It was freshman year – I had just taken my last final. My parents were loading all of the random, stupid college stuff I had accumulated over the year into the back of a cargo van, and walking back across the quad it occurred to me that I really, REALLY needed a CD for my walkman to endure the 11-hour drive that should have taken 9 if my Mom hadn’t needed to stop and pee every thirty minutes. Her addiction to Fresca was about to drive me precariously close to the edge of sanity. Detouring to the Blockbuster Music (remember those?), I picked up the newest Dave Mathews CD and tried to prepare myself for the drudgery that was about to ensue. Looking back, I so should have spiked my Diet Coke, but clearly, I wasn’t as wise as I am today.
I listened to the entire CD a few times, finally settling on "Say Goodbye" and promptly set the track to ‘repeat’. It was around this time when I came to the conclusion that the man in the song was so desperately in love with the woman in the song that he would take what he could get which, in this case, was just one night with her. Naive? Oh, HELL yeah. I’ve already confessed to that here.
I ended that post saying I wish I wasn’t that jaded, wish that I maintained some of that youthful hope and innocence and belief in the inherent goodness of spirit in all of us instead of the reality of what life, what love, actually entails. That it’s full of pain and tears and humiliation and vulnerability and most days I really, REALLY just hope it’s all worth it. Because – let’s be honest – I’m doing pretty fine here by myself these days and the thought of engaging in another "relationship" (dating or NonDating™, as it may be) seems to take too much effort. Feelings are boring, Kissing is Awesome, after all.
And years later, I find myself still dissecting lyrics, still finding meaning in words like:
But I know your heart belongs to someone you’ve yet to meet
Someday you will be loved.
– Death Cab for Cutie
I hear that and still find hope, hope in his honesty, hope in the fact that even though he knows he can’t, or won’t, be the person who loves her (after all, "in the morning [he] fled, left a note and it read, someday you will be loved", and we all know that people who pull a runner aren’t exactly the type we want to date anyway) that he knows she’s worthy of it regardless.
Worthy of it…how do we determine our own worth? Women are so quick to blame themselves for every snafu in the relationship, for every bout of silence or weirdness or length of time between a text message response, that despite claims otherwise, I think that we are somehow hard wired to at least associate our inherent worth with the affection of another. That’s ludicrous, that’s wrong, that’s uncorrolatable, but – sadly – I think that’s reality. I read about women like Jane Fonda, women I find to be strong and outspoken and brilliant, in retrospect being able to say that they felt that they were worthless without a man. And that scares me to death for two reasons. One, because there have been moments at my weakest, saddest, sobbingest that I’ve felt that way; I’m not proud to admit it and I don’t think I generally believe that, but somewhere, at some point, there must be at least a question of that if I can make that correlation. (That, or I shouldn’t have had that last glass of champagne. Probably both.) The second reason is that I’ve come to realize there are no guarantees in life, no course of fate that I’m blindly following that will say that yes, one day I will get married and have children and live happily ever after. I think we each define our "happily ever after" and that most times, it’s by turning our common lives into happy ones, whatever that means to the person. I see all of my friends – ok, MOST – getting married and having babies and while I’m so excited and congratulatory and lucky to have them all in my life, I also understand that this is actaully drawing them farther away from me. Marriage, Children, all of that, changes people. It has to. It SHOULD. But in doing so, I continue to get the "Met anyone yet?" questions that to me makes me feel like they just want me to join their tribe so I can talk about stretch marks. (Disclaimer: I love them all, I know they just want me to be happy, and I appreciate it. But sometimes I feel like the world is moving on and I’m just standing still. Sometimes.)
What I think I’m trying to say here is that yes, I’m jaded. Yes, I’ve seen a lot of things, experienced a lot of things, and continue to question a lot of things. I don’t know what will make me happy, but I do know who will, without reservation: me.