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.

Terrible Weeks Call For Terrible Writing

I have had a terrible week.

It was a shitstorm of injuries, adult responsibilities and realising how much distance is just not something I will ever be ready for.

I woke up this morning, my eyes swollen from lack of sleep and excessive crying and looked at myself in the mirror. There is a slight vanity I attach to sadness and don’t ask me why I do that. Every time I am crying, I look in the mirror to see myself. It is still unclear if I am looking for the mirror to tell me I am okay or if I am just literally looking to see what I look like when I cry, quite like toddlers do.

As I looked at myself in the mirror, I remembered the last year and how every time I woke up crying and anxious, I just needed to be told I could go on. I just needed to be told that there is a world out there that I can be a part of, a world that may not fully understand me but will probably still want to accept me.

I looked at myself and said, “You have tried way too hard for you to go back to that now.” I thought of every day in the past week and how it disappointed me in every way possible. I couldn’t go back to being the person who gave up on her life before it even began.

I have been told in the past week that I am not good enough, that I am not someone that a certain person would like to be seen with, that people I love don’t have time for me. But, I still want to love myself.

We’re in a world where it is a crime to be happy and love yourself despite the odds. The odds need not look like intense distress. But, I would really like to love myself right now especially considering I have no one to pass on the torch to.

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.

This week, my best friend asked me the strangest question in passing.

“What is that feeling? You know, the one between a crush and realising you’re really falling for someone?”

I remembered this song by one of my favourite bands. I am sure most of you have heard it, but won’t remember this line – “Fear is the heart of love.”

It’s true. Every time between those giddy moments of being a gushing teenager over someone and realising you’re ready to say you’re in love with someone, there is a fear. Many would say it is doubt. But, I don’t think I have wanted to piss my pants as I have in those moments.

I almost know what we are so afraid of. You see, loving someone takes courage (20 seconds, screams Matt Damon). But, being loved takes strength. It takes a lot to be able to withstand the sort of affection someone might have to offer us. The best thing about the universe and its timing is that when love arrives, it takes you by surprise. When it happens, you need to be able to accept the love someone has to offer you and take it as it comes. Let it sink in. It can be very scary knowing someone can like your ugly gob when you’re chewing down that last slice of pizza.

However, we are so used to the world we live in that anyone being remotely nice to us makes us wary of them. It’s this space between knowing and not knowing that we are consumed by suspicion. It takes time for the believers to become that way.

No matter who we are, we all crave affection. We are also afraid of it. We are afraid of what it does to us and what happens to us when we get used to it. We are afraid of the lightness it fills us up with.

But, (and here’s the secret) it’s what keeps us tied down to what we really love. The fear of loss. The fear of not knowing what is going to happen. It’s strange, but true. We hold on to things just because we don’t know what is going to happen.

Human curiosity, maybe? Maybe.
Affection? I wouldn’t know.

 I am still too young to tell. 

NB – Any musical references made in this post have added to the mood I was in when writing this.

Two of A Sunshine

Being in a new place means making new friends to share the experience of being new to someplace. There are things you have not seen before, places you haven’t been, corners you haven’t explored, things you haven’t tasted and people you haven’t met.

Then, you come across someone you think you’ve known forever. Someone you’ve probably met before but cannot pinpoint it. Three years ago when I was new to things, I found myself a pocketful of Sunshine. I knew then that I had found something special and I refused to let anyone know. I refused to let myself believe it. I stored you in my pocket for months and never wanted to let go. Today, I laugh when I look back and remember what I was like before you. What was I like before you? Young would be the best way to put it. I was young and I did not know any better than question things I knew nothing of. I put my heart on my sleeve and tossed it around to entertain you. It will always be lightest I feel. Thank you.

I am new to things again. I see a few rays peeking through and I want to doubt myself again, but I have nothing to lose. You’re two of a kind. Two rays emanating from the same Sunshine. One too far to touch me, one close enough to touch for myself. But, I will bask in it before I burn.

I am here, at this odd hour, thinking of everything both these people mean in the larger scheme of things and you know what? For once, I don’t care. I refuse to plan my impulses (for now). All I know is that you’re light. You both are. You’re both beautiful.

But one is love and light. Isn’t that the one we’re all afraid of? Isn’t that also the one we crave the most?