Here I was, laying across my bed. Janet Jackson’s “That’s The Way Love Goes” was playing on the record player that I had just thrifted. I was zoning in and out of a conversation with someone telling me “I think we’d make great friends….” This was the second guy in the past 6 months that had friend zoned me and so I drifted back and forth between “am I ugly(s)” and nonchalant “me too(s).” I couldn’t help but wonder when I’d find someone to call my lover.
Over my many years of searching for “the one,” I’ve found myself attracting the same energies with no luck in the love department. I always seemed to end up in meaningless rendezvouses that lasted for only three months leaving me with self doubt, and this time was no different. So I allowed myself to slip down the rabbit hole of singlehood….
Am I broken? Is it my fault? What about me attracts the wrong people? Do I really want a relationship?
Upon seeking the answers for these questions, I decided to dive deep into my subconscious to understand how and why I formed my definitions of love, relationship, and intimate interactions with the world. I wanted to see if my actions in love reflected my definitions of love.
Growing up I , like most LGBTQ+, only had the example of love and relationships presented by my family and TV. As a result, my failed relationships mimicked everything I saw and didn’t see. I was experiencing the world through the eyes of my parents and not with my own eyes. My actions were contrived and I would always feel like I was letting my parents down when I got into a same sex relationship. My relationships were doomed before they even started because of my childhood memories of what a relationship looked like. I was comparing what I had to what society had. However, it wasn’t adding up. I was waiting on the ball to drop, not realizing that the ball was never in play.
My need for love was defined by the love my mother and father shared. I started defining the very essence of what I needed in a relationship by setting aside the parts of my family that made me feel the safest and the warmest.
I was looking for someone to love me like my mom and dad loved one another and so my disappointment in every relationship was a result of not defining love for myself. That’s when I realized that I am not my father nor am I my mother. I am a different person all together and so I require a different love. Understanding this helped me answer all my questions.
Of Course, I’m not ugly; at least not to me (and that’s all that matters :). Yes, I was broken; but only because I hadn’t been “put together” the right way. No, it wasn’t my fault or anyone else’s. I was loving the best way I knew how. Yes, I wanted a relationship, but not the ones I saw growing up and so I definitely didn’t want the ones I was entertaining. I wanted one that reflected who I was.
Being gay, it can be very easy to utilize traditional standards that don’t quite fit a non traditional love life. The simple fact is, we will never have our mom’s and dad’s relationships because we are not them. We are individuals who have forged paths far more complex than anything our parents and society could ever think of. In order to love someone correctly and receive a true love, we have to let go of our early definitions of what love was and work to define what our love will be.
As a romantic, it is easy to feel defeated It’s easy to feel that love is lost. As long as I am seeking an old love, I will always be three months away from questioning my heart’s purpose. So I am consciously searching for a new love while reminding myself that love isn’t lost…
It’s just not where I’ve been looking.
(Now Listening to Jody Watley: Looking For A New Love)
~ Schollar The Artist