“I think I want a boyfriend — or a girlfriend, it doesn’t matter,” I tell my friend in an alcohol-induced moment of weakness. She laughs, telling me that the words sound so foreign coming from my mouth.
I have never really been the type to commit to someone, always the one to let go first, never putting my heart on my sleeve. I have left a trail of broken hearts along the way, have dated people just for kicks, and at some point, asking out someone actually felt like a game to me.
So really, when she laughed at my drunken confession, it was anything but unfounded.
Years ago, I wouldn’t have even considered considering to be in a relationship. Now, I’m just about ready to give all my love and support to some hypothetical person. If only the universe conspires to do me a favor.
It took me a year of growing up to have a change of heart. The year 2019 turned 2018 me, who was a ho, into a full-blown halaman. It was never a conscious decision, but I found myself prioritizing so many other things this year that romance just took a backseat.
Heck, romance was in a different car altogether. I didn’t even so much as slide into someone’s DMs or flirt back with the ones who slid into mine. Mother Teresa would be so proud.
Adulting actually hit me quite hard this year, and my sacrificial lamb was my shot at any type of romance. It was easy enough to decide whether I wanted to meet my deadlines or meet a new guy.
Easy enough to choose between sleeping in on Friday nights or partying in Poblacion. Easy to cave into my introversion — to build a comfort zone that only surrounded myself, to stack more and more bricks in my walls and stop wondering what was on the other side.
Long story short, I have gotten so good at being alone.
Truth is, I have never actually been someone’s girlfriend. I was always just someone’s almost, someone’s maybe, someone’s what if. I’ve always felt like I wasn’t in the right headspace yet — that I was too young or too picky or too depressed to take things seriously. I would date around just to test the waters, but I never really met anyone who piqued my interest long enough to turn it into a commitment.
I was always just someone’s almost, someone’s maybe, someone’s what if.
And now here I am. Wondering if I should bet on the slim chances of crossing paths and falling in love with Chris Evans or Kim Seokjin from BTS. Wondering if love is coming anytime soon.
I guess it’s part of growing up. To be mature enough to realize that needing and wanting are two different things. That it’s okay to depend on someone. To yearn kilig. To want to hold hands with someone while watching my favorite band play my favorite song. To have someone to hold when days are tough. To have someone to sit in silence with when everything hurts.
It seems surreal — because to write these words is to make these musings so tangible. And it used to scare me to admit that I want to have someone to call my own. I have always been afraid of falling in love, but I have come to learn that loving is not like falling — it’s a commitment that takes hard work and dedication — and for the first time in forever, I feel like I am ready.
In the year that I spent working on myself, I have become a person who knows that I am already whole. I do not need someone to make me see that life is all rainbows and unicorns, because it’s not.
Life is black and white and gray and multicolored. Life is beautiful but sometimes painful. Life is good and worth living, but some days are rough and bleak. Love, in its many forms, is only an additive to my already full life. And I have grown to appreciate the possibility of its coming, even though I am unsure when it will be.
I have come to learn that loving is not like falling — it’s a commitment that takes hard work and dedication — and for the first time in forever, I feel like I am ready.
Like a fish out of water, I am out of my element. Love has never really been on my priority list, and to shout to the void that I want to fall in love sounds like a desperate plea for affection when it’s really not.
I want to be able to feel the kind of love that I felt as I watched my parents slow dance in front of the Christmas tree. I want to have that twinkle in my eye when I speak about someone, the same way that my best friend smiles when she talks about her boyfriend. I want that. I want to love and hurt and love again.
But then again, all I really have to do now is wait.
Cheers to growing up.