As the lockdown rules ease in the UK on April 12th, many are anticipating rooftop brunches and lush dinners with their boo and besties. For the singletons who happen to be introverts, we have spent a great deal of the lockdown nurturing our isolation and fortifying the walls of hyper-independence. This poses a challenging post Lockdown reality; where flirtatious dms and “talking stages” begotten during quarantine with the expectation of blossoming into a physical dating interaction is put to the test.
Today’s blog post is an extension of my mind at “ungodly hours”; a time where I am not focused on career tasks or the lives of others.
Like many adults with shadow trauma to battle (a fact that was made conspicuous to me last year), I have mastered the art of seclusion. It isn’t a state I dread. In fact I love being in solitary with the black-out curtains and 1000s of Grey’s Anatomy episodes carrying me through nights of introspection. I seldom find a partner who entices me enough to easily penetrate the high towers of anxiety and childhood trauma I am locked in; and when I do, without hesitation the tower completely liquefies leaving me vulnerable without healthy boundaries.
The past few months in Lockdown have been an eye-opening journey. The hours spent in my sanctuary has consolidated my distaste for small talk and sexual advancements. How many times a day would he ask me “what are you up to”? – It hasn’t changed from the last 10 mins you asked bruv. I cringe at the sad efforts at “sexting” where one would try to coax out my “savage” side without consent. Amid all the cacophony of uninteresting conversations wrapped in fleeting attraction, in my isolation I have slithered out of an old skin. In this revived spirit I wear, I have discovered an understanding of my wants in my future partner and how to recognise an intruder disguised as him.
If you had asked me a year ago, 2 years into my single hood what my type was? I would’ve most likely responded with “Definitely a Black man, who shares the same moral values as I do; no homophobes or misogynistic pricks and someone who has/is working towards an ambitious career”. See… my type a year ago was clear but not definitive enough. My type a year ago left room for adjustments and weak boundaries which my empathetic nature could cater to. A very simple, usual type which was still unfathomable to me until I met him- I met him and I learned new wants in my partner, so I thank him for the lessons his presence and brusque absence taught. I thank the solitude of quarantine for the epiphanies.
In my isolation, yearning for my type, I run to Hinge but find myself quickly deleting the dating app after a day of being overwhelmed by 50+ matches who just could not be him. Online dating has garnered mass amounts of humans looking to connect and escape their loneliness thanks to the pandemic; unfortunately humans have their shortcomings with regards to being honest about their intentions and a solely digital romance makes it easy to be dishonest. I have become encapsulated by my healing; a journey of self discovery and self acceptance, a journey of pain and joyful revelations. This journey has made me fall in love with me a little more and fall out of love with the dry fish at sea.
The ease of Lockdown provides the possibility for more authentic dating experiences but here I am, afraid of losing myself all over again. I have spent a great deal of time being my own source of dopamine and serotonin- what will happen to the towers if I head on out there and accept his provision of love? What will happen if after multiple dates and getting lost in each others arms, my type leaves. What will happen if my type realises I am not his type beyond the confines of mobile phone screens and 4G conversations.
Dating after over a year in quarantine presents a plethora of conundrums surrounding social interactions. What are the appropriate questions to ask on a first date nowadays? What is the criterion for dating? How slow should we go? How fast can we run? How safe is he? Will I lose myself a little too much in his compliments coming out of a stage where the only compliments I was showered with erupted from my lips? At the first sign of discomfort, will I run and lock myself in the highest room in the tower?
One thing is certain though – going back out there into a den of predatory cishet men, the criterion to assess matches has to be solid if one does not want to end up being a vulnerable prey. How does one do this? Put up enough walls but not too much that you keep everyone out and not too little that you end up hurt?
Going back to the drawing board, I reflected on my type. The time spent in Lockdown has equipped me with enough revelations into whom my type is. Now in ink, I imprint him into the my mind and the universe. I have always been a lover, it is my most dominant archetype; some who may have met me would say ‘the mother’ or ‘the siren’ is pretty close. Basking in my lover energy, I crave intimacy and partnership and in my isolation I have learnt what this looks like to me. I would say my type is…
My type is a lover with an addictive saccharine sweetness that does not run dry, a siren, patient, authentic, confident, warm, intelligent with flaws he bears open. A simplistic sentence if I am to be honest because my type is beyond my human imagination.
This inner discourse unearths many questions. Here I am, a lover wanting the elusive experience of intimacy with a partner yet unequivocally making love to my isolation. But if there is anything I know, it is that the lover in me will remain open enough to embrace the lover for me; together we will bask in the harmonious silence that embraces our nights through 1000s of Grey’s Anatomy episodes.