“A Flight Risk With a Fear of Falling”: Thoughts on Love from the Loving But Inexperienced

I was a flight risk with a fear of falling, wondering why we bother with love if it never lasts.

It’s well-documented that I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan, and this particular lyric of hers from her song “Mine” has stuck on me since I first heard it. Known for wearing her heart on her sleeve, Taylor has said that the song is about her “tendency to run from love,” which is something I relate to. Then again, have I really ever ran from love when I’ve never even been in love to begin with?

Since it’s that time of year where all single people are bitching about Valentine’s Day being around the corner, I’m adding more than my two cents in, but a dime’s dozen. You are mistaken, however, if you think you’ll be reading a bitter angry rant somewhere along the lines of “I HATE COUPLES I HATE THEIR STUPID LITTLE CUTESY PDA AND VOMIT-INDUCING NICKNAMES FOR EACH OTHER AND ABYSMAL PROPOSALS  AND RITUALS AND SHIT.” This is more of me answering questions like “Yo Karen why won’t you date me? Why haven’t you been in a relationship? Why haven’t you even  hooked up with a dude? Maybe you’re into them ladies?” in the ways I know how.

You read that correctly: I’m 24 years old, and I’ve never hooked up with a guy (or a girl—by the way, my preference is for men), and I’ve never been in a long-term relationship. I never dated in high school, and all the sparse dates I went on since I was a sophomore in college were with guys I met in the most random places and through OKCupid, never through conventional means like through school, work, volunteering, or friends of friends.

The lethal mix of my shyness and social awkwardness since childhood, then-strict parents, and my past priorities of school/work and current priorities of work and finding long-term work are all factors in my lack of dating history. There’s also the fact that every guy who has ever seemed to be interested in me never lived up to my standards. In middle school and high school, I didn’t want to be seen with average-looking underachievers; all of my objects of affection were good-looking guys who were well-known for being smart and/or being involved in extracurriculars, usually sports, drama, or student government (Which was my circuit back in the day). But in most cases, they were older and already had girlfriends, and I just felt that they were out of my league, so they were only schoolgirl crushes that would mean nothing.

I wasn’t as involved in college activities as I was in high school, so it was difficult to be in the company of anyone that I found to be interesting and attractive. I did attempt to meet people through taking dance classes and volunteering for various film festivals, conventions, and politicians, and they’ve worked in the sense that I still keep in touch with many of them. Still, any more-than-friendly feelings I had for anyone would be kept to myself and like time, they only managed to pass and fade away.

To this day, I know all too well what it’s like to simply admire someone from afar. I know what it’s like to turn people away. I know what it’s like to have feelings so suppressed that it kills me inside. I know what rejection is like—the silent kind and the not-so-silent kind that has brought me to tears. I know what it’s like to be on the edge and fall a few stories down, and be suspended and never hit the ground. I don’t know what it’s like to go on more than four or five dates with the same person. I don’t know what it’s like to explore someone else physically, and be explored. I don’t know what it’s like to care for someone so deeply and have someone do the same for me. All of those things excite me, yet terrify me incredibly.

As an observer, I already understand that relationships take work and a lot of effort. I wonder if “painfully” single people even realize that. You can’t just have a boyfriend or a girlfriend and expect them to be there—both of you have to make time to be there for each other and actually work through the issues you have. A boyfriend or a girlfriend is not an object you should take for granted. I fear that with my career-oriented lifestyle it’d be difficult for anyone to date me. I’m still the same way in terms of my standards. I’m not going to turn anyone down right away because they’re not a 6’3″ businessman or baseball player. But I will be absolutely turned off if they’re not ambitious, if they’re needy, if they don’t have a productive and fulfilling life of their own, or already start using terms of affection before we’ve even gone on our first date.

I’m somebody who has learned to embrace my singleness. Sure, I rant, lament, and joke about it, but I never want my happiness to depend on someone else. It’s selfish, but I honestly wish more people could feel the same way I do about flying solo. The annoying thing about being single on Valentine’s Day is not being single, but hearing all the single people that complain about being single. I’m sure all of us would love to get rid of the commercialization of the holiday that reminds us that we have no one to celebrate with, but if we treat it like any other day of the year, then it won’t be as annoying. Couples should find ways to make every day special anyway, not just Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and holidays.

I’m not getting any younger, but as much as I’d love to be more seasoned at the art of love, I’m not going crazy over not having a boyfriend this Valentine’s Day or any of the other 364 days of the year. I’ve found that the best things happen when you least expect them and that’s the mindset I prefer to take.

Besides, I’d like to go as long as possible without having to regularly shave my legs for someone. (See single ladies, there’s nice perks to not having a man!)

(IMAGE SOURCE: rawr_caps @ LiveJournal.com via Fanpop)

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