Tick tock on the clock, time is running out. I hear it louder and louder each day. Am running but can I ever catch up?
Tick tock . Tick tock.
Please make it stop!
It’s jungle out here and just like a Giselle in the Serengeti being stalked by a hungry lion, I’m exposed and powerless. How do you survive when you’re destined to be prey? How do you change the narrative and take control of your destiny?
When I was younger, life seemed easy, I had a plan and I was simply going to execute it. A good life with a handsome husband and two children in tow by the age of 30. Needless to say, that didn’t quite work out. I’m a single 28 year old who can’t seem to hold down a relationship. SHIT!
I always thought getting through school would be the hardest part of life. I was obviously mistaken. The countless hours I spent learning about photosynthesis and how to solve for X would have gone to better use if someone had just taught me how to navigate dating in the 21st century. A life skill I would have definitely benefited from.
As funny as it sounds, I genuinely think I would have benefited from a course or something because am I’m failing so hard. People always say, ‘love has no formula and it will happen in due time’. Don’t look for it, it will find you’. Hmm, where? In my house?
Online dating is meant to be an easy way to connect with like minded individuals. The whole idea is to build different connections, usually romantic ones. You could possibly swipe your way into Prince Charming’s arms. However, in my experience online dating is challenging, emotionally exhausting and physically draining.
I can handle the exhausting hours of swiping left and right. I can even read through countless profiles and have a hundred meaningless conversations about ‘where am from and what I do for a living’. But what I can’t seem to get with is the culture of lies that seemingly holds online dating together. No one ever seems to tell the truth. We are all on this quest to find love in what appears to be the most emotionally brutal way we could think of.
I met someone and they felt like a God sent. Done with the games, I put all my cards on the table, opened up my heart and dived in, head first.
Floating on my cotton candy cloud, I was reaching for the stars and feeling amazing. He said what I’ve always wanted to hear and did things movies are made of. Like a lamb to the slaughter, I blindly believed him when he said I held the keys to his heart. I was finally off the stupid dating apps and in a real relationship with an ‘incredibly honest and good’ man. What a refreshing breathe of air!
You can only imagine my shock horror when on a normal Wednesday morning, he casually announced that he was actively trying to ‘work things out’ with an ex. This after months of solidifying our relationship. You have got to be kidding me, story of my life!
Just like that I was yanked off my cloud and brought back to reality in one crushing blow. Damn! That wasn’t the end of it, oh no, he promptly proceeded to tell me that I shouldn’t be worried, she was in another country so ‘our relationship’ didn’t have to change. Simple, right? I have never been more humiliated in my life. I felt like a complete idiot, I actually thought I had hit the jackpot with this one.
The man who claimed to care about me reduced me to nothing in the most flippant and disrespectful way. It was rough, I was completely shattered. Everything we shared rendered meaningless just like that. With the little dignity I had left, I ran for my life and never looked back.
The worst part of the whole debacle for me is the lies he deliberately chose to tell. Reflecting back, it is possible he was already in a long distance relationship, feeling some type of way yet he still chose to pursue me. Or worse still, he was with me and actively chose to rekindle a past relationship. Whatever the situation, he could have spoken up and ended the relationship he was no longer invested in. He made the choice not to. He wanted to continue enjoying my 100% for the measly 40% he was offering.
From the beginning, I made it crystal clear that I was looking for a relationship and that I would only invest in an individual that wanted to invest in me. I have been around the block a few times and I’ve learnt that making your intentions clear from the jump is one of the ways to avoid time wasters. Again, he could have simply communicated that he couldn’t offer me what I was looking for, but he just chose not to. Apparently, leading me on and breaking my heart in the cruelest way he could think of was the only way.
This situation epitomizes what online dating is. We go around breaking hearts and devastating lives without so much as a thought. With no one to hold us accountable we are entangled in a sad cycle of emotional terrorism. The system is rigged. We keep running, going about our day to day, pretending we don’t crave meaningful connections and relationships.
We want to appear like we have it all figured out but the truth is we are depressed, lonely and desperately trying to hide our real emotions. Because God forbid, we actually tell ourselves the truth let alone those around us. We play ridiculous cat and mouse games, ‘ghosting’ each other as a way to communicate disinterest. We want to reap the benefits of a relationship without making the commitment. Demand unlimited access into each other’s deepest thoughts and emotions without wanting to shoulder any of the responsibility that comes with that. Making online dating and dating in general a sham held together by the lies we consistently choose to tell.
I don’t want to run anymore, I’m tired and frustrated. My feet hurt. I just want something real, something tangible and not a microwaveable one minute love that’s quick and easy.
I don’t want to pretend anymore. I’ve never had it figured out, some days are better than others but I still lay awake most nights wondering why I just can’t hack it. It seems simple enough for my peers. Maybe, there’s a cheat sheet that am yet to get my hands on or lessons I still need to learn. I don’t know.
Yeah, the clock is ticking on but it’s not my job to outrun it. All I can do is stand in my truth. The truth that’s always here whether I choose to acknowledge it or not. The truth that sets me free from a system that attacks my self worth, makes me doubt who I am and what I bring to the table.
The truth is I’m beautiful, I have a lot of love to give right now in the prime of my life. My failure to find a partner can never take away from that truth. I am unapologetically worthy of the full 100% and I don’t have to cry over those offering less. My time will come, in the meantime I shine and share my gifts with the world one look at a time.
Standing in my truth,