When my friends ask me why I fall head first for the douchebag, why I inevitably gravitate to the boy that is emotionally unavailable, why I trip over my words in front of a challenge, I laugh and say the same thing each time: I’m a hopeless romantic.
I say the story we’ve all heard and cherished and ignored even though it was pointed, with a sharp black arrow, straight at us. I believed the best in him. He told me he wanted to commit, he just couldn’t because of work. It’s not realistic. I can change him. With me he’s different. He’s a good one, I’ll just wait till he realizes that himself.
But I love him.
I think those are beautiful excuses, and I think my self-given title of being not only a romantic but also truly hopeless is a fragile way to put myself at bay. We’d rather be tethered to something, even if the something is a faint, made-up version of ourselves.
We choose to give ourselves a title, no matter how pitiful that title may be, because he won’t give us one.
We strap ourselves into that classy niche, of being the miserable girl that has permanent mascara stains, because it is so much easier than being the strong girl that doesn’t need permanence to feel rooted.
I think we call ourselves hopeless romantics to maybe excuse it all, and hint that it’s okay.
At some point in my romantic life, I decided to take two steps back – no, two shuffles to the side when no one was looking – and I crowned myself.
I’ve crowned myself with being love-struck, but I think I’m beautiful enough not to need that accessory.
Truthfully, it’s just for show so when people ask me why I drove to his house at 2am, I have something physical to tell them. It scares me how much it works. My guy friends laugh and hug me, cuddle me, and say be careful next time. My girl friends worry about me, but tell me that they’re always here, and that they get it. All I had to say was that I was weak, give a little shrug, and my inclination toward human poison was justified, cured even. I don’t want my life to be sparked with vanity and excuses.
For that reason, I don’t want to be a hopeless romantic anymore. I also don’t want to be his 2am text anymore. I don’t want to be his friends with benefits, or his *insert stereotypical nickname for a girl you’re trying to sweet talk here*.
I think I’ve realized that a title doesn’t solve anything. The jewels on the crown cloud up eventually. It’s fragile. I want someone to flick it off of my head and see no difference. I don’t want the most interesting thing about me to be a title.
Him calling you his girlfriend doesn’t make you his girlfriend, it doesn’t make him stay or love you. Him calling you his only one didn’t promise that you were the only one. After falling for so many horrible people, I’ve realized that getting the Nicholas Spark’s plot points in your life isn’t that difficult – in fact, my most recent romance executed some of those scenes perfectly. Even after he gave me what I thought I wanted, and I thought that just for a second I wouldn’t be hopeless, he walked.
If a title is what you want, chances are that’s not what will fix your mental stress. It may surpress your doubts, but it won’t bring satisfaction.
Calling yourself a hopeless romantic doesn’t excuse you from being better. The title we want versus the title we give ourselves is a tug of war in which the winner is as irrelevant as the mind games it takes to begin. I think we’re strong and deserving enough to ditch the crown. It’s expensive, and at what cost exactly? I believe I’m going to go for a more natural option, no label necessary.
Natasha is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. The views and opinions expressed in Contributing Writer articles reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the site.
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