When I was 19, I fell in love with a boy I met at the beach.
He was from a different country, and the idea of a movie-like, long-distance romance was alluring and exciting.
Last night, I found some old emails from those days (yeah, all our communication was by email). I was surprised by the naiveness and lightheartedness in which I expressed my feelings. Right off the bat, so outspoken and full of vibrancy—full of me.
I am not sure that I have ever been able to speak as clearly as that. No demands, no room for interpretation, no negotiation, the audacity of my love, and who I am.
It might have felt like that because it was in writing, and I literally had nothing to lose—I just went for it. I don’t recall feeling fear of rejection at all when I was writing it.
In case you’re wondering, it didn’t work out…or, well, let me rephrase that—it absolutely did.
The boy fell in love with me head over heels, and we had a beautiful international love story/adventure. What I meant is, we didn’t stay together in the end, but that’s a whole other story.
My point is, I have been told over and over again, by pretty much everyone, to this day, that women need to be chased. That we are not the ones putting out our feelings and certainly not the ones sending love letters. That it’s good to remain dismissive and appear uninterested. And though I have hardly ever followed this advice, I believed the deontological statement about the role.
However, it seems to me that this is simply not who I am.
Don’t get me wrong; I like to be chased, chosen, and asked, but it hasn’t always happened like that. Does this mean that all of those other times, when it was me on the line expressing my love, I was the one out of line?
You may be thinking, well, you haven’t really been successful in finding love, have you? And that is also true. But I certainly do not think that has anything to do with the approach of these roles at all.
What did happen, sadly, I must say, is that the approach diluted over the years. As life goes by, one develops emotional baggage, and, suddenly, there is no more of this I have nothing to lose mentality.
I lost the naiveness, the straightforwardness, and the clarity, the curiosity of what if. Instead, I gained a strategic mind that learned to manipulate situations in my favor to get what I wanted.
But this was, in fact, no gain whatsoever.
Yes, by using that strategy, I mostly got his company, his attention, and at times, even his love. But by losing the ability to openly and clearly express my feelings straightforward and lightheartedly, I lost so much more than I gained all of the times I got what I wanted.
So, who knows, it might be the time to unlearn strategies and reconnect with that naive 19-year-old, who knew nothing about love but love itself.