GEN (L)ONELY AND LOVE
Updated: Oct 14, 2020
For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with the idea of romance. The movies, the books, the stories I made up in my head - all of them had this giant fantasy of a happily ever after. Then I grew up. I realised that the love you see in the movies actually is a fantasy. There are few Grand Gestures. There’s almost never a prince or princess involved. In fact, love is often quiet and humble and sweet. So, now at 23, I still love love. I love the soft kind I see every day and the fantasy I see on TV. I think I’m in love with the feeling of being wanted.
I am constantly aware of how disconnected from the world I really am. Every day, I wake up, get to work, spend no more than 20 minutes texting friends and family to see how they’re doing. Go home and watch something on Netflix before I go to sleep. My only connection to other people is the stolen minutes I get on my phone. Some would say that this is great. Everything is so much more accessible now. A date, the chance at love all in the swipe of a finger. But what I’ve learned is that even though all lines of communication are open, nobody actually talks. Love is accessible, people aren’t.
There could be a million reasons why we don’t open up - We don’t have time for romance, people want different thing now, we’re scared of rejection. I couldn’t begin to understand why it’s getting harder to find a connection. I love love, see? I couldn’t see why people would ever run from it. It’s almost as if I now began to see my life in greyscale, all the romantic technicolor has been drained from my young naïve dreams. This Valentine's Day will be much like all the other Valentine’s Days before it. I’ll go to work and forget that its even passed. What I won’t forget, however, is the fact that I’m still lonely.
I used to combat loneliness by binging on anything that would make me feel like I had a connection. Over time, I started to notice this trend in the way that I saw things. I would often read romance novels and find myself relating to the male lead. There are the obvious reasons to admire them – they’re often cooler, more mysterious, they have purpose. But it was much more than just that, I admired what these men stood for: Loyalty, commitment, unconditional, relentless love. I realise that this love is insanely idealistic. But I long to be that for someone else.
Now, I’m a rational person so I know that humans are flawed and incapable of this kind of love, even humans like me. That’s why you can only find it in the pages of a book. And I’m also a Christian so I’m well aware that God is unconditional love. But I feel like we all need a human connection. We need to try, in some small way, to fix ourselves. But you can never rely on another person to take away the loneliness. Not completely, anyway. I was so certain that I was capable of incredible depths of love but I wasn’t receiving what I was so freely giving.
That’s when it hit me. I admired these men from my books for their loyalty, their passionate unfailing love – the kind of love no other person can give me. I also wanted to be this love for someone else. So, what if I made that person me?. I needed someone else to love me in the way that I wanted to be loved. Maybe I should refill my own cup instead of pouring myself out until I was empty. This doesn’t mean that I should stop my search for true love. It just means that when I finally find it, I’ll know what it is. Like one of my favourite books says, “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
The topic of self – love has become such a joke. We talk about it so much but we never really practice it. We need to take a lesson from romance novels. This Valentine’s Day, decide to be your own hero. Defend your own honour, accept your faults, have unwavering loyalty to your own heart.
The only way we can learn to accept real love is if we, first, learn to accept it from ourselves.
'Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in'
Contributed by Kerri Njoroge