Love. It’s something altogether familiar and foreign at once. Complex and simple, exhilarating and terrifying. It can be maternal, familial, platonic, romantic. Something to be shared with others and something we work to have for ourselves alone.
I’ve spoken a lot about romantic love on LFB. And while I definitely want to approach the subject of other forms of this feeling, I’m here to speak about romantic love again.
At 29 I can tell you that although I have been in love several times I don’t think I ever quite got it right. Which is probably the reason why those past relationships did not last. And while I do cherish the time that I have spent with the people that I have let get close to me, I wonder if a love that is even and uncomplicated and even possibly practical is a love better than one full of the deepest lows and the highest of highs. Because I loved the highs but I hated the lows and such a thing is not sustainable anyway. I also wonder if it’s possible to find a love that is both full of passion and yet still uncomplicated.
Although these are the questions that I have as an adult who has long since learned that Disney and romantic comedies have unreasonably set a bar so high no love could ever come close to the perfectly timed romance of all that happens on the big screen, right now I am less concerned with which expectations might be reasonable and which ones might be fabricated by societal standards and the big movie making machine, my bigger question is: am I ready to love another human being with passion and commitment? With understanding and openness?
I previously felt that nothing was more meaningful than shared feelings between two people. And while I still believe in romance more mundane but more meaningful than anything hollywood could create, I don’t think for a moment that I’m going to die alone with 50 cats slowly feeding on my corpse as I rot away for a week before anybody realizes that the odor coming from the downstairs apartment is the body of a half eaten cat lady. But the thought of loving feels like a commitment I’m not sure I want to (am ready to?) make. In fact I am not even sure if it’s about readiness or willingness, if they are one in the same or entirely different, or if it’s a bit of both.
This is the first time in my life that I have probably felt this way. In the past I put the companionship of another person very high on my list of things that made my life meaningful. And while I think that love is miraculous thing, when I think about getting into another serious relationship I question if I am actually ready and/or willing to make this kind of commitment which is odd because I have never questioned it before.
I was the person who did not understand why commitment was difficult, who didn’t understand why labels could be limiting, who didn’t understand why titles like “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” created pressures and caused people to take off running, screaming, straight into a brick wall like a chicken with its head cut off, somehow still with the ability to scream. But at this very moment in time if I were to have a boyfriend – officially that is – I am not sure if I would still feel free, I’m not sure if things would still remain without complication.
When things are undefined there are no expectations. There are no reasons to get mad. There are no causes for jealousy. I have never feared commitment before in my life. Yet I find myself in a position where I do. Part of this is due to the fact that for the first time in my existence I have come to really appreciate being on my own. I am focused on my career and I’m not a fan of anything that might come between that. And yet the closeness proximity wise and emotionally that another human being would bring is still a welcome thought.
They say timing is everything and maybe they’re right. But I find myself asking the question: is it really my headspace or lack of possibilities? Is there somebody right now who I would happily settle down with where I not to be so comfortable with life as it already is or has the right person simply not yet appeared or has this person already appeared but has a different role to play in my life for now?
Part of me worries that I will pass up the opportunity to be with somebody that could make me happy (and of course somebody that I could make happy) simply because relationships feel all to foreign right now. Part of me thinks that were an opportunity to come along right now I would fuck it all up. Because love is not constricting. But when I think of loving I worry about the things that I will loose.
I don’t want to love simply because I’m nearing 30. I don’t feel a ticking clock, nor the pressure to settle down and start a family. To be frank sometimes I think that it is more a waste of time to invest in a relationship out of fear of being alone only to have it end and have to start over all over again months or years later then it is to simply be happily alone. Or maybe practical relationships – ones you have with another person who also knows this isn’t “big love” but something comfortable and okay for the moment – are the way to go.
But of course as humans are constantly changing their minds, fickle creatures that they are. As there is also a part of me that would welcome committed companionship. Maybe it’s the changing of the seasons (why can’t seasonal love be a thing?). Or maybe it is my heart wanting more than just myself, my friends, and my family. Because somebody can be the warmth beside me in my bed without being in my heart. But Love is the warmest kind of heat of all. And so I think it’s safe to say i’m rather undecided and confused about the entire matter. But then again isn’t this confusion also part of this giant concept we call love?
Photography: Sara Tortora
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