so this is like my fifth draft on attempting to tackle the “romance isn’t all that bad” idea. i realized it was time to clarify some things after my overly-pessimistic romance post last week.
except, i’m a hardcore romantic.
romance films are my favorite - i cry when lovers don’t end up together; i get emotional at the tiniest words and the smallest acts. perhaps it’s due to my unfavorable occurrence （没有缘） with romance in high school. while my good friends hampered onto their third relationship, hand-in-hand after school, my encounter with guys had been nada, for eighteen years. ever since middle school, i’ve watched slow dances alone, hoping whomever i liked would ask me. and as a pisces, i dreamt a lot. i daydreamed about my “perfect guy”, about looking cute and dreamy when “he” would one day grab onto my hands, push me to the wall and give me my first kiss - oh, it must be amazing, i marveled. i dreamt of imaginary guys, of escaping the oppressive environment of my over-protective parents and the mundane life of secondary schooling and running away into the darkness like Cinderella, only cooler because i was on a motorcycle and he would be oh-so-hot and muscular (mind you, i wrote all this down).
well, in reality, i went to prom alone, laughed on the outside, cried on the inside, wrote depressing poetry all the while thinking about “the guy”. sometimes it was a real guy i liked, sometimes it was just a figure.
nevertheless, i did drop hints, but i was never a “guy’s girl”. i didn’t like dressing up everyday, flirting and battering my eyelashes - and i’m much too lazy to put on contacts and eyeliner. i told myself that if really no one liked me all this time, then it was fine. i didn’t need to be fake.
but when i finally did graduate, i truly doubted my prospects. was i right, in keeping to myself and not dressing up? or was it my personality - was i too boring, or harsh, or worst of all, am i unlikeable (i don’t think that’s possible now, by the way)? giving into my fears, i dropped into the black hole of search engines leading to online forums on relationships, reading about other anxious souls like me asking “will i never find anyone?” and receiving answers from anonymous thirty-year olds who claimed they had never dated.
what the holy fuck, thirty and never dated? you must have some problem. my worst nightmares began to creep up. was i, a normal girl (or so i had thought), destined to have that same future?
flash forward to college, i got a boyfriend the first month. (ha) as someone who’s been through almost every part of a relationship - the agony experienced before one, and the agony experienced after one - i have a lot to say to each of you in each of the various stages:
1. hasn’t dated/been in a relationship yet (AKA where i was in high school), but may like someone now
2 . just began a relationship
3. in a relationship for awhile (more than few months, i would say AKA where i am now)
first, for those of you who hasn’t had a guy/girl “like” you, who went to prom alone, who liked someone desperately for years but hasn’t received any hint that he likes you back - it’s okay. you’re not alone, and you won’t be.
take this time to build yourself, to make sure that you love yourself and you are confident in who you are. at the end, you can’t expect to be happy in a relationship if you’re not happy on your own.
for those of you who does like someone right now, don’t wait like i did. i’m not saying i so much regret not admitting to the “guy of my dreams" in high school, but life is at least more interesting when you take risks. when you really do want someone, it’s okay to say it.
if your heart gets broken, consider it a risk taken at the very least.
however, also don’t put all your mind around that one guy. life continues. the guys i liked in the past still come back to haunt me in my dreams, but when i wake up, life goes on. focus on your schoolwork. get good grades, find out what you love and get good at it. hang with your friends and truly get to know each of them. find friends you love and really connect on a deeper level (it barely happened for me in high school). once you’re in a relationship, you’ll start to crave all that alone time you once had.
second, for those of you just starting a relationship, don’t expect it to be all that flowery romance bull crap like in titanic. granted, that does happen. first hand-holding, first time staying up till the late AM’s watching the stars and dancing to the slow songs - it’s romantic. but you know what, there’s still next morning. there’s class and school and work and life.
a relationship is only one part of your life. being in love won’t suddenly make you feel more confident necessarily, neither will it make your low grades or whatnot go away. it’s true - life is about balance.
also know that there will be arguments. maybe not now, maybe not even this year, but at some point, you two will argue. and some of these fights will be huge, but through them, you will also learn a lot about yourself, about opening up, about how you deal with stressful situations and work with someone so intimately.
third, for those of you who have been in a relationship for a bit - that’s me. i haven’t been in one long enough, but i do know that building yourself is important. distance is important.
at first, you may want to spend all the time together. and that’s okay. cook, sleep, run, eat, study - that’s what i did with him, together. but at a certain point, you realize that even married couples don’t spend that much time together. it’s important to have similar hobbies, but it’s also important to have individual lives and personal interests. spend some time laughing with your friends, network, and have some time to your own, even.
now, i apologize. i know i've sounded pretty much negative so far and i've just been attacking romance, presenting countless warnings to naive souls that relationships really aren't everything. however, despite everything i've said, i want to clarify i've focused more on the negative in this post because most films/novels tend to skip over them and i don't want others to fall into the same mindless trap about "oh, love!" as i did.
love is still a strong force - don't forget that. it can make you do amazing things, it teaches you about sacrifice, about what it truly means to give your whole life to someone. it can make you persist against your will and do something that you didn't know you were capable of.
TL;DR, i say fuck romance, not fuck love. the two can easily be mixed together but they are not the same.
love is deeper and stronger. i don't actually know what love is, but i know that romance is short-lived and frivolous - like cream on a cupcake. it builds an illusion of beauty and sweetness, but doesn't really add on much substance.
i really do welcome comments below or through email. i often write and publish without considering every angle of an argument, so please offer me your ideas and correct me if i’m wrong.