WOULD I KNOW YOU?

Story

I wrote this song a couple years ago after having been single for quite a while. A dear friend of mine had gotten married, and I was holding onto this napkin with their names embossed in gold. It was love at first sight for them, and I was jealous. But more than jealousy, I was scared. Scared I wouldn't recognize my future wife if I saw her. So I wrote this song. What I realized is my approach to dating was wildly off kilter. I've learned a lot since then, and I wanted to share with you how learning to love myself has changed my perspective on dating.

Being 39 and single has certain advantages. Namely, I've had a lot of time to settle into who I am as a human on my own. And that has made all the difference. In high school, I was a scrawny teenager who didn't land his first Chapstick-layered kiss until after graduation. Having gotten my cootie shot at age 3, I was interested in girls from the get go even though the reverse wasn't true. So my long-awaited first kiss was preceded by nearly two decades of hopeless romantic fantasies. I allowed that time gap between desire and reality to create a deep-seeded need to be attractive to women. Being the overachiever that I am, I accepted the challenge of trying to get every woman to like me and got to work. 

STEP 1: Skills

Napoleon Dynamite: I don't even have any skills.
Pedro: What do you mean?
Napoleon Dynamite: You know, like nunchuck skills, bo hunting skills, computer hacking skills. Girls only like guys who have great skills.
(Napolean Dynamite - 2004)

I failed at nunchuck, bo hunting, and computer hacking, so I focused on sports (of the non-contact variety), music, art, psychology, and anything else I thought stood a chance at turning a head. I wanted to be good at everything, so I spent a lot of time learning and practicing a variety of skills. But most importantly, I wanted the skill of understanding what women want in a man. So I read "The Art of Seduction," "The Game," and any online e-book $19.95 could get me from some guy saying he'd figured it out. My goal wasn't sex; I wanted to convince myself I could get any woman to like me. There was no such thing as too much validation. It became a black hole that never lead to the security and confidence I was looking for. 

STEP 2: Jobs

Douglas "Swish" Reemer: We win, and they get the chicks. That sucks, dude.
Joseph R. Cooper: I'm telling you, it's jobs. We gotta get jobs. Then we get the khakis. Then we get the chicks.
(BASEketball - 1998)

Women like stability right? At least that's what my therapist told me ten years ago. After college I went straight to the best law school I could get into. Obviously there were many reasons that drove me to law school, but I'd be lying if I said women weren't one of them. I wanted to make sure I had that "makes a lot of money" box checked. Couldn't let something as ubiquitous as income hold me back from meeting my dream girl and making sure she liked me. 

Then in 2006, I met an incredible woman who was wildly out of my league. Beautiful, smart, funny, sweet... and it worked! I got her to like me. I even got her to agree to marry me. Four years later we broke off our engagement. Any time I tell someone that fact, the first question out of their mouth is "why?" I think most people assume there's some big, dramatic story behind it, but that wasn't the case for us. While there are always numerous reasons playing into major life decisions, the biggest one for me was I didn't feel accepted. At the time, I thought it was because she wasn't accepting me. The truth is I wasn't accepting myself. How could I? I didn't really know who I was.

That was eight years ago. Only now looking back do I see the road clearly. I was more focused on getting women to like me than liking myself. I was more focused on giving someone what I thought they wanted than giving them what I had to give. 

Every single one of us is a wildly unique flavor. Don't settle for being vanilla or chocolate because you think everyone will like it. Be brandied banana brulee or whatever crazy mixture of tastes relfects what you love in life. You won't match with everybody. In fact, hopefully you only match with one person who amplifies the beauty of who you are as a human -- and you them. For me, that's worth any amount of time and rejection life has in store. Stand confident in every perfection and imperfection that makes up you. You won't discover true love until you truly love yourself.

LYRICS

by: Marshall Seese, Jr.

Would I know you if I saw you?
Would I recognize your eyes?
Would I see your soul?
Would I know you if I saw you?

Was it a past life or a lullaby?
When we first met, I forget
It’s not so clear, I’m losing touch I fear
With the little voice that whispers in my ear
”It’s been another year, and she’s not here”

Would I know you if I saw you?
Would I recognize forever in your eyes?
Would I see your soul?
Would I know you if I saw you?

“We just knew!” That’s what they tell you
When you ask ‘em how it happened
Their names in gold on the napkin
I’m holding onto
They said “I do,” and I wish I did too

I put love on hold, now I’m paying the toll
To drive on this road, wherever it goes
For all that I know, my heart’s growing colder
Your love must be bolder
Cause we’re just getting older
Would I know you if I saw you?
Would I know? Would I know you if I saw you?
Would I recognize your eyes?
Would I see your soul? Would I know?
Would I know you? If I saw you.