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In one moment of flooding clarity, it all made sense and I moved forward with a heart so full of knowing. 

Over the course of the past 4 years in which I’ve been engaging with boys romantically and sexually, I’ve also been covering the pages of my diaries with words expressing my confusion and self-doubt. Why can’t I just overcome my issues and have a nice thing for once. I don’t get it”. For the past 4 years, I have been soul-searching, you could say, and seeking the help of friends in a desperate and unhealthy attempt to uncover an answer to self-pity’s all-time enticing question; why do things never turn out better for me? Here is a handful of the answers I so frequently resorted to. It’s my incapacity to behave, my incapacity to stop over-thinking, my incapacity to be content, and the most appalling of all; my incapacity to “figure out how to be my best, so they like me as much as possible”. But at age 18, I hold hands with hindsight and I understand the confusion and un-fulfilment that I felt for so long. You see, my mistake all along was ignoring the fact that my interest in others was being fuelled by need. A neediness that came from feeling alone, and feeling incapable to be, alone. If you can relate to any of this, read on.

I would like to tell you about something that I have recently learned. Something that I believe to be the most bittersweet truth about that scenario and that being the outcome of intimacy shared with another person. You should not feel like that. I say bittersweet, because it’s a harsh reality; you’re most likely not right for each other, (or should not be involved romantically with another person at that time in your life) if you feel any of what I just explained was so deeply ingrained in my thought patterns for long. But, it’s sweeter than the most beautiful flower in the garden, to realise that at some point, you won’t have to keep justifying your confusion and upset as being your problems. In solitude, or with a more compatible partner, you won’t have to keep battling to be better. Things become unquestionably, easy.

From where I currently stand in my life, I have learnt for the first time to properly distinguish between my own over thinking vs. genuine discomfort with a situation. I always thought I was doing this, but only when I really stopped doing it, did I realise that I hadn’t been doing it at all. I have at long last, stopped ignoring the deep-rooted feeling that would tell me, “you are not serving yourself and caring for yourself to the best of your ability right now, adjust.” I have been able to see for the first time, that it is NOT normal to feel bad in light of an intimate relationship with another person, long or short-term, serious or casual. And I have learnt that it is, that simple. None of this, “But it’s only because of this, or that. If those things just changed then I could be happy”, “It’s because of him, or her”, “It’s because I have this issue I can’t change.” Bbbblah blah blahhhhhh. Ask yourself, are any of those things changing any time soon? Are you working tirelessly on making those ‘issues’ irrelevant? If not, then nothing is going to change and they are not justifiable excuses.

If you don’t feel:

  1. Happy 
  2. Clear headed (in relation to your relationship)
  3. Inspired 
  4. LOVED
  5. Appreciated 
  6. Calm
  7. Capable of spending your days alone, thinking about things other than how you don’t know how to be alone anymore. 

It’s not right.

I have been the person I am explaining not to be, for the past 4 years. I have breathed and walked and spoken the words of this person. I was where you are. That is the only reason I am able to shed light on the concept of how wrong feeling like this, really is. For the girl I was at 15, 16 and 17, beating myself up for struggling so much with my “inability” to be better, I’m going to put it so bluntly; stop justifying incompatibility with another person, and interactions that make you confused and unsure of yourself and your values, as your inability to be “better”. (This is in NO way suggesting you should blame the negative feelings or interactions on the person you’re involved with. This is suggesting that when something is right and it’s the right time for you to be involved with another person, and it’s the right person, it will just work and you WON’T find yourself questioning it.)

You won’t question it

You won’t question it 

You won’t question it 

You won’t question it

You won’t question it 

You won’t question it 

Do you understand what I’m saying? An intimate connection with another person should not feel bad, consistently or even on a regularly occurring basis. It should not make you confused or unsure of yourself. If it doesn’t make your heart warm and fluttery and full, what is it actually for? Seriously think about it. The only reason we invite another into our lives, sharing with them our hearts and bodies – placing ourselves in the utmost vulnerable position – is to make life flow better. If your life is more difficult or confusing with another, why should you choose to live your life in that routine? In Jordan B. Peterson’s book “12 Rules For Life – An Antidote to Chaos”, he presents the idea that in life, what we are subconsciously, constantly working towards, is calm. We perform tasks and live life, with the eventual goal of having as little chaos as possible present in our everyday. What we recognise as “happiness”, is simply the absence of chaos. If this is true, it goes to say; we search for, and desire a romantic partner, for the sake of them being a place of a refuge from the chaos of everyday life. We want somebody that can share our everyday challenges and successes with, who can make everything, in any way big or small, a little bit sweeter. 

22 April, 2018:

On Friday night, …… and I slept together. I’ve had a really emotional few days. We fucked, or made love, or something. We kissed and he touched my skin and he is beautiful. I’m trying really hard not to psych myself out on this one. I keep wrecking things. I just want someone to tell me how to behave to make this as good as possible*.

*wtf.

Despite my seeming enjoyment of this night, it was terrible. I felt used and I felt like I hadn’t done things right. I instantly began to justify my feelings of discontent as being the result of my flaws. I wasn’t good enough or forward enough and I should have said this and I should have been that. You know how it goes. But I wasn’t honest with myself at the time. I thought about the night and I thought about the way that we kissed and spoke with one another. None of the boxes of being disrespected or treated “badly” could be ticked. The night must have been good then, yes? Two weeks ago, I read that entry while I sat on a plane from Rhodes to Amsterdam. The emotions attached to that time in my life washed over me violently. The sharp knife of clarity, saw me realise how wrong the whole interaction was, and how unhappy, even violated it made me feel. Again, this is not the fault of the boy I was involved with, it was simply the fault of my interest in him coming from a place of concentrated neediness. At a more empowered time in my life, I would have never slept with somebody like him, because certain aspects of his character simply did not align with my values. But because I felt so lonely at the time, I literally could not see that our lack in compatibility was the reason things weren’t working – I genuinely believed it was my flaws getting in the way. Only with the blessing of hindsight did this all become clear. And with the blessing of being treated with so much love, the contrast of situations became almost laughable. I could almost, laugh in the face of my younger self for letting her pretend that she “couldn’t figure out if it was a bad situation or was just being hyper-sensitive”. (A note on hyper-sensitivity: if you’re hyper-sensitive it’s not going away. Stop trying to ignore it and beat yourself up for it. Adjust your lifestyle and the people you share yourself with, to work with feeling so much.)

21 July, 2018 (written straight after reading previous entry):

Reading over my diary entry about ……, made my heart break. 3 months on (what feels like 8), I am being loved in a way I never imagined I would be. And reading that, and remembering that night, I realise in the harshest clarity; if it’s going to work, it will. You won’t need to make excuses, you won’t question how you can act to make them like you. It will work if it’s meant to and it will feel RIGHT. 

You won’t question it.

You won’t question it.

You won’t question it. 

You won’t question it. 

You won’t question it. 

Love, should only feel good.*

*Love is of course subject to hardship at times, but we both know that you can tell the difference between ‘hardship’ and genuine unhappiness or confusion that is not benefitting your life and well-being. At age 18, for my younger self, I will say it again; stop justifying incompatibility as your issues.

And so I will say it again, if it’s actually good for you and if it’s right, you won’t find yourself questioning it. 

I owe the boy who has given me the most inexplicable amount of love and affection, my ability to understand what it should feel like when you share a piece of yourself with another person. Only in light of the love I have been shown, have the experiences months and years ago, uncovered themselves as so inherently wrong. In complete honesty, I will tell you that tears welled up in my eyes on the night that I laid there and found myself thinking, “Wait so… This, is what it was meant to be like? This whole time?” Tears for my choice to ignore how upset I was, so many times. Tears for my genuine belief in my problems being the cause of the disconnect with my lovers. Tears because such a young and delicate Quin, felt like she couldn’t be alone. Tears for the appreciation of someone so gentle, with a heart so open and warm. Of course I have needed all of my past experiences, to learn what doesn’t feel right. Those experiences pushed me to a place in which I was so overwhelmed, I gave myself no choice but to sleep in solitude for a certain amount of time. And at the complete and utter breaking point, I left behind an incredibly un-attractively, and un-healthily needy piece of myself. Only after getting through a mess of hormones and a self-doubt birthed by teen angst – so unsure of what “love” and “attraction” should feel like in order to actually be serving me – was I happy enough within myself to share a romantic interaction with another person, which stemmed from a place of inner security and gratitude; not need.

Listen to the way that your heart beats in certain company. Listen, and adjust.

 

 

Image credit: @jan_gleie

Author Quinika Davis

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