I’m sitting here on my floor, typing this blog post while listening to my vinyl record of Adele’s 25 (because I actually am the most stereotypical person alive), and am in the proper mood to blab about deeply personal things! In coinciding with the upcoming Valentine’s holiday, the purpose of today’s blog post is to reveal a part of me that I often times keep hidden in order to protect myself from the often terrifying beast that is….emotions! If you are here reading this, I genuinely hope that what I have to share is at least relatable in some way.
Let’s begin with some math: I have been on this mortal coil for 7,739 days as of today, February 10th, 2016. Of those days, I have been single 99.91% of them (I actually did do the math on this, how sad is that?). I figure that about now you might be looking back at the title of this post and thinking to yourself, “What love life?” To answer your doubts, I will say upfront that I have been in one relationship. It lasted a grand total of seven days and was a complete disaster in nearly every respect. However, I’ve been boy-crazy since the age of five and I have discovered that the source of this mania comes down to one factor that I call, the “Disney Princess Syndrome.”
[Doctor Jessica enters the room, placing on her oversized glasses and peering down at her clipboard] “Disney Princess Sydrome” affects mostly millenial and pre-millenial girls who grew up surrounded by media with female characters that psychologically impacted them over the course of their childhood, primarily of the cartoon variety. These characters, such as your typical Cinderella or Ariel, pine away for male companionship and are seen as being successful at the end of their story as they marry their respective princes. This extends into even the more modern adaptations of the “princess” genre, when more independant characters like Pocahontas and Mulan, while generally being awesome on their own, end up with a love story. Disney Princess Syndrome, or DPS for short, can even be felt outside of the animated medium, often in the romantic comedy genre. The symptoms of DPS include feeling incomplete without a significant other, going completely nutty over anyone who gives you a second glance, and doubting everything you are if you stay single for too long. If left untreated by a good smack in the head, these symtoms can follow a young girl long into her adulthood. Ask your doctor if a good smack in the head is right for you! [End of commercial]
I am afflicted by DPS, and have been since I was old enough to understand what a boyfriend was. I honestly can’t remember a time in which I wasn’t hardcore crushing over somebody, which always ended up in heartbreak. I’ve fallen for guys of every variety: too athletic, to pathetic, too fawned-over, too egotistical, too little too late, too old, and too young. To add insult to injury, I have been cursed with transparency disease: it is painfully obvious when I like someone. If you are currently reading this and wondering if you might be one of these fellows, I can pretty much guarantee that yes, you are.
On top of these Achilles’ heels of mine, I have a terrible quality in which I can’t stand when someone else possesses something that I perceive as being something I cannot also have; love, in particular. Perhaps this is why high school was such a mess: I recall having to politely ask a lip-smacking couple to move their intwined bodies off of my locker so that I might make it to geometry class on time. Couples were EVERYWHERE, and no matter what I tried or who I tried to pursue, I was being met with roadblocks at every turn.
Jokes aside, the biggest mistake was trying to change into something I thought that men would like. I tried dressing differently, wore makeup long before I probably should, tried to make my voice higher, pretended that I was less intelligent than I actually was, tried to play the damsel… All were terrible choices that made me feel like an imposter inside my own body, and hate what I saw of my body on the outside. Feeling unwanted lowered my self-esteem and created dark voices that I am still battling to this day. These are the voices that will wake you up in the middle of the night, screeching depricating, negative thoughts that will haunt you in everything you do or say.
However, when I entered college, a wonderful thing happened! Someone actually pursued me! This wasn’t a complete novelty: a few guys had been interested in me in past, but the voices always shrugged them off as most likely being a mistake. But this guy was different: he seemed so interested, so kind. He asked me to be his girlfriend in the most beautiful way that I will always hold in my heart. But in a week, he had fully revealed who he actually was; a very insecure person himself who felt the need to date anyone just to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. He ignored my request to take it slow, behaving in such a way that I greatly regret not breaking it off immediately. I shoved my head further into the sand, convincing myself that I was better off with, in the bluntest terms, a hurtful, ignorant person than being alone again. So far in the sand was my head that when he broke up with me after just seven days, I was blindsided and broken. This caused a panic attack, and that therein caused some heavy introspection.
Okay, enough with the doom-and-gloom! I immediately checked myself in to “You Don’t Need a Man” University and went on a now one-year journey in figuring out who I am without anyone else. I have taken myself on some amazing me-dates. In even just a week of dating someone, I lost all of my free time, which is now something I relish! I now know what makes me excited about living, I know what it is I want to accomplish with very few things keeping me held back. Before I can surrender myself to loving someone completely, I need one of three factors:
- I need to accomplish most of my crazy dreams.
- I need to find someone just as crazy as I am with just as much ambition as I have who will ride this crazy wave along with me.
- I need someone who will not hold me back.
I am now okay with being unwanted…for now! Even if I never find the right person, I’ll be okay with it. I’m fine with being the Liz Lemon (even though in 30 Rock, she ultimately ended up with James Marsden, further solidifying her place in my life as #lifegoals). I have the wise words of Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary echoing in my head:
“I’d rather be alone than with the wrong man.”
I envy children of today, who will grow up with awesome childhood role models like Elsa from Frozen or Merida from Brave, who truly have little to no interest in finding a significant other and are fiercely independent. And while I’m at, Disney, you can have this idea free of charge: Let’s see your next female protagonist begin her story having been horribly heartbroken. We got halfway there with Anna in Frozen, but I’m talking real, deep heartbreak! Let’s see her progress through her own journey of self-discovery!
However, this is not to say that I cannot stand less-independant characters: my current favorite is the live-action version of Cinderella (2015). Kenneth Branaugh’s adaptation gave Cinderella far more depth to her character, and she dreamed of a better life as a whole, not just a better life by means of earning a man’s affection. She still pined for her prince, but his love felt far more authentically won, and had a strong moral emphasized further by the song “Strong,” which played in the credits.
In a perfect storybook, the world is brave and good,
A hero takes your hand, a sweet love will follow,
But life’s a different game, the sorrow and the pain,
Only you can change your world tomorrow,
Let your smile light up the sky,
Keep your spirit soaring high
In summation, yes, I still want to be loved. I would ultimately like to spend the rest of my life with someone who truly loves me back. This isn’t bashing anyone in a committed relationship, or a harsh criticism of romantic media (believe me, I will be watching the hell out of Me Before You  when it comes out!). Nor is it an anti-Valentine’s post, but I am full of love for someone awesome this year; and her name is Jessica Johnson. She’s insane, nerdy, passionate, and really freaking cool. She pities the guy crazy enough to give her his heart, but also can’t wait to see where his road will take her. And if she never finds him, that’s okay too: Her road is so vast that she feels capable journeying it on her own now.
So if you are suffering from DPS, have faith: you are enough on your own. You always have been and always will be. So turn off “Someday My Prince Will Come” and turn on some “Single Ladies,” my people!
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!