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.
Message from Friend-Man,
I got a tattoo!
I call back and yelp,
After much detailed description (and a few conversational blind alleys regarding location and image and colour), he admits that it’s a temporary one, ending with,
I’d never get a permanant tattoo!
To which I retort,
Yeah. It needs committment. And the willingness to bear pain. Not a man’s strong qualities. It takes a woman to get one!
He pooh-poohs the idea and khee-khees off the call. But I am tempted to call back and tell him that every single tattooed person I know (self included) is female. Yes!
To ‘the one special woman’,
You are the stuff of memories that never fade, rust or get forgotten. You are the overriding factor above everything hormonal, practical, emotional, logical and fair. Indeed, you must be special.
I’ve been thinking about you a lot. Do you know who I am? I am the one who he leaves to chase you. Or the one who battles with the unsurmountable statue of you up on the pedestal. I am the real-world girlfriend. I spend the boring, traffic-laden, polluted days with him while he reminisces about the special candlit dinner-violin serenaded moments with you.
Actually we’ve met a few times. Once you were a good friend who toyed with the idea of him while I stood around waiting and then handed him back to me, slightly soiled, a few months later. The thing is you gave back to me his bruised ego to heal but not the fragments of his heart. That you kept for yourself and I’ll never be able to touch them.
Some other times you’re a stranger, nice and pleasant. You are never off-balance, never irrational, you never scream like a banshee. No, I do that….after all, security brings a level of peace and calm and I wouldn’t know what that looked like.
A lot of other times we haven’t actually met or even spoken. I’ve looked at photographs of you, heard about you from friends (and from him) and wondered a great deal about what you must have that I don’t. You aren’t prettier. Or smarter. Or nicer. Or more loving. But in his memories, you are incomparable.
I’ve thrown in the towel a while ago. I can’t compete with a memory. Or perceived perfection. I am real. Flawed, inconsistent, imperfect. I have acne, PMS, extra inches around my tummy, doubtful taste. I’m the real thing. Well…that can never compare with the poetry of a fantasy, can it?
Your position isn’t exactly a complete one either. For you do know what will happen the minute you succumb? You’ll turn into me. I guess you know. Which is why you let this state exist as it is. I guess it is better to be adored from a distance than ignored right to your face.
Do I sound bitter? Yes, I am. Very. I wanted someone to want to settle down with me, not settle for me. No one wants to feel like a consolation prize.
‘My Best Friend’s wedding‘ was about me. But I am not always like that. The platitude talks about wanting happiness for someone you love, even if its not with you. I aspire to do that, even if I don’t always succeed. Believe me, if you think its difficult being friends with me, you have no clue what its like for me to battle envy and resentment and like you for who you are. Well, you are likeable. Which makes it even more difficult.
I won’t ever tell you this to your face. Why, I wouldn’t even admit to him that he’s important enough to me to colour my thoughts of another person. But I feel it. I guess all I have left is the thought that….
Eve’s greatest enemy isn’t Adam
But another Eve
Oh well, even if you are a better woman than I am, I think I love him more than you ever will. Now if only, he’d understand that. But that probably doesn’t matter.
The ordinary woman
A later version of this is posted here. This is also posted to Yahoo! Real Beauty.