I’m currently sitting in my kitchen (practically the only space I’ve been inhabiting for now 50 days) drinking a so-called detox tea after having four pieces of toast. Putting some balance in the Force.
Yesterday I decided to start my annual Star Wars marathon. In between prequels, I caught a glimpse of my 3am self in the black background of the initial titles dancing to the theme song like a madwoman in my cashmere jumper that I have shrank to a DeVito size and my knickers that seem to be screaming to remind me that I am, indeed, single.
Catching myself in this situation stops both the marathon and my until-then-entertained brain that now begins an existential crisis. While I am glad I get to dance like an e-Wok at 3am without being judged (or smelled) by anyone, I keep thinking how much better this situation would be with a lover. Lazy behaviour that could be easily sifted into rabbit, more interesting behaviour.
I started 2020 in a bar in Camden as drunk as New Years mandates, with a stollen wallet, a chain top that kept dangerously breaking and a first-ever, even-more-broken-than-my top heart. You’d think that would be a sign for how the rest of the year would go, but I was in a very unusual positive mood. Poor fool.
A previous year marked by a bad long-term relationship breakup; an even worse, maddening, scattered romance and an acting career made me start 2020 with not so high expectations. Whatever happened this year, it couldn’t possibly be worse than the previous one, so it was just up from here.
So when lockdown started, I was cursing at more than my odds for my bad luck.
I was feeling a bit less anxious about the career part. Even as projects that I was finally booking were quickly falling apart, I was about to have the same exact career as Timothée Chalamet -in the sense that none of us was going to be doing much. So romance was the monster I was forced to confront now. Without a possibility to scape.
I woke up today at 16:00pm in my usual cranky “morning” mood. I made myself a cup of tea, while naked, with the water in my kettle that is always exact for just one person. A blissfully single moment. Then I thought, would I actually prefer to be quarantined with a lover? Is it just a new need to feel safe and not alone? Is it something more ego centrical? Do I want a relationship right now to feel some sense of accomplishment in a time where I can’t possibly be productive in my career?
For some reason, my body rejects long, stable relationships like a failed transplanted organ. Don’t let my cynicism fool you. The irony in all this, is that I’m pretty much the most hopeless romantic person you will ever know. I have a folder in my phone full of pictures I sneak of old couples in the streets. I also listen to Sam Smith with the same need to find someone To Die For. And I have a weirdly low record on amount of dates I have ever had because I find it impossible to be mildly attracted to someone If I don’t have a connection with them that is anything less than overwhelming and I’m still grabbing for dear life on the idea of not meeting a lover with an app. Not judging if you have, tho. I wish I was different, trust me.
What I find my body rejects is what I call “ordinary love”. The kind of love I have always thought you are supposed to want when being in love with someone, which has caused me to reconsider these past few weeks if I have actually ever been in love or if there is something wrong with me. Ordinary love is the name I’ve given to the natural process of building a stable life with someone. Is what we see in our neighbours, parents, grandparents. Is what we hope to find to feel complete. A partner, a rock, a soulmate. Is what I photograph in old couples on the streets. Ironically. Because behind the cute idea of growing old with someone, I have come to realise that I don’t actually want what they probably have had.
I have always found an excuse in my aversion for Ordinary Love in my career. A lack of a 9 to 5 that makes scheduling a life together hard, a lack of a stable income so that’s why we can’t move together, or just how hard it is to share a life with a struggling actor if you are not in the arts and you don’t understand the lifestyle (but then again, refusing to date any artists because, well… are you reading this? If we are all like me… better run for the hills. And I’m aware I’m a very common person. Also because if I had listened to my own advice and avoided all artists I still might have some hope in it not being total madness).
After five years where I have found myself in a couple of long-term, stable, healthy relationships I realised that ordinary love scares me because it makes me unhappy. And I have tried so hard to want it. And I have almost wanted it, once. But it’s not me. It’s not for me. And I’m learning, is not for a lot of people.
I don’t see myself going shopping with your mum, because I hate shopping and I will always have the feeling of knowing that at some point I will be the girl that broke her precious son’s heart, even if I loved him deeply, because chances are high I don’t want the type of life and relationship he wants. I have never found the idea of barbecues on Sundays that appealing. I have never wanted to become too comfortable with a lover, certainly not so comfortable we go to the loo together. I’m scared of making someone something so stable and granted in my life I stop waking up in awe he is in the same bed as me.
But now, suddenly, the world has stopped. There are no careers. There are no schedules nor different lifestyles. There are no more excuses. And being quarantined with a boyfriend and all those ordinary ideas, seems now like the best of scenarios. I keep wondering how I would’ve been with a lover. If this would have broken or made us stronger, like a friend said. Maybe it’s luck. Avoiding my chances of a baby boom… or murder.
Quite possibly, I’m typing from the perspective of young age. Of a quarantined brain needing to feel better about a broken heart or punctual moments of loneliness. Of a bruised ego after seeing posts of happy relationships, enjoying their lockdown days with that lazy, rabbit behaviour. I will never know. Maybe this is a sign ordinary love is necessary, o will become necessary at one point. But if I’m honest with the publisher and you, dear reader, I’m recycling this whole ordinary love idea from an iPhone note I made half a year ago.
I make a living with a career constantly in between fiction and reality. I spend my lockdown days burying my nose in books and films that take my brain away from real life. I expect nothing less from love. Even quarantined love.