Girl, you’re brave!

4 min readMar 9, 2017


Do what you are afraid of, but cannot stop thinking about! Write your own story!”

This is a piece of advice I gained from a talk on the power of storytelling given by a Duke Alumni. I decided to follow it and leave my comfort zone to take on a personal challenge: being honest with myself. Tonight, I asked my first college crush out for dinner at MarketPlace with the intention to let him know about my feelings for him, something that has hovered in my mind for months.

After finishing my class at 6p.m, I rushed to the bus stop to catch the first bus heading for East campus. We planned to meet at 6:20 p.m, so I did not want to make him wait for me for too long. When I came to MP, I saw him sitting on a couch to wait for me. He was calm and poised, as usual. We greeted each other and he realized he forgot his card, so I swiped him in with my guest swipe. Funny how the night started with an incident like this, nonetheless, it didn’t bother me at all.

We filled our plates with vegetables, yet neither of us got any meat. Although I did not have a proper meal for the whole day, which made me feel a bit fatigue at times, I decided to go for a light dinner so that no unexpected incidents with food would intervene in our conversation. We started chatting about our life, classes and other activities that had been going on recently. Academics seems to be his biggest concern of-all-time, and he isn’t a party enthusiast. He shared some information about his family background, and his life before college. I mostly listened to him and asked him questions because I was interested in getting to know him more. It was the first time I had a chance to look at him closely. His genuine smile and chiselled face warmed up my heart. He brought me a sense of serenity and comfort, although strangely, I felt no butterflies in my stomach.

As we slowly walked back to our dorm, I decided that it was time to say aloud what was stirring in my head. After gathering all my courage and taking several deep breaths, I eventually told him “I like you, a lot!”

“Thank you!” He replied with a smile.

That wasn’t what I wanted to hear but strangely, I did not feel upset as I thought I would. I then told him how much I thought about him lately, and how beautiful his personalities are to me, yet all he could come up about me was: “You’re one of the nicest people I have met at Duke, you are nice to everyone!” Woah, can you imagine how disappointed I was at that moment?

Eventually, after all of his rambling and excuses, what I remember was his saying: “I like you a lot, as a person, but I need to focus on studying and I don’t want to diverge my attention to anything else now.” “We can be great friends, so just call or text me whenever you want to have lunch or dinner after the break.”

And that was it, that was the end of my first crush at college. I slowly walked back to my dorm, with an empty mind and a relieved heart. I did not expect anything more than this, because I myself wasn’t sure how much I really liked him. Turned out what I truly needed wasn’t an positive answer from him, but a confirmation of my vague and faded feelings for him. Now, I can be sure that it’s time to close this chapter of my book and open a new one. It’s time to start again.

I am proud of myself for being courageous enough to go after what I want and take control of my life. I was always the one who made the first move in this so-called “relationship” with my crush, from starting a conversation, asking him out to making my confession. It wasn’t always pleasant to see my efforts being ignored or overlooked, but I’d rather do so than wait in vain for my crush to act on us, or even wait passively to be hurt by him. I don’t care what his friends or the people around may think about me, because no one lives my life for me and I, not them, would be the one who suffered from regrets if I held on to the fear of failure or being talked about. I’m glad that I was honest with myself, and with him, and I hope he appreciates my feelings as much I do for him.

… After this courageous act, I went to a symphony concert at Baldwin Auditorium to take a break from everything that just happened. The music was beautiful beyond words, it gave me chills. I lost my mind in the immensely majestic realm of arts, just to find myself sober and lucid again.
After all, tomorrow is another day!