I'm going to be brutally honest today. The things I say might sound contradictory to things I've said before, but it's not that I was lying to you then; it's that I was lying to myself. But I'm going to try not to do that anymore.
I met with my counselor Tina (have I talked about how incredible Tina is yet? She's the best), and we had a real heart to heart about a lot of things.
For one, I finally told someone how desperate I am.
Desperate for love. Desperate to fall in love and be fallen in love with. Desperate, in that terrible, unattractive, wrinkle-your-nose-up-in-scorn kind of way.
Anything you might hear about how ugly it is when women are desperate for love, about how much of a turn-off it is, anything negative you hear describing desperation for love — that’s me. That’s how I feel.
I finally told someone how desperate I am.
I’ve tried to hide it for so long. I hid it from myself as much as I hid it from the world, so when I wrote an article about how it’s OK to never have been kissed…I was being sincere. As sincere as I could be, without knowing how deep my desperation went.
So yes, I met with Tina and told her about my desperation.
I mentioned that one of the reasons I’m so desperate for this romantic love from a man is because, yes, I’ll admit, I believe it will add worth to my life.
There’s this deep-seated belief somewhere in the pit of my heart that if someone is never loved romantically, there must be something wrong with him or her.
Tina asked me, point-blank, “If there was a 70-year-old man who’d never married or been in a relationship, would you think there was something wrong with him?”
I hated that my answer was, “Yes.”
I know that that’s false, that there’s really nothing wrong with someone who’s never been fallen in love with, and that our worth doesn’t come from those who love us. Rather, that our worth doesn’t come from humans who love us.
But do I believe that? Absolutely not.
On the one hand, I blame myself, because this is a belief I’ve fostered and nurtured for the past 20-some years.
On the other hand, I think it’s a product of the books I read. I read so many books, and none of them ended with the heroine alone. Either someone finally came around and saw her for the beautiful, personality-full person she was, or she changed herself and then, *bam!* a boy loved her.
I was brought up in the belief that romantic love was the end-all and be-all of love. Is it any wonder, then, that I believe that’s true to this day?
All I have to live off of is my own experience, and in my experience, guys haven’t liked me. And honestly, I’ve fallen head over heels for many boys and they either don’t see me at all, or only see me as a friend.
So, I’m desperate because I doubt I will find love. I’m heartsick over that.
I try to hide this as much as possible, but one of the deepest, truest desires of my heart is to be loved and to have a relationship, an engagement, a marriage. As Proverbs says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” And I am filled with sorrow.
Again, I know in my head that all of this isn’t true. I don’t know how to make myself believe it, though.
I do know that I don’t want any other girls to grow up like this. I want the world to have stories of girls just like me: girls who are desperate for love and never get it. A teenager who never gets the guy, and she never will. And she’ll be OK.
Because in the end, I know I’ll be OK, too. Yes, I desire love. I desire to be loved, and I’m human, so I desire to be kissed and have sex and be held. I am full of sorrow because that isn’t the case. And I’m desperate, sometimes dangerously so, to make it happen.
But somewhere deep inside me is this tiny seed of knowledge that romantic love really isn’t the definition of worth.
But somewhere deep inside me is this tiny seed of knowledge that romantic love really isn’t the definition of worth. The knowledge that the 70-year-old man I mentioned before does have something to offer, and just because no woman was able to see it does not mean it isn’t the truth.
I know this not because of an imaginary man, but because of the men and women I know and love who aren’t married, and because I know how beautiful and valuable they are.
If they’re valuable, then maybe, just maybe, so am I.
This is my honest piece, my confession to you: I am desperate. Ugly-desperate. But I am willing to work through it, to find worth in others and myself. I am willing to believe that my value comes from God and His love for me, which is sure and boundless.
Even if He never chooses to demonstrate it through a man’s love —
That last sentence is unfinished because it was so painful to write. It’s physically and mentally hard for me to say that it’ll be OK, because I want, so much, to be loved.
But I’m going to continue to say it, to simply repeat the truth until I believe it.
So here goes: even if God never chooses to demonstrate His love through a man’s…I will be OK. I will be worthwhile. I am valuable. Amen.
Karis is a grad student at NYU in New York City. Her writing has appeared online with Seventeen as well as Good Housekeeping. She blogs at karisrogerson.com. To stay informed about all her writing, sign up here.
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