(Originally written February 2023)
I’m probably harder on myself than usual this time of year. Chalk it up to this whole “keeping up with the Joneses” thing and feeling like I’m missing out on something. I struggle a lot coming to terms with how subjective “normal” really is and how my normal doesn’t really have to be what everyone else’s normal is. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it.
Does it feel good to be needed sometimes? Sure. Would it feel better to be desired? Absolutely. But not everyone I’ve been interested in has felt the same way about me, and it’s something I’ve had to learn to be okay with. It does me no good trying to force something in a direction it’s not meant to go or to wish for something I know I can’t have. Even so, I have to ask myself sometimes, “How come no one wants me like that?” I can only work on myself in silence for so long. Someone has to notice something eventually.
Granted, I don’t usually mind being single. I actually kind of enjoy it sometimes. But then again, I haven’t been in a committed monogamous relationship since Bush 43 was in office, and I hate feeling like I’ve wasted my prime. Part of my problem was that I would give too much of myself too soon in relationships, that I was too quick to allow their problems to become my problems, and I’d practically bend over backwards for them to keep them happy. And after a while, it would get to a point where I felt like I was the only one putting any work into keeping things going because I did a terrible job setting boundaries and often neglected my own needs.
I’m not as young as I used to be, and it’s not really in my best interest to take on another person’s kind of crazy head-on anymore. I know what I want and what I don’t want in a relationship. Maybe I’d like to be the one who’s being taken care of once in a while. It would be nice if I could find someone I could reasonably see myself sharing my life with someday, someone who truly loves me for me and all I have to offer, not someone who thinks they can get something out of me without them having to work for it. I just don’t know if it’ll ever happen, and I feel like time is running out.
I have an idea in my head of what love ought to look like. But then again, I’ve never really known for sure what love should look like. I’ve never really known what to look for. I don’t think I was ever properly taught. Nothing I’ve seen on TV or in movies really comes close to what love really is, except for maybe old Roseanne reruns. It makes me wonder if people even believe in the traditional storybook romance anymore, or even if that sort of thing really exists anymore. And maybe that’s just it, not everyone gets to have their happy ending. It’s not so much a moral failing, that’s just life.
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