Cliche is just another way to say relatable

On Saturday me and a friend went to Dan Savage’s HUMP film festival. I’d never been to an amateur porn film festival, or really ever watched porn with someone I wasn’t having sex with, excepting one really weird house party I went to in high school. And Folsom Street Fair.

I had two favorites, though they were all good. Very, very funny. One of my favorites was just a femme-presenting black man answering questions about his life and sexuality. He described having men take their dicks out and play with themselves at inappropriate times. I cannot imagine, and would not have imagined, that anyone would have that experience. I feel so grateful to him for sharing that with me.

My other favorite was really just this couple having sweet, intimate sex. It made me long to be in a relationship again, to the point where I was silently (hopefully) crying watching it. I wanted to look away, go to the bathroom, anything to escape crying in public because I want a boyfriend. But I also wanted to see it. And I didn’t want to make my friend get up.

I was more sensitive to it because earlier that night me and my friend had been talking about marriage at a dive bar close to the theater. He was saying marriage is stupid and engagement rings are a scam. And I really can’t argue with either assertion, as someone who is divorced. But, at the same time, I really want both of those things again.

Before I got married, I remember being so excited about my engagement ring. I couldn’t wait to wear it. And then, I kind of forgot about it. I never cleaned it. It brought me so much less joy than I thought it would.

But today, eight years post-divorce, I want another one!

His disapproval reminded me of how much I hate this part of myself.

I felt, and often feel, so much shame about being a cliche. I feel pathetic for being a woman in my mid-30’s who really wants to get married. That seems so sad to me. I went to the bathroom and just cried. I’m not sure where crying in a dive bar bathroom because you’ll never get married (again) and die alone falls on the “cool girl” continuum but I can tell you I was not excited to leave that bathroom and have my friend know what I was doing.

Later that night my friend and I did some molly. I was not in the mood. I was very in my feelings. But it did help me forgive myself for being sad.

Then, today, me and this same friend tripped on mushrooms. I had several realizations, but the first is that cliche is just another way to say relatable. Lots of women (and men) are in the 30s and single and not super jazzed about it. Who am I to judge them (and me)? Who among us doesn’t want to love and be loved? Sadness and longing — and, yes, sometimes crying in a dive bar bathroom — are universal. And nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just part of the experience of being human.

I feel so much confusion about marriage and partnership. Do I really want to get married? Or is it just what everyone says I should want?

I do want a partner, while also recognizing a partner won’t make me happy. It’s just a different set of problems, at the end of the day.

What I want — I realized while naked, tripping balls, and in between bouts of literally sobbing over how beautiful Planet Earth is — is to love unreservedly. I want someone to just shower with love and praise and affection without self-doubt or anxiety. I want it to be safe and appropriate and reciprocated.

But, here’s what I realized/remembered: What am I waiting for? I can love people with less reservation now. I can shower my friends and family with praise. I can be more affectionate to those who are open to it. There’s no person who is always going to respond how I want them to. That doesn’t exist.

The best thing I can do is to love the people who are here. Life is too short to wait one second for the right person to show up. My task is to love the people who’ve already shown up.

And so I tried. I touched my friend’s beard and smelled his face and breath and just enjoyed how much I enjoyed it. I’m not sure whether I told him that his face and breath smell amazing because that’s kind of a weird thing to say — but I think he felt it.

Anyway, HUMP was great. Highly recommend it. Make it a great week, lovelies. I appreciate you so much. <3

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