Fifty Two

Tonight we had a meeting for church and were discussing doing a Christmas lunch thing. It was brought up about whether or not we should invite partners. I realised then that I was the only one without a partner and instantly dreaded the idea of going to a lunch where I would be 13th wheel.

Is this my life now? Will I just be that single person in a sea of couples?

I text B today and ended things, said that I didn’t feel chemistry with us and wanted to be clear on my front that I didn’t really see us as more than friends. He responded well (better than A anyway, who said he thought he was in love with me) ((what the actual fuck aye)) and said he felt the same.

I do nay like being in this space – caught between not wanting to be single but not having any viable options.

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Forty Five

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way that dating should be – should it be all fire from the beginning? Or should it be a slower burn?

With J it was all sparks and fireworks from the get go. Because of this, I keep being underwhelmed by these dates I’ve been going on recently. They just don’t compare.

But maybe it’s okay to have a slower burn, maybe sometimes it just takes a bit longer to get to that level of familiarity and comfort. Maybe a slower burn will last.

At the same time, chemistry is so important to me in a relationship and if it’s not there from the beginning, I’m doubtful as to whether it will ever come. Ugh I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s that there’s no chemistry or if it’s that I’m not interested in anyone who’s not him. No. I don’t want to be with him anymore. I have to keep reminding myself of that. There will be someone else, we will set each other on fire, and we will be better matched than I was with him.

Forty Four

I had a lunch date today and it went well… but.

I live with a lot of buts these days. Every good thing comes with a disclaimer. I know what comes after the but – I feel it lingering, clouding, hovering. I don’t want to acknowledge it because it won’t change anything, will only encourage it to stay when it’s already been here for too long.

So I’ll keep ignoring it, turning my face away from it, keep pushing the buts out of my head. Maybe one day they’ll realise they’re not welcome here anymore and leave.

Forty Three

This one’s for the purity rhetoric.

You know, that narrative that says if you “save yourself” for marriage, the reward is a deep and meaningful relationship that is so much more worthwhile and better than those others, that you will only ever connect with the first person you have sex with so you better make sure it’s the person you agree to spend the rest of your life with because if not, you’re going to be damaged goods and no one wants that.

It’s bullshit.

I’m 27 now and I can see the fruit of the damage that that rhetoric has caused – in my friends, in me.

Imagine learning and internalising that you have this one ultimate gift, one trump card, for that one person you’re meant to spend the rest of your life with. Now imagine that you think you’ve found that person, and you give them this ultimate gift, but then life happens and you’re on your own again but who are you now, if not an empty shell because you’ve given away the one thing that you had. This is the purity rhetoric.

It is so damaging, so traumatic and so oppressive.

We are human, and we have human needs. There is no shame in acting on these needs. But this is the result of the purity rhetoric – it shames and rejects those who go against it.

Me – I’m in my late twenties and still haven’t had sex. I feel cheated of a more fulfilling life, of a life that feels more lived. I feel like I’ve bought into this rhetoric, that’s promised me so much and delivered nothing. I’m in the same position as I was 10 years ago, and only starting to explore what I like sexually when most people my age already know what works for them.

I have friends who still carry with them the shame they felt for having sex outside of a marriage context, this affects the relationships they’re in today, years later. I know of couples who aren’t able to have sex even after being married because they have so deeply internalised the forbidden nature of it that they can’t bring themselves to actually do it. I know of married couples who aren’t able to shake the feeling of shame from the act of sex.

This is not healthy. This can’t be the way that it was intended.

Who even decided that sex was taboo? That it was only intended for marriage? Marriage as an institution was established hundreds of years after Christ. Relationships, all sorts of different types of relationships have existed in all of history. So why this one thing? This is one of the contentions I have with Christianity and religion in general – some things are so arbitrary.

We Christians need to change the way that we talk about sex. Sure, there are chemical reactions in our brain that help us connect with one another more but this isn’t limited to one person. We can connect with multiple people and we are more than what we give. We need to destroy the purity rhetoric if we want to see healthier relationships and healthier people, people who aren’t damaged by the shame that this narrative generates.

Thirty Nine

Feminism and faith – this was the topic discussed at the Contemporary Feminism panel talk tonight. Something that one of the panellists said really struck me – they said that we tell the stories we’re told.

Doesn’t that just hit the nail on the head? How often does society just perpetuate the same narratives that it’s been fed? Without being conscious of what we’re consuming, it’s only natural that we regurgitate the same old story.

I’m 27 now and only in the last several years have I started unpacking all the narratives that I’ve internalised, deconstructing everything that I took to be absolute truth and trying to understand reality in a more raw form. I’ve only just scratched the surface, there’s still a long way for me to go in taking apart all these things I’ve learned as true.

When the panellist said that, it reignited the fire and desire in me to write children’s literature. One of the narratives that I’ve internalised (to my detriment) is of the classic fairy tale ending – the princess being saved by the prince. Only now as an adult do I see how harmful that narrative is. There are so many problems with it!

  1. It’s heteronormative.
  2. The princess is always secondary to the story – just a prop for the prince.
  3. The happily ever after is when the prince saves the princess and they get married.

Being single terrifies me, because being alone terrifies me, because I’ve subconsciously absorbed the idea that I can never be truly happy, can never have my happily ever after on my own. I need a man in it. Maybe that’s part of the reason why the breakup with J was so awful – it wasn’t just losing him, it was also losing that fairy tale ending.

I don’t know if it’s possible to untangle myself from this narrative now, I feel like it might be too late for me. But it’s not too late for kids. They can learn a different story – where diversity is celebrated, where princesses are go-getters and do whatever the fuck they want, where the happily ever after is all sorts of relationship statuses.

Thirty Six

Current top reasons for hating the patriarchy:

  1. Justifying the actions of boys to mess around with people because ‘boys will be boys’.
  2. Teaching girls that boys will be boys but that they can be the exception if they’re good enough.

My rebuttals:

  1. That’s fucked. Treat people with respect dammit.
  2. No one is the exception. The rule is fucked. See number 1 above.

Thirty One

I’m talking to some guys on Bumble and while I can find it exciting, getting to know new people sometimes, there are lots of times like right now when it makes me feel exhausted. I hate that I’ve had to start again, when I just want to be back in that place where I’m known and seen.

I miss being with someone who knows me and understands me. I miss being with someone who sees my heart and knows my hopes and dreams. I miss conversations that go beyond that friendly politeness and small talk about who we are, what we do. How much can you express in words anyway, people are more felt than they are defined.

I miss him.

No, I miss the connection we had, the depth of it.

I will have that again, I have to keep telling myself, even when it feels difficult to believe. I have to believe that I will make connections of substance again in the future.