Why I Stopped Hunting For Love

Why I Stopped Hunting For Love

Single, happy and not waiting for it: the true confession of love, lost and found.

Well, I won't be following the lure of any love hunter soon, a new trend per Jezebel.

You know I think women have been screwed over a million times, but we have been compliant through the pain. At least I have. This may be a rant, but it is a compassionate celebration too. I don't blame men for screwing women or women for rushing in to be screwed. Society creates what we fear; it is, essentially, our teacher and rules with a punishing grip.

Love hunters have gathered at the watering holes of the world since Adam and Eve had that squabble about the apple.

Perhaps like Eve, I lost my innocence far too young. I'm not talking about sex (although I do have my own tale of sex and woe, that is another story). The lost innocence I'm referencing was my acceptance in who I was; in knowing I was worthy enough to freely be me. I think most of us come into the world believing in the romance of being human. We laugh with delight at the beauty of the physical: squishing toes in mud, riding my three wheeler under the willow tree and talking to fairies are things I remember most about my innocent days. 

Then, as it so often does, came the dark divide. It was there I learned that love could be conditional, and metered out grudgingly. Even though my laugh was loud and I was more a giant wallflower than a delicate rose, the mocking torture of "kids being kids" (and kids being cruel) scared me into silence.  I dropped my voice to a whisper so low no one could hear me. I became a master of manipulation, not on purpose, but  to the factory standards for education, churning out damaged goods on the conveyor belt of life. I swallowed my laugh and my joy; it was like a light went out. 

I stopped listening to my inner voice and I started accepting grown-ups and "cool people" speak. I was still a rebel, but a muted one, numbed by repeated lessons of giving in and giving up. I wasn't feeling the love, nor did I know I deserved any, holed up in the dark; a wall between me and what mattered. A different kind of virginity was lost in training to beome a suitable marriage prospect: subdued, dainty, compliant. But I couldn't summon up the will to make nice just to find a meal ticket or a man. Somewhere deep inside myself, I knew that a man would never make me whole. I figured I would be hollow through decades of pretending and pleasing.

It was embarrasing to be a bohemian weirdo before it was popular. A proberbial escape artist, drifting and ducking the dreaded conforming theater. Well-versed in the art of women-speak, yet contemptous and — oh yes — jealous. I wanted so much to be like the women I knew; beautiful, confident and lucky in love. Instead I seethed and retreated, punishing myself and anyone who got in my way. Denying, selfish or indulgent, I found a way to screw iup every opportunity for the good life so I could shake my fist at the world, and say "See I told you; life sucks."

I remember the orange pleated dress I proudly wore to my first real party. My mom, after informing me that a boy touching your breast could get you pregnant, helped me to doll up and look the part. Scores of boys asked me to dance, some more than once, but I stayed motionless. I was remembering the shame of standing out and being mocked through my childhood, desperately waiting for that one deeper assurance that would invite me in.

That burn of shame in my chest has finally died.  Now that I have found forgiveness and compassion for that confused girl trying to read those love signals without a dictionary. Truthfully, the old me thought that men were only good for one thing: sex. Unless they were family, they couldn't be trusted.

Now? Now I dance with wild abandon, tasting the joy of moving in embodied grace. Back then I was waiting for a love hunter to show up, bearing a platter of pearls and a sign saying "this way to happiness". Thankfully, I have recaptured my lost innocence, virgin once more, cradling hope and light with reverence. No princely sum, magic hunter or moneyed hero will bring me love if I have not relit my own love from within. True romance is a deeply nuanced gift that marries seeing, receiving and sharing abundance. Sweetmeats fall frozen in the wasteland as long as we hold out for a knight cutting through brambles to awaken us with a kiss.  

Get real: this is not going to happen. And you know what? This is good news. In this renaissance of women and men, we have the opportunity to decide to be what we want in this world. Our options include more than an object on someone's arm or placed in a trophy or trollop cabinet, but in celebration of choosing to be you on every level. The love you find, when you are ready for it, will fill your world. So no more settling or sighing for this goddess of earth; no more accepting love hunters or anything less than what we deserve. I won't wait to asked and I won't be screwed over; love runneth over. What about you?

If you are looking for love validation, want to get a sense of who you are or how to get back on your own trail of love and truth, sign up for your free copy of how to say no without being pushy of a pushover, and more confessions.

More love advice from YourTango: