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.

Bedtime Stories of Disintegration

This one’s for a certain Ms. Mathur. She needs her bedtime story. 

There is no emotion with less clarity than desire. It consumes you completely and renders you crazy, blind and hot all over. You’re burning with anger, with frustration. You’re on your knees with your hands outstretched because you want to touch something absolutely unearthly to you. You have not seen or felt this way before but in the presence of this one thing. What is it that attracts us to the unknown, you ask? I would not know. I am too young to tell, maybe.

But, here she was. On her knees, with her hands outstretched. Just like you. She touched his face like it was the first time she touched it. There was nothing to it but beauty. She smiled because she felt every nuance of the face with her fingers. The way his eyelids shut as she run her hands over them, his thick eyelashes, the bend on his nose, the dents on the sides of his smile, his lips, his long neck. She felt it all. She drew a picture in her head. She did not have the skill The Guy with The Upper Hand did, but she tried. She tried hard to get him right every time. But, every time she knew it was better with her eyes open.

She blinked, over and over. He laughed at her because he did not understand. It had to be perfect. How did it matter to him? He was leaving. Departure is a tragedy only for those left behind. Left behind, left behind, left behind. It does not take the pain away. No amount of repetition, no amount of reassurance takes it away. Take it away, take it away, take it away.

I want to scream at you. I want to tell you I love you. I want to shake you to see if you even feel anything. Feel something, feel something, feel something. I want to touch you and feel the curve of your elbows and the base of your neck. I could run my fingers around your ears and count your beauty spots. Don’t mock me. It’s all beauty to me.

Time is running out. I have to tell you so much.

But, we slowly disintegrate. We’re only a memory. I could only ask for so much time for you and me. I could fall in fragments on the floor in front of you. Pick me up and keep me with you? Wouldn’t that be a lovely end to this story? I could be a bottle in your pocket.

Or we could open our eyes and realise this moment never happened? We’re living a waking dream, Sunshine. We’re living out our best fantasies in an alternate universe where you believe me when I tell you you’re perfect. In that place between then and now, till we meet, I could count your flaws over and over.

I don’t.

I won’t.

I can’t.

I mustn’t.

Repitition will kill this. It won’t matter soon.

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!”