One of my best friends wrote a letter to a future, after being asked to write about romance. She’s not the type to do that, but it’s fun watching her cringe a bit. In fact, it’s our tradition to have cringe-fests by watching humanity’s prime forms of cheeseball romance: the entire High School Musical and the Twilight series. Because it is fun. Well, aforementioned best friend challenged me to write about romance as well. And I accepted.
To begin, what is romance? The common perception of romance is somewhere between the thrill of being swept off your feet (metaphorically and literally) on a magic carpet ride and those quiet moments with a special person while your heartbeat runs a mile a minute. To be in a romance is to be given grand, dopamine-inducing gestures that exhilarate your momentary existence into a Disney-like, walking-on-air kind of high.
While I can’t help mocking it, I can’t say it isn’t a part of life. I won’t say it isn’t part of what makes relationships exciting. If I ever get into a relationship, I’ll have to go through this disgusting initiation where, in my weaker moments, I will hopefully not be caught grinning like an idiot. (but I probably will, if that ever happens)
However, there is another definition to being a romantic, which is more of a state of being or a kind of personality. A romantic, at heart, is not necessarily the cheesy gesture type of person. A romantic is an idealist. Merriam Webster defines it as,
Marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or the idealized.
Being a romantic means having faith (in circumstances or people, even). It’s seeing the future in the light of a promise. It means chasing after hope, even if uncertainty is the constant reality.
From the moment I wake up, to my last sleepy thoughts, I am not a romantic. The past two years have extinguished the little of it left behind by… let’s just call it The Shaky and Traumatizing High School and Early College Years.
There once was a time I’d write lists about the qualities I want in my future man. There’d be the negotiables (I can live with someone who collects toys) and the non-negotiables (such as being able to not just appreciate, but love art, design, and literature). Combined, they’d add up to a hundred plus. I’d even pray for this person (HAHAHA), and even considered making an illustrated Being with Barby manual to help him deal with the crazy ahead.
Those who know me are well-acquainted with my history as a man-hater, who looked at marriage with a mixture of panic and revulsion. However, beneath the outward display of dislike, it was my guilty pleasure to indulge in the belief that when the right person came along, it could actually work. (then we could snuggle on a couch while marathoning Star Wars. #gross) (or have occasional book dates in a picturesque cemetery. #creepy) It was lonely watching friends come together and break up with boyfriends (some even going through three or four already) while I was as superlatively single as Shoshana
is was a virgin. My vast experience in the world of relationships has been acquired (half frustratingly, half relievingly) at the expense of friends, novels, movies, and everything else observable.
Today, I believe that marriage can work, and even become a beautiful thing, but only with the right people coming together. What I don’t believe is that the right person for me is wandering the world somewhere out there. Out of the billions of people, you may ask, what’s the likelihood that not even one of them could fit? Well………………………………….I don’t know, and no longer care to know. The Will Grayson method of not caring (a future post) is the mortar with which these walls are raised.
It’s too painful to hope.
My first heartbreak I owe to a cat, and even if I was able to move on from it (like every other resilient human being who ever lost a pet) I shudder to think what hell may break lose if I love anyone even more. I’d rather be grumpy and guarded than vulnerable while hoping, and wishing, and waiting. Think of this as something like…. a sexless Carmen San Diego. (sexless, not genderless. or wait. maybe with sex but no commitment. idk idk I don’t know.) I am laughing with the idea, but hey. At least I can laugh with my own self. So I will be fine. (and rich with jewels and stories of grand heists around the world)
What an uncanny way to live. I’m still figuring out how to arrange life in its proper places, wherein my energy and passion are focused on the joys of chosen activities: the thrill of creation, of cooking (and eating), of getting lost in cities and stories, secret dances, and in cultivating relationships with certain people. Over time, I trust that things will balance out. Maybe I’ll live long enough to publish a book or two, Bollywood dance at an Indian wedding, and drink wine beneath the soft glow of northern lights.
I will be undisturbed, but happy.