Self and the City is a column intended to increase visibility and dialogue surrounding mental health, relationships, harmful stereotypes, and the necessity for self-care and vulnerability. Self and the City will be headlined by Jessa Chargois on a bi-weekly basis. Submissions and guest columnists are welcomed to send work to firstname.lastname@example.org
I believe in the “click.” I believe in connections that are so innate and deep, that attraction cannot be explained. I believe in a spark, a bond, a chemistry that leaves you breathless. I believe in the all consuming curiosity that brightens the darkest of days. I believe in the “click” that can sweep you off your feet and remind you of all that is beautiful in this world.
Fortunate enough to have felt this “click” more than once, I have held an indescribable connection with four brilliant men, drawing me in with their humor, wide toothy smiles, and bright eyes. They have granted me butterflies I will cherish, memories I will hold dear, and lessons I will continue to live by.
Blue taught me the importance of following my instincts. Chuck taught me that love should never be at the cost of others. Brooklyn taught me that while a relationship is a choice, a connection is not. Utah has taught me that butterflies are not just for teenagers.
These men have drifted in and out of my life, and have inspired varying degrees of self-growth, self-love, and self-awareness. I feel incredibly lucky to have known them, to have laughed together, to have felt their admiration, and to have been truly seen. As I have spent the last year loving myself, respecting my heart, and treating my thoughts with empathy and patience, I have come to the conclusion that I yearn for a type of romantic connection that will leave my head and heart spinning. I want an inexplicably deep bond that drives me to become the best version of myself.
I have spent my fair share of time exploring New York City’s dating culture. While some dates have gone so inexplicably sitcom-worthy horrific that you just have to laugh it off, other dates have been extraordinarily breathtaking. Most dates, though, are just fine. That isn’t to say that the men are not intelligent, handsome, funny, or worthwhile friends, they just aren’t for me. Too often we believe that all interactions we have should be life-changing. However, I would argue that most dates are, just simply not in the manner we may expect. With every new conversation, you learn what you would like in an ideal partner, or characteristics you wish to avoid. This lack of spark is not a fault of either person, it just means you’re one date closer to finding the person who will “click” with you.
While this type of connection is often associated with romance, this bond can be felt with platonic life long partners as well. My fifth spark belongs to my soulmate and my best friend. Through pure chance, we found ourselves brought together in London, instantly drawn to one another upon the first time we locked eyes. She has changed the way I view communication, creativity, loyalty, and commitment. I am no longer starved for love in my life. She, along with the other dozen strong, intelligent, beautiful, and talented women in my life, have filled a hole in my heart left from past romantic partners. This love has granted me the confidence required to stand alone, patiently waiting for a deeper emotional romantic connection that I welcome when ready. Because of this love, I am no longer accepting romance that does not fill me with unabashed joy. Because of these connections, I have fallen back in love with myself.
What if we all started to be a bit more picky? What if we all no longer feared being alone? What if the fear of being single, led you to settle for someone who is just “fine”. What if you missed a chance to connect deeply with someone who would make your world spin on a new axis? What if your safety net is really your cage?
Regardless of who you are, we are all running from something hidden deep within. For me, it has been the fear that I am not enough. Over the last year, I have had to settle into my discomfort in spending time alone. I have pushed myself to eat alone at restaurants one would typically view as an ideal date location. I have taken myself to the movies, gone for romantic walks alone, purchased bouquets of flowers to grace my precious room, and dressed up solely so I could feel pretty. While it sounds cliche, I have found happiness in these activities, striving to create pockets of self-care throughout the day, rather than rely on others to provide this for me. I want to make it clear however, that this philosophy was something that took time and empathy to create. For many months, I sat and let myself experience intense loneliness. I found myself viewing dating as a chore, something I should do because it was expected of me. I would force connections with those who frankly, had little interest in knowing the real me. It has taken me a long time to work through this internal desire to be dependent on another’s reassurance of my worth. While I am far from the level of self-assurance I would one day like to possess, I feel confident in my intuitions and inner worth. In the past, I would have been horrified to hear how much alone time I am willingly creating for myself. That fear would have driven me to settle in a relationship that was just fine. I would have sacrificed my freedom and given up valuable time to develop a connection that would never make me feel that way my “clicks” have. I am no longer so starved for love that I am willing to accept any connection in order to avoid being truly alone. I fear too many of us have built ourselves a cage of limitations based on fear.
At the end of the day, we all have the same amount of time: twenty-four hours to find joy. For me, I wish to spend my time with the most magical, gratifying, rewarding, intelligent, creative, special connections I have. I want butterflies, laughter, and sparks. I do not want to be just fine. I want to be swept off of my feet, filled with joy. I want a “click” that feels like home, that encourages me to fully embrace who I am, my strengths, my faults, and everything in between. I have had to work hard to place myself in an uncomfortable position of introspection in order to achieve these viewpoints. As I watch my beautiful friends ebb and flow through various relationships, I continue to support their connections, reminding them that the most important bond is with yourself. We all have our “clicks” out there, we just need to become more picky.
“Clicks” have the ability to create clarity in our lives. Some may be more permanent than others, but I believe in recognizing these connections and appreciating them for what they are. As I have discussed before, I believe in songbirds, the idea that our growth is derived from appreciating the world and our relationships for what they are. Rather than control those who enhance our world, the bonds, the “clicks”, we can learn life long lessons, just as I have from Blue, Chuck, Brooklyn, and Utah. These connections may not last forever, but they are beautiful, rare, special, and heart-warming when they happen. For me, I wish to be seen. I want to be understood. I want to feel giddy, intelligent, courageous, beautiful, and undoubtedly trusting. I’m in no rush for that “click”, and I refuse to settle. I encourage us all to slow down, become a bit more picky, and fall in touch with what our true selves want. We all deserve to feel seen.
Feature Image via Jessica Golightly