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Romancing A Girl Who Is Too Much

Lavasa, 2011

I think I can only experience romance when I feel happy. I can only play the games of flirting when playfulness is possible. I can only smile at the mirth of charm when I’m just looking for an excuse to smile anyway.

That’s why love becomes a common destination for romance. True love. And that’s only possible when you feel loving & lovable. This is a hard thing to feel, when you’re an independent-minded woman with a strong sense of self. Because most interactions are about gaslighting you, shaming you, harassing you, caging you into smaller versions of yourself or worse – someone else’s idea of who you should be.

Where are the love stories for women who like being the hero? What odes are written to the girl who talks too much & too loudly? What romantic gestures are planned for a damsel who doesn’t fear distress? What proposals are made to a woman that’s got better things to think about than pandering to an ego? How can romance have one set definition when its very purpose is to make a person feel special & desired over all else?

A romance, like Cinderella’s glass slipper, cannot be forced onto someone it doesn’t fit. But that doesn’t mean tiny glass slippers are the only footwear a girl deserves. Bring me a good ol’pair of walking shoes and bring them with a pair of wings. And I’ll show you romance can also be in adventure & flight.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

Valentine’s Day Farce

Whew pink season is over, what a relief!To paraphrase Mad Men, romance was invented by capitalists to sell more stuff. Valentine’s Day single-handedly created an economy of greeting cards, pink teddy bears & red hearts. Nothing wrong in these, of course. But let’s not pretend it’s something else.



It hit me yesterday. Some of the worst friends I’ve had were women who promptly stood me up when a boyfriend showed up. SATC, that holy grail of 90s pop feminism pays lip service to the romance of girlpower but has a protagonist that consistently misbehaves & takes her supposed friend-soulmates for granted. Old-fashioned romantics use romance as an excuse to behave badly.

Toxic setups are glamorized by romance, like “you & me against the world”. Baby, I call abuse priming. “I’ll walk out on the whole world for you” is not loving. It’s insecure, weak & poisonous. Are you going to trust someone who easily flakes out on their world? That’s not love, that’s addiction & it’s nothing but ugly.

I think romance gives people an easy shortcut to buy their way into the illusion of security, a screeching shrill ILOVEYOUILOVEYOU to drown out self-loathing.

I’ve had a fairytale proposal, down on bended knee, under the stars, by the sea on this very day, in fact. The same person constantly told me I was stupid, deliberately damaged my prized possessions, poisoned my friendships, cheated on me, routinely humiliated me in public & battered me more than once. A person who loves you doesn’t do any of that. Not even one of that, not even in lesser measure. These are acts of hatred.

How shallow to think love could be bought this easy, tax not included. Or for that matter, security or validation. No, those are things you create for yourself & hope that they don’t get stolen from you by monsters wielding a gaslight called romance.

And when they do, pick yourself up, heal, blink, paint on a heart & smile because you love yourself and that costs nothing. Or everything.

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This is part of a series called #ARomanticLife exploring our ideas of romance, its media depictions and how they impact our lives. There are also posts over at my other blog The Idea-smithy and two Live conversations (Rajni Arunkumar, TJ Coulagi)

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

The Romance Gardener

I found my kinship with green things when I was 8, watching fascinated as baby shoots poked out of the mud laid on a try, where I’d sprinkled mustard seeds a few days earlier.

About 10 years ago, a doctor having his yard renovated, handed me a sprig of ajwain, saying it would aid the cold I was having if I put it in my drinking water. Instead I stuck in a pot, layering mud I scratched off the ground. That herb parented the many plants that have kept my company & given babies that I gave to select people to start little green paradises of their own.

You might think a love of green things would include flowers but oddly, it didn’t. Flowers were things I saw enchained in garlands at weddings & political functions, strangled into wreaths or bouquets for sombre occasions, reminders of rules that were oppressive.

At 28, a boyfriend told me white lilies were his favourite flower. I was charmed by this glimpse of tenderness in an otherwise brutish masculinity (boys’ school, engineering college, investment banking). I sent a modest bouquet of 3 white lilies to wait for him at his office desk on Monday. I received an angry call from him calling it inappropriate & me, desperate.

Years later, I shared this story with a healing group. They awwed. 3 men of different ages approached me later to tell me not to be stopped by this. Men like nice things too, they said, it’s a lovely gesture. I began tentatively taking flowers to some people I trusted. A single gladiola with lunch, a pair of yellow gerberas while dropping off a book.

5 years ago, as I began processing old hurts, I realised my garden had never had flowers. It was now a thriving Eden of sturdy herbs, proud vegetables & an occasional succculent. Like me, it was strong, resilient, protective. But it wasn’t gentle, cheery or inviting. That’s the domain of the flower, the plant kingdom’s personal mating call.

And so, tentatively, I welcomed romance, the very idea of it into my garden & my heart.

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This is part of a series called #ARomanticLife exploring our ideas of romance, its media depictions and how they impact our lives. There are also posts over at my other blog The Idea-smithy and two Live conversations (Rajni Arunkumar, TJ Coulagi)

===============================================================

If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

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