter why, so why don’t the butterflies understand that?*
I wish emotions were black and white. I want to turn them off and go back to what I was doing. I want to go back to the status quo. I want to ignore the desires and delusions. I want to be in control.
But at the same time, I’m grateful. I’m grateful for the reminder that butterflies exist, that I’m not completely broken, that I still have a heart. I’m grateful for experiencing the feeling, and being reminded that it is worth the wait. Some people have to break off all contact to get rid of the butterflies, but I prefer them to just fly away over time. It can be hard in the beginning as I’m breaking myself of some bad habits, but I like that one or two butterflies always remain. I enjoy literally laughing out loud when reading a Facebook post or tweet. Or the secret smile that appears when we run into each other. Or the warmth that comes from hearing a familiar voice. It all reassures me that some day it will be the right person at the right time. And for those who weren’t the right person at the right time, I hate to quote Garth Brooks, but, “Our lives are better left to chance—I could have missed the pain—But I’d of had to miss the dance.”
* The reason I don’t want to know why someone isn’t interested is something I’ve learned over the years. There are three reasons why someone isn’t interested:
- It is something about me I can’t change.
- It is something about me I can change.
- It is something about themselves.
In case 1, why torture myself with something I can do nothing about? In case 2, I should never change myself to please someone else. And as such, case 3 is covered by the same principles.