This week it has come to my attention that yet another societal norm is infringing on my wellbeing.
Sod off society. You're infringing on me again.
It's all those love-focussed memes and quotes. The ones that tell me how to find love, how to keep love, and most importantly, how to recognise when the love I've got isn't up to scratch.
You know the ones I mean. They're not new. If you don't, here are some examples -
'If he can't deal with you at your worst then he doesn't deserve you at your best'
'Wait for the guy who sweeps you off your feet and into his heart'
'If he kisses your forehead and tickles your elbow, he's the one'
'Don't settle for anything less than the man who doesn't exist because you've built him up in your head so much that no actual human man could ever hope to compare with the imaginary Adonis you are hoping to finally meet...'
With a picture of some hands holding. Or the sea.
Or some shit.
I've probably over thought this.
But I think there's a point to be made. And by God I'm going to try and make it. In a convoluted 'will she ever get to the point?' kind of way.
I've got this boyfriend. He's alright.
I don't mean that in a negative way. He is. He's pretty cool. He makes me laugh, says nice things and there's lots that I admire about him.
He pisses me off too sometimes. But then again, every time we watch a Disney film with his kids, he has to put up with me wearing my sunglasses for half an hour indoors before I can STOP WEEPING. I imagine that's only charmingly quirky the first... never - it's never charming. It's weird.
But sometimes I read these blogs and memes about how my relationship is supposed to be and I start to worry.
I'm told that I should wait for someone who loves every single thing about me. That someone out there will forgive me my short comings and never ever hurt my feelings or let me down.
And I'm warned that if I end up with someone who doesn't tick all of these boxes and make me feel 100% super cool at all times then I have...
(Dun dun derrrrr...)
If they're to be believed, there is someone out there who never snaps because they are trying to finish a piece of work and you are asking them about Britain's Got Talent; or because they haven't eaten since breakfast. Someone who never responds to a situation emotionally with anger or fear. They have ZERO hang ups or trigger points when it comes to dealing with a relationship. They never get jealous or paranoid, they never make jokes that go a little bit too far.
We know that the media brain washes us into thinking that there is a perfect physical shape for our partners to be, but it's also becoming the case that these kind of articles are also training us to insist upon a perfect mental and emotional shape too.
Generation Y are the most unhappy generation yet. We've been taught to expect perfection. That we deserve perfection. If we just wait, the universe will deliver. Because I'm me and I'm SPECIAL. And I won't have to put any effort in at all. Just a bit of swiping. And then if (when) we don't get what we were expecting we feel as if we've failed.
But do these emotional super models really exist? I'm sure there will be people who tell me after they read this that they have found their golden dodo - the partner who never fucks it up at all. And good for them. I don't disbelieve them. I mean, I do. A bit. But if that's what you think then cool. Fine. WEVS.
But even if these perfectly balanced humans really do exist out there somewhere, then Jesus, what hope is there for the rest of us?!
We, the slightly broken - the ones with crappy dads who gave us abandonment issues or messy break ups that make it hard to feel we can ever trust anyone - let alone ourselves - ever again. We are truly fucked aren't we?
Because I'm damn sure I don't fit this description of perfection. Just as my body has lumps and bumps that I'm not overly proud of and wish would go away, I have similar blemishes on my emotional self.
Although I do have a relatively high level of emotional literacy - in that I largely understand why I react in the way that I do.
I cry. That's what I do.
Frustrated? Tears. Hurt? Tears. Tired? Hungry? Bored? Thinking about a thing that happened about eight years ago?
I react emotionally to everything. I am seriously anxious. I need to know what time it is at any given moment (That's a bit odd. I appreciate that.)
So SOMETIMES, I MIGHT behave in a way that is not helpful. I might overreact.
And the current Mr Lucy puts up with that shit. He doesn't LOVE it.
Just like I don't love the way he doesn't engage his FUCKING brain before he opens his mouth.
Him - ooh, your hands feel really soft.
Me - Oh do they? Thanks! That's nice.
Him - Yeah. Like the pads of a gorilla.
But that's the other issue I have with all of this. It puts too much emphasis on this mystical other person providing you with joy and well being. It makes it their job to soothe your soul. I'm sad - make me better. I'm hungry - feed me*.
That seems like a lot of pressure to me.
What's wrong with a bit of self regulation? A bit of self soothing?
Sort your own shit out.
Of course your partner should want to be there for you.
They might hand you the proverbial glue, but in the end it's not their responsibility to mend you. It's yours.
Look, when it comes down to it, are you happy?
Can you bear to spend another moment with this person as you both wait for death?
Are you having a nice time?
Does it feel good? (Steady, oi oi, ooh er, etc etc etc...)
And for me, right now, that answer is yes.
I guess we try to be patient with each other and accept that sometimes the other person is just a bit of a knob today.
I don't think we've settled for each other. We've chosen.
It's not perfect. But it's ours.
Put that in a fucking meme.
*Having read this through, the boyfriend would like it stated that in actual fact he is extremely proficient at feeding me when I am hungry.
It's true. He is.