Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.
I thought it was only natural to follow up a chapter about love with a chapter about crushes. I am no more an expert about crushes than I am about love, however, I have had a crush or two in my time. I have also watched many of my friends develop crushes with fascination as they have played out in a positive or negative (mostly negative) fashion. I feel like an American 14-year-old using the word crush but I don’t know what else to call it. Infatuation? Obsession? Stupidity? Torture?
Let’s not get love and a crush mixed up here. There is a very fine line. I know this and I hope that you know this. Also, when I say a crush, I’m not talking about when you have your eye on the person sitting behind you on the bus. You then stare at them in the window reflection, only for them to exit the bus, leaving your life and your thoughts forever. I’m also not talking about the crush that you have on that singer or that movie star. I’m talking about when you encounter someone repeatedly that makes you blush. They may be someone in your class, or in your group of friends. Maybe it’s a friend of a friend who you see at clubs sometimes. Maybe you live in the apartment beside them or they go to your gym. I don’t know what your life is like.
It’s the person who you get flustered speaking to. The person who you think about maybe getting with. The person who you’ve stalked on social media between 6 and 60 times. The one who you wake up thinking about for a few weeks. The one who plays on your mind but you could probably get over if you actually wanted to. Do you have someone in mind? Good.
I often hear people describing having a crush as fun and I ask what planet they may live on? Perhaps it is fun for some people to have crushes. Perhaps some people enjoy their stomach churning like my washing machine on the rare occasions that I actually manage to put a wash on. Perhaps some people enjoy sweating like a pig around an attractive person. Maybe they love agonising over how red and embarrassed they got when they engaged in conversation with such a person. Perhaps they love that feeling of simultaneous pleasure and terror when they imagine speaking to said person. Perhaps most people aren’t as intense as I am and they don’t experience such symptoms when they have a crush. Maybe it’s the fact that I grew up around people who found me as sexually attractive as a mop, or maybe it’s the fact that I feel very strongly about everything, but I am terrible at having a crush. I really am the worst at it.
I would not describe myself as an over thinker at all but when it comes to crushes, the part of my brain that controls my thoughts packs it’s bags and leaves me alone with a whole mess of thoughts flying around like confetti. I’ve recently improved on this but I still panic, sweat, get distracted very easily, imagine myself being with the person and perhaps strangest of all, get extremely paranoid. For some reason I become convinced that I’m going to encounter the person wherever I go. When I step off the bus or go through a door I immediately start looking around for them. When someone new enters a room I look up expecting it to be my crush. I don’t get butterflies. I get elephants trampling through my stomach squishing all of my vital organs and preventing my breathing. Believe it or not I’ve even been known to vomit when I see my crush because of these elephants (not in front of him thank god). Even I’m judging myself while I’m saying this.
When I have a crush I live through my crush. This is not healthy and I’m working on it but it’s an undeniable part of me. I am constantly reminded of them in the silliest ways. I imagine life with them and have imaginary conversations with them in the shower (what a loser). If I’m texting them I can’t do anything. I can’t read or watch TV without losing concentration. It takes me ten minutes to do things that usually take me one because I am replying, imagining their reply or imagining my reply to their imaginary reply. I am extremely good at being flirty over electronic devices and I much prefer to do that than see them in person when I, as shown above, cannot control myself. This is weird and stupid and ridiculous but who cares? It makes for some funny stories if nothing else.
So how do we survive this? I have no fucking idea. If you do have an idea please email me because I would love to know. I like to just roll with it. Let yourself feel all the immature and juvenile feelings. Let yourself be silly and get excited over stupid details. Laugh at yourself as you overthink every encounter or possible encounter with your crush. If you want to talk to them, push yourself to talk to them. It’s funny. If you want to flirt, flirt. If you’re brave enough to tell them about your crush, do it. Talk to your friends about it and let them laugh with you. Don’t be too serious. Try not to get upset and if you realise that the person you are crushing on is not a nice person remove them from your life. If you realise something bad about your crush during the idealistic crush phase, it is an extremely strong sign for you to get the fuck out of there. Good luck, be silly, laugh a lot and enjoy it.
Read more Who Cares? here.
Buy Who Cares? here.
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