WHY didn’t I stop loving you sooner?
But I do know the answer to this one. Before you, there was no one. No one that went by the title of boyfriend. Before you, I didn’t fit this world, because this world – and particularly this world while I was in my teens – didn’t fit girls who had no boyfriends.
The problem wasn’t that I was different. I had no issue with being a nerd. Nerds were already the new cool by then. So it wasn’t like I wanted to fit the mainstream. Actually, let me be clear: I patronise the hell out of the mainstream.
It was just (that being a BIG JUST) that I felt dysfunctional. And so I spent more than ten years of my life obsessing over the fact that I could develop any kind of relationship with a fellow human being except for that kind (and cannibalism – I’m really not that much into humans).
Now, dear reader, imagine that you spent ten years obsessing over a Häggen-Dazs flavour that you could not buy at the store. You could only try it when a special Häggen-Dazs employee selected you on the street, out of thousands of people, to try that exquisite and exclusive flavour. Except that it wasn’t that exclusive, because everyone seemed to know someone at Häggen-Dazs – but you. And so, you felt like you’d be the last person on Earth to ever try that flavour. That is, if you ever did.
Now, I’ve put a lot of effort into this analogy, so don’t leave me just yet. Imagine that one day, out of nowhere, the Häggen-Dazs employee came and he finally picked you. Go on, taste that creamy, yummy ice cream. After ten years of waiting would you ever dare to admit that it’s just like any other Häggen-Dazs ice cream? You can stop imagining now – I’ll answer that one for you. NO, YOU WOULDN’T. And most importantly, for the raison d’être of this post, I didn’t either.
It’s not like the ice cream flavour I got to taste wasn’t good. Of course it was – it was Häggen-Dazs! But expectations and more than a decade of feeling inadequate and feeding the need to be functional, while bathing on a bubbly hormonal jacuzzi didn’t really allow me to behave like myself. To accept that things weren’t going where I wanted – hell, where I NEEDED – them to go to. To accept there wasn’t that much I could do to fix or change that. To respect myself, to respect my boyfriend, to make him respect me and to allow him to make me respect him. If that last sentence left you a little confused, just think “Aretha Franklin”, ok?
For a long time now I’ve been afraid that in my next romantic relationship – whenever that will be, I really don’t care that much anymore, now that I’ve actually tasted the flavour, and I’m too busy, anyway – I won’t be able to behave like myself, again. For a long time, I’ve blamed it on hormones, on love (whatever that is), on him being so special and unique and therefore worthy of me stripping from my personality, autonomy and critical thinking… But I’m not so scared anymore. I won’t dare to say I’ve become specially skilled at certain aspects of social life, but it’s not like I’m inept either. I feel comfortable with my self – at least most of the time.
But most of all, I’ll never again be in a position where I’ve waited, in obsessive anticipation, more than ten years to taste the flavour.
* See this earlier post for some vague context.