Jun 13, 2019 by Jemila Pratt, in Uncategorized
Photo Credit: Melody Jacobs

This photo represents continuously moving forward and living my life fully in order to manifest all that I want.

By the end of 2018, I realized the clarity about my emotional needs. Steeped in contentment, I felt ready to meet people and socialize more often. With my writing schedule, exercise, and work there didn’t seem like much energy to go out, so I created a new profile on a popular dating site.

Before submitting myself to scrutiny by a sea of potential dates, I sought feedback from friends about my pictures and chose the six that got the most positive reviews. Optimism seemed like a four-letter word, but it made its presence known while I sifted through all that Los Angeles & nearby Orange County had to offer.

A number of men would look, like a picture or two, and move on. Very few dared to send messages and even fewer held conversations.  But optimism held on.

Throughout the six month subscription, I sent countless messages to men who presented themselves as intriguing, outgoing, health conscious, mindfully aware/woke, humble and handsome. To my slight disappointment, some never checked their emails and others simply did not respond after reading my “Hey ___, how was your weekend” or “I also like that thing we have in common” messages. Ugh, thanks, fellas.

Every twenty or thirty men, I’d link with someone who chose to engage past the just taking your temperature greetings, initial online messaging, and texts. Several had asked me on dates that unfortunately or fortunately didn’t materialize. Perhaps the proposal of those fantasies were just a form of entertainment. The closest I came to actually meeting someone who requested to meet at 1 pm. I arrived twenty minutes early. He messaged me that he’d be nearly an hour late. I left without hesitation.

I found their collective behavior annoying and this waste of time made me question their intentions on the site. The desire to engage in voice-to-voice conversation and go on a date can’t possibly be considered doing too much. Right? Even though it seemed distant, faithful optimism continued to appear. 

At the end of the subscription, cancelled the night before it expired, I realized that pride had joined optimism. 

Pride developed with each message directly stating that I was not interested, which became increasingly comfortable. It came when I told men that our momentum dissolved as a result of a lack of communication. These assertions coming from a woman who practices looking attractive people in the eye, because their beauty vibrates so pure that it hurts (and makes me feel shy). These ideas do not come naturally so these ‘bold’ acts feel like a series of victories to celebrate. 

Typically, I avoid these conversations, suppress feelings, and try to be overly sensitive to the sentiments of others. Meanwhile, my happiness and well-being suffer as I complain about the other person, but remain passive.  

Through my fourth round on this site (first one was December 2006), I have learned how to understand a variety of coded language, further solidify my needs, and remain unwavering in expressing my opinions at appropriate moments. Although success in the form of dates did not happen, the experience and awareness gained definitely proved more meaningful. 

And yes, with that pride is the staunch presence of optimism.