I was quite content to live life as a crazy cat lady. I see myself as a strong, individual, independent woman, and I pictured any future relationship as an inconvenient conformity to social norms. Something to please my Mum, to ease conversations around the dinner table at Christmas. Maybe to prove a point, perversely, to have a trophy on my arm, a symbol of my normality after growing up being seen as ‘different’ or ‘weird’. A partner would be my fuck-you to the world, a personification of ‘you were wrong! Look! I do human things!’ But, ultimately, I was looking forward to being on my own, carving my own path through the world, laying waste to everything in my path. I was going to be successful, cut-throat, creative, admirable, and ultimately alone.
But then I met him. At a Tabletop Gaming Society, of all places. We were building characters for Dungeons and Dragons, and I made a joke about dolphin dildos, and he laughed uproariously, and I knew, then, that conforming wouldn’t be enough. Success wouldn’t be enough. A trophy wouldn’t cut it. I wanted him, I wanted to laugh at his jokes and I wanted him to laugh at mine and I wanted to hold his hand and chat shit and fall asleep staring at him like a psychopath.
I see myself as a strong, individual, independent woman, who just happens to be accidentally, hopelessly in love with a brilliant boy, and willing to compromise and cooperate. I’m willing to work my life around his as long as he’s willing to work his life around mine. Our lives won’t merge, they’ll flow around each other, fluid and harmonious. Because I can’t picture myself happy and alone any more. I can see all the other stuff, the ambition and the desire to create and the drive and the want for success, but I see other things festooning it, warm things filling in the gaps between the goals. I see myself waking up every morning for a killer job that I adore, a job that makes things change, a job I worked fucking hard for. But before taking the world by storm I wake up with him. And we set the alarm half an hour early so we can bully each other mercilessly, and touch each other’s hair, and dribble on each other’s shoulders. I see myself blowing bitches outta the water with my work ethic, but I also see myself coming home, and making dinner, and drinking wine and watching films all tangled up with his limbs on the sofa. I see my life, but I see it with his.
And it’s petrifying. Because my happiness doesn’t rely solely on me any more. It’s entangled with his, inextricably, and a part of me’s shitting myself, but the other part, the part that wants adventure and life and brilliance, is thrilled, and excited. Because there’s nothing more strong, or ambitious, or determined, than putting a part of yourself in the hands of another. It makes you stronger, not weaker. It makes you brave.