I think I’ve forgotten how to fall in love. When I was a kid, I took Judo lessons where they taught us to fall correctly so that we wouldn’t hurt ourselves. Tossing and throwing were a part of Judo and hence also being tossed and falling. I learnt to yank a guy forward and in a smooth maneuver lay him flat on the ground. I got used to finding the ground beneath my feet not there anymore and instinctively rolling over to flatten out into a soft landing. How come no one ever told us about falling in love safely? Yes, I am a cynic but we are what our experiences make us. It is a fact that I’ve never experienced love in any way other than dark, tearful, volatile and even violent. Each time you fall and collect bruises, each of those times makes you a little more scared to fall again. Maybe love should be like Judo. After all, I took lessons when I was 12 and had fallen often and collected my fair share of bumps and scratches. Unlearning the fear of falling was all about taking one tumble that didn’t hurt. Surprise. Relief. Clarity. And freedom from fear. It would be great to be shown how to fall in love in a way that guarantees there will be no hurt. Even if trust takes a while to come, if that one time can really happen, it will prove that such a love can happen, has already happened. But ah, we are faced with a curious problem now. Not only do I not know how to stop being afraid, I’m afraid I’ve forgotten how to fall in love. Age, experience and okay, let’s say it together, cynicism have brought in a certain burnt-outness. There isn’t the capacity for butterflies in the stomach anymore. It isn’t so much about pessimism, it is about having lost all those illusions that do make romance what it is. Is it possible to fall in love without romance? Or, even more fundamentally, can romance be separated from illusion? Where is the romance in knowing that the person sitting in front of you is as clueless and guarded, if not more, than you are? When the sparks fly and with them the thought that,
“It’s just hormones. And hormones are just chemicals. A chemical reaction, that’s all.”
…romance tends to fizzle out a bit. 30 has been about a lot of freedom. Freedom from social pressures, freedom from restrictions, freedom from inhibition. The not-knowing, the straining against the limits…all of those add to the heady tension that translates into the butterflies-in-stomach feeling. So freedom from uncertainty and limits means romance isn’t on my menu anymore. It seems like I’ve learnt how to fall in a way that I won’t break too much of my heart (oh just a little dent or two). But is it really falling in love if you don’t get in all the way?
It occurs to me that I’m in the final stages of recuperation. Or rather, I’m like someone who was ill for a very long time without knowing it, then hospitalised, recovered, had a relapse and is now watching the last of the scabs fall off, the scars fade away.
Melodramatic, isn’t it? That’s what the decade of my life has been, vis-a-vis relationships. Full of ups and downs. How bloody cliched. I bet it actually sounds desirable for a lot of people. It’s not. Go back and read my first paragraph. It hasn’t been a fun ride all through. Well, I suppose I have no regrets; I can’t see it having turned out any other way.
I haven’t been in a relationship or even in love or any form of it for months now. There was a 6-month spell last year, right after a period of recovery but that’s over now. I actually do feel like I said above. You know, stronger, healthier but a tad…vulnerable? Like I know now just how easy it would be to fall again and what a pain in the neck (not to mention heart) it would be.
I don’t particularly hate men. In fact, I don’t think I ever did; I was just hurting too much from a particular man at a particular time and they were all too close to each other so it just built up into an unmanageable mass of hysteria and resentment and pain. Over.
I wonder now whether I am ready for a relationship. On one had I do, in the same way someone who’s just been discharged from a hospital may feel hungry, even ravanous for some normal food.
On the other hand, I’ve really have come to a point where I must wonder whether it is worth it at all. It isn’t fear per se. After I suffered gastroentitis over 2 years back, it has considerably dampened my raging appetite for greens and junk-ey food. This is akin to that. Exciting (read ‘toxic’) men and the acidity and heartburn they inevitably cause can stay well out of my staple diet, thank you very much. I have no more desire for that kind of a thing anymore.
The trouble is that they all looked and sounded perfectly ‘normal’ and healthy if you may at the start. Who’s to tell how a leaf of spinach will turn in your stomach? Or a respectable, educated, intelligent and charming man will mess up your heart? You know, I just don’t know.
A couple of weeks back I met this guy who asked for my number and has been persistently wooing me out since then. Last evening too, he did. But all I can think of is, they are all that interested in the start. And the about-turn happens so fast, you’re never even given a chance to recover. What’s more, the more persistant the guy in the start, the quicker he will turn.
Confucius he say, man who fall in love quickly, fall out of love just as quickly.
Well, I didn’t really find him all that interesting anyway. So thank you but no thank you, I’d rather curl up with a good book or spend the evening with a good friend.
Earlier this week, I was out with a girlfriend when she was interrupted by a call. Knuckles at her eyes, she gestured that whoever was on the other end was crying and would I mind if she just took that call. I wasn’t trying to listen in but well, it’s hard to ignore the only voice inside an autorickshaw. One side of the conversation was enough to give me a picture of what was happening. Girl in question being f-witted out of her brains by man, obviously completely broken up over him while he ‘tried to make up his mind’ and ‘was afraid she would try to change his mind’.
I didn’t even want to hear anymore and I was guiltily glad when my friend hung up. Enough already. I’ve been there enough of times. Don’t men ever hurt? Doesn’t it ever prick them to think of how much damage they are causing to another human being? Don’t they stop to think even for a second, whether they are serious about a woman and what they’ll do if she says yes? Not, apparently. I’m done with ranting about men. How can you change what is? I’ll just have to protect myself from hereon.
Yesterday I was speaking to a guy friend. In light banter, he mentioned that he often followed women on Twitter if he liked their profile pictures. And then, he grouched,
Every woman I follow, sooner or later, everyone else also starts following! I mean, wtf??!!
I laughed and told him that when any of his followers saw a conversation happening between him and someone they didn’t know, the automatic impulse was to check the other person out and then presumably other men followed the same practice as he did. Since he was still grumbling, I suggested that he send direct messages (private) henceforth rather than publicly tweet women he was flirting with. That’s what a lot of my followers did I said and the minute those words left my mouth, I knew it was true. I was sometimes surprised when I received DMs especially from people I barely knew. My friend smirked and said,
Just protecting their territory!
I wonder if that should have incensed the rabid feminist side of me but it just made me laugh. The things men do!
At the end of it all, I suppose this sounds very much like any woman who’s had some bad experiences with men and has gotten over it. But you know what the difference between me and a lot of my single friends is? I see them all in a renewed mood; hopeful they call it (while they call me cynical). They’ve dusted off themselves after their various falls and are now staring steadfastly at the horizon for their princes to come. Me, I’m looking there too but I think I’m just going to enjoy the sunset and the rest of my life. Because I don’t believe charming princes exist any more.