Valentine’s Day has unexpectedly crept up on me this year. Owen and I aren’t really doing anything this time because everything in 2018 is about The Wedding and the move. My visa finally made its appearance late last month, so I’ll be getting ready to pack up my bags (and the rest of the flat) in March – right after my best friend’s wedding! 2018 has turned out to be the year of all the weddings, ever. Owen and I will be together for five years this year and sometimes I still find it hard to believe. I actually started A Curious Fancy around the time we were first talking to each other on okc!
I was so manic that summer, I didn’t know what I was doing with myself. I couldn’t wait to go to the UK and actually be able to date men! – The men I’d met in India had only succeeded in making me stay several arms length away from them after a few traumatic experiences, and I couldn’t wait to finally get the PIV!!! Then I think of the next two years of crushing depression and complete loss of control over my emotions, and all the garbage men I dated or attempted to date. Owen and I were never actually a thing back then. We went on a couple of dates, after which I dived right back into a toxic relationship with my ex, went home for Christmas and had a mini nervous breakdown. Once that relationship was over, I went into a longer and more sustained breakdown, after which I bounced around from one shitty non-relationship to another becoming increasingly convinced that I was damaged and only capable of driving people away.
When Owen messaged me out of the blue that November five years ago, I had already shut down all my online dating profiles and blocked every last hanger-on on chat. I just wanted to lock myself away from the world in my horrible, messy flat in the middle of nowhere and take handfuls of antidepressants and sleep for days on end. It’s honestly quite incredible how much I’ve changed over the course of this relationship – it’s almost as if having someone who believes in you and loves and supports you no matter what, and tries to guide you towards being a better person and sees more good in you than you possibly could – can actually help you become the sort of person who’s lasted in a relationship for five years and who’s been happier and better adjusted with every step on the way.
I spent most of my twenties thinking that something was deeply, intrinsically flawed within me and that I didn’t ‘deserve’ romantic love – all thanks to the toxic men I’d be drawn to. I’d blame the way I looked or my mental health but despite ample evidence proving otherwise, I couldn’t bring myself to believe that it was actually the men I was seeing, that it really wasn’t me, it was them – because that’d be ridiculous, right? Right. So here’s what I’m telling myself this Valentine’s Day: despite sounding alarmingly narcissistic about my relationship throughout this post (me, I me memememeeee) I’m not actually a monster and also capable of receiving love, not just giving it. It’s for all the Valentine’s Days in years past when I’d convinced myself I wasn’t good enough for either.