Uncharted Waters

I wish I had been born in a future generation where there are no couples, or at least, it’s not the default, not the expected route – because there are lots of possible routes. There’s less competitiveness because women are equal, and we are all trying to emulate men and masculine qualities much less. Here the patriarchal, consumerist and religious drivers for marriage (and by corollary, coupledom) are no longer there, making it null, void and nothing much to aspire towards – nothing much to feel ashamed for not having.

It’s interesting the longer this goes on, how ill it fits when I try to live it in reality – people around me just don’t get it. It just doesn’t fit – either with their experience, nor their personal aspirations or sense of what they themselves should achieve according to societies rules. I get drawn time and time again into ‘me being me’ as the issue. Not even necessarily in a bad way – it comes from people who love me in a loving way. But they say I am sensitive, I am too hard on myself. Although it can be a good reminder to be less hard on myself, I suppose my take is that I am eminently loveable even with these flaws. Even believing there is something wrong with me I am eminently loveable (is this not the human condition?). The people who love me believe so also of course, and don’t intend any harm at all, but is an element of blame directed at me being me which is at play here. Society and the people who function within it can’t handle society being the issue – because we can’t change that – instead it’s always the fault of the individual that doesn’t fit. That is much easier to sort – or more likely, to dismiss. They can pay for their own therapy to change themselves, society won’t be changing for anything.

What shocks me also is even the most progressive people I know being so (what I call) ‘relationship normative’ – as in they essentially have the 2.4 children set up, as unquestioningly as someone who they themselves would consider to be very traditional.

The other thing people like to deny/’blame’ me for is that in my context I feel ashamed of not having managed to achieve coupledom – again that is not my fault, that is the fault of a society that demands it of me for the reasons mentioned above. Denial of the marginalised experience is common place. I do not want to overstate my marginalisation! I am not a largely oppressed member of society, but the same pattern is at play in peoples thinking.

This for me is the whole point. I am no better, no lesser than anyone else. It’s the idea that I need to somehow be less myself – I can be insecure, but I must be less so. I can be hard on myself, but I must be less so. No – I won’t. The only time I have ever been happy was when I accepted myself warts and all. I’m being disproportionately punished, it currently feels, for being someone who has insecurities, someone who feels a bit broken inside. Don’t most people? Don’t they get to have boyfriends too??

My gripe is not not having a relationship per say – but rather, having tried to – just how unbelievably ridiculously disappointing an experience it has been in trying to find one! I really need to meet more people like me! I am surrounded by people who are in relationships that function to one degree or the other – I’m just unlucky in that way. It’s like the fact I’m surrounded by such high achievers – if only I had been born in another context I would be a super smart super high achiever. But not here with my lot – oh no.  With my lot I come off as mediocre at best.

I have to say all this here because people who know me deny my experience constantly. I am experiencing something no one else I know is, perhaps with the exception of one or two of my friends. But this is to be expected – my set of particular experiences is unique to me – but more specifically, I get given advice and I think ‘You don’t know. You don’t have a clue what you are saying to me. Everything you say I have thought, done, analysed, regurgitated, experimented with and more’. Frighteningly I feel like the ultimate authority on this – like I’m in unchartered waters, and frankly – no one can reassure me. I also don’t trust their advice. I have made that mistake before and I realise that the only one who can really protect me (in spite of how well intentioned their advice is) is of course me. Which I find very unsettling.

In my struggle to find a boyfriend (really, why is this so hard for some people? So easy for others?), I begun to feel I was suffering from a chronic disease for which there was no cure – only management. As such, learning about early childhood trauma was a relief – like finally getting a diagnosis for a set of symptoms no one can understand or give me guidance on. The struggle with that is exploring it without going fucking crazy. My subconscious is desperately trying to protect me from this process by drowning me in a relentless barrage of negative thoughts. It thinks it’s protecting me from something dangerous I suppose.

To be clear I find the fact I may have been damaged by early childhood trauma (like most people) separate from the idea that I am somehow ‘not good enough’ for a relationship. I am completely ‘good enough’ – I just have some shit to work through (everyone does).

I don’t know what the future holds. I imagine a partner of some description at some point. I suppose what I do here is find a way to try and express what I find in my unchartered waters – or rather navigate my way through them. Tentatively – they are unchartered, they are waters – that’s pretty scary and feels pretty dangerous.

One thought on “Uncharted Waters

  1. This is a very wise and thought-provoking post. I agree with all of it. I particularly liked this bit: “I get given advice and I think ‘You don’t know. You don’t have a clue what you are saying to me. Everything you say I have thought, done, analysed, regurgitated, experimented with and more’. ” Yes, you are absolutely right – people give advice all the time as if: a) single status is a problem, b) you must be doing something wrong and c) they are the experts at finding the answer, especially if they are in a long-term relationship. When I was in category c (never presuming my expertise though) I always threw my hands up in the air and said ‘goddess knows how you meet a good match’ – and now that I am single I say the same thing! There is no one route, or way to do it. In some ways it’s harder now than ever before. A part of me still feels it’s divine intervention, fate or some aspect of ‘the universe’ manifesting as it should. At least those latter options are comforting somehow, because there is always hope.

    Liked by 1 person

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