“And they lived happily ever after.”
The overuse of the phrase and the valorization of consummate relationships that is anchored to the phrase have not only left behind the putrescent odor of patriarchal mindsets but also has successfully convinced impressionable minds to embrace it as the universal truth of life. We live in a world where we’re made to believe that the penultimate happiness in life can be attained by following what we’ve always been told. As long as you ace Happiness 101 (taught by Mrs. Society), you’ll be viewed as a person with a healthy mind and a joyous heart (it doesn’t matter if you’re internally a living corpse trudging through life).
As much as I love the gooey feeling of being with someone and acknowledge the importance of camaraderie as social beings, my purpose-of-existence list extends way beyond just that. Despite the hype about love, I’ve never considered it a yardstick for measuring happiness and can never acknowledge it as the determining factor of the state of my mind.
However, this foundation of my beliefs was shaken.
People around me never stopped gushing about how love is all you need (it was cool when The Beatles said it but can get really annoying when that’s all you hear). As a result, unknowingly, I kept playing it at the back of my head, even though I absolutely detested it.
I had my first (and proper) relationship in college. Even while I was in a relationship I never really complied with what is widely considered as “couple goals” and my views conflicted with the general perception of people in relationships. For me, it was supposed to be a positive addition to my life but not something I was willing to modify my existing ways or priorities for. I often heard murmurs about how cold and unaffectionate I was and the misery I brought to my partner’s life.
As much as we tried to adjust to each other’s ways, the stark contrast in our take on the relationship started to make it crumble. We dated for about a year and soon after, things came to an end. The breakup proved to be a sudden blow for me because I was not only scared of losing one of the closest people I had but also because the cacophony of companionship that the society kept preaching, I was convinced that it was my fault.
I was in denial about it for a few months. I kept blaming my erratic nature and rampant mood swings for the breakup, declaring myself unfit for any relationship just because I had failed to fit into the universal mold of a “perfect” girlfriend. I kept thinking about what he must’ve gone through because of me on repeat, entirely discarding my emotional well-being which was evidently all over the place.
It took a while to get over the guilt tripping and eventually, to get over the breakup.
A relationship requires effort, time and commitment towards it and, unfortunately, I’m devoured with none. As much as I wanted to drag the relationship despite its lurking toxicity, the actual mechanics of a relationship don’t exactly suit my talents and I’ve accepted it.
With the course of time, I’ve realized that my well being is based on my ideals and not others’. My attempts at merging viewpoints of opposite polarities in order to be happy not only had a disastrous effect on my mental health but also on the other person involved.
The truth is that people are entitled to their own source of felicities and that’s okay.
As a twenty year old, life often emerges as a complete mayhem of contradictions. While some of us crib about not having found love and being enveloped by a bubble of loneliness, the others fear about not having the “perfect” relationship. But maybe some of us just want to find happiness in ourselves. And that’s okay.
As a POC, witnessing the vicious cycle of hurling ridiculous advice and declaring the relationship/marital status of unmarried men and women as the devil is as frequent as watching daily soaps. But what if my idea of a flourishing life is different from what we’re taught?
The society not only dictates the terms and conditions for finding happiness but also includes an auxiliary clause as to how it ideally looks. It often uses its twisted ways to make people believe that the ultimate finish line of quarter life is finding someone, irrespective of whether its love or a mere agreement of companionship
Don’t let anyone else tell you what makes you happy. It’s your call to make.