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The musician, the bad boy, the quintessential good boy, the happily ever after. All of us, at some point, loved one or all these. Here’s a note of thanks to them!
Starting with the first man I’d ever called my boyfriend.
What you did was wrong. And what we had was problematic. The things you demanded of me (and the way you reacted when I said no) were not okay. And the fact that you were far older to me when I wasn’t even an adult made it worse.
I had second thoughts about us. And I wondered if you were right for me. If I were doing this right. When I look back today, I can see how I really didn’t have to go through all that. How I’d been made to grow up way before time.
But you know what? I hold no grudges. Rather I’m only grateful to you for having helped me learn what’s acceptable and what isn’t. For having helped me grow stronger and wiser, with more rigid boundaries for acceptable behaviour.
In the spring of my nineteenth year, I met the musician. The tall, skinny guy with the curly hair and that disarming smile. I was taken in by you like a moth by a lightbulb.
You said you’ve never met another woman like me. And claimed I’m yours for all time to come. You talked of bringing me sunshine in a jar and chasing the stars together. Of eloping and making love by the roaring sea.
Our days together were a blur of stolen hugs under the tree and the languid strains of Puriya Dhanashree on flute.
Until, one day, you changed your mind.
I don’t even remember the reason you gave. You couldn’t convince your parents? Childhood sweetheart came back? You were no longer sure yourself?
All I remember is begging you to stay, my voice thick with tears, the world around me crashing down with every minute.
Today I’m only grateful. To know better than giving up my heart to someone I met a week ago. And to value actions more than fleeting words spoken in the heat of passion. To value myself more than some guy I met the other day.
I had only just begun college when I was getting to know the Star.
You were so perfect. So inconceivably perfect. You looked like a movie star, sang like an angel, wrote poems like a lover, and had the brains of a MENSA grad. I was sure that you were my last and final shot at love and I’d never find anyone quite like you again. But you didn’t want me like that. Not the way I craved you.
I came to the conclusion that I was simply not good enough. That I was way less attractive, way less interesting, way more mediocre. I beat myself up for not being worthy. Until one day I realised that I just didn’t have to.
You’re not the brightest star in the sky. And definitely not so bright as to dim my shine. I can twinkle every bit as bright as you, and we can mutually benefit from the light the other one exudes. Our long lasting friendship has been testimony to that.
The long-haired guy with the guitar slung on his back walked into my life in the second year of college.
Sparks flew when we’d first been alone together. We found that we shared much more than a love for singing. Your fingers found just the right places on my body the way they’d find the right scale on the guitar. And your lips danced with mine like a pair of ballerinas.
We ended up completing each other’s sentences and sharing inside jokes. Watching TV and taking naps together. Sharing a beer and a single plate of Maggi.
I thought I’d found my happily ever after.
But what thwarted us, was your emotional baggage. Scars from months-old wounds that were yet to heal. Memories of your ex-lover that wouldn’t leave us be. And there was nothing I could do to lift you from the bottomless pit of despair.
I learned that some wounds are too deep to be healed with love. And I realised that you were too broken, too scarred to fully invest in me.
I learned that you needed my friendship and support.
Since then, I have realised that people have issues. That they wouldn’t always be able to love me the way I’d like them to. And that it’s completely fine and probably means there’s something better in store for me.
Many more came and went. The ‘political commentator’ whom I tried to love in spite of our vehement disagreements on almost everything. Who taught me never to settle for someone whose value systems aren’t in sync with mine. That the personal and the political are inseparable.
Then there was the engineer who lived halfway across the country, who tried to love me in spite of the insurmountable distance, and who eventually failed.
This post is a thank you note. To all the boys I’ve loved before. And to all these amazing boys who came in and out of my life, teaching me a few lessons along the way, and enriching my worldview the way only they could.
Picture Credits: YouTube
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