| Mates before dates. Despite what The Notebook and Cinderella have taught you, having a single person be your answer to happiness isn't realistic.
I'm a hopeless romantic. Not in the classic sense of the word, or indeed in the modern now that I come to think about it. Less cut out hearts and love songs more about hope and trust and laughter.
And tears. And screaming matches. Goofy faces. Sitting in with take out. Clasped hands, sore feet and walking home long after the sun has came up. The kind of relationships that leave you feeling completely and utterly full. There is this expectation though that all of this comes from one person. Confidante, lover, colleague, collaborator, partner in crime – no one person can tick all these boxes, at least not all of the time. It's why romance is dead, at least in the traditional sense. Forget your Mills and Boon and Nicholas Sparks. I'm here for the BFF.
They say (the ever elusive they) that it takes a village to raise a child. So why is it that the second you show up for adulthood (the parameters and rules I'm still working out. Plz define) that it becomes about finding the mythical One. Tooth fairies and fairy tales are replaced with stories of soul mates and forevers, and quite frankly that's boring as fuck. I want stories of high adventure, comradely and I suppose, something ultimately more meaningful than bed time stories. And I find that in my friendships. Your vibe attracts your tribe yo.
Because ultimately we are tribal. We're running around in packs and turning in to emotional magpies, gathering those who ultimately make us our best selves. And that's healthier than staring at the walls, indulging in a cycle of constant naval gazing and emotional masturbation with only yourself for company. We crave people and contact more than anything else. Above food, above warmth, above basic survival, we need comfort. The heart wants what the heart wants.
For a long time I wasn't sure if this was something I was deserving of or would find. It was always skirting around the outside and never really feeling like I belonged. Like fumbling in the dark and trying to make sense of the shadows. And that's still there in certain shades. But I found what I needed. Not really having a group as much as pockets of really incredible people. Getting comfortable with that and appreciating it for how tremendously beautiful that is. As I said, like a magpie. It's about finding the people who raise you up, hold you accountable and inspire the shit out of you. I'm so thankful every day to have the people I have in my life. The ones that go after their dreams and create and work and push and think and play and everything else good and brilliant. Laughter comes easier. The quiet is comfortable. And it's a completely wonderful and fantastic way of being alive. And you end up doing it in return. Somehow. And it's really fucking great. I'll take that over flowers any day.
It's an easy intimacy which I think, ultimately is as, if not more important that the One. I've asked my nearest and dearest to help me laser my fanny in the name of blogging, exchanged morning run downs from the comfort of my toilet and lamented some of the worst UTIs going. I mean if you can't talk to your girl with a hot water bottle on your foof is she even your BFF? Sexy, right? I know guys. You're welcome for that powerful and poetic imagery. In return I've tweezed moustaches , talked shit, dealt with shit (your true blue sisters will bring you imodium in a pinch) and nursed many a hangover. Try and tell me that's not romantic. I dare you.
What I'm saying is, maybe romance isn't dead. It's just redefining it with something with a little more scope.
Header image via Solstice Intimates Festival Image Via Pexels C00 Liscence.