I think there is a lot to be said about affection and attention in this world. I grew up in a generation that spent their teenage years surrounded by social media and dictated with what attention they were grasping from different sources. I think many of us were hung up on the idea of love, so much so that we have lost the true meaning of it. We long for attention and affection, and when we cannot source it from every corner of our lives, we feel as if we are not loved and as if we have failed as human beings, when this simply is not the case. We are in constant search of something more, almost god like; this something that cinema depicts to us. We strive to have this unattainable desire towards others, and for others to have such a strong desire towards us; two people who have such strong emotions towards each other that their lives are almost combined- this is what is presented to us by Joe and Clementine in ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.’
I love the notion of erasing someone completely from your brain after they cause you pain. I am sure we have all had this thought. The ‘I wish I’d never met you’ after someone hurts us so much that we would rather remove all the good memories we have with them, in order to make the pain go away. However, as we all know, this simply is not possible. I believe that the hurt and pain we gain from the world around us are only steppingstones to whoever we are meant to be; maybe you are not meant to be with that person, or maybe you are not meant to go to that place or go to that event. Life is so complicated and built up so much on circumstance and impulsive decision that it is almost impossible to control life to go your way. In the simplest terms, I guess what I am trying to say is everything happens for a reason; you get your heartbroken so you can grow as a person and grow thicker skin for the next time you inevitably get hurt. It is all a learning process and is something I find to be quite beautiful.
I am a sucker for a good love story- I find it to be bittersweet as I am not hugely in search of my own. I enjoy observing and I think watching a love story where you can be emotionally invested and feel all the things the characters feel can be quite stunning. However, I also enjoy the fact that I can watch the end credits, go home, and go to sleep, knowing that I am not dealing with the hardships that the characters of these films are facing. I am not saying that we do not all deal with struggles, but I do like the fact that I am not actively seeking that love and validation, with the knowledge that I would get hurt in the end anyways. I feel quite content with my own life and with living it on my terms- not having to check my schedule next to another person’s. There is a lot of beauty to be found in self-love and being able to give yourself all the things a partner could give to you. I preach to many of my friends that we are the ripe age for self discovery, and that we should all be alone in order to go into the world.
This is not to say I do not believe in love, but I do not believe in the constant search for validation from another human being. I am surrounded by wonderful loving friends who inspire me and motivate me to be the best version of myself, and a large family who support me in all my endeavours. I simply do not believe that the search for love is worth it, and I currently love being alone. I find love in smaller places in my life, and sometimes I find that to be worth a whole lot more than any relationship or entanglement I have had previously. But I see love between the people I see everyday: couples who walk down the high street hand in hand and my friends who have been in loving relationships. Sometimes love, although brief, can be a great way to learn about yourself and how you respond to certain situations.
As I said before, I like to observe, and to observe other’s happiness so that my faith in humanity can be restored. There is a beautiful word for this- sonder. By definition, it means: the realization that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. I get the realisation that every single ‘happy’ couple that I pass in the street probably has their own disagreements and what I like to label as ‘teething’ (the jigsaw pieces that do not quite slot together when two people are in a relationship together). I guess what I am trying to say is we need those hardships in our relationships, even platonically, to learn about ourselves and how we interact with others. And I find great beauty in knowing there is always pain that comes with happiness, but also happiness that comes with pain. It is a bittersweet and aggravating reality, but one that I believe must be learnt by us all.