Not one of the scenarios I’m playing out in my head sees this ending well

I’ve taken to working in coffee shops a lot lately. (A potentially expensive move, I do realise.)

There’s something about the chatter and the clinking of cups and the comings and goings of people around me that keeps my fingers tapping at the keyboard.

I was in one such coffee shop a couple of months ago. One that claims to strive for that personal touch by giving me my soya chai with my name on it (and sometimes a doodle, if I’m lucky).

And the most beautiful man walked in.

I actually couldn’t look away. He was possibly the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen in the flesh with my own two eyes.

Of course, I text my friend. Something along the lines of, “sdgysgfuehgbivfhjgrawryatfhgvb what should I do help me.”

My friend, in her infinite wisdom and beautiful faith, told me to talk to him. What did I have to lose, was her argument.

I wonder sometimes if she knows me at all…

(Kidding. But really though.)

The same thought had crossed my own mind. Just go over there. Say hey. Ask how he is. What’s the worst that could happen?

Erm, just all of my self-esteem crumbling. No biggie.

See, not one of the scenarios I played out in my head saw this ending well. He’ll laugh at me. He’ll say no. He’ll ignore me completely. He’ll make up a girlfriend, or a real one will walk in. Every single person in the place will hear me, bear witness to my downfall and also all laugh at me. So I let my potential future bae walk right on out of that coffee shop, probably never to be seen again.

And, I’ve decided, that’s kinda sad.

I hear this stuff all the time: “Don’t worry what others may think of you. Be yourself. If they don’t like it, it’s their problem.”

And that’s all well and good. Logically, I get it. But in practice? It just feels easier to let an opportunity slide. Because, well, HELLO HUMILIATION.

I’ve spent enough time with pink cheeks and a fluttering tummy, thanks. If I can stay safe from those sensations, I’ll go with that option.

The thing is though, I’m smart. I do get it. In my head, at least. I can’t let all of life’s opportunities pass me by because I’m scared of hearing the word ‘no’ or having someone dare to look at me for a few seconds. I know it’s often said that whatever’s meant for you will find you, but I don’t feel OK with always being as passive as that. A lot of the time, you gotta make ish come to you.

The job.

The new friend.

The hot guy in Starbucks.

Claim. Those. Things.

Claim what you believe yourself to be worthy of.

And if you don’t think yourself worthy? Then it’s time we upped our self-esteem games a little bit – you and me, both. I hear these things work pretty well (at least, from my experience):

Spend time alone. Take yourself out on dates – to the cinema, to the cafe, for a drink, for a walk. Sit on the grass, barefoot. Read. Read greedily, all of the things that move you. Look in the mirror and think of one thing you can say that isn’t horrible. Then try for two. Go for a run. Lift weights. Really break into a sweat. Text your best friend. Listen to Shakka and dance like an actual loon. Listen to this by Mr DaMention – and I mean really listen. Sleep. Cry into your pillow. Read all the nice messages you’ve ever been sent. Look at your Instagram feed and remind yourself of all those heartbeats during which life was, even just temporarily, kinda perfect. Wear the outfit that makes you feel vivacious. Wear it outside, even if it means getting goosebumps on your legs. Write. Write about anything. Write about everything. Do something for somebody else. Talk to the guy in the coffee shop. Maybe even give him your number.

(Admittedly I need to work on those last two.)

Make your own list if you prefer. I won’t be offended. Just do the stuff that makes you feel like you’re someone you actually like. When you do that? The more likely you are to believe that other people might like you, too. And also? You probably won’t mind quite so much if they don’t.

Let me know how it goes for you, yeah? And I’ll do the same. Who knows? Maybe we can double-date.