I am going to let you in on a widely known secret: 90% of the time my brain is occupied with romance. How to recognize it (a skill I woefully lack). How to get it (again, not my strong suit). How to define it (yeah, not great there either). How, how, how. I am, without a doubt, a romance addict. A fifteen year-old giggling girl in a thirty-six year-old woman’s body. The thing is, I wasn’t boy crazy at fifteen – that didn’t kick in till I was nearly thirty.
As a romance addict, my latest drug of choice is the Modern Love blog from the New York Times. The other day I read Albert Stern’s essay on his son’s first crush and the girl who stole his heart. A ten minute episode in the life of a two year-old that spoke to the past, the present, and the future of romantic encounters.
Romance is a constant, like prime numbers or Pi. There is a high, then a low that results in either success or failure. Or, as Stern put it: “First you have a little thrill, then a little fun, then a little disappointment, and then come the brain-eating zombies.” How true, how very true.
The muddy paths and March winds tend to bring romance to my door. My most romantic moments have happened in the month of March. This fact has led some of my family and friends to deem March my hottest month. Thus far, there haven’t been any takers in 2013, but we are only thirteen days in so there’s time.
Should romance knock, I’ll be sure to enjoy the ride while keeping an eye out for the brain-eating zombies.
I found a time capsule the other day. I’d heard a song from long ago and it sent me on a quest to find my collection of albums by the same artist. But I got sidetracked by a vision of myself from seven years ago encompassed on a discarded compact disk. The collection of songs it holds shows a moment in time when a girl loved a boy. They are a mix of artists who relate all the hopes and dreams of a girl happy to have found a boy. A mix that holds so much joy and hope and confession that transport me to that other life and that other love and the innocence of it makes me smile.
I’d forgotten about the disk and, to be completely honest, I’d pretty much forgotten about the boy too. I suppose it says a lot about the one-year, long-distance relationship I had with him. A photographer and writer, David lived in London and I lived in New York. I traveled to visit him, the boy that I loved in the city that I loved. He never made the trip to visit me – there was always a lens to purchase, a job stalking a celebrity to take, a writer’s retreat to go on.
In the end I broke it off.
I was days away from moving back to London and decided it was time to end our story. I find it funny in a sad sort of way that I chose to end our romance at the moment we could have finally seen each other everyday. I don’t regret my choice because I’d grown tired of dating an artist.
A relationship with someone who is driven by the need to create is difficult. We are in turns selfish, frenetic and distracted. We need company one moment and complete solitude the next. We need care, attention and above all, patience. Being in a relationship where both partners are artistic can either be magical or completely combustible but for me it was simply distracting. And exhausting.
I didn’t like the feeling that I was always second to his photography and my work was secondary to his own. I needed to be his first passion and I wasn’t. But on the other hand, he wasn’t mine.
I want love again, but not one of innocence and hormone-induced joy. I want a love that puts me first but understands that every now and then I need to put my need to create first. I want a love that recognizes the beauty in the mature woman standing here with scars and fears and unrealized dreams. Maybe, when I find that love, I’ll make another mix full of songs reflecting who I was, who I am and who I want to be.