Submitted by megan on Sun, 07/09/2006 - 22:15
Many many moons ago, I went to ikea with Grace. I'd gone for some specific purpose, one that's completely lost now. Or more probably tossed.
We rounded a corner into the organization section, and there it was. The thing that was going to solve all my problems. See, for many years now, I've had a washing machine but no dryer. Back when [ex-boyfriend] and I were on Preston St, and I was in charge of the laundry, there was not enough space on my drying rack for the clothes of two people. I'd put up a retractable clothesline with terribly disappointing results. But now! Now! Here was something that hung over the door, with a rack that snapped down so that if, say, your problems involved not having enough room to put all the wet tshirts on hangers, this is the thing that would absolutely, definitively solve all your problems.
It didn't really work. I mean it works - I still use it to hang my towel in the bathroom. But the tshirts were just too heavy and the rack bent funny and pulled the bathroom door out of whack and just did not solve all my problems.
Turns out celibacy and my towel rack share some characteristics.
Because of course, the problem was never a lack of sex. The problem was loneliness. The problem was that I miss having a partner. Sorely.
So now, instead of thinking "No one will ever want to fuck me again," my lizard brain has been supplying "No one will ever love me again." Consciously, I know this is a patently ridiculous statement. People already do love me. I have a loving, if somewhat distant, family, and the best close friends a person could ask for. They are amazing. I love them like my chosen family and feel the same back from them. Then there's the fairly wide range of acquaintances and casual friends, who make me feel connected to my city and neighbourhood, rooted to this particular spot on the earth. They may not love me individually, I've never asked, but the sense of belonging I get from that network? That's love too.
What privileges romantic love so much, then, that my life could be full to the brim of other kinds of love but the phrase "no one will love me again" bubbles to the surface with alarming regularity? What makes romance so damn strong?
Wanting to be part of a couple - even though I prefer a rather loose form of couplehood - feels so intrisic to who I am that it works like a basic need, the way I need water and light. It doesn't feel like something that's been totally formed by disney movies and hollywood endings, by advertising and tv shows.
I have two opposite and concurrent feelings about this loneliness. One is to pick it apart and say fuck you to the whole couple machine: maintain my families (chosen and blood) my network of friends and acquaintances, and find lovers. Really, all my needs met.
But then I swing back, and I *do* want one person there for me, someone I know is out there thinking of me and finding new quirks in my behaviour and knowing me and my faults and loving me fiercely for them, and I want to fall back into the safety and comfort of that as soon as I can. Fuck healing and self-sufficiency.
My life will likely lie between the two. Because both those options will likely create as many problems as they solve.
[edited August 27]