It’s not an ode, trust me. You could say this is the second chapter? You can decide that for yourself, but it’s not an ode. Love does that to you – makes you want to write lyrical poems and whatnot. But it’s different this time, no, it’s the complete opposite. Let me explain…
It was a gloomy day seeing as it had just rained and the sun had not come out yet. I decided to grab a cuppa from a coffee shop that had been recommended by an old friend of mine. Valentine’s day had passed, and people were slowly recovering from its hype. The strong, bitter aroma of ground coffee beans drifted in the air as I made my way to a table by a sombre window that looked out onto an equally sombre street. I sat down with my cup; scanning the room and assessing my surroundings. The usual gentle murmur of voices could be heard above the harsh churning sound of the coffee machine. Amongst the whispers, I heard the familiar tap-tap of foot against floor. My gaze travelled towards the sound to find a man sitting awkwardly in a far corner of the shop. On closer inspection, I saw that he was with a woman, and judging by the scene it was probably their first date. It soon hit me that I was witnessing history repeat itself; not by my actions but by his. He reminded me of the way I used to act around my crush – the laboured breathing, the lack of eye contact, the stuttering words and the overall nervous aura were all quite obvious. Oh, how glad I was that this series of episodes with my crush was over and I never had to go through it again. As I started thinking about it, my thought process became clearer, and it finally dawned upon me that romantic love is bullshit, and a waste of time. (It sounds a bit too harsh, doesn’t it?)
Having been a hopeless romantic for as long as I could remember, it killed me when my crush, this really cool senior, hammered the final nail in the coffin.
This love, liking, infatuation, whatever you may call it, messed me up big time. And now that I am no longer desirous of such a companionship, I shall tell you what is wrong with this whole system of ‘romantic love’, the most successful brainwash campaign in modern history. For starters, it makes you insecure, so insecure that you’re afraid that if you don’t end up with this one person then you’ll never find someone else, that no one will ever return your feelings. You become so insecure that you automatically assume that there’s something wrong with you, that just because someone whom you think you love doesn’ t respond the way way you want them to, it makes you a loser. The rational thing to do here is to accept that they don’t feel the same way, and so you should just let go and move on, but this love messes up your brain and makes this decision really hard. It makes you ask these stupid questions like, “How is it possible for me to have worked so much on myself and still feel like I am not good enough?” or,”Why do I feel so incomplete? Is there is something wrong with my emotions?”
When we are falling in love, it becomes very difficult to tell which of our thoughts have merit. We tolerate the kind of behaviour that we hate in others, we become extra nice to this one person, and all their gestures strike us as wonderful. We end up tacitly placing them above everyone else in our mind. And then there is wishful thinking and confirmation bias. We take all their actions to be signs or indicators of a mutual interest, and thus everything seems to fall into place and all the stars seem to align. But then, reality bites, the illusion shatters, and everything starts falling apart. Love suddenly becomes impossible and unachievable with this person. We continue to try and please them in the hope that they will eventually like us back, but all it does is hurt us even more.
This is precisely why I hate it when people go on and on about not being able to find love. Romantic love is the stuff of fairytales. It’s sad that we grow out of fairytales but still hold on to the hope and promise of true love.Why are we so eager to find love when the whole universe is conspiring against us? For instance, you give this one person the power to impact your entire life, and it is always that very person who will hurt you the most. And then you are left broken and sad, asking yourself what you did wrong. Well my friend, you dug your own grave and let your love push you into it.
We all crave that connection that allows us to love and be loved. To find a person that we can be real, genuine and raw with and have them do the same is euphoric, addicting even. Our mind goes,” The fucked up in me, recognizes and appreciates the fucked up in you.” It is all so beautiful… until it isn’t.
That being said, I do want to believe that love is on a firmer ground than it really is. I want to believe that it can be a beacon of hope, because yes, it did feel incredible. I loved who I was when I was in it. I loved the sense of satisfaction it gave me to treat someone so well. It felt rewarding to be so good to someone. But even with that as an incentive, I refuse to give in to temptation again. It would be foolish to do so because the emotional investment is risky, and the outcome, more often than not, is disastrous. Finally knowing the brutal truth of the fact that you can’t make someone fall or stay in love with you, I believe the risk and pain of being in love after so many sacrifices and compromises is, in the end, not worth it. If you still want to go for it, by all means do try, but if they walk away, don’t cling on to your sorrow. The sensation of life without romantic love is in and of itself fine.
Written by Shaurya Gulati (3rd year)