SOCIAL MEDIA

8.4.21

The mending memoirs: part 3

My mind's mischievous creations

I met Jack on Tinder. Talking to someone you've never met in real life is dangerous, and I don't just mean because they could be a serial killer (take care out there, my loves). It's dangerous because your imagination  - you know, that wonderful part of your psyche that conjures unicorns and aliens and Ryan Gosling/Jennifer Lawrence in your bed - is more powerful than you think. Where there's a gap, your imagination will fill it. It will do this by whipping up elaborate fantasies which, by definition, are mind-made inventions that are either improbable or totally impossible.

And when it came to Jack, my imagination had six blissful weeks in which it was free to run wild, plugging the unknowns of his personality with Godlike characteristics. In my head, he was my dream guy: passionate but down-to-earth, sexy but modest, cool but humble, hilarious but sensitive, playful but loving. To say he wasn't any of these things would be unfair and untrue. But just like every other human on this planet, Jack had flaws. Flaws which not only meant that he was utterly wrong for me, but which I was also incapable of perceiving thanks to my mind's mischievous creations. By the time we met in real life, I was holding on to the mythical being I'd imagined like my life depended on it. When the person standing in front of me didn't match up, my vicelike grip only tightened.

If you've ever dabbled in relationship advice, you've probably come across the term 'red flags.' These are the waving, wind-whipped early warning signs that, when paid attention, can show you who a person is and why they might not be right for you. In my case, crimson, scarlet, carmine - you name the shade, Jack had a flag for it. This is the part where I'm going to tell you something glaringly obvious but which I wish someone had told me then: if the person you're dating says to you explicitly and on multiple occasions that they don't want a relationship? Newsflash: they don't want a relationship. You can convince yourself that you're the exception to the rule. That you'll be the one to change them. That they might not think they want a relationship, but that's because they've never dated you, right?! Wrong. You can duck, dodge, or side-step the truth as many times as you like. You can sweep it neatly under a rug or stuff it into a box or shove it to the back of a cupboard if that makes you feel better. But none of that will make it any less true.

You might even tell them that you're okay with it just to buy yourself enough time to infiltrate their life and implant yourself within it and, before they've realised what's going on - whoops, how did that happen?! - you're in a 'relationship.' But no healthy, sustainable, or mutually loving relationship was ever cultivated by romantic witchcraft or emotional wizardry, and it especially wasn't born from one person's decision to claim the other without their full knowledge or involvement. The result will be a love that's fragile at best, catastrophic at worst. I would know. 

You might be reading this and thinking no way, sister, not me. I have too much self-respect for that. But let me remind you: love is a drug, and a bloody strong one. The chemical claws dig in, the rose-tinted glasses come on and, before you know it, you're living in a distorted reality where you can't tell where you end and the object of your affection begins. Have you ever been so infatuated with someone that nothing they could say or do could possibly put you off? They could spit at someone or cheat on you or curse your mum and you'd probably still find yourself swooning over them. 

Well, that's what it felt like with Jack. It didn't matter that our values were vastly different, that our personalities were totally conflicting, or even that our lifestyles were wholly incompatible. It didn't change my mind when he'd disappear from my inbox for days on end, or when he'd go weeks without wanting to see me, or even when he'd forget the dates we'd planned. Because he was my dream guy, remember? And I'd be damned if I was going to peace out of a potential future with my Prince Charming because of a few minor roadblocks between our white horse and that sunset. Spoiler alert: there are no fairytale endings in this story. But there are tears. 

Lots of tears.

xoxo

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