The Knot in My Stomach is My Only Real Friend

Two weeks ago, I nervously paced the office, seeking out advice from my coworkers, for I had done the unthinkable: accepted an offer to go on a date.

I’ve been playing the “I don’t date” card for months, so even accepting such a grand gesture of dinner and a movie was way out of character for me.

What is important in this story is not the date itself, but the nagging feeling I had all along, telling me to shut it down. My general attitude towards the dating scene is a scrunch of my nose and “eh” responses — I just don’t date. I chalked up my uneasiness and break in my usual I-don’t-care-nothing-affects-me attitude up to nerves — mistake number one.

I am a constant second-guesser, so when my nerves were on the rise and I was about to call the whole thing off, I relied on my colleagues to talk me down and continue to go along with this new adventure.

The discomfort I felt wasn’t nerves, though. It was my instinctual inner red flags going off.

In “How to Leverage Intuition in Decision-making,” written by Lisa Earle McLeod in September in the Huffington Post, McLeod talks about those little alarms dinging in the back of your mind — the nagging feelings that attempt to lead you in the right direction — that you often ignore.

“Your intuition, or gut instinct, is the sum of all your senses; it’s your subconscious brain working in the background, taking in glances, smells, visual cues and tone of voice,” McLeod said.

It is impossible to process every piece of information that we receive in any given moment, so our subconscious mind kicks in, evaluates a given situation and separates what is important from the unimportant in said situation.

Intuition is a funny thing. It’s that feeling you get when you changed that multiple-choice answer that you knew you should’ve left alone. It’s that one time you thought you should tell your mother you were leaving the house; saying eh, forget it; and coming home to an hour lecture about irresponsibility and disappointment. It’s that feeling that you cannot explain, but you know that you should listen to.

“Your money is gone, the deal has soured, your heart has been broken or your hopes have been dashed,” McLeod said. “The moment that you get concrete proof that your gut was right, you wonder why you doubted yourself in the first place.”

And that’s the worst part — ignoring yourself and kicking yourself after.

So on this date — yes, I actually ended up going — when little alarms were ringing I ignored them, like everyone else does when they want something to go well, despite the itching feeling that this is going to end in a small catastrophe. Little pieces of conversation and gestures slowly chipped away at my good feelings towards this character, leaving me with all the more fuel to get the hell out of there and never look back.

Quite a few unanswered text messages later, my bad gut feelings were confirmed, and I gladly avoided any incident.

The moral of the story is to trust your gut. Intuition is a real thing, despite its intangibility. If you don’t trust yourself, you could end up in an unfortunate and uncomfortable situation — almost as bad as my disaster date.