Updated: Jul 30, 2020
I guess you could say I'm a hopeless romantic.
Ironic considering I've never had a boyfriend and run for the hills at any boy's attempts to woo me. But, what can I say, I just love love. I'm a sucker for rom-coms and hand written love letters, and I've got this idealized romantic fantasy in my head that will never pan out in reality. While PDA might make me a bit queasy, and I'll never let a boy depend on me in any fashion, I still just love the idea of love. Maybe it's from my Disney obsession as a child (and as an adult, let's be real), showing me the potential for a Prince Charming to enter my life, or maybe it's from some innate desire that's inherently attached to humanity. I don't know. Regardless, I spend my time doting over silly boys or girls, writing love letters that I will never send, and scrawling hidden poetry within my diaries. And honestly, I'm not ashamed of it whatsoever.
Now, as a feminist, I will always say that women don't need no stinkin' man (or woman, if that's your cup of tea), but I am constantly torn between my desire for independence and my desire for a significant other to cuddle with. I've always had this hatred of the idea of being saved by some prince, and that combined with a constant lack of mental sanity left me hiding from any relationship in sight. But with this juxtaposition between independence and hopeless romanticism, I was left fantasizing of an impossibly perfect version of a person who could never actually exist. So I'm constantly left disappointed and hurt by others. I've got plenty of trust issues, yet I seem to always fall for the wrong person, leaving me in sometimes scary situations or deeply hurting nice guys who have the misfortune of falling for me. Despite my constant efforts to trust others, I seem to continuously get in sticky situations, leading to a series of unfortunate events that render me terrified and back into my own bubble of trust issues.
my rendition of "Can't Help Falling in Love"
(not the absolute best, but I enjoyed playing and learning it! :)
You can never fully love another until you can love yourself.
I have yet to find that love within me to fully give myself to another. But, damn am I striving for it. Don't get me wrong –– I know I'm great. I frequently joke that I'm a self-proclaimed narcissist and sometimes even believe it (albeit this moment is quite fleeting and frequently leads to mental breakdowns questioning my life choices). But all jokes aside, I, like most teenagers, have many –– and I mean many –– flaws and rarely feel good enough or pretty enough or kind enough or simply enough. Deep routed insecurities render me helpless to my own judgmental eye.
When you grow up surrounded by yeehaws and y'alls, an intellectual sticks out like a peacock among pigeons. And being different from the norm creates its many challenges... especially in a place where girls live in bikinis in the summer and starve themselves in the winter. Rather than going to the beach or running on a treadmill, I spent my time writing stories and reading books. But as I got older, I started noticing the differences between me and others. No matter how I looked, I always thought I could look better. With my friends on the latest fad diet or slathering on self-tanner, I looked in the mirror and saw flaw after flaw after flaw. And with such level of scrutiny at such a young and impressionable age, these disastrous thoughts continued into my adulthood. It's funny though, looking at old pictures, I now realize how morphed I saw my own body, and I've realized this body dysmorphia that arose in my early teenage years has continued into adulthood. I still mercilessly note my eating habits and have to actively fight the intrusive, body-shaming thoughts that permeate into my brain. I catch myself trying to skip meals or eat less, or scrutinizing my every roll and stretch mark. I have to constantly battle this societal demon that haunts my daily life, counting calories and pinching my body fat. Being a woman is hard. Heck, being anyone is hard in the modern era.
The scariest part of romantic love, at least to me, is this idea of fully submitting to another. After rape, you're left feeling as if you exist within an unknown body, and this makes it hard for intimacy or trust. While I'm extremely open with my sexuality and my internal demons, I'm absolutely terrified of ever letting anyone actually get close to me. It's easier to write down my problems into a public platform (hello blog!) than actually talking about them to someone who cares about me. I never fully believe that anyone besides my family could ever care about me beyond the impersonal level, and whenever it happens I'm left astounded by their sincerity. Now, some of these people have betrayed me, but I continue to fight to push them away and connect with genuine people. But goddamn it's hard in the modern era.
With our easy access to all forms of communication via the internet, insincerity becomes a constant in society. We can never fully trust others in the world of technology. And it makes finding love all the more difficult. But inspiration comes from the many success stories and happily ever afters that continue procreation and familial ties into the future. From a biological standpoint, love itself doesn't really matter all that much; as long as our species continues, who the heck cares, right? Wrong. Unfortunately us humans have these absurd desires ingrained within us, and our ability to think gives us the ability to feel.
But, still, the most important aspect of living is loving yourself. Stand naked in front of the mirror and force your negative thoughts into positives. Look at your body and watch how it moves. Think about how beautiful it is for everything it does for you –– your body is powerful. Write down every single thing that you love about yourself, whether it be your hair color or your ability to find joy in the small things. Journal, read, draw, exercise. Take the time to explore your body, your brain, and find your own happy place; make yourself your best friend. It's hard to find that love within, but I promise you, the harder you work and the more time you spend with yourself, the more you will love every part of you. You are beautiful, and you deserve to feel beautiful.
Let me know how your journey goes, and please reach out for more tips and tricks on finding that inner form of love.
I love all of you.