What is funny is that most people who read the title of this blog are immediately thinking of romantic/dating/marriage possibilities, because we think that “that’s the thing,” but that is not the thing. Not remotely. Not for me. I’m the “thing.”
That is so not the thing that – for the past 2 years – I have not been on any dating apps/sites nor gone on a single date or even flirted a man with the thought, “I would like to get to know you,” and no part of me felt alone or as if I was missing anything. There were zero feelings of “needing” or “wanting” a man in my life, and what is so interesting is how phenomenally bizarre people found this to be as if being okay with *just* oneself and not seeking anyone to “add to” my life or “complete” it was so weird. & here is the thing… I lived my life from this place for a long time… about 20 years as I had been so deeply programmed to believe that my life required a “life partner” – that, somehow, my lifelong insecurities could be negated and my self-worth could be validated by the addition of a man wanting me for the duration of his whole life – and marriage and kids (read: a linear life that looked like – & I am not judging or hating here because #toeachtheirown – most others’ linear lives).
Note: I am truly not judging, but I also believe that so many people are living their current lives – ones that they very well may even derive extreme joy and satisfaction from (but I know so many who are not and are, instead, living lives of quiet misery) – because of “what most people do”/”what is expected”/fear/lack/pressure/not ever being informed that they even had a choice…); that last one absolutely kills me… Lord, if only I had me of now to advise and inform me of back then, me of now would be living a very different life… one where I did not define both my worthiness and measure of life satisfaction by sizing my life up against that of others (re: my career, the “outcomes/results/success” of my life, relationships, appearance and more) and, so unfortunately, seeking – & therefore, perpetually feeling a lack for not having – partnership-with-the-intent-of-marriage which was something that I had so deeply internalized that I had to have.
& I am sorry, but – if you get married or are married – while I am, 100%, so happy for you in earnest, you have not succeeded at nor have you accomplished anything. If this offends you, I challenge you to ask yourself why. I mean, sure, you get congratulated at this “milestone” on your big day (& I, too, will gush and congratulate you, because I love LOVE & #romanceerrthing is my personal jam), but WHAT HAVE YOU ACTUALLY DONE? & that, too, what have you done that makes so many married folks believe that they are better than “still singles.” I mean… you have not arbitrarily crossed some threshold of being a better person, contributing more to society, or leaving a meaningful legacy (simply having children, by default, does not mean this is taking place); you literally just signed up to “do life” with someone and that is awesome and all, but, still, it is not an accomplishment.
Anywho, I just had to get that off of my chest, because I cannot tell you the number of extremely trifling people who have said stuff to me like, “Are you dating anyone? Why haven’t you gotten married yet? Don’t you want to get married? You didn’t find anyone? You must be really picky.” First off, good-sense-incompetents, why is ANY OF THIS YOUR BUSINESS? & that, too, when we (98% of the time) have no personal or meaningful connection otherwise. Like… for example, when you see that completely random family friend or Auntie at a party after 5 years and that is the first thing they say, and these same people – when you were actually “looking” through most of your 20s and early 30s – did not once think of you, reach out, or even lie and say that they would think of someone for you (as happens in India by everyone who knows you exist as soon as you have either crossed an age/education/career threshold).
All that being said, I have greatly digressed, so… back to “the possibilities I’m exploring in India.” Yes, I am open to exploring relationship possibilities here (more on that later), but the main thing I am exploring is my personal joy/satisfaction/fulfillment/feeling that I am making an impact. This is 100% about ME and – should a meaningful connection happen with someone – I am open to exploring that, but that is NOT why I am here. Allow me to explain… Multiple people have (& I love them for it, because they are my family and this is all coming from a place of genuine love) – from my brother to my dad to many relatives in India – emphasized the urgency of this one month (that I have extended my trip for) and that “this” (the jeevan saathi/life partner search) should be my primary pursuit. My only pursuit actually and that I “shouldn’t worry about all of this meeting of contacts/networking/professional pursuit efforts” or the paid public speaking gig I secured or anything along those lines.
To those people (& as I have already expressed my heart to them in person), while I am open to meeting someone, that is not my primary pursuit or life purpose. To clarify, yes, I am open after a long time, but that openness is not due to a feeling of lack but due to a feeling of extreme wholeness and completeness; I am, for the first time in my life, fully confident in myself in a way that only came from doing the deep work of being with myself and by myself in an effort to truly know and understand myself, all from which I realized how I am not only “enough” – an insecurity that permeated my entire existence – but I am everything and that there is nothing at all to be “completed.” Accordingly, I am not operating from scarcity/fear/lack, so I feel that I could fold someone into my life who would be an actual partner rather than something from which I would be seeking validation/affirmation/completion.
Therefore, I am pursuing my lifelong love for India first and foremost and my wish to be – even if naive to think I could – do something that makes an impact here. As many of you know, I have always felt this profoundly deep, spiritual, soulful, powerful, indescribable, and completely “illogical” (or so people say) compulsion towards and connection to the Motherland; I feel my most authentic, alive, vibrant, charming, endearing, bright, light, shiny, impactful, clear-minded, and glorious self here than anywhere else in the world and always have. & every time I have come to India and had that feeling, I felt like – along with being explicitly told “by people looking out for my best interest” – it was “just me being emotional and impractical” and I was “only saying that” and that I “couldn’t live here” and, well, you get the point. You know that feeling of exposing your heart’s deepest desires only for those who (allegedly) “just want what’s good for you” to douse all of your hopes and dreams with their practicality-filled buckets while stomping on any embers just in case you may still dare keep some hope alive…
& yes, yes… I know these people love me and actually do want the absolute best for me, but through their own lenses/experiences/measures and I have, therefore, been misunderstood by nearly all of them for nearly the entirety of my life and – for most of theirs as it relates to me – they have tried to “inspire” me to see the “right way” and do the “right things” and take the path most traveled when all I have ever wanted was to “just be me.” However, “me,” who I actually was (have always been and still am) – someone who is fundamentally divergent to my core – was not okay. As a result, I spent my entire life desperate to be told, “That’s okay… You’re okay… No, you’re amazing actually… Go live your big and amazing, one & only life, you glorious human, you,” but, instead, people felt more comfortable with me “taking the path most traveled” and stepping into their comfortable boxes with them and making a home there. I don’t know if anyone else can relate, but it is a rather tortured life always hoping someone might understand your heart – & validate and affirm how you feel and who you are – only to realize that nearly no one does.
So that, my friends, is what this trip is about. 1) I am not seeking affirmation/validation/approval from anyone outside of myself any longer; I did that for almost FORTY YEARS, so am just done & 2) I am, therefore, also so done living by anyone’s standards or being emotionally manipulated and that, too, by my parents (I have one of their blessings #guesswhichone) who left their home in the 1970s to move across the world and speak to their parents maybe thrice a year and see them hardly ever. Note: please do not come at me suggesting that I am selfish or do not love my parents. Ermm… I love my parents more than life itself and if that is not glaringly obvious to you, you have not been paying attention or are BLIND. I mean… so much so that I would literally trade my every joy for theirs and one would hope that living with them on & off for 10.5 years in a place that pains my soul but is only made “okay” because #family (each time knowing I shouldn’t return but still coming back because of my attachment to them), spending a month preparing for their trip to India, and signing up to be with them for one month straight in India (when I could have been enjoying a one month vacay from them) would make one particular parent feel that I was devoted or cared “enough,” but, alas, none of it counts.
& while I love that parent completely, I am also done trying to be pleasing to them and am, therefore, unburdening myself from the lifelong burden placed on me to (via their impressing upon me their measure of success as defined by society’s measures of success & “log kya sochenge”/what other people think) be the thing (the story/the outcome/the result) that makes them somehow feel validated about their own life and life’s choices. That is not my job. My job is to live my best life possible just as they decided to do 40+ years ago, and that doesn’t mean “India forever;” instead, it means I am OPEN to here, because I am done ignoring how here has felt for me my whole life.
& back to the guy thing… I refuse to make that my primary pursuit. I am someone who so deeply requires my own “astitva” (identity), and I say that after being willing to blend/morph into whatever guy I was dating found most pleasing and appealing), so I am not looking for my better “half” – again, I am whole, always have been, but just had no idea and no one ever bothered to tell me – nor am I searching for companionship or “security” (I swear, it seems as if women are sold the lie their whole gdang lies that men are their primary method of security in life; I can think of nothing that undermines their worthiness or self-expression/purpose in life than such a notion, because we can give that to our own goddamn selves if only we are empowered to believe we can and that we are enough). Anything I need or want, I can give to myself, so someone must compliment my life and add to it while absolutely celebrating my need/want to do my own thing; if I met someone, they would need to see me as an equal partner with my own ambitions/wants/desire,s and they would need to honor my wanting to pursue them. Accordingly, I am making that (that which I know I can do, be, make happen, and have here all on my own) my priority and – should someone compliment that – then so be it, but I will feel no lack or disappointment if that does not happen, because that was never (& should, at no point in life, never have been) the “thing.”
Again, I’m the thing. It only took me 39 years to know it, but I am so grateful to finally know now…
Thank you for reading and with so much love,