It’s not easy to be me.
Especially when it comes to love.
I’ve had my fair share of bad memories of loving someone and risking my heart in investments that, from the very first start, I believed would not give the expected return. I should’ve just seen things clearly from the beginnings, but I always tell myself that it can still happen. As what I’ve written several times, I always cling to the tiniest little glimmers of hope, most surreal eye contacts, and the most insignificant gestures. I’ve fallen in and out of love too many times it almost feels like a bad habit that I should break. I questioned myself in between seconds of desperation, about what was so wrong in me that kept on attracting the, well.. the wrong ones.
Even so, I’ve always believed that the person who loves me for who I am will come eventually.
But there came a time in my life when I felt almost completely numb about loving and being loved by someone. At one point, I started thinking that maybe, just maybe, I should just stop romanticizing anything anymore. From the start, I erased all expectations. Have I gone bitter? I guess I have. I only asked for those people to stay, not so much of a request, but what did I get? Another series of treacherous acts.
I’ve never 100% believed in the notion of ‘love of your life’. After all, the very concept of ‘love of your life’, ‘your half’, and ‘your significant other’ was cruel from the start. Should someone not be happy if he or she is living in their stage of singlehood? Why is society dictating us to have this… this concept of being complete only when you’ve found someone who completes you? What if I do feel completely complete by being with myself?
That very realization shaped me into the person of whom I know perfectly well, someone who has been recreated and furnished by each and every unfortunate events. I fell in love with myself. With its good side and bad side. I embraced the qualities that were hand-crafted, made only for me, made only by me. I focused my efforts into having the best version of myself. I never did focus on anyone else anymore.
But what I didn’t realize was that, through that way, through this nonchalant way, I actually found someone whom I can love, and who loves me back.
This morning I woke up with a silly realization that, “Hey, I’m someone’s girlfriend!”. Even typing it makes it sound more silly. But what struck me in awe was not the fact that I’m no longer lonely, nor the fact that I have passport to social security. It was the feeling that this love feels different from any other love I’ve had. It’s sheer and sweet, not overpowering, not intoxicating. It doesn’t feel like an urge to text someone now and then, or a crave for overdose attention, or that ho-ho, “Life’s a bitch and then you die!”. It feels almost as homey as a freshly baked bread in an ancient bakery shop. Or maybe, it just feels like it’s the love I earned.
That this is the love that I deserve.
If you want to know how I do feel right now, I’ll tell you what, I feel very proud of myself.
It’s like every cell on my entity celebrates the bloodshed dramas that finally fruit. I once made a list of characteristics that I was looking for in a man, with a tear-jerker, “Haha this hypothetical person is too good to be true!”. But now I look at the person who confessed to me hours ago and realized that sometimes, life is so funny by giving you exactly the person you want. Was I blinded by anything these past few years? No. I don’t think so. I think that heartbreaks after heartbreaks bring you closer to the one who will save the best for last. And honestly, I didn’t see this one coming.
I only did see that because I was transforming from a ‘girl’ to a ‘woman’, that I was finally be able to find a ‘man’, not a ‘boy’.
After all, boys shack. Men build homes. If he loves you, he will profess it, he will provide for you, and he will protect you.
Honestly though, it feels natural, all this loving, giving thing. It almost feels like the universe conspires to make me happy, with this (hopefully) one last person. To sum it up in a nutshell, this is the most hassle-free love story I’ve ever had in my life. No explanations needed, it’s just what it is.
Of course, my defense has not yet fully been retreated. There are still walls that need to be climbed, the necessary protection and shield that I cover my heart with. Who knows what will happen in the future? But this precise background of earning something with hardship makes me want to fight for this relationship. I once promised myself, that if someday I ever say ‘yes’ to a person, this person better does stay. Until the very end. Winning over my conviction should not be the last heroic thing that this person should do, instead, it’s the first of many other miles.
I’m looking back (proudly) at my days when this movie quote feels totally relevant:
Girls are taught a lot of stuffs growing up. If a guy punches you, he likes you. Never try to trim your own bangs, and someday you will meet a wonderful guy and get your very own happy ending. Every movie we see, every story we’re told, implores us to wait for it. The third act twist: the unexpected declaration of love. The exception to the rule. But sometimes we’re so focused on finding our happy ending we don’t learn how to read the signs. How to tell the ones who want us from the ones who don’t. The ones who will stay from the ones who will leave. And maybe this happy ending doesn’t include a wonderful guy. Maybe it’s you… on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over. Freeing yourself up from something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is… just moving on.
Or maybe the happy ending is this: knowing that through all the unreturned phone calls and broken hearts, through all the blunders and misread signals, through all of the pain and embarrassment, you never, ever, gave up hope.
–He’s Just Not That Into You (2009)
And I’m gonna say it out loud: Yes, I never gave up hope.
On a more personal note:
Maybe you’re reading this on the rig with your eyes half-open, but I want to say thank you. Thank you for chasing me. Thank you for giving me clarity. Thank you for the special treats. Perhaps you’ll never know how much all of those sacrifices mean to me, but understand that I’m sending you this gratitude for providing me the university romance that I never had, but at the same time in a search for a lifetime partner. I once dreamed of being under the same umbrella with a man I love, running away from rain after shalat. And that was exactly what we did (I’m a pluviophile, google it up!). I once dreamed of being taught subjects by a crush that I like, in a library, and that was what we did. When I visited that old bakery shop for the first time, I honestly visualized myself sitting there with someone who loves me back, and that was what you turned out to be. I once dreamed of going to pretty cafes, watching the city lights glittering far away, and that was where you confessed. You didn’t know this and I didn’t plan it to happen, but you sum it up in two perfect days. So thank you very much.
And, just one more thing. I broke up with my last boyfriend on the 12th day of the month. I started this relationship with you on the 12th day of the month. An ending, it seems, is really a new beginning.
It’s very nice to be with someone who shares my set of values and whose moral compass points to the same direction. So here’s to cheering for the bad old days and good new days. Promise me you’ll stay. I want to see a future where one day years from now, I look back at this writing and see you waving your wrinkled hands and I’ll see my face wearing the sweetest wrinkled smile.
And for now, have you checked your Facebook inbox? 😀