It took me a long time to write about this topic. I mean, nobody really wants to talk about relationship, except for when we are laying on our bed, on the phone to our best friend, freaking out about that unanswered text that has been deconstructed and analysed like a Shakespearean sonnet with you and three other friends. (Come on, you have done it before, don’t shake your head like that).
We don’t like to talk about love; not in a philosophical sense at least. We like to complain, bail our eyes out and sigh and laugh out of joy for that overwhelming sense of gratitude that a person is chemically attracted to us; but we just can’t talk about it when we have to face the fact that, yes, being in love is great, but sometimes we can be stupid, absolutely stupid in love.
And it’s not just us; I mean, look around. Everyone seems to be talking about love. From tv shows, best selling books and YouTube vlogs and Instagram famous, love is all and it’s around us and we are all a tiny bit reckless with or hearts.
From people quitting their jobs to reunite with their lovers; from men following their summer fling and forgetting about responsibilities, from young girls crying themselves to sleep every night because they are scared they won’t find the person who will love them wholeheartedly. Love is everywhere and sometimes, love has a dark side.
I am no love guru. I mean, I started having romantic feelings for other people other than myself really late. When my friends were making out in the school hallways, I was probably writing fan fiction on some American emo band, or fantasizing about my own version of Harry Potter. It’s not that I felt superior to my friends, in fact I might have been a bit jealous, but the thought of having to share my own time and world with another person – in particular a 15-year-old boy – was simply scary and painful to even fathom.
I loved my solitude. I was a social kid and thrived off being at the center of the attention; but after a couple of hours of being the clown of the class and the weird emo friend who likes to crack jokes on inappropriate stuff, I just simply had to go back to my lethargic nook: my room, surrounded by books, my noisy Windows ’99 computer and the slowest internet connection that you could possibly imagine. And just dream.
I transitioned into adolescence like the weird kid from the Simpsons who keeps saying weird stuff and sniffing glue in every single episode even though things have changed and everyone has moved on from the awkward childhood phases. I don’t want you to go all like: ‘Oh my god, that’s so cute’ or ‘That is so pretentious, we get it, you were different’. Because I wasn’t being different at all. I still liked boys, I still enjoyed fantasizing about Seth Cohen taking me to a Death Cab for Cutie concert and I still wore pink polo shirts and listened to Paris Hilton’s album non-stop for week.
But I was different in one way. I never shut the door to that world of creativity and imagination that I lived in during my childhood.
Before a world of boys, make up, society expectations of a perfect female body, eating disorders and fear of not fitting in, there was an enchanted and sacred world that I built and maintained since my newborn brain started creating.
My earliest memories are all reading books that I couldn’t understand, writing sentences that didn’t make any sense, or painting on a wall until my grandpa would yell at me.
Before I gave my heart to somebody else and let them crush it into pieces, I gave my heart to the things that make it beat faster. Finishing the last Harry Potter series, writing my first essay in English, drawing a picture for my dad’s birthday, starting my own clothing line. All of these are proofs of the love that I have been having with my creativity and that fulfills me as a person.
But it hasn’t always been like this. There were some dark times, some wandering inside a dark forest with scary thoughts and scary people; there were times where I felt like I had completely lost my own sense of being.
So I am not here to tell you that it’s easy to live in your own world of creativity. We are social animals after all.
But I am here to tell you that you can’t love someone unless you truly love yourself. You can’t possibly enjoy the amazing feeling of being loved by someone, when you hate yourself.
But before we get too deep, here are my own tips on how to not be stupid and reckless when you’re in love.
And the only reason why I am qualified to write this is because I have never been reckless in love. I have been some calculating robot and comfortable nonna, because I like my love to be safe and sound; but this doesn’t mean that my eyes are blind to the stupidity that love drives us to do.
Have lower expectations. But also have higher expectations.
We like to score the perfect significant other. We want the jawline, the dimpled smile, the double degree and the amazing sex. We want to tick the ‘All of the above’ box and just get them delivered to us with express shipping, no charge.
Because we deserve the best, right? And you’re right on that; you do deserve the best. But how is that going for you? You have been sitting on your couch, falling asleep to Netflix, maybe flicking through your Facebook timeline and your Insta feed and you are kind of depressed right. You want to scream, for fuck’s sake, how is it possible that ME, I mean, M-E this God/Goddess can’t find the right person!?!!?!?!?
Alright sit down and listen. It is great to want the best for yourself; we are all here for a short amount of time, might as well enjoy it with someone who can appreciate us. But this is where you’re getting all your eggs smashed and scrambled on your marble floor. You are basing your thinking on the worst assumption ever: that there is a perfect person out there.
You meet people and you kind of like them, but you find yourself being immediately turned off by them, because they simply cannot compare against your imaginary partner – yeah, that hot, smart and rich piece of ass that you have been day dreaming about in the office.
Stop it. It’s like having saved the wrong cached info on your computer, so you have to constantly rewrite your details; you are wasting time!
People are not perfect; you ain’t perfect either, honey. So when you meet someone new, give them a chance, ask them questions, go with your gut. And most of all, know what you want.
Know what you want.
Alright, this is the trickiest part. How do you know what you want, if you can’t even pick a topping for your fro-yo or pay your bills in time. It’s okay, because nobody really knows. Even the people who pump their chest up and walk around pretending like they know shit, they are actually as scared as you are. Puppies in a bathtub, trust me, that’s what we all are when it comes to knowing your purpose in life.
You don’t know what you want because life is easy like that, you don’t even have to think about what you need. And based on advertising, you need five different types of shampoos, coconut oil on your face, a teeth whitening kit and a degree from the top university in the country. Movies and shows tell you that you need a partner who is a bit of an asshole, but who also likes to spoil you and stalk you (at the same time), and who has terrible issues with expressing their feelings but when it does, you feel like a special snowflake and it’s all warm and fuzzy and you have finally won the lottery of life.
Nope, okay, take what I wrote just then and just set it on fire. You don’t need any of that shit, FYI.
Here is what you need: you need to wake up and truly start thinking about what you want.
What you want is what makes you fulfilled and gives your life a mystical light of purpose. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it could be job security, a foot massage, or writing a novel. This is big stuff, but it can be made by tiny beings that are equally respectable and important.
Ask yourself every day in the mirror: what the hell does this beautiful face want from your life?
Then Act on it.
Now that you know what you want in life, act on it. How does this relate to relationships? Well, if you don’t know what you want in life, people are going to swing by your door without knocking and trashing your place however they want. Or they are going to stay on your couch for months without paying for your rent and living off you. (These are all metaphor btw, I hope that you’re not allowing anyone to do that. EVER).
When you know what you want in life, you get closer to another world inside of you – the world where ME and My IDEAS coexist. It exists for everyone, it’s not only for creative people. We all possess an amazing world of magic and fireworks inside of us.
When you say out loud “yes, I want this for myself because I deserve it and because I know I can work my ass off to obtain it”, you give yourself credit, you validate your thoughts and dreams and you start feeling more confident with yourself.
And people who are closer to their own self and validate their thoughts are less likely to fall into the trap of romantic leeches, who are only waiting for you to sling the door open for them.
When you meet new people, or you are about to make a new relationship, ask yourself: how is this person going to be with the baggage that I am taking to my destination? Are they going to help me carrying it, getting rid of it or support me?
And here is the most crucial part of it all. This is where you have got to pay attention.
I think that people who come into our lives for romantic reasons can be divided into three categories and here there are for you, like a border control warning lists of people that you should be know to identify:
a) The one who carries the baggage.
So you have found them; the one. They not only love you inside and out, but they are willing to get rid of your problems. You got depression? They have a magic wand capable of getting rid of your mental health history!
The carrier will take care of your finances, your style, your food choices, your fitness and even your personal hygene. It’s like having a personal assistant with some pretty creepy attachment obsessions. Or you might be like, oh my god it’s like Christian Gray, I am living the dream!
Alright, if you think that this is healthy, please read the following sentence for at least 10 times and then write them on your wall until you will finally install them into your mind.
A person who wants to fix you and get rid of all your problems is not a person who loves you.
And you’ll be like, but HOW, I mean, he is trying to help? And I am going to tell you how. Look ahead. How are you going to get there? By moving and dragging your sorry ass there. Is he or she going to do it? No. So start walking and realise that a person who wants to take you there is not really taking you there for you, but for themselves.
Some people are addicted to saving people; they want to occupy a spot in your life only to serve you and help you get there where you need to be, but it’s only because they know how amazing they will feel after they help you.
Is it right? Of course not, you need to be your own person and lead the life you want to live, otherwise how are you going to manage life by yourself? Again, being comfortable with the world you have within you is key to a healthy relationship and a healthy life.
b) The Other person is nasty. It’s the Baggage killer.
The Baggage killer is a really insecure pal, they don’t know why they are so filled with hate and negativity, but they surely let YOU know about it.
They smirk when you talk about your dreams, they keep pushing boundaries and, the worst of it all. They keep you hanging on this crazy cliff, where you are just waiting for them to finally adimit that yes, they do love you back. Hurray, you have made it, you have won the lottery. This special snowflake loves you and don’t worry about the fact that they took years of passive-aggressiveness and douchey behaviour, interrupted by the occasional “You are so good to me”, or (my favorite) “I am just scared of loving someone as much as I love you”.
Nope. Big nope. A person who can’t appreciate you for who you are and what you are about in this present moment, and who wastes your time and their own to prove that you are not good enough for them, simply does not love you and never will. I want you to remember this because it’s fundamental for not wasting time with people who don’t care a single fuck about you.
Someone who loves you respects you and honours the things you are – and helps you get through the things about you that are not marvellous and holds your hand into the darkness when you don’t know what you want. It’s that simple.
So if they are not texting you back, if they keep cancelling plans, if they keep making scenes in public, if they don’t respect what you want to do with your life, or if they make you feel bad about the way you look, THEY DO NOT LOVE YOU AND YOU HAVE TO DELETE THEM OUT OF YOUR LIFE. RIGHT NOW.
Great, let’s move on to the one that you have got to look for.
The friendly person who carries the baggage with you.
The person who is good for you is someone who can see when something is of extremely value to you and helps you smooth out the process by giving you a hand, or getting out of your way; pretty much knows how to help you without intruding into your life. And you’d be like, but how is it possible, isn’t your life partner meant to be helping you?
Exactly. Helping is not just taking care of everything, while you sip on Martinis and sun bake by the pool. Nope, helping is on-going support and constructive criticism, it’s 100% honest communication where there is no holding back or hiding behind big scary feelings or incredible dreams. You both know what you’re about and you know in your gut whether you are heading towards the same direction or not.
The right person for you is someone who is probably kind of like you, but different. Doesn’t make any sense right? No, but this goes to my next point.
50 and more shades of love.
Love is not meant to be all this crazy, big blob of feelings and fireworks and crying to sleep listening to Tayor Swift and plotting a revenge against him. I mean, love is also about that. Because there are many different ways of loving someone.
You can love them romantically, sexually, platonically; all of them have different intensities and goals for a relationship, the key is in identifying what type of love you are experiencing and how you are going to go about it.
But I can tell you right now that love is not meant to be complicated.
Being in a relationship should be easy, like a good old hobby that keeps you uplifted, challenges you once in a while and makes your life a little bit easier at times.
If your love is requiring your sleep, your eating, if it’s affecting your relationship with your friends and family, your desire to dream and conquer the world and your self-esteem.. then that, my duckling, is not love, that is complete and utter stupid infatuation for someone who is damn wrong for your ass.
So now that you have unlocked the knowledge let’s get back to the point:
How do you not become absolutely stupid in love?
Choose a person who sees the potential and the actual amazing-ness in you. You want someone who appreciates the present you, the past you and the future you.
Choose a person who gives you peace and stability from the way they are and on a really chemical level. If your gut is at peace like after drinking a huge bottle of water, then that’s it. That’s the one. If your gut is going nuts like after a bad Mexican night, then it’s probably a bit of a red flag. If you feel like you want to disappear when you see them, then disappear and delete their contact off your phone. Not worth it.
Choose a person who has some kind of purpose in life. Don’t waste your time with the cynical and nihilist punk, or the one who laughs off other people’s dreams. They have no idea what they are doing and it’s going to take a long time for them to accept what YOU are doing, so not worth it. Find someone who has a goal, big or small, and wakes up every day and walks towards it. It could be going to university every day to get a degree in something they like, or working at a pizza place to save money to go traveling; anything. But please, do not waste any time with people who talk talk and not conclude anything AND laugh at your and other people’s goals. They are just hopeless souls and you have 0 time to help them.
And above all, and I am going to stop right here, choose YOU. There might be no perfect love, or perfect relationship, but loving yourself and building an everlasting relationship with your inner world and your voice is the only way to be happy and the only relationship that will truly nurture you. I can’t stress this point enough. You can’t give your love and time away to someone, only to feel better about yourself. Being in a relationship because you want to feel fulfilled, accepted and loved is not going to make you happy – no matter how many movies, books, your friends and your mum is telling you otherwise.
The only relationship that matters in this life is the one you have with yourself, because if you don’t know who you are or what you are about, or if you found yourself alone, or at the other side of the world, or cut off by anyone and everything – there would always be just one person you could rely on. So what are you waiting for?