Depending on where you live and what you (or perhaps your parents) might be seeking, dating or marrying Desi can be easier said than done. Some of us out there are particular about having a common mother tongue, common religion, common sect, or even common caste or class. There are some of us who have strayed from dating any flavor of Desi, for whatever reason. Some are equal opportunity for all; race, religion, education/career no bar–props to those of you that are, because I cannot swear that I am so open-minded to finding love in any and every social pocket. I’m not exactly sure where this post is going because I’ve rewritten it four times already, but I’m going to publish whatever spills forth today and we can go from there. I’ll share my poor excuse of a love life with you and what all I’ve learned and where I’m at today (and by today, I literally mean today, because I might feel differently tomorrow).
So, I’ve been largely attracting creepers, asswipes, and a curious number of lesbians since I was 18. In retrospect I realize I’ve turned down some real keepers, too, but what can you do in the aftermath but trudge forward. I’m doing something wrong, many things wrong, this much I know. I grew up crushing on boys of all flavors but more acutely felt unwanted by other races. It just felt like being Indian was the lamest and I would have to be like 23718x more attractive to ever get anyone’s attention. But one day a Desi guy would want me because he had to marry Desi, too! Such romantic notions. Sure, I’ve always loved a good epic love story in a book (Atonement. omg.) or movie (The Fountain!), but I never had delusions about finding that for myself. If it was real life, it was never going to be for me. I wasn’t crazy beautiful, I didn’t know how to wear heels without awkwardly stumbling about like Bambi, and I didn’t have whatever it was that made guys nervous, bumbling idiots.
And I never reeeally wanted to be or have any of those things until I fell in love, got my heart broken, so on and so forth. I generally live by the “sour grapes” philosophy of life: if I can’t have it, I didn’t want it to begin with. ESPECIALLY if I kinda had it and then lost it. But with love–that bastard–it’s different. It makes you look inwards for problems that may or may not be there, it doesn’t allow you to feel awesome and feel unstoppable. It just makes you take off your heavy, burdensome armor (that never felt burdensome till you took it off) to feel vulnerable, light-headed, and giddy. All that sass, wit, and intelligence go out the window and you’re instead full of butterflies and are vomiting these godforsaken cacophonous things we call giggles. Weakness. It doesn’t feel like it when you’re in love, but that’s all I see some days, in retrospect. Weakness, attachment, and willingness to look desperate, foolish, and clingy because it’s “love”. On some days I believe it was more than me being stupid, but today is one of those days that I don’t think it was. And this. This damned fickleness. The mental and emotional turbulence is so goddamn stupid. I feel torn between the rational, intelligent, composed me and the crazy emotional perpetually teary me that gets choked up when she watches cute wedding proposals on YouTube and wishes it was her. I know, I know. Moderation. I can be an intelligent, hardworking, ambitious person that’s still sensitive, compassionate, and in need of romance, right? NOPE. I don’t know what that means. I work passionately, I love passionately, and I don’t do moderation. I’m probably going to die alone, aren’t I? I guess today the thought of that doesn’t perturb me in the slightest. I’m feeling a bit cynical about the male species.
For a little context, I’ll sum up the two three-year-long relationships I’ve had, real quick. I dated two Muslim guys that all my friends told me would eventually dump me for religious reasons and despite me acting like “going with the flow” would bode well, it did not. Do you know how awful it is to be told by others that your relationship will fail when you want to believe that it won’t? How awful, for someone else, a stranger to your little world, to know your boyfriend better than you do? I know it made me feel real dumb. And there’s nothing I like less than feeling dumb. I didn’t discriminate between interested candidates by religion because at the time I felt like I had more in common with Desi guys than those of other races. And while white guys were popping up in my single life 3 years ago, no non-Muslim brown guys were. And even if things didn’t work out, I told myself that was okay because, whatever, college, good times, go with the flow. But unlike those guys, I didn’t accept from the get go that we had an expiration date. I have to admit that part of that stupidity was thinking myself to be invincible and incredible. Alas, I am a 5 on a good day, not as smart as I’d like to be, sorta good at a lot of things but not great at any one thing, and have half-assed my way through much of my life.
I’m increasingly more critical of myself, and that’s been the greatest gift of my failed relationships. It’s easy to think of yourself as wonderful and full of all the joys in the universe, which is why it’s so easy to fall into the “but I gave you everything and you slighted me” pit of despair and have your girlfriends reassure you that “you’re amazing and he didn’t deserve you and you’re gonna find sooo much better”. But don’t do that to yourself. Please. You’ll only feel more miserable about how things panned out and any sense of superiority that your girlfriends can persuade you of will be shattered the second he moves on. That’s not how you heal, that’s not how you grow.
And yes, broken relationships can feel soul-crushing, but I am not one to fight the process of becoming more resilient and neither should you. Whoever I date next will have the hotter, smarter, and more emotionally-sound version of me than the last. I will not feel damaged or burdened by baggage, no sir. I will work out until my thighs hurt more than my heart and I will read to avoid all and any cases of evil idle-mindedness. Okay, that was a bit dramatic. I’m actually doing fairly well and am generally too busy to be wailing about such frivolous woes like the lack of cuddles in my life.
The scary thought, though, is whether people start to feel more expendable, over the years, the more times you deal with loss and heartbreak. Do we stop loving passionately? Do we stop putting all our eggs in one basket? Do we stop expecting the great and the grand? Do storybook romances become impossibly more rare than they already are? Right when I start to hope there’s something like that out there for each of us, dammit! Do people just get married to people that are “good enough”? Maybe arranged marriages make more sense than I thought, even for our generation. Or maybe no marriage at all. That’s the beautiful thing about being in my 20s. My future is so full of promise. I’m not worried about relationships. I’m just going to focus on me. Me, me, me. And becoming more awesome. And maybe I’ll wake up at 40 with my goldendoodle being the only warmth that’s been in my bed for years, but at 24 I have the luxury of thinking, “probably not, but I’d probably still be happy in life”. Loneliness is not something I’ve ever truly felt, it’s not something I fear, and I like to think it’s not something I know how to feel.
I am scared of being wrong.
As my mom once told me, “Adults are scared of a lot more things than children are,” in response to my 13 year old self not getting why Stephen King’s books weren’t quite spooking me out.
Moral of the story? Don’t get bogged down. Shit gets realer and scarier. Enjoy your life, here and now–I know I’m going to try harder!
But okay, now that we’ve put things in perspective, future installments will carry more specific, day-to-day relationship stuffs of the anecdotal variety that keep in mind that perhaps our readers can glean something from both positive and negative experiences. It’s hard to know what’s reasonable to expect and what’s not, what’s normal and what’s not, as an individual. So. We must share and discuss. Cheers.