Absnasm is mostly elsewhere.
The couple read each other poetry and self-written vows, their voices cracked with emotion. They were both close to tears, gazing into each other’s eyes and, later, at the reception ceilidh, the bride sang to her new husband and he gazed on with undisguised adoration. I spent most of the day with my utterly loved up and newly engaged friends M and L, who were taking mental notes and excitedly planning their own wedding down to the tiniest detail.
The whole day was truly magical. I did cry – I always cry at weddings. But the whole experience has made me feel slightly disturbed and confused about my own capacity to love and be loved, and my mental block on the expression and the receiving of that love.
I want love. I do. But I walk around saying I want to be in love and I do eventually want to marry someone, and yet I have never thought about what it would be like. I’ve thought about the actual concept of being married, of spending my life with one person, legally committed to them, and this doesn’t phase me at all, quite the opposite. It’s what I want. I can’t think of anything better than finding someone I’d be happy to see every day forever.
But the wedding itself? I have barely ever given a moment’s thought to it. Where I would like it to be, what sort of dress I would have, the ceremony, how many bridesmaids, who… My friends M and L had been out the previous day sourcing tiny clothespegs for the seating plans. Yesterday’s cake was a layer of ginger parkin topped with cheesecake, combining the bride and groom’s favourite cakes. These tiny creative details are alien to me. And while pledging my troth sounds cool the idea of expressing my love for someone in front of over a hundred people with a self-written poem fills me with some kind of mixture of terror and nausea. When directed towards or coming from myself, the very idea of such public romanticism, traditional or personally directed, fills me with nausea and terror. I want it and yet it repels me. I can’t even find it within me. Why is that?
L’s had her wedding half-planned in her head since she was a young girl. Isn’t that the normal way for girls?
What happens? Do you reach a point when you’re in love with someone where a trigger switches in your head and turns it to mush? Where everything you see around you holds significance and potential for romantic expression? Where you cease feeling embarrassed by traditional or personal public displays of love, and start to actively plan them and seek them out? I discussed it with M, and he said that if and when I do get married I’ll understand. I don’t know if I will understand. I guess I really haven’t been in love.
My capacity for expressing and receiving affection is topsy-turvy. I do it, to some extent, through sex. I chase love, I want it so much, but I approach it from the direction of my pants. I have referred to myself on 43 as more of a “bend me over the sofa kind of girl”. I did it again yesterday, talking to M and L. Why do I do this? I am far more comfortable with sex than I am with love. I’m 31 and I’m driven by my knickers. Am I sabotaging myself to avoid what I see as the crippling embarrassment of exposing my weak, cold heart and opening myself to rejection? There may not always be someone around who loves you and wants to be with you, but there will always be someone who wants to do you. Am I so afraid of feeling something solid that sex is the closest I get to feeling true affection for someone? Am I limiting my options with my view of myself and by my actions? Have I been turning the relationships I’ve been having into a fuckfest at the expense of something deeper and longer-lasting, through fear? Sex is important to me – very important – but it’s not necessarily the path to true love.
I don’t know what to do about this. I need my needs to be met on all levels. I just don’t know how to get there.