E.D.A (Electronic Displays of Affection) With My Girlfriend
At first, it was about other girls.
I needed to tell them there was someone new in my life, and I didn’t want them finding out on Instagram. I wanted to be straight up, so I reached out to the ones I knew would care about seeing me with a new woman and give them the heads up. Others reached out to me before I even had a chance to tell them what was happening, making assumptions that, while correct, were still premature. But I was thankful they did the heavy lifting for me.
Moves like this always sound extra and unnecessary to outsiders or even people who are on the receiving end of the type of news I was delivering. I, for one, always believe in the power of saying nothing. That sort of move speaks volumes. But with social media a part of our everyday being, people we aren’t even talking to have an ability to hear us. People who were once in our lives, by our side, still exist on our screens, in our phones. And going through the trouble of blocking, de-friending, and deleting, well, it just seems to be more trouble than letting them know what was going on with me. If they chose to respond to my news with those actions, that’s fair, but I wasn’t about to go to such lengths. Besides, I don’t have blocks on my accounts. I’m sure they would still be checking me out from afar even if they did go to such lengths to act like I don’t exist.
Once I delivered my news like 3 Stacks, the hesitation to share still pulled at me. Now there were other people to worry about, and most of them were people I have never met in real life.
For the past couple of months I have been on cloud nine. The people in my inner circle have noticed it, my mother hears it in my voice on the phone. None of that is to say I was unhappy before Gina came into my life. Quite the contrary, everything was going just fine. You can say, I was on cloud eight, enjoying life, feeling blessed, and excited about what each day held. But she elevated all of that to the next level, and that’s where I’ve been for most of this winter.
Like most good things in my life, I had a desire to share it, but even after telling other girls I dated that we would no longer be dating, I held back because everything with my current girlfriend was and is still new. And I’ve seen it numerous times, electronic displays of affection (EDA) can make fools out of us all.The last relationship I was in fizzled in less than three months and when we got back together, less than three weeks. There is very little online evidence that we even existed, besides a couple of blog posts I wrote last year, and in hindsight, the minimal amount of EDA looks like it may have been the best move. Quite naturally, with this new relationship, I should follow the same script, right? Because, who knows? I could be single again tomorrow, says the cynic who lives in my head and likes to dance around in it every now and then.
I’ve gone on record saying things like, no relationship status on Facebook is worth posting if it’s not marriage. I realize what I’m doing at this very moment contradicts all of that. EDA is the act of posting pictures of us together on Instagram, tagging her on Facebook statuses, mentioning her on Twitter, all of which puts me in a position end up with egg on my face. Just recently, a friend of mine mentioned to me that I should be careful how much I share of my relationship with Gina. She said she was just looking out for me and I totally get that, but I have to dismiss it.
I live my life publicly, which is not to say I think of myself as a public figure. It’s just me riding the waves of the times we live in. There are people who conduct themselves differently than I on social media, who don’t share as much, and don’t see the point. If I’m being honest, I don’t see the point either. But I also don’t need a point because sharing pieces of my life feels very natural to me, and I have found benefits that work for me.
My family goes to my Instagram, and sees pictures of their boy growing up, trying to make it in this big city. Every single morning on Twitter, I write “I’m awake, I’m up, I’m blessed.” There are people I don’t know who say they appreciate the sentiment. Maybe it’s the communication major in me, but I am very aware of the relationship all of us have with screens.
To that extent, I’m very aware of what it means for me to “go public” with pictures of me and Gina. In six months, she could choose not to be with anymore, and there will be those pictures of us when we were happy, and that can cause me some embarrassment. But that wouldn’t be the first thing I think of. I imagine, if my girlfriend ever decides to end things with me, I’ll feel hurt because she didn’t want to be with me anymore. (And yes, as she likes to remind me, I too can change my mind. Then, once again, those pictures, this post, all of it looks foolish.) I imagine, what I will think about is not the pictures I posted on Instagram, but the picture she gave me at Christmas, which sits in a frame by my bed. I imagine how it’s going to hurt if I have to take that picture down, and how it will feel very familiar to me, because it wouldn’t be the first time a woman gave me a picture that I had to put away.
I share my life online, but even I know this portal is not where life happens. Pictures, tweets, status updates, they’re only a snapshot of what’s going on. The image I curate of myself online is one of happiness because, well, that is how I want people to remember me, whether they know me in real life or not. I smile more than I don’t, and I laugh more than I cry. When everything is not good, when things are difficult, I vent as needed, but never will you find me being a grump without context. Usually if you can sense something is wrong with me, something is wrong with me. And all of that is because I try to be honest. Don’t mistake that for baring all. Even I, yes I, am not putting everything out here for public consumption. It’s the whole truth, just not of the whole thing.
For the people who have read my blog for what is going on four years now, you will notice I have written less over time. A lot of that has to do with me just being busier, and needing to focus on writing that pays the bills. But another part of it is, when I started the blog, I had a lot more things to get off my chest and by that I mean, a lot more to complain about from my past. Life started happening more for me in the present, and for whatever reason I still didn’t want to go there. I wanted to preserve this image of bachelorhood I had created for myself, and in order to do that, I had to suppress my current state of affairs.
That meant keeping most offline activities offline. I mean, I have been single for the majority of the time my blog has been up, but when I wasn’t, I was reaching for things to write about so long as they didn’t blow my cover. Were they honest? Yes. Integrity is important to me as a journalist and even more important to me if I’m telling my own life story. I was living out loud but in grey, which was accurate, just not interesting so I wrote about other things.
Now it’s time to add some color and even more honesty.
Don’t worry, I won’t be writing post after post about my girl, I don’t even know if I’ll be writing more often (here’s hoping) and, I still won’t be changing my relationship status on Facebook (her and I both think it’s silly). My lady and I have only been together for a couple of months, so we still have a long way to go. But not knowing what the future holds is not a good reason for me to keep the present hidden anymore. These days, I am happy because of great friends, a beautiful family, fun times and her. I don’t know if there is going to be a happy ending, but in the end, everyone will know what made me happy.