Dani Kreeft on Risk, High School and Beer-Chugging Footballers

Story by Dani Kreeft. 

Toronto-based stationery genius Dani Kreeft delves into lessons learned from young crushes and reflects on the relief of risking saying how you feel. Read her latest witty instalment for Lolita below: 

I liked this guy in high school. 

He was a beer-chugging brunette in the swarm of football players we hung out with, who I had known since grade school. At some point during the country party trains, slurpee stops and bonfires of summer 2001, I decided he made me nervous, suddenly started giving a shit and brainstorming ways to impress him. And when I say brainstorming, I mean, mapping out where to hide since you don't actually have any balls in high school.

Summer ended and September started and I relied on passing glances between periods and him, who knows, maybe, bumping into my locker and mentioning my Marky Mark poster.

I survived two weeks into the marathon that is grade 12 before I pulled the pin, more as a matter of pure, adolescent impatience than strategy. Since he worked as a stock boy at the local grocery store after school, I offered him a ride one day, a preview of me in the role as ‘Very Helpful Girlfriend.’ We made a pit stop at his house and while he sat fiddling with his computer, I sat fidgeting. It was a perfectly ripe time to take my heart out of my chest and get a yay or nay from a linebacker. 

I finally confessed and the tail end of the brief, awkward conversation went something like:

"I'm sorta hanging out with Britney."

"Britney?"

"Yeah..."

 "From tenth grade, Britney?"

 "Yeah..."

"Oh."

 "I'm gonna see how it goes with her."

"Oh, well, ok."

I drove him to work and earmarked it as the day I was shot out of the sky via a blonde tenth grader. 

12 years later, I think about that day and laugh under the tree of what it revealed. What I expected to feel was embarrassed, but I didn't. What I didn't expect to feel was relief, but I did.

That's the underbelly of risk in love we so often fail to consider. That our churning hopes will find rest and relief in knowing, even if they are met by a doomed wave of, "No, thanks.” What actually happens, instead of immediate combustion or instant death, is liberation. To be honest, upfront and to put your cards on the table is liberating.

It releases you to either head in the direction you both desire or releases you from expecting to.

Sure, the linebacker delivered the line I dreaded, but I walked away relieved and unchained. My risk was met with freedom, even if I was only met halfway.

I've risked since, just last week. I walked halfway, pulled my heart out and he zipped up his lone wolf costume right to the neck and sided with fears he's spent years kneading into himself. It felt like taking a spray of bullets. But I was released, by myself and for myself, to move on, knowing he knew how I felt. 

Someday, someone will meet me the whole damn way and I'll be glad I had all the practice.

-Dani is obsessed with exploring both the world and her city. She has implemented her sharp eye behind the camera into the stunning original brand of greeting cards and stationery that is Dani Press. Be sure to check out her website follow her on Instagram because her work is pure gold.