Sometimes I feel like I am jumping up and down waiting for someone to notice me. I’m waiting to be seen. I’m here! I’m here! Over here. Yes! A little bit to the right, just a little more, tilt your head down a bit, yes! Here. Look at me! Look at me! Look at meee! I repeat in my head in a crowd, or standing in line at Second Cup for a decaf coffee, waiting to check out at a grocery store, standing in line for the bus, or walking around an art gallery. Look at me! The one with the black t-shirt, blue jeans, fire-y red lips and glasses. But nothing. I am unseen. I go unnoticed. I’m invisible. This has led me to me question my life, my existence, the very foundation of my being and what matters to me. The questions are complicated and difficult but the answers have become increasingly simple not because I am so smart (because that I am) but because I’ve reached a point in my life where I know who I am and what I want. But it still bothers me. I can see you, but why can’t you see me?
Unrequited love is the only love I know. A one sided love that I have fallen into many times, twice to be exact. It’s a love that requires one set of eyes, one beating heart, time, patience, and hope. All of which are mine. In this love I fall first and stay there wishing upon the brightest twinkling star in the night sky that he’ll fall for me too. That one morning he will wake up with his sexy messy sleepy bedroom hair and realize that she’s the one! I have got to tell her that. But that doesn’t happen, my love is not reciprocated. It’s a half moon love that never comes full circle to shine.
I have never been in the opposite of unrequited love. I see but I am unseen, I love but I am not loved in return, I want but I am not wanted. Being alone in love feels lonely. One sided love is embarrassing, humiliating, pathetic and I cannot help (despite how intelligent I am) but feel stupid. You might be reading this and be thinking that I am not missing out on anything much or perhaps that I have an overly romantic and unrealistic view of love; but that is only because you have experienced it. You have been on the inside of love while I have always been on the outside of love looking in.
When you have been missing something in your life, something that every other person right before your eyes seems to be taking for granted you begin to see what you are lacking very differently. I can’t see love in the same way that you see love because you have loved and been loved in return (perhaps many times) and consequently you will never see love the way I do because I am someone who has never experienced being loved in return. When you have been missing something in your life for a long time you not only see it differently than everybody else, it takes on a different reality of importance to you. I have always believed and maintained the position that love matters but as I got older my situational reality suggested that I change my belief because my belief in love did not align with my reality.
In my reality I loved but I remained invisible, my reality differed from the outside norm and it was up to me to compensate for my inexperience and to legitimize my experience as “normal”. It was therefore up to me to comfort myself and make myself feel as normal as I possibly could as it was becoming clear that nobody wanted me, for when I fell in love with someone they never shared the same sentiments about me. Consequently I convinced myself that being loved doesn’t matter, at least to me. I did not want to hold a belief in something that was running counter intuitive to my reality. After convincing myself that love did not matter and after finally admitting that I was only deceiving myself I acknowledged that it does; love matters so much and most importantly it matters to me.
Because I have never been in the opposite of unrequited love I feel invisible. It sounds senseless and of course I know that it is not true, I am not invisible because when I walk into a room I am acknowledged by the Other, greeted with a hello, a wave, a friendly smile, enthusiasm, and sometimes even a hug but despite the physical recognition of being a physically present subject or human entity by the Other I don’t feel truly seen. A part of me has still not been validated and I admit that it is bothering me. No amount of compliments, “job well dones”, educational or work related achievements, extensive travel, expensive wines, watches, delicious pastries and chocolates, pretty red lipsticks, library full of amazing books and friends can validate me. I like all of those things, they make life fun. All of those things interest me and make me feel happy, they satisfy my personal goals, curiosity and my intellect but they do not give me the feeling that I matter. Mattering matters, it matters to me that I matter to someone. When I have good news, or a funny story, or a day-to-day-life-musing, a lame joke, a youtube clip or clever tweet I wish I had someone to share it with, someone who would want to share those things with me. What bothers me the most is not the loneliness (not of the existential kind) and the fact that I have never mattered to someone.
There is an emptiness that I am not able to fix, not even with the finest of Belgium chocolate. Of course I don’t believe that am entirely invisible. Guys have told me that I am pretty (6 to be exact, it happens so rarely that I keep track), some have said that I am “unlike any other Indian girl” they have met (I love this one and take it as a compliment and encourage Indian girls to keep doing exactly what they are doing because it makes me look good). I have been told that I look amazing naked, have a quirky and endearing personality and am really smart. Although these compliments that objectify me (in a healthy and respectable and necessary self-validating manner) are nice to hear, they pretty much mean nothing. I smile and say thank you at these compliments but I don’t believe them, not entirely. I can’t, because the world seems to confirm that they are not true. If their words had even an ounce of truth I wouldn’t be writing this blog. Maybe I am all of those things but just not enough. No matter how many times he tells me that I am beautiful in an intimate setting I don’t believe him because I don’t matter to him. I am sex. When he kisses me it feels (amazing but) empty because I don’t matter to him, I am a body. Sex without mattering is just (convenient but) empty. Despite being seen as attractive, hot and intelligent there is a part of me that has not been validated, a part of me that has not been truly seen. I am nude but I am not naked. I am noticed but not seen. I just want to be seen. Once.
Here is Kris’s insight to my situation.
Being in a relationship isn’t what it seems. It’s not easy and it’s actually a bit complicated. A relationship can be draining, it can be more draining than a job and be detrimental to your own personal goals and dreams. You have to sacrifice some of your plans and goals that you had for yourself because it may not fit with your partner’s plans and ambitions and you’ll probably resent them for stopping you from pursuing your dreams because every decision that you make has to be for the both of you, it has to make sense for the other person as well. And then you’ll fight and realize that you love somebody who is actually pretty bad for you but your stupid heart can’t let them go for some reason. But being in a relationship can be nice, it’s nice to have someone to cuddle up against after a bad day and banging your head against the headboard 5 times a day can be fun.
I know he’s completely right. Nothing is easy and relationships can obstruct your freedom, limit your possibilities, complicate your life and goals, potentially compromise your individuality but it could also give rise to other possibilities that could other wise not have been possible. I can’t help but think that the positives out weigh the negatives. It sounds wonderful to have someone to play Scrabble with while drinking green tea and wearing fuzzy socks, someone who wants you to call in sick for work one day just so you can sleep in and have sex on the washing machine, someone who you don’t have to fake it for, someone whose simple text message on your phone makes you smile a goofy smile, and someone you can can sit comfortably in silence with. These are just my thoughts, thoughts from someone who only sees love from the outside and has been always looking in.