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I’ve been thinking about writing this post for months…since July, actually. It was coming along nicely when suddenly, it just stopped. It being inspiration, of course. One cannot be writing for years (sporadically, I admit) without being familiar with this horrendous development.

Then, it struck me that this time, something more than writer’s block was at work. Shall I say…presumptions and a dogged determination to set certain standards without consideration of events and actions not within my control? Cryptic words that I’m allowed to leave unexplained because this is my blog.

I made a new friend a few months ago, and that would be nothing special in itself except that sometimes, he scares me like hell as well as make me angry because he has dredged up some of my worst memories ever. That anger is self-directed because I’ve come to realise that my insecurities due to events past were just biding their time to rear their ugly heads, ready to sabotage me and any potential relationship if I allow them to. Maybe I’ve always known that; I just didn’t want to acknowledge that my healing is as yet, incomplete.

You know how some people pray to ask God whether they’re better off being single or attached and they’d hear something like, ‘Two is better than one’? Well, for a very long while, I heard ‘That path is not for you. I have other plans for you’. Recently, I started getting a ‘Maybe’.

I have been afraid for a long, long time now. About caring for another person unreservedly. Maybe I was born this way – always hesitant about others’ motives, aware of the light that radiates from person to person, but always conscious of the shadows too. This has probably made me cautious, okay, stingy in showing my love in the past. This ‘maybe’ that I’m hearing could be the manifestation of a desire and readiness to change to become someone less…fearful.

I woke up around 3 a.m. one Wednesday morning in July and this thought just flitted into my mind.

LOVE GOD, LOVE LIFE

Everything is simple if we allow them to be. Why do I need to worry about being unloved, or worse, unable to love, when I have the Lord?

I’ll be honest; intention to not worry doesn’t equate to inner peace in reality. I try, but sometimes the anxiety, fear, and loneliness that I feel still threaten to overwhelm me. Talking to God helps though, so I’m often talking to Him. In anger, in happiness, and yes, in sadness.

Still, the heart yearns for what it doesn’t have. But the truth is, I can’t settle for just any man, even though I feel like giving in to the temptation sometimes. Who wouldn’t want to share life’s joys and trials, triumphs and failures, and all the momentous and inconsequential going-ons with another? I do, but I can’t, I won’t settle.

Nothing is wrong with my expectations even though I’m looking for 100% perfection. I need an imperfect man who’s a perfect fit for me. I need passion, I need intelligent conversations, and I need a man who spurs me on to become better than I am or would have been alone. I need someone whom I can talk to about my work, his work, current affairs, my writing, my books, his collection of toys, his secret fondness for lychee martinis, my fears, his insecurities, our motivations and countless other deep and mindless things besides daily expenses and our children’s whatever-it-is. And I need someone who, besides loving me, desires this kind of relationship with me.

Perhaps some men and women can console themselves for having married a good person. I’m not saying traits such as kindness and responsibility and steadfastness are unimportant to me…but I can be with a man who possesses all these good qualities and more, and yet still feel empty. When all is said and done, I’m not looking for the perfect man or someone who’ll be a good father (again, I’m not insinuating that this is trivial), but for a man to share that soul-deep connection that’s hard to replicate with anyone else. No compromise here.

LOVE GOD, LOVE LIFE

As I lay in bed in the middle of the night, staring at the scribbled words on my phone, I thought about the kind of man I could not merely love, but fall in love with. An idea took shape, and I started writing. The following are qualities that I can’t compromise on when I ‘settle’ down.

1. Loyalty

Ever heard of the story of a dog who keeps returning to the same place to wait for its owner even after the owner has passed away? I’m like that damned, foolish dog. I don’t make commitments and promises easily, but when I do, they count for something. They count for a lifetime, and most likely beyond if reincarnation exists and we bring memories of our former lives with us when we’re reborn.

Being an ardent lover of words, it pains me…it pains me greatly, so much so that I almost feel a physical ache, when I think about how little words mean to many. I’m not the most expressive verbally when it comes to love (it’s likely that you’ll have to choke the words out from me), but when I do express, it’s not because I’m ‘in the moment’ or anything like that. It’s because I’ve made my choice and that choice is intended to last until ‘death do us part’. And even then, I’d pray that we’d reunite in heaven.

Men just looking to pass time will face the diamond hard wall that I’ve erected. I’m no longer the green girl that I was, ready to consider someone as a life partner just because he has expressed an interest or liking in me. Make no mistake. I’m not even talking about marriage here, because this woman feels this massive anxiety welling up whenever she thinks about the subject.

However, if I do choose to be with someone, I’d want him in my life permanently. The other day, DBS and I were out and we overheard a woman complaining about her boyfriend to a friend. Apparently, she intends to give her relationship with this boyfriend a year before she decides whether to go on with him or to break up. I was horrified and shocked in equal parts, because it has never crossed my mind to put an expiry date on love, or at least, the kind of love that I believe in.

Guys, if you’re not sure that you’re ready for the deep, abiding, faithful, intense love that I’m talking about here, do not approach women like me. We don’t hold back, we give it our all, and if you do wrong by us, we take ages to heal. Imagine a man toying with your mother, your sister, your female best friend. If that doesn’t stop you from acting irresponsibly, then you sure as hell don’t have a shred of decency in you.

2. Openness

Compared to my peers, I’m not very well-travelled. However, I read a lot, I have foreigner friends, and I’ve gleaned some insights from my years of working with people from a different culture. Suffice it to say that I’ve found many who, despite having travelled extensively to many different countries, are still narrow-minded, possess tunnel vision, and/or perceive issues on a superficial level. One of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard is that globalisation means learning English. It still amazes me how utterly stupid some of the things that come out from our mouths are.

Change does not come easily to all of us. It’s inevitable that when confronted with the unknown and the unfamiliar, we react in anxiety and fear and often lash out to defend…God knows what?! The status quo, most likely. I’m also the same. Many times, I ask myself why others behave the way they do, only to realise later that I’m also moulded with a set of firm beliefs and attitudes because I’ve been brought up in Singapore, went through the Singapore education system, and am affected and influenced by Singapore’s economic and political climate as well as her social mores.

I hope I’ve matured enough not to expect others to change to accommodate me. In fact, I’ve never wanted that. What I want, what I need, is to be listened to and accepted without rebuke or condemnation. I hope that my man has a big enough heart and a flexible enough mind to listen to my perspectives and try to understand where I’m coming from. He doesn’t have to agree and he doesn’t have to change his opinion, but listening without being condescending, understanding why I think and feel the way I do, and respecting my views…that’s something I’m looking for. In return, I’ll do the same for him.

This doesn’t mean there won’t be any squabbling or heated debates, but at the end of the day, we have to know that we can come to each other and be honest with our thoughts and feelings without fear of rejection or condemnation.

3. Someone who also Values himself 

We need to take care of ourselves, period. We may be part of a unit, but we’re still individuals with our own needs and wants. In loving and caring for me, my man should never forget to look into what he needs. If he needs to go off on his own for a while, or hang out with his buddies, he should be able to do that without me throwing a hissy fit. I may not like that he’s not around, and I’ll definitely miss him, but I’ll never ask him to sacrifice his needs over mine. As one who has found enjoyment in being alone and who needs a lot of space herself, I’ll never intrude on his time for self-reflection, self-development, and yes, mindless play.

As partners, it’s ideal that we complement each other, but we can probably learn from and enjoy each other’s company even more if we take time to develop our minds and bodies from a variety of activities that may or may not include the other. Being together may be tremendously fun and reassuring, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t/don’t/won’t enjoy others’ company as well.

Valuing himself also includes him having enough self-confidence to be proud of me and my talents/achievements. I’m good in many things, and my partner has to understand that even if I excel in areas that he doesn’t (but may like to), it doesn’t mean that he’s being undermined as a man or as a person. It just means that I’m good at being me. Someone who believes in his own worth without needing to resort to demeaning or being condescending to others to feel that way? Sexy.

4. Enchantment

I need magic in my life. Everyone needs some magic in their lives.

Am I looking for familiarity and security? To a certain extent, yes. He needs to be emotionally there for me, always. But other than that, I need that spark with a man before I can consider taking it beyond friendship with him, and that spark may come from unfamiliarity. Sometimes, we’d just rub each other the wrong way, and our hands may itch to wrap around the other’s throat. Other times, we’d see sides to the other that we’ve never noticed before. The rest of the time, we’d bounce along life deliriously happy or just joyously at peace. Whatever it is, I never want that spark to fizzle out.

I crave passion, surprises and variety, but don’t get me wrong. I don’t need grand gestures or deliberately constructed romantic activities. Well, those would be nice occasionally…but if you’ve ever cared deeply for anyone in your life before, you’d know that you put a lot of thought into the daily mundane things you do for that person. At least, I do. It’s not so much the special things that he does, or the anniversaries that he remembers, but the care and effort he takes in remembering my habits and the quirks that make me ‘me’.

How does one explain magic, anyway? I think I’m not doing justice to it…

What I’ve mentioned above may just very well be attachment and companionship, and I believe those may not always lead to love. This is entirely debatable because love may mean different things to different people and as such, there are many kinds of love. The big difference to me boils down to ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m in love with you’. I want the latter, to the extent that I’m not willing to exchange the possibility of having that someday for the reality of having the former today. Ah, hope may be the death of me, friends!

Passion is not the be-all and end-all when you’re in love with somebody. There is also joy that surpasses contentment when you’re with him, and awe and wonder when you behold the person and his words and deeds in your life. You’re inspired and humbled by him, and you’re a step closer to become your best possible self just by having him in your life. He gives you his truth no matter how bad it is, and his desire to protect you does not overcome his respect for you as an equal who is able to make decisions for herself.

So, my personal equation for falling in love would look something like this:

Truth + Inspiration + Wonderment + Humility + Joy + Passion

=

Falling in Love

In romantic relationships, I’ve felt passion and I’ve forced truth, and I’ve been inspired and humbled by friends and even strangers. However, I’ve never had all the elements in my equation directed at and/or prompted by a single man. What are the odds of meeting that person and him thinking the same of you? Pretty bad, huh…but I’m not giving up.

It’s possible to love many in a lifetime; I did and will continue to do so. But falling in love? It may very well be once in a lifetime.

Let’s move back to plain old LOVE, shall we? Happy thoughts, people!

I hope I’ve ended this year and will start the year 2016 with love. Love for my Daddy Above, love for my family, love for my friends, and love for myself. Oh, and  in case you thought I’ve finished with my list above, think again. Remember

LOVE GOD, LOVE LIFE

GOD.

That’s what I’ll write about next…year. 2016, here we come!