Monday, March 5, 2012

Why life is but a dream

I feel blog-blocked and all stopped up. My words are caught behind a bottleneck of emotions, and they have no outlet, no order, and no logical sequence. But here is the gist: everyone is happy and I am miserable. All around me people are getting together. Their happiness should have no bearing on mine, and yet it does. According to Facebook, the bearded Canadian scientist is moving to Vancouver with his girlfriend, and the man formerly known as my Not-So-Secret Admirer has changed his status from "single" to "in a relationship." My sister has a new boyfriend. Other people traverse the line separating singledom from couplehood with seemingly the greatest of ease. For other people it is a line in the sand, while for me it's an unbreachable wall, shiny-slick and higher than every man I have ever dated stacked end to end. There is no way over it. 

Watching this video yesterday almost undid me. 

I've long been a Mates of State fan, but knew nothing of their biography. Watching this video, though, I was suddenly struck by the fact that the two singers were absolutely, unequivocally, madly in love with each other. Possessed with a burning need to know if my instincts were, in fact, correct, with the aid of the Internet I found out that not only are they indeed a couple, but they have been married for ten years. They have two kids. Did you watch the video? Did you see the way he looks at her? Ten years. It was how he looked at her that almost undid me. No one has ever looked at me that way. And what I'm facing is the ever increasing possibility that maybe no one ever will. 


  1. Never say never. The world is full of infinite possibilities.

  2. I feel your pain, Rachel. I really do.

  3. I totally feel your pain too. I feel like for whatever reason I cannot overcome the hurdle from flirtation/ambiguous dating to relationship. I'm a strong believer in common denominator, but recently I went against the grain and tried to date someone I wouldn't normally date. Things had been going REALLY WELL and I was all set to start preaching for changing one's ways and setting yourself up for failure doesn't work until he told me he had this rare opportunity and was moving away. So, I guess either I have terrible luck or I have a sixth sense for relationships destined not to work- either way, I am still hopeful that me and you and the rest of us single, exasperated ladies will be able to achieve the relationship we think is so elusive.

  4. One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was that happiness is not a finite resource. Just because someone else is successful or pretty or in love does not diminish your chances of achieving/being the same. The bearded Canadian scientist and your Not-So-Secret Admirer were not the right partners for you, so their relationships don't represent failure on your part. Hey - they took two other single girls off the market, so your odds are the same, if not better.

    P.S. You're right - those two singers probably are madly in love with each other. It may help to remember that sometimes they probably also get overly tired when the kids wouldn't go the f*ck to sleep, and snap at each other about dumb stuff. And they probably sometimes get distracted and don't totally pay attention to each other. Maybe one of them occasionally even has a weird dream about the other one and is inexplicably distant for a couple days. They're still people.

  5. The way he looks at her is the way that my husband looks at me when he's playing guitar. It has nothing to do with her, or with me. They're just totally proud of what they're spewing off their musical instrument. Trust me. She (or I) could be in a different room, a different house, a different city, a different country... he'd still look like that. Seriously.

    And you only think that it's so easy for everyone else. It's not. Your time will come to cross that line and you'll realize that.

  6. I think he's looking at the guitar player... and Dawn is right, it's playing music, there is an emotion involved in it and i've watched two totally straight men sing like that to each other on multiple occasions, uh, i think.

  7. Being single is fantastic as long as you aren't looking to be coupled. I love being single, but I'm slowing starting to think it's about that time.

    We all--those of us who aren't used to the look or who've never had it--we all dream of it, even when we aren't yearning for it. That whole I've-totally-seen-you-naked-and-your-rolls-are-baked-to-perfection-and-you-are-mine-you-are-mine-you-are-mine-you-are-mine-and-I-AM-YOURS look. We dream about it, our hearts squeeze without it, our melancholy gushes like an open wound. Lack of love hurts just as much as losing it, but the feelings of inadequacy are amplified so much more - because it isn't a cliff, it isn't drowning, it isn't a rush of memory and emotion - it's dark matter and negative space, it's jumping uncontrollably throughout space and time and hoping that each jump is your last.

    And that is what those people, the ones in love, the consistent long-termers, will never, ever, ever understand.

  8. I like Dawn's explanation. She's a wise one.

  9. "Other people traverse the line separating singledom from couplehood with seemingly the greatest of ease"
    I constantly think this when I see a couple; how did it happen?! It's seems near impossible to me right now, and it's been so long I barely remember what it's like to be in a relationship; and I'm up for it, I really am. I too wonder (having just turned 30) if I have any hope of it ever happening.
    I guess I can't offer you much consolation but I really like the comment above about happiness not being finite. That's one that I shall have to remember; and you should too.

  10. Just keep on making your single life amazing and one of two things will happen - someone will come along who cannot believe the amazing woman they have landed or you will be so in love with your life that this tiny hole won't be so scary!

  11. So what happened to the guy you kissed (and liked it) back in February?

    And yes, I've been in bands where people assumed I was sleeping with the other singer because of the way we looked at each other while we sang. But it was just about the musical connection and having a ton of fun. It wasn't about love or romantic intimacy. The moral of this story is you should totally join a band!

    1. Nothing happened. Also, I can't talk about it.

      And let me know if you know any bands looking for a tambourine player. I could probably also rock a triangle. :)

  12. I think the cliche that you have to be happy with yourself/not looking for it for it to happen is often true. This can be very hard and can take a long time (about ten years for me). But truly, within about eight months of realizing that if I never got married I'd be OK, really better than OK, I ended up with a great guy. I don't know where it's headed--I have hopes of course--but I understand and believe that long-term coupledom/marriage is only one of several potential happily-ever-after outcomes. And even happy coupledom can be just a whole new set of problems and challenges.

    I feel for you because I've been where you are, but as long as you keep pining for an unknown other to make your life complete, it's unlikely that anything is going to change. You have to figure this out in your own way and your own time.

  13. To clarify, it's not that I begrudge other people's happiness in any way, or think that their being happy takes anything away from me. It's more a feeling of being left behind, of everyone else sailing off towards this great unknown and I'm still on the shore.

    1. If it helps, keep in mind what Jane says above, that they may be in love, but they're people too, which means that they also probably have fights about money and stupid stuff like why he leaves dishes in the sink when there's a perfectly good dishwasher right there, and sometimes he just wishes he could have one afternoon all to himself, or she wishes she could run off to Vegas with her friends without having to take him into account. Sometimes life is better with a partner, and sometimes it's really not.

  14. Oh, Rachel. I totally get where you're coming from.

    First: Thanks for sharing the video - had not heard about Mates of State before, and will definitely check them out! :) Before meeting each other, I bet the singers of this band also had their fair share of failed relationships and ambiguous dating/"dating".
    I also think Dawn is right - the way they're looking at each other is probably also at least in some part because of the music they're making, and the fact that they're playing together. Also, I think Megan is spot on.

    I also wanna comment on your newest post - It's OK to want what you want. I think the reason while all us single 20/30 something girls (and boys) tell each other to "not want it" is because we're spending all our energies on being independent, strong, individual. Wanting someone is admitting that we're weak, that we can't go it alone. That, in our generation, might still be somewhat of a taboo, especially amongst the "young and living in the city" types. I know "being single" has been a part of my identity for such a long time, and changing it is really scary. Once, one of my best friends even told me while I was dating a guy that was all kinds of wrong. "Why can't you just go back to being single, go back to being who you ARE?"

    I've been single for a long, long, long time - and I didn't even date for a long time, either. (Then I did and it made me a train wreck for the longest time :p ) Then, in 2011, a year when I was spending ten out of twelve months of the year abroad, I met a guy when I was at home for the summer. He came to visit me in the fall, and we became a couple. It felt strangely natural and effortless - which is new for me. We're still together, and he's wonderful (no, not all the time.) - the thing is, in the beginning I felt guilty for it. I felt like I was betraying my "team" of single girls. I still kinda do! Point is - the feeling of being weak and silly if "I wanted it" while I was single still lingers on now that I "have it". I feel guilty for enjoying it - and then I panic a bit because I feel I like it too much, and I don't want to be a person that's so dependent on another. (Part of why he likes me is my independence, he says - I'm afraid that I'll change to be "dependent" and he won't like me anymore).
    BUT - there's nothing wrong about depending on someone - or wanting to have someone to depend on! It's our silly generation, we got it all wrong and I don't know who to blame.

    I will not tell you to relax and "not want it" and it will come. To find something you will have to search for it, even if it's done absent-mindedly, and that's what I think a lot of us 20/30 something singles do - we tell each other that we don't want it and that we're happy being single and we're busy - and that is the truth. I know I was, genuinely! But, I know one part of me wanted to meet someone, too. As you say - they are not mutually exclusive.

    So, good for you for saying that you want it! We need to be less mean to each other about wanting someone other than our friends to share life with.

    I'm rooting for you, and I know the guy that's gonna look at you like this guy looks at her is out there.

    OK, rant over. I still really enjoy reading your blog, Rachel!

    -Gigi (I'm sorry I haven't commented in the longest time. I read every single blog post, though!)