The classic 10cc goes, “I’m not in love, so don’t forget it. It’s just a silly phase I’m going through.” Although released in 1975 it’s one of those songs that seeps into your life via osmosis or… adverts.
I heard it randomly the other day and I realised that as far back as I can remember I’ve always been in love. I know that sounds trite. Like something a Richard Curtis foppish, heterosexual and non-threatening male lead might say. But I have.
There was the stand offish girl in Nursery followed by the popular boy in Primary school. Both of which were innocent for obvious reasons. Then there was the cocky lad in high school and sixth form. The list goes on. All unobtainable as I peaked out through the crack in the closet doors.
I had secret and somewhat toxic relationships in between and then I fell for my friend of six years and after I came out to him I thought I could tell him. Cutting a long story short; it didn’t end well.
It was beginning to transpire that love didn’t love me.
As Valentine’s Day approaches I begin to think about what it means to be in love and whether, if unrequited love is just a figment of your imagination, it should remain that way. It occurred to me for the first time for as long as I can remember; I’m not in love; unrequited or otherwise. And do you know what? That’s okay.
In fact, after a bout of depression, I’ve been happier than I have been in a long time. Forcing myself to do the “steps” and embrace each part of my heartbreak and depression has felt like I’ve dragged myself through the last year like a huge weight. I was looking to go backwards; back to when I was myself; the affable and hopeless romantic. I said this to my therapist who decided to cut me down in the way that she does; “You can’t go back; you can only go forwards but we can reclaim parts of who we were”. They were simple words but they had a greater consequence.
So I picked up the corpse of who I was. I cried. I told friends the truth. I unburdened myself, although at times I felt like I’ve been watching my life back. All those clichés rang true and I’m now in a new place.
So what next? It’s a question that I ask myself more and more. The fact that I don’t know has its own appeal. I’m taking time out. Then I remember what people in films say (Maybe Richard Curtis films) they say you find love when you’re least looking for it. I think of this and I think other people will think I’m insane. I’m so far in my own navel that it’s no longer navel gazing but some kind of astronomy. I’m not in love with anyone but I’m open to it and that has a charm all of its own. I’m a hopeless romantic and I don’t think it’s a silly phase I’m going through.