Down The Rabbit Hole

Down The Rabbit Hole

Two weeks ago, my boyfriend and I went on a date to celebrate his 23rd birthday. We ate pancakes, ice cream, pizza and pasta. We were bloated at the end of the day but we were laughing, fingers intertwined and arms around each other's waist, stealing glances and kisses along the way. We were so happy and young and foolishly free you'd probably feel sick just by looking at us.

A few years ago, I was single and couldn't care less about being in a relationship. I thought I didn't need one. I was so adamant about being single, that no guy would fall for me. Not ever. I grew up surrounded by boys who'd rather date ditzy girls with the voice of a drunk ostrich than a girl who asks about how vast our universe is. I said so because I've seen proofs. When I was young, I was also educated to be just like them — be more feminine, more girly. I was told not to laugh out loud but to chuckle and giggle, was told to speak softer because my normal voice is too loud, too bossy, too demanding. I was body shamed and called fat because when you're a girl, you are supposed to be pale and thin for a guy to fall for you. I was educated to be all these things from the dictionary of Barbie manners and I didn't care. I told myself it doesn't matter if someone falls for me or not. The idea of a possible 'forever alone' life was no big deal for me.

Being in a relationship feels like living in an alternate universe, walking into a grand utopian setting so breathtaking it reeks of mystery and suspicion. Knowing that you are loved, that someone loves you feels like flashes of hot and cold, dipping one foot at a time into a pool of freezing ice cubes. It's a thrilling ride built on more than just emotion and attraction. A relationship, especially the first one, feels like jumping off a cliff, down the sea with no idea of how deep it is. A confession got me staring wide eyed but left me laughing about it; physical contact got me addicted, a drug I didn't know exist naturally in my bloodstream. A kiss leaves me wanting more, a cuddle gone feels like a huge gap of distance left uncovered. A hug, whether it's long or short, gives me the chance to smell the after laundry scent off his clothes. A smile on his face leads to a small sigh under my breath and a little tug on my lips, drawing smiles from the corner of my mouth.

Relationship takes a lot from you. It began with a commitment, coexistence, balance. Feelings and attraction were only the beginnings of a possible fairy tale yet they're not the foundation of what I base my relationship on. Being in a relationship is definitely more than just that. It's this unwritten agreement of mutualism, the willpower to understand each other, the determination to solve things together and make things work. Breakups are easy, fights are easier. Selfishness, disagreements, ego — they are scattered pieces of a lemon squeezy cake and they are also the ones I have learned to tolerate, handle and deal with along the way.

Being single is awesome. It truly is. I still remember the feeling of being single, the independence and the beauty of it. But so is being in a relationship. People say you should always have the courage to step forward, learn new things and gain experience from there. They tell you to say yes once in a while, to venture forth and flourish onwards. Maybe this was what I was thinking, when I told him I felt the same way. I don't remember any fluttering butterfly because there wasn't any. I am not starstruck, I am not obsessed. If anything, I feel grateful. And for some unknown reason I cannot put into words, this whole thing feels like a solemn walk in the park.

Two weeks ago, it was his birthday but for some reason, it also felt like mine.