Tag Archives: Single

The Surprising Insights Amidst Heartbreak

It’s been awhile since my heart broke.

I’ll let you in on a secret: I didn’t miss the feeling.

I didn’t miss the pain in the back of my eyes from the pressure of crying too much and too frequently, resulting in swelling and redness that I usually just tell my coworkers are allergies and they pretend to believe me as a kindness. I didn’t miss the actual pain in my chest or how my mind constantly runs down various paths of What Ifs and Whys as I struggle to understand how I ended up with a beating heart pieced together by strings that loosen with every choked sob. I didn’t miss the sudden teeter-tottering that follows for days afterwards, where I never know how long that happiness I’m fighting to create will last before a surprise reminder of what could have been–what I miss, what I want but can’t have–suddenly snaps and I go into another sad spiral.

Yeah, I didn’t miss any of this. Yet you don’t really get to choose when or how often you experience this type of pain. You do, however, as John Green penned, have a say on who hurts you. And I like my choice.

Image result for john green quote i like my choices

A classic case of bad timing and one person falling more than the other, this current heartbreak is truly just unlucky. It’s going to take a little bit of time to get over and get used to not having a crush again; not having that hope that maybe this time, just this time, things might work out and I’ll finally find that relationship I’ve always dreamed of.

Unfortunately, at this moment, this time isn’t it, either.

But this heartbreak gave me a lot of insight that I’ve never experienced before. And of course, I have to write it down, if only to find another form of releasing all of these emotions aside from crying into my pillow, running until my legs give out or sending walls of texts to my best friend.

So, here’s what I’ve learned:

        1. I am way too judgmental of a person.

That might seem a little bit harsh, but I promise it’s not your typical self-loathing or self-deprecation that sometimes happens after your heart is broken. Though I have never been in a relationship, what I just experienced was the closest thing to it for me personally (and I’m being purposefully vague to protect the other person’s privacy). And before I experienced it, I definitely had some judgments on people who also entered into nontraditional types of relationships. Judgments that were undeserved, because I certainly didn’t understand what they were experiencing or going through; the reasons why people made these choices and why my judging them is completely wrong–it’s none of my business anyway. It forced me to self-reflect and realize that I need to be more open-minded and less prone to automatically, subconsciously pass judgment on a person or situation that is foreign to me; not just with relationships, but in every aspect of life. Obviously, I won’t change overnight, but I like to think that, thanks to this pseudo-relationship and the least-judgmental man I’ve ever met, I can work harder to be more open-minded and understanding of those situations and values that differ from my own.

        2. The world of relationships is not so black and white.

I had a very black and white understanding of relationships. Or perhaps expectation is the right word. You meet a guy (guy in my case, as I’m straight; please substitute according to your sexual preference). You flirt. You get to know one another, slowly. Eventually, he’ll ask you out. You’ll go on a couple dates. You’ll eventually kiss. You’ll enter into a relationship. You’ll grow together. After a couple years, you’ll get married and the rest is a happily ever after. Black and white. Straight-forward. Simple.

(Hint: life is not like that. At all.)

The world is a lot more gray than that (^^) fairy tale; one I’d foolishly believed was the only real option for romance. Instead, there are so many different types of relationships and ways of falling into–or working towards–being with someone. And no one way is better than the others (as the judgmental part of me believed). Instead, what matters is that the people involved in the relationship are open, honest with one another and comfortable. Everything else can be worked out.

(Another hint: having all this gray is a good thing.)

        3. I rely way too much on other’s approval. 

When I first starting veering towards what was, to me, a very weird type of relationship I’d never thought I’d be in, I was terrified to tell my friends or my family, because I was certain they would frown upon it (in retrospect, it was partly because I usually frowned upon these types of relationships because I didn’t understand them and it “wasn’t how it was supposed to be done” ((see fairy tale))) and then they would advise me to stop, because that was not how you were “supposed” to fall in love (and though I didn’t actually fall in love here, I was definitely working my way towards that). And I didn’t want to stop. I was first surprised by the openness everyone responded with, which was the first slap in the face that I need to fall off my high horse and stop being so judgmental. But then I was punched in the face when I realized that I rely way too much on these opinions of others–even those closest to me–instead of doing what makes me happy–not what I think I am supposed to do or what will make my parents or friends happy. I need to start making choices for me, because of me.

(Notice how those first three tie together really well? Yeah, I have a lot of work to do.)

        4. I still don’t love myself enough. 

I never wanted to believe the saying that you can’t love someone until you love yourself, but I’m starting to see the value of it. Not because you can’t love that person. I think it is totally possible to love someone else and not yourself. But if you don’t love yourself, you come to rely on their love as your main source of self-worth. You start searching for affirmations from them until they grow tired of reminding you of the truths you should already know, but refuse to believe. Sometimes, they could grow angry. And before you know it, you’ve pushed someone good away because they spent the entire time trying to convince you to love yourself and that their feelings were true instead of simply loving you and being loved by you.

Although this isn’t the culprit behind my latest heartbreak, there were definitely signs that I need to continue to work on loving myself and creating affirmations within myself, instead of searching for them from someone else. That’s just not a healthy lifestyle and strains all types of relationships, not just romantic ones.

        5. I’m not needy, but I do have needs. 

Though I want to work on being more open minded, I do know that I need a stable, exclusive relationship to be happy. I don’t like sharing someone. I don’t like being someone’s secret, someone’s fling, someone’s fun. None of these things are bad, if that is the type of relationship you are comfortable being in. But I realized that I need more than that. I want to be able to brag about my boyfriend to my friends. I want to be introduced to his family. I want to enter into a relationship hoping that we can creature a future together. I want serious. And that’s okay to want and fight for and even give up someone you really care about because you need more. That’s okay.

        6. Love is not a checklist. 

My track record with guys is pretty nonexistent. Before this past year, I didn’t really try. And I was really, truly convinced that I would never find love; that I was meant to be alone. After trying, I’ve struck out twice, but I do believe now that love might be out there for me; that I deserve it; and I’ve realized that I can’t search for it by creating a checklist of desires or expectations and turning away everyone who doesn’t meet all of them with flying colors.

I joined an online dating website for a few months, where you could tailor your matches down to desired physical and lifestyle traits. And I know for a fact that the man I just lost would never have matched with me, based on how limited/specific my “match criteria” was. Yet he’s the man whose made me the happiest I’ve ever been (in regards to romance). My standards don’t need to be lowered, but this idea in my head that the one meant for me needs to be X, Y and Z definitely needs to go out the window. Love cannot–and should not–be contained to checking off boxes on a list. It’s about connection and growth and risk and communication and work and choosing that person every single day.

So…yeah. Right now, my heart hurts. I lost a really good guy thanks to bad timing and unrequited feelings. Frankly, it sucks. But no “relationship” has taught me more than he did in the briefest of times. By stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a chance on him, in a weird relationship and situation I never thought I’d be in, sure, I came out with my heart broken. But I also came out as a better person, with a clever vision of what I want in love and who I want to be as a person. That alone is why every tear right now is worth it and not a single regret is felt. Doesn’t mean that I’ll won’t probably be bonding with a pint of ice cream later tonight and my pillow won’t be drenched in tears for a while as I cry myself to sleep, but for this heartbreak and the experience that caused it, I am nothing but thankful–and hopeful, as every hopeless romantic is, for what my future love life holds…even if it takes me a while to get there.

Cheers.


The Soft Craving

I can already tell you that this title is a lie. Or, at least, it is a lie currently. When I saved a draft of this post, with only a title and a note of what I wanted to write about, back in August (yes, I know, that was a long time ago), the title was very apt. It described perfectly what I was feeling, capturing the desire and longing I felt with the term “craving” yet also reflecting the contentedness I felt through the clarification of “soft” instead of “intense”.

Currently, I think “intense” might fit the bill a bit more.

It’s my craving to be in love.

I’ve always had it, ever since the 7th grade when I had my first real crush that I told all my girlfriends about. And it’s never been fulfilled. Crush after crush passes by without so much of a batted eyelash in my direction. Or perhaps they steal a glance, but someone else always catches their eye, instead. But that craving has evolved to be so much more than not wanting to be alone on Valentine’s Day or wanting a date to the dance, like I wanted in high school. It’s so much more than just wanting to not be alone. I’ve been alone. I am alone. And I can thrive and be happy like that. I just don’t want to.

I want my forever person.

Originally, when I had made a draft of this post and then never gotten around writing it, it was the weekend I first moved into my apartment. I was putting up groceries for the first time, excited but also exhausted from moving and also working on top of moving. And I distinctly remember putting some food up in the cabinet and imagining, out of the middle of nowhere, a guy–my guy–suddenly leaning against the door frame and asking me how my day was, before he started putting items up in the fridge, after kissing me on the forehead. It was such a vivid snapshot that filled my head so randomly, so out of nowhere. Vivid in every aspect but his face. I couldn’t picture it. And my heart hurt, just slightly, ever so softly, for that fantasy to be reality; to have that presence in my life, that comfort, that connection, that love.

And that craving has only grown these past few months.

I’m at the age now where I’m alone a lot more than I am with people. Gone are the days where I had consistent friend groups or activities I was involved in because of school. Now, everyone has graduated and started that next stage of their lives: moving into apartments and houses, starting jobs that take out the same amount of money in taxes that you made in a semester during school…getting engaged and married and starting families. I love knowing so many people who are taking that next step, who are entering those next stages of their relationships. I love being there for them to celebrate and stress and awe over such a monumental time in their life. I absolutely adore seeing love win, manifested through a real, true and flourishing relationship.

But I also want to have that.

Hell, I want to have the starting point of a relationship; the nervous butterflies as you start talking, the chills down your spine when you flirt, the calling-your-best-friend-to-freak-out-about-what-to-wear-before-your-first date moment. And then I want it to continue: one date turns into two or three, your friends start to ask after him by name, your parents ask when they can meet him, you wonder if he’s going to kiss you next time, your hand instinctively reaches for his the next time you see one another. He asks you to be his girlfriend. You tell your family and friends and they freak out because it’s the first time it’s happened to you and they want to know all the details. You meet one another’s friends and family. You get used waking up to a text from him and look forward to telling him random stories and thoughts throughout the day, while eager to listen to his jokes or complaints or what he is thinking. You begin to learn more things about one another. Slowly, he becomes a major aspect of your life and, at the same time, you become the same in his. You post pictures together. He convinces you to watch a scary movie only to have the excuse to hold you tighter. Date nights turn into weekends spent together. You take him to your family Christmas party and he invites you to go on a roadtrip to celebrate your anniversary.

The connection. The attention. To be wanted. To be cherished. To be challenged. To be held. To be important. To be loved. To be chosen, day in and day out, even though there are others who are better out there, because that doesn’t matter, because he wants me.

I want that.

More often than not, I don’t spend my time dreaming about what I could have, in a relationship. I spend my time questioning why I haven’t found that relationship yet and why I never have (and dreading, with every core of my being, that I am one of those people who never will).

Is it my looks? Am I too curvy? Too plain? Is it my personality? Am I too nerdy? Too quirky? Too odd? Too insecure? Too honest? Too blunt? Too awkward? Too shy? Too opinionated? Do I open up too much? Do I want to be in love too much that the universe refuses it to happen? Is the fact that I struggle with brevity in all forms make talking to me exhausting? Is the fact that I consider physical aspects a bonus of a relationship and not a foundation too much a turn off? Is the fact that I have no interest in playing games–no interest in making you chase me, no interest in worrying about how long it’s been since I’ve texted you, etc.–make me too boring/not worth it? Are my standards too high? Do I desire too much? Am I too much?

Am I not enough?

I have a fantastic life. I have a roof over my head, a job that almost supports me, passions that I pursue, a family that I’m close with and hold dear, friends that keep me sane, independence that I cherish and an imagination that I thank God for every day. Yet this craving, when I’m at my loneliest and the questions above hit me like thunderclaps during a storm of self-doubt, questioning why I’m alone, why I have to wait, why I haven’t found him, does he exist; when this craving, which is constant, but at it’s strongest, it overrules everything else, because that hole, that missing link, in my life, is so evident, is so obvious, is so felt

And I have no idea what to bloody do about it; if I can do anything about it, because suck it up, accept a life featuring just me and a horde of dogs, and move on.

My heart has wanted to be in love for so long, I don’t know if I could even imagine what it would feel like to actually be in love. I have wanted to choose someone for so long; to make him feel wanted and cherished. To be a presence and a light in his life. To challenge him and help him grow. To be there when he struggles and be that person he calls when he is excited. I know I’m not the greatest thing to look at and my body isn’t exactly a bombshell. I know I’m quirky and nerdy and shy and introvertedly extroverted and I don’t necessary think any of those aspects are bad. I know there are women out there who are prettier, smarter, cooler, richer, better.

But I also know this: to the man who manages to steal my heart and trust me with his? To the man who chooses me every day, despite all of those other options and temptations? To the man who makes me believe I am worthy to not only be loved, but to have his love, just as much as he is worthy to have mine? To the man who shows me what it’s like to be in love and not alone? I promise you, you will never feel or be more loved. I will love you entirely, completely, totally, utterly. Despite my shortcomings, you will never doubt how much you mean to me and “how much I ardently admire and and love you.”

So, if you could be so kind, please come into my life sooner rather than later? Because I’m started to really believe you don’t exist and, even if you did, I don’t deserve you, anyway.

Cheers.


Measuring Worth, Recreating Mindsets and Dealing with Desire

Y’all ready for a personal post?

Brilliant.

I’m sure I’ve shared snippets of this in previous blog posts, so feel free to peruse and search to your hearts content if you want to know more (also, apologies for beating a dead horse) but recently, I’ve been struggling with body image and how that translates regarding self-love, worth, desirability, etc. I say recently because it has been heavy in the forefront of my mind, but that does not mean this is a recent battle I’ve just started fighting. I’ve been fighting it since I was kid. When I was in middle school and started noticing other girls were wearing jeans and dresses and skirts, their faces enhanced with make-up, I started to compare myself, a tomboy unintentionally-raised who didn’t wear jeans until the end of high school–same with wearing my hair down–and still doesn’t wear make-up to this day, at all. Around 7th and 8th grade is when I started to notice the choices I was making that made me different, regarding my appearance. It wasn’t long after that I started to notice my large, soccer-sculpted thighs or the first shadows of the muffin top; started noticing the lonely nights and the lack the dates; the pressures and bodily expectations of young girls and women (and young boys and men, let’s be honest) in society.

Very quickly, I realized that I didn’t fit into those expectations. And so began a dark spiral down into the depths of depression and self-loathing, simply because I wasn’t thin or skinny or, in the terms that society has labeled, pretty. I don’t know when I started to measure my own self-worth in terms of my jeans size or how accurately I fit into the mold required to be a beautiful woman, but it reached a point where I didn’t think myself worthy of anything because I was curvy, I was fat, I didn’t prescribe to make-up, didn’t wear heels.

And that was 50 pounds ago.

This battle with depression has had its ups and downs. Since dropping out of grad school and moving back home, entering into the job-world post-college, I’ve mentally tried to switch my beliefs that a person’s worth is not associated with their body image or body size. Because that is what I have always ascribed to, myself. Never with anyone else–I may notice a person’s size or lack-there-of, but I’ve never thought of a person’s worth based on that observation. Only my own. Very hypocritical and harsh, I know. So I’m trying to mentally switch my brain to a much healthier–and much truer–mindset: a person is so much more than their body and should not be defined by their curves, their edges, their narrowness, their chubbiness, their style.

And I’m finding that transition in mindset to be very difficult, because of how aware I am of everything around me.

//:

Obviously, the standards upon which beauty is measured by our society is, in the most blunt sense, very fucked up. For both men and women, the standards and expectations are not only unhealthy and unrealistic, but they are also inescapable. The billboards, the commercials, the magazines, the social media debates, portrayals in art, literature and film, the fad-diets, the pressure, the undertones, the overtones; inescapable. Everywhere. It is impossible to ignore and impossible not to be aware of where you fit in this spectrum, particularly in the summer time. Bathing suits and shorts: the horrors that have plagued a lot of my summers, as I purposefully avoid invitations to pools and only buy capris, temperature be damned.

Despite pretending not to be bothered by my touching thighs, back fat or muffin top, these things are always on my mind. When I walk past my mirror in the bathroom, I purposefully try to not look. When I put on clothes, I come up with outfits that do the best job of covering up skin, even in the summer months where they don’t make sense. Walking past someone on the street, I wonder how they perceive me and that carefully-constructed outfit. How do they judge me? Where do they find me wanting? Because I am obviously wanting. And then, of course, there are the evenings, where I am alone and the sun goes down, and all I can think about is the fact that I am alone, and wonder if I didn’t eat that extra helping of mashed potatoes or would have walked for another ten minutes, if my body would have changed enough for a man to find me desirable.

Even on the days where I love the way I look or it isn’t on the forefront of my mind, the reminders–everywhere and ever-constant–don’t stay ignored for long. From the whispers of society to the natural urge to compare myself to the people surrounding me (and always find myself wanting), it is truly difficult to switch my mind to not worrying about my body and how it is perceived; the only aspect of myself I hate. Because how do you ignore all the reminders? How do you ignore the constant complaints of those around you, claiming they are “so fat” and “need to lose weight” and “wish they were skinny,” when in your eye, they already are? How do you not jump to the conclusion, listening to them, that if they think they are fat and grotesque and they are smaller and prettier than you, what must they think of you? How do you get yourself to accept and love your body as is when you are constantly bombarded with other people not loving theirs; when you are constantly bombarded with standards you should be meeting, with reminders of why you aren’t?

 :

Of course, I take it one step-further. Not only do I devalue myself because of my size, but I also have a very intense desire to be loved. Not loved by family and friends. I have this aplenty and am grateful for it every day. Loved by a man. Desired by him, cherished by him, chosen by him. This desire is spawned from multiple things: my natural belief that love, in all forms, is the most powerful force in the world. My age is definitely a factor: being 23, a prime age amongst my friends to be moving forward in their relationships, with marriages and proposals. My relationship history, being that I’ve never had that relationship, that first kiss, that first date, those nerves meeting/introducing the parents and friends, the double dates. And, just like the body image standard, seeing people in love all over, in films, reading books, on the street, amongst my friends.

These are the two things I think about constantly, that empower my depression: my body size and my eternally-single state. And how the two must correlate. And thus, spawns the slowly growing fear that eternal is the perfect descriptor to attach to my single status; the growing fear that no matter how my body looks, no one will love me the way I desperately crave to be loved. I’m meant to be alone forever.

Okay.

There are so many things wrong with my mindset, I’m not even sure where to begin. And this post is already long enough as it is. But, ever onward…

One: Your Worth Isn’t Defined By Your Body Size

I know this. I know this. Yet it is a hard mindset to switch into believing constantly, when I have believed the opposite for too long. And it is so hard to find a positive present concerning body image, regardless of the size of the people I surround myself with. Everyone is so focused on finding fault. Then, of course, I always think of my non-existent romantic life. Sure, I haven’t been romantically involved in anyone, but that does not mean my body size is the direct cause of that. Perhaps it was a missed moment. Perhaps I simply haven’t met him yet. Perhaps I’m unwilling to date anyone who isn’t willing to love as completely as I plan to love them. Perhaps my standards are too high (newsflash: they aren’t). But even if I never find him, my worth isn’t devalued because of my singleness. My worth isn’t devalued because of my curves or my rolls. I have friends who support me and friends who love me. Family, too. Coworkers, sure. Random people I have connected with on the internet, you bet. Some of those people know my size. Others, don’t. Yet I really, really love myself. I love the woman I have become and the steps I need to take to continue working on who I want to be.

So why do I let my body size get in the way of loving myself completely, especially when if I take how others perceive me out of the equation, I actually don’t mind my body. Would I like it to be bit slimmer and a bit tighter? Yep. But if I don’t think about how others respond–or how I believe they are responding, rather–or how I am “supposed to” look, I’m actually quite content with my body. I can go on walks with my dog. I can play a pick-up game of soccer and feel like I’m going to die afterwards, but still have fun. I like my eyes and my collarbones and the way my biceps flex sometimes. I like my tattoos and my hair when I put effort into it (and the new messy up-do I’ve adopted). I could be perfectly content with my body if I could just stop worrying about how others perceive me or stop convincing myself that everyone who sees me believes me to be ugly or unattractive.

Two: Everything is Subjective 

Nothing is truer than that statement right there and nothing do I need to remember more. I recently realized that truth in regards to writing and it helped me deal so much with the rejection process. How did it take me so long to realize this in regards to everything else in life, especially body image and size and the perception related to that? My bathroom mirror never changes. Yet on the days when I accidentally see myself in the mirror, some of those days, I actually think, “Damn, girl,” and pause to admire my curves or the way my stomach is shaped or the length of the legs. My mirror hasn’t changed. My body either. It’s just my perception in that current moment. Or I’ve gotten into the lazy habit of putting my hair up into a bun-type situation where my curls fall down the side of my head, looking like a mix between a waterfall and Medusa unleashed. And half of the time, I love the way it looks. Some outfits, I absolutely adore.

But as soon as I think about what others might think, my response immediately switches from praise and approval to reprimand and calculation, nit-picking everywhere fault can be found.

Of course, some people are going to think I’m unattractive. But not everyone. It’s just like how I think the most attractive men on the planet are Kit Harington, Sam Claffin and Olan Rogers. Half of my friends don’t understand my celebrity crushes and pit up their own contenders. That is just difference of opinion and difference in taste. That disagreement doesn’t mean that one person is right and the other is wrong. Likewise, just because I believe someone might perceive me as ugly doesn’t mean that they will and, if they do, that doesn’t mean they are right. It is their opinion, their subjective opinion.

Another example is how you can be a size 16 in one store but a size 12 in another; an XL at Target but an XXXL at a designer store. For so long, I refused to wear XL clothing because I hated being associated with that size. I wanted to be smaller, so I wore smaller clothing. Which, in turn, looked worse on me and didn’t fit right, as opposed to XL sizes, which fit properly, looked better and actually made me feel confident. Instead, I was being ruled by letters and numbers prescribed by society as a labeling system. That’s all they bloody are. Letters and numbers to help you know which clothes will fit better. Not a value-measuring-system.

A friend also brought up a great point: Aphrodite, the goddess of love and passion and beauty, reflected the ideals of her time period of what a beautiful woman looked like. And it is not at all what we ascribe to now. Her pictures and statues from that time period are complete with rolls, with curves, with fat.

Before, a beautiful woman was a woman with weight–because that meant she could afford to eat–and who was pale–because that meant she didn’t have to work outside to earn her living. Today, we have transitioned to starving ourselves, harming ourselves and transfiguring ourselves to reach an impossible standard. Go back a couple 100 years and I would have had the beauty of the goddess. Today, I don’t even met the bare minimum.

How’s that for subjectivity?

Three: It’s Okay to Crave Romantic Love

I have been struggling with accepting this for a long time, now. Like I said, I crave a relationship. I crave to find a man to love me and accept me. I crave to find a man I love and accept. Yes, I obviously crave the physical benefits being in a committed relationship includes. Who doesn’t want someone’s hand to hold when they are walking along the road or someone to kiss when they say goodbye or someone to snuggle with before they go to sleep? But I want the emotional connection just as much, if not more. I want that person who I can confide in, who I can depend on, who I can count on, who can challenge me and appreciate me in ways that no one human has been able to; the way only a boyfriend or husband can.

Yet I’ve always felt guilty praying for this man to appear in my life. I’ve always felt guilty for wanting a relationship so badly. People always tell you to appreciate your singleness. You need to be independent and not depend on anyone else, especially a romantic partner. You need to love yourself first–only then can you love someone wholly. And maybe there is some merit in those ideas. But I believe that I can be an independent human and still have someone else to depend on. I can be a broken soul who struggles to love herself and yet still love him all the more for it, totally and utterly. And I believe, though I struggle with it, that it is okay to desire romantic love, a romantic connection with every core of your being.

Lord of the Rings:

This post is by far the longest I’ve written. I applaud you for reading this far. It is filled with ramblings, with musing, with struggles and personal outpourings of doubts and fear. It is very vulnerable and uncomfortable and heavy. I don’t have any neat way to wrap it up or any conclusion as to what needs to happen next; as to where I go from here. I think this will be struggle I deal with no matter what body size I have, how many people I’ve loved or what societal trends arise. But writing about it helps. Talking about it helps. Who knows, perhaps it might help you if you struggle with the same things or make you wonder who in your life does. Perhaps this post opens up a dialogue, opens eyes or serves a reminder of things people already know, a reflection of what you’ve already experienced. I dunno. If you need to talk about issues related to this, I’m here. I’m ready and I’m listening.

Life is hard, friends. But life is so, so good. Love each other and by God, accept and respect one another. Make one another feel comfortable in our own skin. Listen and be heard. And while we’re at it, how about we start destroying the body standards we are supposed to subscribe to, huh?

Cheers.


Single Status: A Choice and a Dream

Valentine’s Day is always a hit or miss for me emotionally. Most years, unfortunately, I find myself pretty miserable, wishing I had someone to spend it with and someone to spoil with letters filled with gushy confessions they already know and a ridiculous amount of chocolate. Spending 23 years solo will have that affect on you, at times (though, let’s be honest for a moment: about half of those years, I either didn’t know about romance or didn’t realize I wanted a guy, as I was too concerned with beating them on the pitch to prove my worth as a soccer player ((tomboy life, right there)), so really, I’d only say there has been half a dozen years or so since being alone of Valentine’s Day really struck a cord; but half a dozen isn’t as dramatic as 23 years, and I am a writer, after all. But, I digress.). This year, however, I was quite content with my single status. Instead of moping and dreaming of my ideal date with the most amazing guy, I went and caught a flick that I thought was perfect for the day of romance: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Not only was the film fantastic, but it had an awesome blend of romance and gore that just warmed my very odd heart. And truly, you can’t really do better than Mr. Darcy, can you? (I’d marry him for his eloquence, if nothing else. Goodness).

Plus, I didn’t have to share my nachos with anyone, so there are benefits to the single life.

Later that evening, I was reminded why I was single very bluntly. And it wasn’t because my friends who are in relationships were posting about all of the lovely things they did that day or because I was growing depressed imagining what else I could have done that day had I a romantic interest. No, instead, it was seeing what my Dad got my Mom as a Valentine’s/birthday present combo that made me realize not only why I’m single, but why I frankly choose to be, even though I want nothing more than to be in love.

Let me explain.

Two weeks earlier, my Mom dropped a hint that she wanted a band to go with her wedding ring. She didn’t harp about it, she just mentioned it offhandedly to my Dad and then we went about our day.  My Dad went and bought the band with my sister the next week, but not after talking with me and my siblings multiple times to make sure he heard her right and got exactly what she wanted. Fast forward to V-Day, when my Mom woke up to a jewerly box on the table and a card. Yet inside the jewerly box wasn’t the band, but a beautiful cross necklace. My Mom was convinced it was the band, but the necklace was perfect, too, so she wasn’t too disappointed. Later that evening, my Dad–after contemplating half a dozen ways to give her the band, including leaving it in the fridge for her to find after her shower and (thankfully) ignoring my suggestion that he lay in front of the fire in a “draw-me-like-one-of-your-French-girls” Titanic pose–before he finally decided to use three different cups and hide both boxes separately under different cups, leaving one cup with nothing underneath. My Mom would walk into the kitchen and have to play the guessing game of which cup held her prize. Meanwhile, both jewelry boxes were empty and the ring was in his pocket. Which, after she realized this, he pulled out in a very charming and corny way. My Mom loved it and it was all very cute.

But how does this relate to my eternal state of singleness?

On the day where love is expressed openly and often obnoxiously, I was reminded by my parents of the type of love I want: with a partner who knows me, listens to me, who is both romantic and fun, and the utmost gentleman. My Dad shows all of these things and more on a daily basis for my Mom, but this year, Valentine’s Day was a blatant reminder. He listened to my Mom about what she wanted but he wasn’t afraid to ask for clarification from us kids. That shows courage, humility and attention. When he gave her the necklace first, he knew she would think it was the ring and feel slightly disappointed, despite loving that necklace. Doing so not only turned a romantic gesture fun, but it reflects my Dad’s love for my Mom so well: he knows her well enough to know how she will respond and what necklace to get her when she wanted a band. Yet he stays true to himself in everything–and if you know my Dad, corny and goofy and funny sums him up pretty well, all which were reflected in the way he gave her both presents. Plus, seeing my Dad get excited about the band and struggle to come up with the perfect way to give it to my Mom showed that, despite them being married for almost 24 years now, they still sometimes get nervous around each other and their love is still strong. And that’s just beautiful.

That’s what I want. I want a man who understands me and can be quirky and fun and romantic. I want a guy who knows himself and isn’t afraid to be that man. I want a guy who I can talk to and trust and grow beside. I want a guy to challenge me as I challenge him. I want someone who communicates with me and accepts me as exactly as I am, curves and quirks and nerdiness and all. I don’t care about expensive gifts or being showered with presents constantly. Just like my Dad knows my Mom, my man would know that my perfect Valentine’s Day gift would be a trip to the local bookstore and then an evening of his undivided attention, no electronics attached (look for my Luddite post later this week to learn more of what I mean by that).

The reason I’m still single is because I’ve been spoiled by my parents to see the quintessence of what love should be. I see the potential of what a person can share with another person that they care deeply about and I yearn for that. And I’m stuck in a world where many guys, quite bluntly, don’t want to give that much in a relationship. They don’t reach those expectations and standards I have grown up believing should be natural, basic, to a healthy and true relationship. People tell me I have high standards, that I’m single because I expect too much. This Valentine’s Day, I was proud to be reminded of why I won’t settle for anything less than a love that emulates the one shared by my Mom and Dad. That’s why I wait. That’s what I want, that’s what I expect, that’s what I strive for and that’s what I search for. Does it make me a bitch, to expect a man to live up to higher standards than society places upon them? Some may consider me so. Does that mean I may reach 30, 40, 50, before my streak of solo Valentine’s Days is broken (if ever)? Perhaps. But in the same vein, whatever man steals my heart, he’ll be damn sure that if I hold him to such high standards, I hold myself to higher. Everything I expect from him, I plan to give tenfold. So why, on Earth, would I ever settle?

Here’s to finding examples of love and dreaming about your own. Here’s to knowing yourself and what you want and not changing it because others think you should. Here’s to standing your ground. Here’s to patience. Here’s to hope. Here’s to wanting and giving more. Here’s to choosing to rock the single life while dreaming of a novel-wothy relationship.

And here’s to discounted chocolate.

Cheers.

 


The Vision of a Hopeless Romantic

In trying to write more for this blog, I have planned out different posts and whatnot that I want to write about. For example, I still need to write my Valentine’s Day post (oops) and my workout update post (reached the halfway point, yes!), but instead of writing either of the posts that I have planned and needed to write for the past week, instead I am writing a unplanned post that was birthed by a random spurt of emotion. Should be fun.

So, many people know that I’m absolutely a hopeless romantic. There are so many definitions to it, but to me, I am just obsessed with love and being loved. I love seeing others in love, I love hearing about my friends relationships and their happiness within them, I love seeing cute things that couples do that might be unconscious or they may not realize other people see them being cute, e.g., a guy winking at his girl from across the room just because they made eye contact. I just love seeing people be appreciated by another human in such a special way.

As this type of romantic, I also hold firm to a few beliefs: that everyone has someone out there they are meant to love; that everyone can find love; everyone deserves a great, novel-like love; and that love can conquer anything. I believe love is powerful and that it is a great part of life. I believe that love should be fought for and, like many situations, I look for the best in love and always hope that couples can “make it”, stay together and grow old together, constantly growing and challenging one another in all the best possible ways.

And because of all of this, one of the things I want most in life is to fall in love. And I haven’t yet. And it used to really, really bother me. As I’ve grown older, I have come to appreciate my single state and the independence I have learned through that (though I am the first to point out that being in a relationship does not mean you’ve lost your independence — you can have both). I’ve appreciated the ability to be selfish (and I think once I move out and live on my own and get into the “real world” come May, I will appreciate that healthy dose of selfishness even more, as I will truly be doing things and living the way I want to live). I have been able to figure out who I truly am as a person; what I stand for, what I believe, my virtues and morals, my likes and dislikes, my strengths and my flaws, my faults and my dreams, my failures and my successes, all independent from the influence of another soul. All me.

But regardless of my growth and learning how to love myself (a process I will always work through), there are still reasons why I want to find that special person to share my life with me. So I’m going to explain a few reasons here (as it’s definitely an inexhaustible list) because I just feel like I need to; that writer vibe and this topic meshed really suddenly in my head and now, this post is being born as we speak.

So, why do I wish I had a boyfriend at this moment in time? One reason is that I absolutely love to flirt. That might make me seem shallow or a tease, but I don’t see it that way (and I’m definitely not a tease, although me being nice sometimes is mistaken for flirting, which could be awkward). It’s just fun to have that connection with someone and flirt with them and then have them flirt back. And honestly, it’s not even the flirting, but the butterflies and chills that result from flirting or a really smooth comment. I absolutely love those and they are hard to come by as a single woman not talking to anyone.

Cuddling: it’s one of the best things invented in the world. This shows how “lame” I could be considered to be, but when at home, I cuddle up with my dog, Shadow, and we sleep on the couch together downstairs and it is the cutest, nicest thing. He sleeps at the bottom of the couch while I play PS3 or watch TV and then when I’m ready to go to bed, I lay down and get comfortable and turn off the light. After I get comfortable, then he moves and rests his head someone on me, whether its across my legs or on my stomach; then promptly starts snoring and falls asleep until his claws and practically unrelenting desire to be petted awakes me the next morning. It may seem weird, but Shadow just wants to be close to me while we’re sleeping. We have that kind of connection, since my bed at home is also his bed.

With a human (okay, now that does sound really weird) — with another person, or a significant other, I believe cuddling symbolizes a similar thing: the need or desire to be physically close to someone else. My cuddling experience is very limited, but in my head, cuddling is when you wrap yourselves up in as many blankets as you can find and get as close as you can to one another and it is simply enough to be in the other person’s presence. Whether you are talking or enjoying the silence or sleeping, just the idea of being wrapped up in someone’s arms who loves me differently than how all my friends and family do — feeling that sense of comfort and protection — is something that I cannot wait for when I find my one and only.

That connection is something that I can’t wait to have. My friends are amazing and know me as well as anybody, but I think having a partner is a different connection entirely. And there are plenty of times that I wish I had that connection. You know, the kind where you see them and their smile lights up the room; when they wink at you just because they know it gives you butterflies; when they can understand how you’re feeling or thinking without you having to say anything, and then be able to know what to do about it. That sort of awesome connection that combines a physical attraction with a emotional investment. I always wonder when I find an agent one day, if I’ll have a boyfriend to call excitedly, who will be just as excited and understanding what an achievement that is, and who will cancel all his plans so we can go celebrate (not saying he always needs to put me first or cancel his plans for me, but in this instance, that’d be a huge deal, people. And ideally, if I had boyfriend who meant a lot to me ((which, if I have a boyfriend, shouldn’t he mean a lot to me; that’s why we’re dating)), I’d want to share that with him as much as I would my best friends or my family). Or to come home after a long day at work and to have him already be there, ready to cuddle (seriously, it sounds so great) and relax for the evening. I think that’d be a cool connection to have.

And lastly (for this blog post, I have so many others), I honestly want to show him off to the world. I want to be able to introduce him to my friends. I want to have that required awkward dinner with my parents after we’ve been dating for a couple months and I truly know I want him to stick around. I want to bring him to the family Christmas party and have all of family wonder who he is. But when I say show him off, I don’t mean I want to show off the fact that I have a boyfriend. I mean I want to show him off. I want to show the world this amazing man who I have made such a connection with; show the world all of his successes and his quirks, all of his trials and all of his dreams; show off the human that I know I will believe everyone should get to know because he, as his own person, is an amazing individual that people should know and learn from; an amazing individual whose connection to me is that he just happens to be dating me. That’s what I mean when I say show him off to the world. The man I date is going to be awesome and I want to be able to show that awesomeness to the world.

Those are just some of the few visions I have as a hopeless romantic. I have so many more — especially as a dreamer, as well, I’m telling you, they are endless. As someone who has grown much more comfortable with being single (I mean, it has been 22 years, so I hope I would have some level of comfort by now), I have to admit that there are still nights where I want all of these things and more. Like tonight, where I am happily taking a night off from homework, staying in and relaxing through playing some video games and eating some Dove chocolate. While I’m not wallowing in loneliness — I’m actually just content at the moment — I can’t lie and say that a huge part of me wishes that I had a man here with me to make fun of my obsession with DragonAge, complain about how long it takes me to shower and how early I want to go to sleep, but still cuddles up with me anyway and holds me while I dream, and wakes me up with a kiss. One day, I hope to have that.

But until then, I’ll continue to dream about it while also learning to love myself without someone else to do so (so that when I do find them, I already love myself and can continue to do so, even though they are loving me).

Cheers,

Nicole