Sappy romance novels: who’s with me?

Good Tuesday morning!

So this weekend, I had a lot of free time on my hands, so I do what I usually do: I borrow an e-book from the library and gorge on it until I’ve read every last word.

*chomp, chomp* <– sound of me devouring the book.

This last book was a winner. Now before before you start trashing romance novels, I have to say that I find their predictability and creativity very soothing. I read A LOT of them when I was growing up. I mean dozens and dozens of Mills and Boons. I then went on to study Literature and books with a bit more gravity, but I still enjoy them. A friend who writes romance novels tell me that they are supposed to be formulaic: boy meets girl, boy likes girl, girls likes boy, they must have a fight, they make up, the end, cue the happily ever after. That part of it is comforting because I know that there’ll be happiness in the end and I’ll feel good and while the guy or the girl may make me mad or disappoint me through the course of the story, they’ll pull it together by the end of the book. On the heels of what I’ve just described, “creativity” is not the word that would come to mind as well. The way I look at it is that to have to tell a story in such a strict framework, but make it different from the thousands of other stories out there – that takes creativity. I always look forward to finding out what makes Prince Charming a dick or what makes the couple falter and how they work their way back.

Anyway, coming back to my point…what was it again? Oh right, this book I read.

Right away, the female lead character resonated with me. She is strong, independent, has her shtuff together, career, house, car, good friends in her life, supportive family, etc. What she didn’t have was a man. The writer wove this wonderful picture of a successful but lonely woman who wanted to find the right person. She wasn’t pathetic, she didn’t hate men and thought they were all dogs (sorry guys), she wasn’t controlling, she wasn’t mean. She was just single and didn’t want to be. I appreciate that portrayal.

Of course, in the end, she fell in love with the man of her dreams, but what I liked most about the story was that it wasn’t an easy road (which was part of the formula, of course), but she stuck it out. I think at times, I feel because I do have my independence, it’s extremely easy to ‘pass’ on any kind of hardship. It’s easy to walk away from a man with baby mama drama or someone who hasn’t progressed in life at the same pace as me. It’s easy to dismiss things that make life a little harder because I have full control. What the character did was inspirational to me. She had hurdle after hurdle to make it to the happy ending, but all along the way, the writer seemed to be telling me (personally, I would like to think) that sometimes you have to fight for what you want. Sometimes something good is shrouded in bad and, yes, while it’s not easy to deal with difficult in-laws or your partner’s children who don’t like you or friends who think your new man is a dick, but you have to ask yourself, “What do you want ultimately?”

The lead character asked herself throughout the story, “You love this man and it’s not an easy road to go down with him, but you’re going down the road together.” The writer was also trying to tell me that while I have a good life alone, I can also have a good life with someone else in it (Duh!) but with that comes compromise and acceptance that things will not always go the way I want.

Anyway, the point is that I’m a romantic and these books always make me feel so sappy and girly and I did swoon a couple times but I do take something I can use from every story. It helps me keep my faith in romance alive….even if there’s no romance to be had at the moment.

Um, in other news, I get a new tattoo this week. Pictures to follow…after it passes the scabby phase, of course.

I know I’m a day late, but you guys have a good week!

V

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Oh to be young again!

Remember the last time you had a crush? A couple of my friends have been throwing around the word lately, which feels weird because we’re in our thirties. Aren’t crushes and swooning for teenagers? I am an expert on teenage crushes having had many, many crushes myself when I was younger.

I was looking for a poem to share today and I found this one I wrote last year. From the looks of it, I had a crush on someone who had a crush on me. (I know who it is, but I won’t say. I’m blushing as I’m typing this!) I guess I wanted him to make the first move, which obviously never happened.

Nevertheless, I think crushes are fun. They keep you dreaming, they keep you giddy and nervous and in a constant state of anticipation, which, as an adult, you might need sometimes. It’s even more intense when your crush might have a crush on you! A crush then becomes this vortex of fantasy, a longing and wishing until one day one of you fights back the fear and says, “I think you’re kinda awesome.”

Siiiigh.

The Crush by Vikera Hunte

He plays with my mind

like a kitten with a ball of string.
He touches, then runs away –
intrigued but scared
wanting to but not wanting to
and then not wanting to but still wanting to

“See you soon,” he says.

Maybe one day
he’ll want me enough to not be scared
Or not want me enough to let me go.

Maybe one day
desire will overcome fear.

Maybe.

What it means to love

You know there are things that you read and you think, “Wow, that’s 2 (or 15) minutes of my life I’ll never get back.” Then there are things that you read that stay tucked away in the pocket of your mind and you can’t shake it loose. I want to share something with you that stayed with me. It was clear, true, and came from a place of such honesty.
While it does sound like instructions, it’s really more about the complexity of loving someone. It’s those unspoken feelings and unexpressed insecurities wrapped up in fear and confusion. Of course, all of this does not hold true for everybody everywhere, but it’s the sentiment behind it that resonates with me. Love is often in the actions, not the words. Then again, sometimes it’s not even in the actions. It’s complicated.
This piece reminds me of what it means to love. While I’m waiting, it’s easy to romanticize about finding the ‘perfect’ person. It’s easy forget about what it feels like to get hurt and feel insecure and disappointed. It’s easy to make yourself feel like, “He’ll understand me. He’ll know everything about me. We’ll always get along. I’ll always be happy.” This piece reminds me that it’s not always that simple.
The point is love is messy and not always straightforward, but when it grabs a hold of your heart…hmmm….

When she walks away from you mad:
Follow her.

When she stares at your mouth:
Kiss her.

When she pushes you or hits you:
Grab her and don’t let go.

When she starts cussing at you:
Kiss her and tell her you love her.

When she’s quiet:
Ask her what’s wrong.

When she ignores you:
Give her your attention.

When she pulls away:
Pull her back.

When you see her at her worst:
Tell her she’s beautiful.

When you see her start crying:
Just hold her and don’t say a word.

When you see her walking:
Sneak up and hug her waist from behind.

When she’s scared:
Protect her.

When she lays her head on your shoulder:
Tilt her head up and kiss her.

When she steals your favourite shirt:
Let her keep it and sleep with it for a night.

When she teases you:
Tease her back and make her laugh.

When she doesn’t answer for a long time:
Reassure her that everything is okay.

When she looks at you with doubt:
Back yourself up.

When she says that she likes you:
She really does more than you could understand.

When she grabs at your hands:
Hold hers and play with her fingers.

When she bumps into you:
Bump into her back and make her laugh.

When she tells you a secret:
Keep it safe and untold.

When she looks at you in your eyes:
Don’t look away until she does.

When she misses you:
She’s hurting inside.

When you break her heart:
The pain never really goes away.

When she says its over:
She still wants you to be hers.

~Author Unknown

 

Why can’t I just sleep…..

….and dream about being chased my monsters like regular people?

Yesterday morning, I woke up in a really frustrated mood. I don’t know why. Sometimes, I find things fester in my mind overnight, so by the time I wake up, I’m stirred up nice and good. I lay there in bed after waking up thinking about my life. I was thinking that no matter how busy I get or how good I feel or how happy I am, about 5% of myself feels lonely and has a deep longing to share my life with someone special. It’s always there. Thankfully, it’s not a feeling that supersedes my enjoyment and I’m able to (thus far) live in the moment and don’t start thinking in ‘what ifs’. Then I sighed.

When I get in that pensive mood, more often than not, I start thinking about the usual. I think, how is this all going to work? What if I do fall madly in love with a man and he doesn’t fully appreciate all that I have to offer? I’ve heard many stories about women being taken for a ride. Stories where strong, confident women who have been single for a while, finally meet someone they connect with and these men walk in, take what they want and leave behind disillusion and disappointment. Then I got mad. I thought in my best Trini accent, “I can’t be waiting so long for a man for him to come in here and play the fool!”

What resulted from my 15-minute pondering was this FB status:

I hope it is crystal clear that I’m not looking for a man just to make up numbers at the dinner table. I’m looking for a partner, friend and a damn hard worker!

Falling in love is easy. Staying in love and maintaining respect and trust is what will separate the men from the boys. Men work. Boys play.

I think the more I wait, the more pressure there is for things to go smoothly. I don’t just want a partner, I want a GOOD partner and I’m worried that there’ll be too much pressure when the time comes. As I said, I go on living my life, raising Kidlet, going to work, spending time with friends, writing, playing, LIVING, but under it all, there’s a soft hum of anticipation and anxiety. I try not to worry about the future, but it happens. I’m just glad it doesn’t happen all the time. Usually, something happens to trigger a cascade of emotions and then it’s gone.

What I know to be true is that I can’t fabricate a person, I can’t MAKE someone compatible fall in love with me, I can’t stop wanting a partner, but I also can’t pretend that I’m perfectly fine on my own, so I wait.

What to do with a man

So a few days have passed and I have been stewing about this ‘what can a man bring to a table that already has a breadwinner sitting at the head of said table‘ thing. (When I say breadwinner here, I mean, provider of all the family’s needs, not necessarily only financial support.)

I can give you a list of single women in my life who are breadwinners and they’re doing a damn good job too! Almost all of these single women are looking for a partner. Hmmmm…the questions are:

Where is the line between being head of a house and being a woman? Does there have to be line? Can we do both? Are those two roles mutually exclusive?

Think about this. As a single woman, you meet a guy, you get to know him. You tell him that you have a job, you pay your bills, you are raising a child/children, you have a car, you have friends, you have responsibilities. Do you think he thinks that you need him? He knows that his job is to get your attention, so that he can be on the roster too. I think it’s up to you, if you like him, to show him that while, yes, you are Superwoman, you know how to be a regular woman too…more specifically, HIS regular woman.

In my post-divorce dating, which is NOT extensive by any means, I had a good experience with a man I was dating. It was clear to him from the beginning that I had my life together, and it was clear to me from the beginning that he intended to be part of it.

I remember one time we were going on a date in the city, and I was driving. I usually gas up for the week, so on the way downtown, I swung by the gas station. He offered to pay for my gas. Not just $20 to get us there and back, but to fill it up. I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. Why would or should he pay for my gas?! I laughed it off and I told him no. He insisted, then I seriously told him no. Then he said, “Alright, then I’ll pump the gas.” So he did and I really appreciated it.

What I was telling him was:

a. I can pay my own bills.

b. I want him to be part of my life, not sitting as a passenger, but as an active participant.

c. There is room for him in even the routine, mundane things.

d. Sure, I can do it myself, but I acknowledge that he is part of the team and I can step back and let him take a role in it!

What he was telling me was:

a. I want to take care of you.

b. I know you have your own life but I want to be a part of it.

c. I can be patient and let you show me where your boundaries are.

d. You can pay for your gas today, but you now know that it’s something I’m willing to do if you let me.

A man, a real man, wants to take care of his woman, even if she can take care of herself. Then I guess that a woman has to let him be that man and let him take care of her in a way that she is comfortable. I think, that’s where things go sideways sometimes. Maybe sometimes the man will expect her to be a woman right away and when she doesn’t fit his expectation, he’ll find her controlling and inflexible. Maybe sometimes the Superwoman will forget that he wants to be part of her life too and might make him redundant and have him sitting on the sidelines while she carries on with the business of things. In a perfect world, the two people deciding to embark on this journey will try to compromise and work together.

Sigh…it’s very tricky! Finding a good man is hard enough as it is and then you have to deal with all these nuances!?

Anyway, long story short about what I’ve learned from writing this:

If/When I do find a partner, there is room for him in my life for him and I have to remember to show him that. I’ll remember what it’s like to just be a woman and he’ll remind me what it’s like to have a man in my life.

Hmmm….I don’t know if I’ve explained this properly or if I’ve just botched the whole thing…

V

p.s. This is such a loaded topic for me! It wasn’t easy for me to write this and even now, I’m not 100% convinced this is publish-able, but I’m releasing it into the world! Good, bad or ugly!

Crushes, pining and virginity

You know what? When I read my diary, it’s like watching the gears turn in the back of a watch. I see myself as I am today so clearly on the pages on those ink-stained books. It’s fascinating to see how little I have changed in the course of almost two decades. My views on love still seem to be the same. Does it mean that I haven’t grown in all those years or does it mean that despite the ups and downs, I have been able to hold onto an untainted view of romance and love?

The themes of my entries for about five years are crushes, pining and staying a virgin. Every entry was on one of those three.

In my diary, I write about my many, many crushes! Boys, who I liked over the years, range from tutors to classmates to co-workers. None of them are physically alike – meaning I don’t have a type. I was and am still primarily attracted to something intangible when it comes to men. I guess I have always found value in compatibility more than physical attraction. I write about a genuine smile or kindness or gentleness or a sense of humour. That much hasn’t changed. I still maintain that physical attraction can change over time, but the characteristics of a person stay the same and the thing that brought you together will keep you together!

I also seemed to have spent many years pining. Pining for someone to love me, pining for happiness, pining to be complete with another person. It doesn’t really make much sense since I didn’t actually crush on guys who were interested in me. Ha! I seldom seemed to like guys who liked me back. What’s up with that? Maybe it’s a fear of intimacy? Maybe it’s a fear of being hurt. I go for what I know I can’t get so I can’t be hurt. Crushing on someone who doesn’t want you is definitely safer and infinitely more exciting than crushing on someone who thinks you are the sun! Reciprocity opens the door to hurt and panic. I am still like that today. If I make eye contact with someone across the room, if he only gestures as if he may walk over, I’m in the washroom hiding out in 5 seconds flat! Sigh.

What I do like is that as a young adult and now, I seem to be clear as to what I want out of a relationship. In those pages, I see a person coming of age with a clear understanding of morality and equality that still holds true today. I wrote about not wanting to be pressured to go ‘all the way’.

I can’t stand a guy who brags about his sexual capabilities. It annoys me. For example, every guy I know seems to think they are the hottest things on legs. Worse if they know I’m a virgin. They always try to convince me that they could get me to go all the way.

I never did succumb to the pressure, which shows my strength of resolve. Well, I’m no longer a virgin, but I do still stand for what I believe regardless of outside pressure.

So what does this all mean? I guess it means that I’m true to myself over the years. I have the same values and expectations. The only difference is that while I was younger, it seemed urgent to fall in love. Now I see that while at times I do have that sense of urgency, I know now that it’s better to wait and be happy. Well, after all the angst in my twenties, I did eventually get married and had a beautiful child, so it all turned out okay (minus the whole divorce thing!). Maybe this round of crushes, pining and almost virginity (Sigh.) will be just as good!

Love

Love is stronger than any addiction. Hell, it is one! — Madea
I asked her if she believed in love, and she smiled and said it was her most elaborate method of self-harm. — Benedict Smith

Love is powerful and has the ability to make us soar higher than any eagle that ever took to the skies. It also has the ability to make us sink us to such a dark, deep place we feel we might never see the light again.

It can also make us feel everything in between, and the in between…hmmmm….the in between is the sweet spot.

[Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without permission.]

[Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without permission.]