Dagdha's Blog

Valentines Post Mortem

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on February 16, 2011

Aside from the barrage of pictures, news stories, and forever alone memes pasted across every corner of the internet, February 14th passed by with little notice from me.  Even if I subscribed to the devious capitalistic importance of a misappropriated pagan holiday, I have become extremely cynical of romantic love and somewhat numb to the celebration thereof.

In my favorite John Cusack film High Fidelity, his character is introduced by asking the viewer if he (himself) listens to pop music because he’s miserable, or if he’s miserable because he listens to pop music, explaining that the genre is filled with songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery, and loss. As the viewer intimately follows Cusack’s character, Rob Gordon, after a serious breakup, it subtly becomes clear that his internal conflict arises from the disparity between ideal romantic love and the cruder reality of relationships. After being harshly reminded that good memories generally take precedent over the bad, he manages to reconnect with his lost love, ironically in an overly contrived Hollywood ending.

Much like Rob Gordon, I wonder if my romantic cynicism stems from overindulgence in amorous fiction.  Starting with my early indoctrination through Disney movies, I always felt that love was the one thing I craved most in my life, the one thing that makes life worthwhile.  Most importantly, I thought that once I found it, it would be indestructible (“Happily ever after,” right?).  Especially growing up as a nerdy and socially awkward kid, I hoped for nothing more than this mystical force that was the basis for so many stories.  Disappointment after disappointment, however, has slowly eroded that hope, and I question whether it still exists.

I’m not saying that I don’t believe in love, or that there isn’t someone out there for me.  Rather, I’m questioning whether my idea of true romantic love still exists:  The kind that gives you butterflies in your stomach every time you see your significant other, whether you’ve been together a day or twenty years.  The kind that inspires you to be a better person.  The kind that makes you feel at home regardless of where you are as long as the other person is with you.  The kind where your mind goes blank with a simple kiss that warms your chest and makes you smile.

I had that once, and it was one of the best periods of my life.  In the end we weren’t right for each other, and I have no regrets other than how it ended.  Unfortunately my subsequent attempts to find that kind of romantic love have been fruitless.  At one point I thought I had found it again, but my own excitement turned into overbearing enthusiasm, and I lost a very dear, long-time friend.  Consequently, I haven’t let my guard down since because the only thing worse than losing a romantic interest is losing a friend too.

I’m experienced enough to know that love is a gamble, one with high risks for even greater rewards.  I also think there is nothing, I repeat nothing, more wonderful than the natural high of being in love, and nothing more devastating than losing it.  That’s why there are so many poems, movies, songs, and books about it.  Nothing makes us feel more alive.

With any kind of gamble though, you can only lose so much before giving up.  Although I’m only twenty-five, I think that I placed my bets too high and too early.  I haven’t given up, but at this point in my life it seems a lot more worthwhile to invest my energies in things I can’t lose.  I know it’s selfish, a character flaw I try to eradicate as much as possible, but sometimes it’s required for self-preservation.

 

“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of True Romance magazines — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely — at least, not all the time — but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”

— Hunter S. Thompson (The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967)

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