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Love Engrained

I found myself staring into something terrifying today.

At the bottom of the barrel. Scraping the fragments of my dating pool on a free dating site. Fed up, I deleted yet another profile. I couldn’t help but ask myself: why?

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to date? What is it about being alone and giving the broken heart a break that is so terrifying?

Society is more connected than we have ever been. We have this insane ability to talk to anyone, anywhere, via a screen or a phone. We have masses of information and answers at our fingertips.
Yet many people seem more lost than ever. I’m one of them.

I can’t help but feel completely disconnected in this social age. As though I simply exist while the rest of the world hustles and bustles around me. Alone on a crowded street. Never sure which direction I am supposed to go. Looking around lost in a packed club, the music so loud it numbs out everything except loneliness. It’s the prevalent feeling, even through a drunken haze, for I know my house and bed will be empty when I get back there.

Sad songs don’t last forever. That’s what I keep telling myself. Sometimes I am completely over it and would rather walk away from the dating pool to let the fish keep thrashing aimlessly around each other. Other days, a part of me thinks I’ll find something even when it feels like I’m drowning.
I think many of us have a problem accepting ourselves and crave the presence of another person to fill that void. One of my best friends put it into a sharp perspective when I posed the question of “why?” to her.

“Hahaha, you mean other than the fact that society and everyone says we should?”

I re-read her text twice, blinking, perplexed. There it was.

Are we merely programmed into needing a relationship, after years of procreation being necessary to the survival of humanity? Clearly, with LGBT couples and people consciously choosing to be childfree, we as a species have evolved past procreation being a basic need. Yet the need for a relationship seems to be engrained in our psyche. Something we pursue, sometimes even recklessly, at the expense of a heart being torn into pieces.

In our discussion, I made the comparison to a show she and I mutually love: “Sex and the City”. At the end of the final season, Carrie gets back to together with her long-term, on/off boyfriend, Mr. Big, despite how badly he treated her and how many times she was hurt throughout the years. Personally, the ending of the series left me flabbergasted, as it felt like it was being built up to Carrie remaining single after her adventure in Paris.

“Exactly,” my friend replied. “It’s one of those things, as females … we have been pre-conditioned for this kind of behaviour. That’s why it’s so damn hard to fight the urges when they arise. Even then, as you said, logically, we know. Deep down though … and I mean fucking DEEP … we still hang on to a glimmer of hope that we can someday find that fairy tale type shit.”

If so, and we truly are “programmed”, so to speak, to pursue a relationship, how is it we as women draw back and undo all the brainwashing society has constantly shoved in our faces all these years? From Disney movies when we were young, to romance movies and books now, this concept of “the one” and that “one true love” surrounds us in our day to day lives. I bet if we took the time out of our busy days to look at the little things where romance is mentioned, we would discover how blatant it is.

Radio shows. Music. Movies. Books. TV shows. Ads for singles’ dating sites on Facebook or elsewhere online. News stories. I mean, how many people are currently going wishy-washy over Prince Harry getting married? Hell, weddings are an industry on their own that makes tons of money off people falling in love and legalizing it.

Somewhere in all this, there has to be respite; a way of accepting that alone isn’t a sombre song playing wherever I go because I am single and my marriage failed. A stranger’s face goes from enthusiasm in asking whether I am married or have kids, to instant sympathy when they discover I am currently separated and never want children, and plan on remaining single for a long time. As though I’m some bizarre species of human that popped in from outer space on a meteor.

But the truth is, this heart needs a break. Going on dates over the summer was fun. I met some cool guys and found some much-needed laughter. I just can’t get back into it so soon. I’m not even sure if I am sticking around this town in the next five years. This spirit is so restless again, and needs a new scene. These streets are brimming with memories of relationships failed, friends who have moved on and my favourite bar that closed down a couple years ago. Of all the faces I have seen come and go, simply passing through this weary town, I am still standing here. Watching seasons fade every year. Feeling as lost as ever. Wondering what’s out there for me.

My heart needs a break, and my soul needs to heal. I don’t think I can do that here. Maybe I merely need a week or two out of town, to reset. To re-evaluate my life, where I am going and how long of a hiatus I need from dating to find myself. I honestly figured I would be okay after a summer of partying, having fun and taking it easy. Turns out healing from two back-to-back toxic relationships is going to take a while. No amount of having the pursuit of love shoved in my face is going to make me jump into something else so quickly. I’m going to make 2018 a year for me; to deprogram from feeling the need to date and find a way to be content with myself.

It’s going to be the year where I set fire to that barrel and let it roll away in flames, as I walk away laughing at the fish still floundering in their dating pools, desperate.

Comments

is actually how I feel often when I go out with friends. I talk with them and see how far they come and feel like I've got nothing to show for how hard I work. When I get online, though, I can more easily show what I have accomplished. So, I experience it just the opposite of you.

But then, I've never been on a date or had a partner of any kind, so the same online spaces that give me a place to express myself and show my accomplishments and connect with others are the same places where I can easily compare myself to others, to my detriment, again. And also see the countless people in relationships or finally overcoming their loneliness, or what have you. I can talk to people all over the world through the Internet, but at the end of the day when I'm winding down for the night, wishing someone was there who I could vent to or deeply connect with, I realize that I'm still just as lonely as before because the connections are just as fleeting and superficial as meeting someone at a bar or whatever.

And of course, being active socially online and not IRL, makes it so much easier for some people to exaggerate their accomplishments. You realize that the people who have the most to show on social media are the ones who don't have to work or go to school to make a living; the have all day every day online to develop their online persona into the perfect version of themselves while the rest of us are being responsible for ourselves.

But at the same time, I get in this mode of trying to ignore those thoughts of worthlessness and forever-aloneness and I just want to occupy my mind with whatever I can, and when those thoughts are at their worst, at night when I should be sleeping, I can't turn up the TV loud or play video games in the living room because I'll wake my roommates up, so my only option is finding something quiet in my room: more computer time! So I mindlessly scroll and frantically update page after page until I'm exhausted so when I lay down I'll be asleep relatively quickly instead of my mind racing. It is a viscous cycle.

Anyway, that's my spiel. Just wanted to say I'm feeling almost the same way, but almost the opposite in some ways! Strange how that works.

At least we can write about it, right!?

Kelsey

Advocates Coordinator

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It is a difficult feeling to overcome. Years of severe depression and PTSD are catching up to me, I suppose.

Let me tell you something though, as a woman who is almost 30 and about to be a divorcee. There is nothing wrong with being single. I know that is hard to hear when you have never dated. I hated hearing that when I was 21, 22 and never been in love. To be on the other side of that conversation now is truly bizarre. But I get it now. As lonely as this existence is, as isolating and as disconnected as I feel, this is much simpler than being in a relationship and having to think for someone else. I don't know if I will find what I am looking for here in this town. But then again, with this gypsy soul, I don't know if I will find what I am seeking anywhere else, either. When my life crumbles, I go into fight or flight mode. I want to run but I stay rooted in place. Scared to start over more alone than I already am.

It is very strange how opposites work. I too have to shut my mind down before falling asleep. That usually means I have my bedroom TV switched on to something mindless like the Food Network until I fall asleep. Otherwise I lie awake thinking endlessly about absolutely everything. The mind is a strange thing like that.

It is wonderful to see you back here, Kelsey. Just took a snoop at your profile and am delighted that your writing has done so well. Looking forward to reading your stuff.

Katie

~ Lavinia ~

"You could say I lost everything. But I still had my Bedazzler. I'm going to be a star. You know why? Because I have nothing left to lose." ~ Lady Gaga ~

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