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.

How To Raise A Child – 101

Christmas of 2008, I was an angry kid with too many things to say. The biggest problems in my life were not being able to meet Robert Pattinson and that my education and parents were all that were holding me back from doing just that. So, when my mother admitted to my aunt that day that I would “make a better mother than her”, there was no reaction more appropriate than shock. I hated kids (and still do, to some extent). How could I make a good mother?

Even today, the idea perplexes and scares me. I am not one against the idea of giving all your love to one person. Using that as an excuse would make all my claims of love seem hypocritical. I just wonder how I, or anyone from this generation could raise kids effectively. We are surrounded by mind numbing entertainment sources like The Boohbahs, negativity, increasing levels of corruption and pollution, sedentary lifestyles that aim for more just when you think you’ve got enough. What the fuck is going on? Would I really want to raise a child in such a competitive, rude, unhealthy and ungrateful environment? Added to that, of course, is the guilt of adding some more to the population explosion. Do I really want to go through the physical and emotional trauma just to have a kid who will be bitter about everything anyway?

Yeah, I did not think so.
Till now.

Being a girl (almost a woman. Pfft) makes you want to give birth to little girls and teach them all the things you never learnt. Teach her to sing better than you, talk better than you, dress better than you, love better than you and be fearless, really. That’s the thing. Everyone wants that and for the right reasons. (Mother, if you read this – do not cry)

But, you know what’s cooler?
To raise a good son. 

Apart from the fact that boys are less complicated and I have had enough of girls for the rest of my life, we just don’t have enough good boys. In a world where we blame a man for everything, let me introduce you to The Nice Guy. He is everything the world needs, not wants. He reads, watches movies, has a sense of humour, is approachable, a good friend, loves his family, has no hang-ups about anything. But, you know, above all he is a good person.

How do you build this child? Teach him to love reading. No, really. I am grateful to my mother for making me love stories. It has decided my career path, for one. Teach him to love people. Teach him to love experiences. Teach him to love music.

Teach him to love.  

To be unafraid of it in whatever form it comes. To be unafraid of making mistakes. To be unafraid to admit mistakes. To be unafraid to stand up for himself and for others, if needed. Be unapologetic about his choices.

Isn’t that a wonderful child? Now, you can ask me again. Why a SON?
Let me tell you this. For all the nice boys I have encountered and liked, I have thanked God for the parents who raised them. Someday, someone else will be grateful for mine. The day this kid of mine grows up and someone tells me, “You have raised a lovely son.” and I watch him/her smile, I’ll know I have done my bit.