For Late Bloomers

I definitely feel like a late bloomer in nearly every sense of the term. Romantically I've had more prospects in the past 6 months than I've had in the previous 26 years (although to be fair some of those years do not count as it would be silly for me to have a boyfriend at age 3). Even as a child I was off the charts for being too small, to the point that my mother took me to a doctor to see if there was actually some larger issue at hand with my lack of growth. Of course, with late blooming I don't mean to be so literal in my interpretation--I am not just slow at growing upwards.
To get slightly personal, in the past few months I've experienced romantic confusion, first dates, and now am happily labeling Thomas as my "boyfriend." Thomas is my first boyfriend. About a month prior to meeting him I was asked out on a date by a sweet young man and went on my first coffee date. Not my first coffee date with this guy, my first date full stop--not that I generally advertise this information. Do not mistake me for Puritanical in desires or expression, in many ways the opportunity for kissing or dating or whatever simply never arose for me; I haven't been turning down boys or wasting prime make-out sessions with incoherent babble. There are a myriad of reasons to explain these things--my (fully owned) social awkwardness, my family's propensity to move every few years, and my general late blooming.
I attended public co-education schools for 11 of my 12 years before college and I can recall friends who'd come back from make-out sessions in locker rooms with hickeys in the eighth grade. It seemed normal and I enjoyed their romantic trials and tribulations as much as I enjoyed our other discussions on favorite television shows and novels, but none of it ever seemed to touch me. I've often contemplated my future alone as a hermit not as one of resignation but with genuine interest in what I might name my Irish wolfhound and what climate or region might suit my disposition best. While it sometimes seemed ludicrous that I had so little experience most of the time I was perfectly content--either I'd find someone or I wouldn't. The latter option was (is) not the end of the world.
When the offer of a first date was extended by someone I was interested in, I accepted and didn't spend any time worrying that it was my first date. I hardly wasted any thought contemplating my first novel by a new author or the first time I tried a different food--I went in mostly blind and took each experience as it came. I feel like I was able to avoid a lot of the nerves because I'm not the overly shy, neurotic girl I was a few years ago. I probably wasn't ready to be dating even when I was a college student who was capable of traveling abroad alone, maintaining grades while also working, living across the country from my family, and other various activities that require some level of maturity. Just because you (or I) might be a late bloomer in one area or another it doesn't mean that across the board you're below average. I think it's important to focus on what we have done or can do as much as what we haven't--like getting your first job as a teenager and not quitting or reading multi-volume book series in the span of week. I find it odd that some people can make it to their mid-twenties without having flown by themselves or lived on their own or held a steady job--oddness is relative. Late bloomer seems to be synonymous with "doesn't fit an age-related mould." But most people don't fit a mould.
Style-wise I also feel like a late bloomer. As I've posted before self-consciousness kept me in jeans and tees for most of my school years despite my general dislike for said clothes. I also didn't wear make-up and routinely forgot to brush my hair until I was a senior in high school. I only started dressing in a way I found interesting the summer before my junior year of college. It was only a couple of years ago I was bold enough to cut my hair off and this summer to get the courage to dye it blue. As someone still overcoming shyness and self-consciousness any change that would make me stand out or could potentially look really bad is something that takes a bit of courage. I'm still getting comfortable in my own skin and less worried about how I look--which ironically tends to lend itself to more declarative style choices.
The large point of this highly personal post with potentially embarrassing factoids is: late blooming really isn't a big deal. It's perfectly normal and just because everything isn't happening now, doesn't mean it will never happen (something I felt at various stages). Growing up people can spend a lot of time worrying that their friends are having more experiences than them and not enough time focusing on whether or not they're enjoying their own choices. When I truly think of it I don't regret any evening I skipped a high school game or hang-out for book, I don't regret going to prom stag, and now I don't regret going on a first date that didn't lead to a relationship, kissing someone who I didn't end up with, or taking a chance on Thomas. It's not about whether you have your first kiss at fifteen or twenty-five; it's about whether or not you enjoy who you're kissing...


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