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What the f*ck WAS up with my love life?! It was haunting to first read Millay’s Sonnet 42 in 11th grade, before I’d had any sexual encounters of enduring note, let alone a host of young men crying for me, with me, in me, at midnight. Haunting because, despite my lack of love experience, disquieted teenage me totally related to these raw sentiments of loneliness, nostalgia, yearning and – most of all – forgetfulness. I’ve always been an old soul (I’m younger than that now), and, sitting at my school desk, knees and ankles crossed, I could feel in my heart the sorrow of a woman past her youth of carefree passion, past what we distressingly refer to as “her prime.”
I was browsing the Greenlight Bookstore in my Brooklyn neighborhood and I came upon this incredible book of 100 short poems by Vera Pavlova, a Russian poet. While select poems of hers have been published in the US, this was her first full collection (way to go Knopf!).
I couldn’t put this tiny book and its endless wisdom down. You can look no further than the title poem (and cover art) to realize that Pavlova is in touch with truths and emotions that we women – especially – should heed.
If there is something to desire,
there will be something to regret.
If there is something to regret,
there will be something to recall.
If there is something to recall,
there was nothing to regret.
If there was nothing to regret,
there was nothing to desire.
Way to spin my mind in circles! But I know exactly what she means.
photo via archive.org
The last time I wrote about a love poem, I made myself majorly depressed. I was haunted by Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sonnet 42 about the loves we have, and lose, and can’t remember.
Have you ever offered up your heart – red and raw and bleeding and throbbing – to someone who did not deserve it, who did not deserve you, who consumed it – and you – greedily, messily, carelessly…heartlessly? Yeah…we all have.
Alice Walker CALLS YOU OUT on this. And also tells you what to do about it.
Never offer your heart
to someone who eats hearts
who finds heartmeat
but not rare
who sucks the juices
drop by drop
like a God.
… read the rest of the poem here …
I don’t mean to be facetious. It’s just that in our f*cked up, post-dating world, we – as women – so often feel like we’re left holding the bag. No matter how strong we feel starting out the night, the friendship, the non-relationship, or even – for goodness sake – the relationship, we have the sense that the cards are stacked against us.
We gulp down the tears and act like we weren’t that into him anyway when we get that thoughtless blow-off email or break-up text. We go hang out with him and his friends, only for him to spend the night hooking up with another girl. We find out he’s engaged on Facebook. We wonder what we did wrong when he disappears off the face of the planet for a day, a week, a month, forever.
BUT, absent traditional rules and expectations, we never know if we can get our hopes up. We can never be sure what any ambiguous interaction means. We feel like crazy psychopaths for stressing and second-guessing everything when LOVE is supposed to be FUN. The dah helps us keep our sanity, but with every non-date we put an inch of our hearts on the line.
It’s enough to drive a pretty lady crazy!
But today I’d like to put aside the hysteria (as it were) and think about where these guys might – might – be coming from.
La Di Da Di (DOUG E. FRESH)
As New Yorkers, we travel a perpetually changing, charged and nuanced cause and effect: the love we want, and what we do to get it. We are forced to deal…forced to connect. It’s rough and it’s tough.
One-month relationships are never enough. What I learned is – you “do you,” or risk being the fool. This is about real life and unreal men.
But at a 5 to 1 ratio, you can’t blame them for thinking they all 10s.
Off The Wall (MICHAEL JACKSON) The Way I See It (RAPHAEL SAADIQ)
It’s a New Year. A lot of us are saying: things are gonna be different. We’ve resolved to make it so.
But here’s a hope and wish for all of us, dear WTF?! readers. As everything changes around us – at the speed of light. No wait, faster! Amidst the swirling madness that is f*cked up modern life and love, may we stay, always, ourselves. May we become…only, and even moreso…ourselves. May we realize – and stay true to – ourselves.
I’m taking one back for the ladies. We have our own special way. Of convening with ourselves, and the world.
It’s been this way for a long, long time. I’m gonna take it back to Ancient Greece.
Strongarm makes the point in his Guide to a Successful Relationship that you should always want to be with your girlfriend / boyfriend / life partner / husband / wife. In fact, it’s Rule #2: “You MUST always want to hang with her/him.”
Is it delusional to think you could ALWAYS want to be spending time with one person? That you would ALWAYS “REALLY want to hang out with them the majority of the time”?
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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