As children, we are taught to believe that romantic love is the end-all, be-all and that we cannot be happy until we have obtained it. We watch movies where men with sharp jaws, who say they will do anything for love, sweep women off their feet. We obsess over our parent’s relationship, trying to set them up with the mailman or the barista, believing they cannot possibly be happy without romantic love. We hear stories about people who “need” their lovers, who “can’t live without” them. We believe all these fairytale as if they are facts.
When I was younger, I would sit around in a circle with my friends at sleepovers and we’d imagine our wedding days. We’d try to draw the faces of our future spouses. We’d plan our dates with cute boys and maybe cute girls and imagine falling head-over heels for someone who reads all the same books and watches all the same TV shows as us.
As teenagers, we’d cry because he will never love us or she will never give us the time of day and we think that maybe if they did it would solve all of our anxiety and all of our sadness and all of our self-esteem issues. I spent so much of my life believing this was true. That I needed to be saved, that I was this minor character in someone else’s story.
We are told, even as children, that we are not whole. That there is an entire half of us missing and that until we find it, we can never be complete. But this is not true. Romantic love can’t save us. Only we can save ourselves. Romantic love is not a remedy; it’s not a necessity to life. We love and we appreciate and we cherish but we do not rely on the affections of others.
We love our parents and we love our friends, we love the smell of coffee in the morning and we love walking to school, we love strangers on busses, we love Saturdays. We find that love comes in many different shapes and sizes and forms and that the love of life is more vital than someone we can cuddle and eat pizza with on the couch. That we can and we will be happy without another. We love ourselves. And that is enough.
We are complete. We are whole human beings and we rely on ourselves because in the end that is all we really have.
We are the ones who got us through those hard times.
We sacrifice our own blood.
We are the resurrectors of our own bodies.
So pat yourself of the back. You’ve done it. You’ve survived up until now. And you’ve done it all on your own.