I’m pretty good at looking after myself, it has to be said. Not stupendously smug about it, but given that I never expected to see 30 and yet here I am two decades later still functioning in body and mind, my genuine joy in mere existence is unexpected and delightful.
I prefer being single, I’ve realised, in theory. It’s great, and it makes self-care much easier. No explanations needed re: odd habits, no apologies for accidentally trampling on carefully-nurtured, fragile preconceptions, no need to request “me” time when I need to think or write, no expectations carried or judgements made. No embrassing relatives, no dodgy friends. It’s almost perfect, apart from lack of emotional and physical intimacy and the sense that I must be wasting some essential aspect of myself known only to God and one special person.
Happy as being single makes me, I can only go so long before the need for union asserts itself. When I look back, as is my wont, I start to wonder if my mostly wonderful, occasionally nightmarish relationships have been born simply of physical attraction combined with a certain personality type. Physical desire has always been a necessary factor for me to take the risk of making myself vulnerable, but there is something beneath the surface which I can no longer deny. I am drawn to unbalanced women. I find them, they find me. Aware, unaware, there is a pattern. The great magnet pulls all souls towards truth as K.D. sang, and my truth seems to be that I experience my deeper attractions to women who are creative, intelligent and kind, but also frequently suffering, psychologically unstable, obsessive, sometimes self-abusive. I wish it were different, but I’m uncertain whether that conscious knowledge will reach my instinctual nature any time before death.
In my waking dreams, I stroll barefoot, hand in hand through warm, shallow waters, my beautiful lover and I laughing at the perils of the world which are conquered by love and loyalty, comforted by the knowledge of our compatibility.
In reality, I choose (or am chosen) unwisely. It may take months or years but however long the relationship lasts, in the end, I hang on at the waterfall’s edge, trying to prevent disaster for one or both, often cut off from the kind, loving souls in my life who would extend their hands to stop me plummeting, more lonely than I ever was being single.