Changing The Way I Look At Love

I have allowed myself to have my heart broken in the same way over and over again for years. You may say there’s a pattern but I will defend myself for a while before I actually agree with you. I have the same excuses too:

“They were different people.”

“People outgrow each other.”

“Priorities change. Sometimes, people realise you’re not their priority.”

The point always comes down to me pinning my expectations from love on to someone else. Maybe it was what my parents told me as a child: “You will have to take care of yourself because there may be a day when we’re not around to do so.” I always felt the need to fill that space. As I was telling my best friends this week, there was always a sword hanging over my head telling me that I’d have to find someone for myself because no one else would.

In a world where we’re constantly told to be independent, the need for a partner to lean on seems contradictory to me. With the burden of real life and growing up looming starkly over our heads, the fear of loneliness and the constant need for emotional support just stand out as more painful. We have been conditioned over time to seek it from outside ourselves. Maybe in cuddles, loving messages, hand-holding, and kisses, we seek a completion that we don’t promise ourselves.

And honestly, why don’t we?

I have found myself distancing myself from societal ideals of marriage more and more over time. It may be a case of bitterness and a bout of cynicism, but I rejected marriage as a necessity earlier this year. My parents told me I needed it to be “settled”, to “procreate” and I found myself asking them what I asked myself too — why the fuck should I?

Settle for what? Settle for whom? How am I supposed to settled when I was raised to not settle? Wasn’t I raised to aim higher? Why should I settle?

As far as procreation is concerned, I realised that was not my cup of tea as child-rearing is the kind of responsibility I assume I will never be ready for. Besides the fear of having to be a complete human’s go-to person for everything, there is a narcissism attached to wanting a tiny version of myself that I have never had at all. The idea of another version of myself circling the planet is more panic-inducing than exciting.

So those arguments have been settled.

Now, tell me. What else do I have left to look for when I am told to look for love to feel complete?

Companionship? I have wonderful friends and parents.

Emotional support? I have wonderful friends, parents, and a therapist I can thankfully afford.

Fulfillment? My job has blessed me with the kind of fulfilling joy that makes me love Mondays.

Something to keep me warm at night? There is a reason I sleep in the middle of the bed, holding on to two pillows, and with an extra blanket. I’m pretty damn warm when I need to be.

Altruistic love? No love is really altruistic. When we give, we do it with the expectation of getting something back. When we look for love, we look for the kind of love that we got from our parents. The kind that brought a sense of understanding regardless of the good, bad and ugly. Who are we kidding when we think that someone is going to give that to us without expecting the same in return? And how would we possibly learn to give unconditionally just by being in love?

Don’t get me wrong. I love love.

I have loved love all my life. I have sought it in my friendships, stories, movies, books, words, music… everywhere.

I have found love within myself.

It sounds ridiculous and I would not have believed it if you told me I would love being by myself and with myself a year back. But, things brought me here. Heartbreak drew me away from love and closer to myself. As I spent days crying in my own company, I found a solace that a man couldn’t give me. Over time, I spent more time with myself because I genuinely loved it. I didn’t miss pretending to enjoy getting to know someone I didn’t want to know longer than the time it took me to put my mouth to theirs and leave.

The second I realised it wasn’t my responsibility to be with someone for anything but my own happiness, I realised my search had ended. I cannot mince my words with this. It is not and has never been our responsibility to find love or to feel better in it. It is, however, our responsibility to respect ourselves and the bodies we have while we’re here. I am not a fan of living a long life, but I’d love a happy one.

Right now, my happiness is the dinner I just had and following that with finishing this piece of writing that I started today. It isn’t the best writing I’ve done. But, it made me happy. It definitely made me happier than a man has ever made me or probably ever could.

That said, if someone does want to change my mind — they’re welcome to. It just has to feel better than good food or being happy with yourself on a Sunday night does.

Sunday Blues

It’s not like I didn’t have a choice. I could have slept. I could have not thought about this over and over again. But, that’s the thing. Thoughts don’t come with residence permits. They are squatters in a mind that honestly just needs a long bout of sleep. Not like I have slept well at all this year, but I am going to want the impossible again anyway. That’s basically all of our entire lives anyway, isn’t it? We always want to go beyond what we see. What is beyond this? What is beyond the road? What is beyond the next stop? What is beyond the bear sitting on the rock beyond this stop? Jeez. No one ever listens to Shahrukh Khan.

I am just trying really hard to take away the focus from the fact that I don’t know what I want right now. Everyone is going to groan and try to shut me up. But, the truth is that not knowing what you want is one of the most poisonous things to happen to your mind. You don’t know where you’re going and you’re not even sure if you want to keep walking. Sometimes, I think I should just sit here and read all the books I can and watch all the movies I can because well, fuck money.

The things I want require patience and a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Khoon and paseena, bhai log. Success doesn’t come to you if you’re too busy checking for blackheads. Someone should tell my mother that too. I guess there is just a large part of me that wants to crawl into bed and slip into the same dream again.

I have a recurring dream, or dream pattern rather. At my most insecure, I dream of being cradled by someone. I have had these dreams since I was 16 and I usually wake up either refreshed or wanting to weep my eyes out. Either way, something fixes on the inside. I am sure science has a great way of connecting the dots to my Electra complex, low self esteem and high BMI to explain this phenomenon. But, I am just going to say that science cannot explain how the cradling makes me feel like I live in an impenetrable bubble of warmth. I am invincible there because I am being held. So, body cushions can suck it. Dumbledore wins.

I am going to try to free fall into the depths of my bed and hope I cannot be retrieved from glorious slumber. Mondays await me and I am genuinely not interested.

Saturday Mornings with Nice Guys

On Saturdays, and especially Saturdays like the last one, I have an immense hatred for the universe. I might have woken up on the right side of the bed to realise that probably being on the wrong side of the bed would have been a better option. If that confuses you, you should have seen the dopey smile on my face at 10 am that morning. No one in their right minds would be that happy to have to walk in to work on a Saturday. But, I was.

I love weekends more than I love my job, which is why my chirpiness was unwarranted. I guess that is the thing about knowing you’re remotely required at one end of any line. Whether you’re someone like me, staring into the phone and being an absolutely hopelessly dopey child or someone significant in the  cogwork, levelling the rest of the organisation and making the rest of us look like mere peasants — we all love feeling important, which (at times) borders on a false sense of entitlement.

It’s that false sense of entitlement that I try very hard to avoid, but it’s just a hazard of age (and maybe occupation). I spend my days imparting information to people as if I know everything and I tend to carry that around with me.
Even when it comes to You.

I never fell for The Charmer’s Trap. I always look people straight in the eye and call them out on their bullshit. I rolled my eyes at the bad boys because they mean nothing to a girl who is always rooting for the underdog. So, I looked You in the eyes and I checked for that sort of cocky glint I have strictly avoided all my life. I forgot to check for the possibility of my world crumbling around me. But, don’t worry. It’s not happened yet. When it does, nuclear strikes will bow down to my remains and know they had nothin’ on Your eyes.

I have hated so many movies because The Nice Guy never got what he loved or deserved. (Screw you, Molly Ringwald. Ducky was the true love of your life.) I am secretly afraid of all those girls finding out that they loved You all along. If You get what You want, I will probably have to just nod and smile once more. I could give classes in Nodding Etiquette and Building A Cool Exterior For No Remuneration And Lots Of Heartbreak. I know how much You hate when I resort to cutting my ego down to nothing and making fun of us, but I don’t have a choice. After a point, I am not going to be able to find the joke funny. Repetition kills everything.

I am going to pretend we were supposed to have this story of epic proportions. But, epic is not even the beginning of how I’d describe what a massive disappointment disillusionment has felt like. I can see Your face dropping at the sight of these words [You will never read] and not saying a thing, or just getting visibly irritated at the idea that I will not let go. You will squirm in your seat because I am really close to hitting a home run when it comes to guessing what’s on your mind and it makes You uncomfortable enough to get up and declare You’ve had enough, but You won’t say it out loud. Not yet. You’re still listening.

That’s the thing. I like to push my luck. Every night, I dream of impossible things before I hit the pillow – I pray.

What It Is Not. Or Is. Or Should Be.

I read this a few days back and could not stop thinking about it. Of course, I had to tell someone why. The generation I am a part of seems to be pretty unabashed about our opinions. So, here goes.

You see, the last thing that many people have on their minds when they they think of love is love itself. They think of attachment, desire, lust, obsession… However, what we fail to do is embrace the all-consuming feeling that love is. My Dad once told me, in an e-mail (Bless that wise old man) – “You should trust yourself, have faith and believe in the goodness of love. The feeling of lightness that comes with it will let you soar high and then you won’t need to fear walking on eggshells.”

Isn’t that the truth? We’re all just afraid of what it does to us. Why should we put someone else’s needs ahead of ours? We think we’re losing ourselves or our individuality like that. Fair enough. But, did you see their face when they are thaaaat happy? When you gave away that last slice of pizza? When you waltzed in at 2 am with the sandwich that they’d been needing for a while? I know my references are all food related, but I guess to me – Love is giving away your favourite food just so that you can share the awesomeness with someone else.

We think love will walk through the door along with the autumn winds when we’re all bushy-tailed and beautiful, saying, “HOTDAYUUMMM GURRRL!” As much as I would love to say that happens too, love could also walk in and just say Hello. That starts things. Just saying.

I could Ted/Love Actually/Dumbledore on this post and say the most eloquent and idealistic things about love and the strange things it makes you feel, but I guess the article I cited here has already done that for me.

I guess, I also had to write this because I disagree with one main point it makes: If it hurts, it’s not love.

Love is painful. It comes in bites, shoves, pushes-and-pulls, sure. The worst that love can give you is seeing their face when they lose something. That’s the moment when you want to collect all the shiny things in the world to distract them, wish you had seriously considered clown college and hope musicals were right when they said you could fix it with a kiss and a song.

I wrote this too, some time back. I am nowhere close to the answer yet. But, till I know, I’ll just wait here. I’m a girl like that. When he reads this someday, I know he’ll say, “Did you actually have the time to think up all of that?” and laugh as he sips on that blasted cup of coffee I made him though I hate coffee so much.
Sigh. Love.

Update – So I watched this beautiful poem a couple of days back and all I have to say is “Welcome, make yourself comfortable!”