The Personal Quest of Finding Love and Defining “Picky” in the World of Romances

Warning: if you can’t handle profanity, which I tried to avoid as much as I could while writing this, don’t read it. If you don’t have time, don’t read it. If you do, good luck. May the force be with you. 

I was on Skype call with my best girl Daniella two nights ago, over which we discussed romantic love. Well, easy to say my hope for any kind of romance diminished a couple years back, and it hasn’t shown any sign of returning.

Romantic love to me, is like Lily Potter to Severus Snape. Beautiful at first, beats close to childhood, and becomes distant before going out of sight. And when it’s gone for good, all that’s left is a child who has her eyes and the attitude of his father.

“You have your mother’s eyes.” But he knows well how painful it is to look at the little Potter. As much as he is of Lily, he’s of James. And Snape lives the rest of his life guarding the child who reminds him of both the beauty of love and the great pain of losing it.

Alan Rickman, I will never ever forget you.

To be fair, it’s not like I’ve done anything to get my romantic hope back either. I am not approachable, cold as ice, and give about no shit to at least 90% of the people I encounter daily.

I told my best friend that despite me being one of the luckiest people I know (truly, if you’ve met me, you know just how lucky I am in almost everything and hate me for it), I have zero, if not negative luck when it comes to love.

Of course, she had to point out that I was, whatever her definition of that was, “picky.”

“Picky? Me? Noooo.”

Then again, the over thinker in me decided to spend a night going through my years of “romantic love” to either agree or disagree with her description of me.

Call that narcissistic, I believe it to be soul searching. Somewhat.

So I traced back steps of whatever “picky” might be.

When I was four, I had my first boyfriend. Daniel was the most handsome little man in the whole world. On the other hand, I was a bored old child lady stuck in a sea of little children, and there was nothing the teachers could do to make me feel like I belonged in that crowd.

One day, when I was rolling my eyes at how “childish” everyone was, Daniel stole a kiss from me, and our love story began. It was unicorns and castles, true love’s kiss and the knight in shining armor. He was my knight and I was his queen.

It lasted until sometime in first grade, when sweet little Daniel showed me his first test score and it didn’t live up to my expectation. “You got a C? It was just spelling!” For some reason, I wanted my man to be smart. Easy to say, he was eliminated from then on. I fired the knight and moved on to another.

When I was 11, Tim gave me the most beautiful bracelet I’d ever seen (it was the prettiest thing I ever had, and I still regret giving it away after the breakup), and our love story began. But it didn’t take me long to realize that he was a Jon Snow, without any knowledge of how I functioned whatsoever, and that I was actually “in love” with someone else.

Toby. The worst player. The monster in my dreams. The best friend I’d known since I was eight. The ultimate heartbreaker. When I was 14 I told him how he was “the one,” whatever that meant, and nothing ever happened after that. As he was perfect for knowing me best, he was too much of a player to be considered a safe choice.

Until this point, I still do not see how I’m “picky” in any sense of the word.

So in high school I made a list. A very long list. One that covered everything: looks, brains, sports, music, even career choice. I was very specific: a kind, athletic, straight A’s young man who played cello and wanted to be a doctor.

And as if that list came to life, which my mom and I believed had happened, when I moved to a different high school, Peter came out of nowhere and showed us that our impossible list wasn’t merely a dream.

He was a true romantic, with a chain of issues I would never address openly in public. We even shared diaries together, which I found in my bookshelves last year and read over, feeling cold chills from reading how unemotional, detached, and cold my responses to his love letters were.

One line made me cringe. He wrote, “I love you,” and I responded with, “I don’t feel the same way.” This was a year into our sweet relationship. (Sometimes I feel like I owe him a lot of apologies and that I should send a care package his way or something)

It made sense then that he described our breakup as, “I was more serious than Devina in this relationship.”

Or something like that. I only heard it said by his brother.

If the perfect “fulfilled everything on the list” guy (with some flaws I didn’t calculate or expect, maybe I should’ve written “acceptable flaws” section on my list) could not make it with me, then who would?

Of course, later on in life when I heard some girls confess to being abused, I realized that in my long term relationship with Peter, I was a victim of one kind.

In college, I went on countless dates which ended with me ghosting them after one or two dates.

There was a guy who lied about his age (apparently he was 13 years my senior) and talked about our “future” married life in Russia on our second date. There was a guy who ordered a lot of food and forgot his wallet. One guy who randomly leaned forward during dinner and said, “If we were in a movie, you’d be kissing me now.” A guy who talked about Jesus more than he talked about anything else (I don’t even think I knew his last name after few hours of talking). And out of my many horrible (maybe not that bad, and perhaps Daniella was right for calling me “picky”) dates, the worst was a guy who kept candid pictures of me on his phone (I had to make a quick call, my phone ran out of battery, so I borrowed his and for some reason clicked gallery by accident) after knowing me for only a week.

Easy to say, none of them went past two dates. None got any action either; I am pretty famous with my OCD dating rule: nothing more than a platonic hug until you have gone past five dates (My best friend Jake got mono during our first semester in college, and it scared the hell out of me so bad I created that rule).

It was some time in college when I decided to not think so much and go with the flow. And it was how I made the worst mistake in my life. Now, before you say “you’re still so young” and stuff, know that I’m saying this based on a quarter of a century only. I’ll probably, hopefully not, make worse mistakes later.

Let’s call him Z. No, not like Zorro, you can’t taint a hero’s name with my ex. I’m thinking of that letter due to the possibility that he was the one that closed my romantic love chapter.

We met by accident, and ran into each other in UNICEF and classes. I was in an unhappy, toxic relationship back then, and the nerdy, ever so helpful Z was obviously head over heels for me. So why not leave a lion cave to jump into a crocodile pond?

The relationship lasted years. Let me repeat, years. And it took a huge chunk of my identity, self worth, sanity, and other crap along with it. This girl, who had always been so cool and strong, found herself one night hiding in a bush, pressing her speed dials (in those days I got two: Daniella and my other best friend Jin) in panic, waiting for either one of my best friends to answer. I remember looking straight at the apartment building where Daniella resided, thinking of running there as fast as I could, but at the same time I knew that the moment I ran, Z would spot me and catch me. Then my only hope would be if only heaven would take in such lowly creature as I was.

Many times I let it slip. I’d be calling my best friends, who for some reason were never available whenever this happened, while finding a safe hiding place somewhere during a big fight or something. Well, perhaps it was just my fate.

Whenever I got hurt by him, I was silenced quickly. Any kind of complaints or confrontations I’d throw his way, Z would silence me right away (within two seconds of me starting with a sentence) and put me in a pile of shame for even “feeling” anything. Meanwhile, he was one of the most emotional creatures I’d ever known, not like I’d dare to tell him to his face, and I let him throw Zeus’s bolts to my already silent heart.

I’m not even sure if it’s a good thing that I was mostly numb, or easily numbed, that things just passed by without me feeling disadvantaged or hurt until a long time had passed.

Karma probably had met my exes and ghosted dates, and planned revenge on me in the best way possible: trapping me in a long term relationship with no escape door.

Z proceeded to break me in more ways I’d never imagined anyone could. By then, it’d been years already, and I was surprised to see how he still managed to find new, more groundbreaking ways to break me. Well, people full of surprises always manage to amuse me, in a good way. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Many nights I’d find myself staring at the ceiling, sleepless, tired, feeling my chest where my heart was supposed to be, asking, “Hey, are you still beating in there?”

Which was a strange question to ask, since my reputation promoted me as a heartless bitch. So perhaps it was no surprise that my heart was very quiet, and I’d wake up the next morning going, “What was I thinking about again last night?” as if tabula rasa was my inner code.

Not that I’m saying Z was completely a mistake. Not that the word could describe him either, he had many outstanding qualities despite the failure of this relationship. In the days of me being misunderstood and hated by many, he supported and loved me. He rarely understood or saw past through my walls, and if anything, he always complained about how thick my walls were and how I was the paragon of the word “secrets.” Perhaps I broke him just as badly, although after years of blaming myself, I finally came to terms with realizing that I’d been emotionally abused and unknowingly allowed it to drag for years.

But maybe I owed him as much as he destroyed me, and in the end, it might have been a fair trade.

After Z, my romance novel ended. I closed the book and haven’t searched for any other book. I don’t see people the same way, and if in the past I’d let people take me on dates, today I’d tell them to go to hell. I stopped caring how I looked, and my sense of self worth went down by a million points and I could no longer get it back.

If you see me in person, you’ll find a very confident woman who doesn’t give two shits about the world. Despite my straightforward attitude and unpleasant, unfiltered mannerism, I am a brilliant mastermind in building image. Daniella calls me “the most confident out of all of us” and it’s comforting in a way that, if other people believe that, perhaps someday I will too.

And as I ended my night of reflecting upon my romantic years, I decided that Daniella was right.

I am picky (I am crossing fingers, hoping Daniella would never read until this point).

Even more so now that I’m still recovering from years of emotional abuse.

As I grew older (God, please stop this aging!), my needs changed. And the older I got (the Cullens don’t seem like a bad idea at all now), I got to understand myself more. Because to me there isn’t anyone more complex than myself.

Then people freeze when I tell them, “Sure, you can find me a date if you’re sure that the guy can:

A. See past through the walls.

B. After that, accept me for me.

C. Then tolerate, understand, and still love me for me.

D. Have enough brain and patience to deal with my curious wonders.”

Four points. But if you know me, you’ll see just how near impossible that is (See past through the walls? Hahaha… in your dreams, suckers! And that’s not even point B yet). To even get point A, the dude needs to have known me for a long time and share similar interests. If you haven’t met me, you don’t know how ridiculous my interests are, or how long it takes to get to know me well enough until I am willing to let you steal my fries (NEVER).

But one of my main interests would be human rights. It’d somewhat delete “abuse” from a potential romantic relationship, wouldn’t it? I sure hope so.

Which is how I got to the easy, harmless conclusion to end my chapters here. Know that it was with great difficulty that I wrote this essay (or whatever you wish to call it… confession, maybe?), but it served as a mental training as well. You see, few days ago I stumbled upon a quote that said, “When you can tell your stories without feeling the need to cry, it means you’re already healed.”

So I, being the curious cat, decided to go for it. Full mode, baby, no brake.

Is “picky” the right word? Or can “damaged and careful” do a better job? I swear, “caution” should have been my middle name by now. And I’d wear it proudly. Like, adding the title “Jedi” to my ID and having some friends block me due to thinking I was some internet creep on their friends list.

That’s how you know true friends by the way, only real friends who love me would know how much I love Star Wars.

I am highly selective, utterly  devoted when I’ve chosen one, and an ultimate care giver to people who’ve gone past my tests (or, if they’re blood related, they’re pretty much getting the free passes). I refuse to let you see it though, since I love my mean girl aura. And if you ask me, I’ll deny all this (and I’ll tell you you’re stupid for using my blog against me. How much lower can you get, stalker!).

I believe, now that I’ve gone over these thoughts and reflected upon them carefully, that I should be picky. That I “deserve” to be happy.

And if “happy” was to be free and alone without being hurt (physically, emotionally, financially.. scratch the last one, I do love my bank account enough to not share it with some unworthy monsters. Money is for food, you know), then I’d take that. Because I’d gone past tales of crazy love and runaway brides, and I am simply too exhausted to even think of opening another chapter.

Yes, I am young. Even worse, I actually look like a high school student. Nowadays in the world where high school students wear full make up and I wear pjamas to malls, I certainly steal their identity and they mine. For all I know, a Cullen had bitten and turned me into one of them (on that note: I hate Twilight with passion).

And because I’m young and experienced, I can be picky. It’s my right anyway, not like anyone can tell me to be any different.

Then perhaps, someday, if the gods allow (my Aphrodite went away on vacation and got stuck in Bermuda Triangle, so any other god out there? Eros?), eventually someone will come and tell me the right things I need to hear in order to pass him to the “Potential Partner in Crime” stage.

Hah. Like that’d ever happen.


PS: Daniella, you’re right. I’m picky, and worse than you.







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