There are very few things in this world that I absolutely know to be true. And of those things, the power—or as a new friend aptly described it—the “miracle” of love is one of them. Luckily for me, I’ve fallen in love twice. The first time was when I was 21 and then again more recently. The other moments in-between I can honestly say I grew to care for the men I was seeing. That’s why I got over them so quickly and remain on friendly terms despite the fact that things didn’t work out.
I’ve always viewed this ability to pick myself up and charge forth into another union as a great strength. In fact, someone near and dear who has been single for a long while actually lauded me for moving on so fast. But looking back, I see that it’s not exactly been a good thing. See, this ability to care for and adore people comes easily for me. Having experienced great losses in life I’ve grown more attentive to the pain and beauty of this world. That means that if I can make someone happy in some small way, I go for it without a second thought.
Sadly, these losses occurred at critical points of emotional development (8 and 19) and I therefore lacked the perfect role models for how a good relationship ought to look like. Ask anyone older than me in my family and they will tell you that my parents were extraordinary—as a couple and individuals. To give you a little perspective, Mama was a Muslim and Paps was a Roman Catholic. They were together for 18 years.
In the absence of this dynamic duo, I ingested a steady diet of TV and Hollywood romances (think “Cosby Show” or “Family Matters” or those early good rom-coms, akina “Runaway Bride” and “You’ve Got Mail”). For
Janet and I, surely that’s the way love goes, right? Wrong. It was never completely apparent to me that art was simply an imitation of life. I didn’t see the strings holding up the marionettes until much, much later.
Before that it was boyfriend after fling after does-this-even-count aka were-we-ever-actually-togethers. My past and way of seeing the world greatly impaired my judgement. I saw myself as complex and damaged and if someone remotely showed interest in me, I’d give it a shot. Hell, this could be serendipity. He could be the One. SMH!
It was all because I never truly completed my relationship grocery list. Aside from wanting a man who I had a connection with, did not abuse or cheat on me, I didn’t make it imperative that he be kind-hearted, attentive, intelligent and responsible. You’ll be surprised how many men I’ve dated who were mean, vain, irresponsible or just careless in how they treated me and others. I was too afraid to judge this horde of boyfriends/ flings/ does-this-even-count aka were-we-ever-actually-togethers beforehand and then once I saw their inner beauty and grace I became blindly and incredibly loyal. Besides, I figured that I had enough “goodness” in me for the two of us.
Yet here’s the thing, if I endeavoured not to possess any of those negative characteristics, how then could I then surround myself with them? The sad truth is that I invited those men into my life. I gave total consent then wondered why I experienced such sadness and disappointment later on. It all stemmed from my refusal to be critical about my choices. To say, wait, does he believe in a higher power? Does he read? Think about the welfare of others? Is his goal to one day get married and have kids?
After wallowing in a miasma of my own creation (Ha!), I’ve finally accept that it’s all my fault. You cannot buy a snake then expect to find a rabbit when you get home (unless you went to a sex shop and
they packed you a different “device” from the one you purchased ama you’re a magician!) However way it happened the good thing is I’m here now. And I know that I can turn things around.
I may not be perfect but I know what I’m worth and what I bring to the table and it’s about time I consciously lived the life that I’ve always desired. Is a Huxtables-esque love possible? Why not? Can I find a Simon and to my second generation Zulekha? Yezzir. But for such a union to exist I have to start by backing the right horse. I have to create my own love story from here on out using every experience as a lesson and a warning.
I’ve known the bad side of Love so I’m sure as hell ready to let myself experience the good.
Wanjeri is a print journalist and an absolute fool for love who writes some semblance of Literature over at www.wanjeri.com.