My girl Rose Red, talks about being single and how, despite the many girls getting married, you are loved – a man shouldn’t dictate your worth.
Love you Rose Red, Slipperella xxx
If you type ‘how to find true love’ into Google (yup I’m the sap who does stuff like that…but all in the name of research for writing about it…ahem…) even the first 10 hits are enough to make you smack your palm to your forehead in frustration. It’s all ’10 steps to finding love’; 6 tips for how to find your soul mate’ etc. Depressive toxins basically. Because surely if finding true and lasting romantic love was as simple as a simple 12 step program then we’d all be in the pink?
But we’d be bored.
In fact if the quest for love could be reduced to a simple mathematic formula it wouldn’t be called romance anymore. The very word ‘romance’ conjures up images of mystery, hearts and flowers, destiny and that certain but inexplicable sense of connection between two people that could be lust, love or anything in-between. Maybe we’ve all been ‘disney-fied’, maybe we expect too much of the fireworks, the instant ‘eyes meet across a crowded room’ sort of connection based on absolutely nothing but appearance. The Cinderella–esque ‘Happily ever after’ ending based not on hard graft, but on fairy dust and sprinkles.
Or do we?
The great artists in poetry have written page upon page of sonnets about love, our modern day poets tell these stories in songs and music we hear on the radio – lost love, love yearned for, unrequited love, forbidden love, young love and lifelong love. Writers too offer a similar fare. In Austen’s book ‘Sense & Sensibility’ Marianne Dash wood is a deeply convicted romantic, who believes that ‘to love is to burn, to be on fire’ – an all consuming emotion. Yet it is her mother who points out that all great love affairs have one or both lovers meeting very tragic ends. Something Marianne herself experiences to some degree a short time later.
Painters have muses who inspire them to greater heights of artistry through their beauty and connection, movie writers have those ‘cute meets’ we all love so much when two characters we know from the start would be perfect together finally meet and we watch their love story unfold – it inspires us to hope that that could be our story too even if somewhere in the back of our minds our logical self is scoffing and telling us to locate our tickets and ‘hop aboard the train back to reality-ville.’
But surely they can’t all be wrong?
The thing is, whether we are dyed in the wool romantics or hardened cynics, there is a spark in each of us that wants that significant connection to another person. Love that is beyond the bonds of just friendship, beyond familial love. Romantic love seductively beckons each of us, so why does attaining it it seem so simple for some and such a painful, continuous ‘try and fail’ for others?
If I could answer that question I’d be writing that 12 step formula book and making millions. But like most people, I’m still wondering what the answer to that question is. Like you, I’ve experienced loves highs and lows, the crashes that cause us to swear blind we are never opening ourselves up like that again, the serotonin surges that makes us forget we know how to talk about anything else but that other person, the secret smile we walk around with knowing that we love and are loved in return, and of course the wrenching heart break when it all goes to the wall, especially when we least expected it.
In ‘Sense & Sensibility’ the character of Marianne is summarily dumped for a richer woman and experiences the bitterness of rejection by the charming Mr. Willoughby. She goes on to marry the man who has silently loved her from afar – Col. Brandon. But she never forgets her former first love. In fact many readers feel she ‘settled’ for the staid, offered ‘on a plate’ love of an older Brandon. But she found love. As so many of Austen’s heroines did. Austen was a romantic – and yet she herself remained single her whole life.
So why do some of us find love and some of us seem doomed to wander aimlessly in the desert of the single soul, with brief vacations in the relational oasis? (Did I push that metaphor too far? Ok fine, but you know what I’m saying)
Here’s what I think the answer is:
Because that’s life.
Life is Life. And we each have our own life story to live. Our story is not someone else’s story – nor should it be. Our love story will not be the same as someone else’s love story – and nor would we really want it to be. Yep, it can totally suck being alone, especially if you’ve just had to undergo the horrors of a news years eve ‘Happy New Year’ kiss fest when standing like a tool trying to find a glass so at least you have something (if not someone) to hold onto a midnight! Or as we already begin the slide into wedding season, it can feel like everyone else is getting the one thing you can’t seem to find for yourself.
While I’m mostly very happy being single I’ve already had my ‘will this be the year I find true love?’ moments this year. Maybe you have too. In those moments it’s tough to remain pragmatic, upbeat and not go down the emotional rabbit hole.
But it may be time to make to give yourself a break and allow yourself to inhabit your own story. Give yourself permission to be you, and not compare yourself to the friends around you. You don’t have to live your life on the same schedule as everyone else. Sure, do what you want to ‘become a better version of you’ – it’s always good for us to work on our ‘stuff’. But make this year the one in which you don’t beat yourself up about not having found a new lover, or gotten over an old one. The one in which you don’t settle for something or someone you don’t love passionately, or twist yourself up like a pretzel trying to be someone you’re not to make another love you. The year where you remember who you are, that you have a hell of a lot to offer the world around you and that you are loved…even if it’s not by that elusive ‘significant other’. Find those people in your life who love you, and who you love. Invest, hang out, have fun, laugh, do life together and know that ‘true love’ comes in many guise and stop giving yourself unnecessary grief about whether or not finding romantic love is going to be part of your story this year.
If you have people in your life who love you, don’t downplay the importance of that love. Maybe you cant invite a load of people to come to a party where one of you dons a white dress and you get loads of gifts for simply ‘being in love’, but you can find ways to celebrate the love you already have. That’s my resolution this year – and yes I will still hope that that elusive ‘great love’ is around the corner for me, but even if I cant ‘be with the one I love, I’m going to love the ones I’m with!