This title is so depressing, and perhaps what I am about to write is depressing too. I honestly have no idea, after all, I often find joy and laughter in the strangest of things, this might just be one of them. Love is a tricky four letter word which is as open and apt to many interpretations as it is a firm and solid affirmation. Love is kind of scary to most, and to some it is the most wonderful thing, but what it is to all of us, is an expectation. We all expect something out of love, all of us. There is not one person who can honestly say that they have no expectation when they hear the word “love”. In retrospect I think I might have been one of the people who most expected something out of love, and since I’ve never been one to think, dream, or live small, so my expectations are equally larger than life. I think when I thought of love as a kid I imagined some sort of flying Pegasus unicorn type creature who flew through rainbows and pink skies to bring a gorgeous blond prince who came out of a zucchini flower from the wreath of the unicorns head. I was in a palace (of course) and it was probably made of marshmallows or something like that. The point is, this magical prince and I had some sort of galactic epic meeting, and fought some wars together, and somehow we fell in love (because how could we not) and he accepted me as the royal warrior princess from the marshmallow castle that I am; and this ladies and gents is a genuine love story.
That however, is not reality. I am a writer! Love needs to be a story, it needs to be worth writing about, it’s not love if I can’t write about it, now is it? I don’t remember clearly when I felt something for someone who made me write about them, but I think I remember when I felt something about love. I was perhaps fifteen or sixteen when I had an understanding of it, but when you grow up in a Christian atmosphere you are given a lot of fuel to feed into that fire. There’s all this talk about marrying the person that God has for you, and making sure he’s involved in some kind of “ministry” or something. Growing up I always wondered how this warrior trail-blazing prince was going to fit into being a pastor at a local church, and most importantly how I (being as bizarre as I am) was ever going to match this “ministry-guy”. I thought that love was pure magic, but then I was told that it was also something spiritual, and something logical. You had to weigh all of these options, test all of these possibilities, and find all of these possible errors and flaws which would deem your love illegitimate. Years later, I began to see love not as something separate from myself and which I had to look for, but also as something which was in me to offer, and this is where the real problems began. Who was I in the first place? Was I someone who could be loved? Or was I just not cut out for that life? And if I was indeed someone who could love and be loved, were there going to be things of myself that I’d be forced to change? Would I want to change someone else? All of these questions swirled loudly in my mind, just like my alarm clock when it’s slowly beginning to wake me up. Now of all the things which were drilled into us young girls at church, the one thing which stands out in my mind the most were the hours spent in telling us the following: “You cannot be unequally yoked” now if you understand the meaning of this, both props and deepest sympathies because I’m sure you will understand everything I’m about to say from a deeper perspective. If you don’t, it basically means this: you cannot be with someone who does not believe in the same things you do, period.
Growing up I thought surely I would meet someone at church, where else do you meet someone anyway? We were forbidden under every circumstance possible to even think of going to a club, or parties, or pubs, and frankly it’s a rare thing to meet anyone serious there anyways right? But then I thought to myself, do you actually meet anyone “serious” at church? Seriously though, do you? Because growing up I met a lot of guys at church, but those same guys I could have easily found at a club or at a “secular” party. These guys attended church, sure they did, but they weren’t living any of the things we were all supposed to be looking for. Then there were those who were very serious and strict in their walk with Christ but had some sort of strange hidden agenda, like somewhere deep inside of you, you knew they were against women speaking publicly and possibly even shaving or cutting their hair. It was just awkward to be around them. I remember being seventeen and knowing that almost everyone in my church was hooking up, dating everyone they could date, unequally yoking themselves left and right with entire church populations, cities, and church councils, and thinking: “where do I fit in all this?” these people were my friends, they were the people who sat next to me on Sundays, they were the people I looked up to. But if they couldn’t achieve any better, how could I?
At some point in my life I decided that perhaps I was destined to be alone, I was around eighteen when I first thought that, and having had my heart-broken by situations more so than relationships, I figured this whole “love” thing had nothing to do with unicorns and marshmallows -epic disappointment. I saw that the “Christian” guys still wanted the girl who would sleep with them and go to crazy parties, and I saw that the “secular” men also wanted the same thing. I saw that the really “legalistic” Christian men wanted some sort of wallflower who wouldn’t contradict them, wore long jean skirts and had some sort of affinity for the Republican parties, and I… I was so painfully different from both of these extremes that I saw myself standing alone, standing so alone I could hear the sound of my own heartbeat rapidly increasing. I panicked for a bit, because hope was still there. But with hope many times comes the fear of disillusion, and how afraid I was of that very thing. In some attempt to be “human” I did get into a relationship with someone who respected my beliefs, but didn’t share them. This relationship was nice, but ended because my values hadn’t and haven’t changed. Sometimes I just thought: “maybe I can bend a little bit, maybe I am being too difficult and inflexible” but in the end, I always realized that who I was, and who I was true to mattered more than any relationship. After all, it is I who ends up living with myself. Finally one day I met a guy who promised to not only respect my values but who fervently shared them. This guy was probably one of the most passionate, Christ-focused, Bible centered sounding people I’ve ever heard to date. There was no way around it, he knew what he was talking about, and how he was talking about it. I was upfront, I always told him that sex before marriage was off the table, and he was fine and even “happy” about it. He understood that It’s not just my policy because I’m a Christian, It’s my policy because it’s my decision and my commitment to God. I’ve always noticed that in the society we live in these days, it’s always right for a woman to say she can do whatever she wants with her body and shouldn’t be judged for it, as long as it means she can be sexually free or even promiscuous. But not if it means she wants to save herself for marriage, a paradox I have yet to comprehend. Soon enough, I realized that this incredibly “christian” guy was neither happy, nor agreeing with what he said he also believed, after a terribly awful relationship it was over. But I was left more confused than ever. The very things that supposedly drew him to me, that made him “admire” me, were the things he reproached me for the most. His admiration for my keeping true to the things of my faith became a tool for manipulation and twisting things to his convenience in some way. He concluded that he needed a girl who would give him what he wanted, and I simply wasn’t that girl. But at first… I was that girl. By contrast, I’ve met the archetypical “perfect” christian guy who is always at church and believes that anything that has to do with dating, going out, and liking someone is a sin. The kind of guy which fears having a friend that’s a girl; and combining the word “girl” and “friend” sends him into hyperventilation. This guy is often a bit racist and kind of hates everyone too, but won’t say it like that. I’ve met other guys since then, nothing serious though. I remember one amazingly sweet, shy and bashful guy I met at a church in England who was everything you could ever dream of on paper… but it turns out he too was looking for the convenient girl of his dreams. I’ve met guys who speak beautifully well, guys who know so much about the bible they put the pastors and teachers of their own churches to shame. I’ve met guys who speak about love in ways you’ve only heard it be spoken of in great literature and movies.
I love words, I love how they sound, I love how they make you feel, but sadly, I don’t love how they cannot love me back. How I can fall in love over and over again with ideas that come from words? Words that come from phrases so beautifully organized and projected, only to have those very ideas leave me in a great vast empiness. People ask me all the time: “why are you single?” they ask me why I don’t believe in love. They ask me, if I’ll ever change my mind. I can’t answer any of those questions, because love, this love that everyone talks about is more like a fickle fairy which trickles across being choosy, and finding ways to get people into trouble, than it is lasting. How can I know what I am meant to be in order to be loved? I wish we would stop lying, love is indeed full of expectations which are more often “let-down” than exceeded. What can I expect when I am neither one thing or the other? I am nor submissive, not gentle and quiet, I am most definitely NOT a Republican. I don’t even believe in the idea of going to one steady church and being “involved”, I believe in this free-spirited, hippy-like Christianity. Some sort of equal society, all of these social rights and things that make most capitalist cringe, and yet I am complex and committed. I do believe in saving yourself for marriage, I hold family values as important, I believe that there should be mystery in romance and even in this thing called love… if indeed it still exists. I gave up because I don’t want to change anyone, but I certainly don’t want anyone to want to change me. I like who I am, I really do. I have found so many people with different beliefs than I who accept me for who I am, and yet finding someone who would want to share their lives with me on that level, has been proven nothing short of impossible. I’m a prude for the non-christians, and a crazy heathen for the legalistic Christians, and of course somewhat of an oxymoron for those which stand somewhere in the middle between deciding that they want to serve God in those things which are easy or even convenient to them, but not the other things they don’t want to obey. So I gave up, I gave up and freed myself from the confusion of an entire generation; from the not knowing if something is a date, if it’s a clue or a sign, if he’s ever going to “say” anything, if things should only be done in groups, if someone likes me, doesn’t like me, tells me, doesn’t tell me. If you should “kiss dating goodbye” or if you should hug dating “hello”. I gave up for the many dreams, visions and the prophet at church that tells you someone is “the one” and you haven’t a clue what they’re talking about. I gave up for every time a guy has said I’m “amazing”, for every single time I’ve been called the most wonderful girl, for every single moment I’ve been told that my strong Christian values are admirable only to later be asked to give them up. I gave up for all of it. Will I change my mind? I don’t know. If you happen to know any unicorns and blond princes that ride them to declare their love for me at my marshmallow castle tower, we might be in business, send me an email.
P.S. I love Unicorns.