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March 4, 2017. I was able to have brunch with Gina today. It was a great follow up to the call we had earlier this week during which she told me that she was engaged. I was very happy to see her. We hadn't seen one another since last year and it made my day, as it always does.

She seems genuinely excited and happy. In a way that makes me feel sure that. It's good and right for her and Mark-Anthony. I am happy for each and for both of them. On the day that she told me, I did experience a very fleeting moment of...something....not at all sure how to characterize it. Calling it regret is way too strong. I haven't thought very hard about what the emotion was, but if my past is reasonable indication, it probably was a reaction to the sound of a door closing. And yet, I'm also very aware that a door has opened. One that allows me to invest fully and unreservedly in our friendship. Without some vague, unformed, and plausibly denied remnants of hope for something more in the future. I can love her (and myself) better this way. Speaking of loving myself....

There have been a number of ways in which I have been put in a place to think about how I am handling my dating. And the commitments it could allow me to begin making to myself.

Mahlet has recently come into my life. Gina talked to me about how she feels that healing happens in the context of community. In concert with others. She talked about how Mahlet represented a potential for healing with someone. I honk I can feel what she means. I find myself wanting to invest in her in that way. Timing is such a motherfucker.

If I'm begin completely honest with myself, one of the biggest opportunities for growth for me is to push into treating Mahlet and that situation like something that I'm willing to invest in as a standalone, exclusive relationship. This means having several difficult conversations with several people. Why do I find I so daunting to tell Colleen that I have gone on and liked a few dates with another person? Or to ask Danielle exactly what she is looking for and to tell her where I am? Am I afraid that she will bail on Jordan? Am I afraid that she will be upset at me? I don't think that Danielle and I are even compatible. And there are others like Caroline, etc. I a m getting something from keeping these women around. My gut tells me that it goes back to this artificial place of being propped up by their presence in my life. Would I feel as impervious to thoughts about serene if I wasn't feeling and being validated by these women? Is my esteem artificially inflated? What happens to that esteem when I go back to focusing on one individual.

Mahlet is slow to open up. And I find myself drawn to giving her my full attention as she slowly becomes more comfortable. I don't understand the nature of her hesitation and don't know what happens once she is able to open the (flood)gates. It could be that once she does that she is all in or once she is all in she does that. Or it could just be a gradual process of taking the first step in a series of steps to get comfortable. But I do know that I have cobbled together a cadre of women who make me feel wanted. And I haven't been disciplined about being careful with their feelings as I've cultivated their interest in me. Being a better version of myself....or at least one better version of myself...includes letting me live without that validation. Likely for worse (in the short term), but probably for better (in the long term).