Will probably delete this but want to post for those who feel similar because it's maddening thinking you're the only one/one of very few. I am very sad about but making peace with the fact that romantic love is sthg that eludes some of us for reasons we cannot know or control.
When I say elude, I don't mean it will never, ever happen. I'm saying that whilst many people go in and out of relationships on some miraculous, regular wave, some of us have that happen rarely or not at all.
The more time passes, the more you build a self unaccustomed to and frankly quite alienated by the idea of partnership. Much like the serial monogamist who can't stay single, it becomes a nebulous hypothesis, some fantastical theory your body has no visceral reference for.
It is just bad luck. And luck can ofc turn on a dime. But it can also just go on like that, reliably & laughably shitty, for years or even decades. You can make yourself sick with hope, waste time & energy with your antenna raised whilst simultaneously pretending not to care.
This anxiety has generated a multi billion dollar industry of books/events/courses/apps claiming to have an answer. Attempts are made to lace singledom with some semblance of dignity or even gravitas. But we remain a species addicted to the salvation of romantic love.
The solutions peddled by apps & self help gurus work for some. But there is another experience, another rambling path: sad, difficult, ghostly, formative & continually humbling. Undisturbed, you learn to truly hear yourself and the tide of your thoughts, for better and for worse
The term relationship STATUS speaks volumes. It's as much about ego as anything else, wanting to signal to the world that s/o has freely elected to give your their time, care & attention. In lieu of meaningful community ties, this is the last bastion of relational safety.
Seperate from one's private desire for a partner, long term singleness can just feel...socially mortifying. It's hard to be in the world, talking to people who constantly & casually refer to partners & exes, this seemingly universal experience for which you have no testimony.
For some it's a genuine or perceived lack of options. Some won't settle. I wont get into how & why I've found myself firmly in my thirties & never in love. I've driven myself insane with elaborate theories. I will rest with and reiterate this simple, elegant thing: it's bad luck
It pierces you like a shard of glass some days: except for cursory hugs and handshakes signalling hello & goodbye, you haven't been touched, meaningfully, for months or perhaps even years.
You smother your libido such that sex reverts back to the slightly silly and gross act it seemed like when you first heard about it as a child. Better to be mildly disgusted by it than ache for it every day.
Yet: I have my health, my friends, my flat, my dream job. No one I love is dead, for now. It's an embarrassment of riches. It would be greedy of me to demand a sweeping love story on top of that. I don't think any of us get to have it all, all at once.
I'm not under any delusions about partnership. Like anything, it can be anti-climatic, banal, exposing, violent. Even when its lovely & loving, life still finds other ways of sneaking in its sucker punches. I know this. But still. What else is there to say? It just sucks, innit.
What I wont do is be w anyone just to say I have s/o. What an insult to me & that person. I can be proud even if I go to my grave never experiencing it. I can say I strove to do all things joyfully & with intent. As it is in my hobbies, work & friendships, it must also be in love
We each have our story of exclusion, our own private gulf of shame. Let it grow, not shrink, your heart. Its this sense of lack, the very thing that makes you feel hideous, that builds your empathy. We each have our crosses to bear and we must do so with grace & good humour.
Please don't send me platitudes or assurances that it will happen or that I am lovable/desirable. Those things are certainly true in abstract and I know that. I want to talk honestly about the feeling without people rushing me towards a solution or soothing balm.
I have my flaws like anyone, but I sincerely think I'm amazing! That's entirely seperate from my dating experiences thus far. I am hugely deflated and uninspired by what love has been, or failed to be, up to now. That's all. But I have a long life ahead of me yet.
I'm gonna try not to lean towards it or stalk it down an alleyway. The apps are poison. They sap my soul and my phone data. I'm just gonna feel what I feel and live how I want to live. And no, not because 'love finds you when you least expect it'. Vomit. Miss me with that bar!
I never used to let myself acknowledge the weight of sadness I felt around this. I thought it was above me & the brilliant life I've built. Too basic, too pathetic! But breaking news: I am made of the same soft, jelly-ish needs as anyone. Hate that for me tbh, but there you go.
Sometimes I wish it were an organ, this longing. Then I could neatly & efficiently cut it out of my body. The world is so big, so gorgeous, replete with issues that deserve our focus. I want to stop thinking about this so I can apply my full self to anything & everything else.
No neat bow on this thread, I'm afraid. Wrote it for those that know what this feels like. I'm here, I'm with you, I get it. But we move! We're allowed to feel sad. In fact, I insist on our right to that. But life is for the living, because and in spite of all of this. Onwards x

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More from @Vanessa_Kisuule

Mar 4
Am always startled and haunted by how James Baldwin's work keeps circling around this search for a life of singular integrity and how this search is often quietly brutal, devastatingly lonely. Image
I love me some Baldwin, but reading his work often makes me crave a cigarette, and I haven't smoked a day in my life, looool. The most artful nihilist there ever was!
This excerpt it from his novel Another Country.
Read 5 tweets
Jul 28, 2022
Okay, all of you listen up. Every now and then a book comes along that forges new synaptic pathways in your brain. I was always going to read and support it because Travis is a friend. But fuck friendship: this book has sincerely changed the way I think for the better.
First of all, it is a feat of ontological wonder. To write this fluently when the ideas you're discussing are so big, so difficult and so complex, is extremely hard. It takes a v gifted writer and thinker to pull this off. I need you lot to know that Travis is an ARTIST.
This book is not a palliative for liberal guilt nor is it some trite guide on pronouns or bathrooms and all that other media circus bullshit. It's not a book that explains or others its perspective. It is ambivalent, contradictory and angry yet deeply compassionate.
Read 4 tweets
Jul 25, 2022
We need to stop taking so many photographs of ourselves. Our brains aren't built to constantly take, consume & analyse this many images of the self - we're splintering & obfuscating our self perception, too aware of our own faces & what they should/shouldn't be doing
I imagine the first major shift was when mirrors became a normal and ubiquitous thing to have in the home. Before then I assume you had to just trust you looked fine! Now we have these photos that we stare at, zoom in and out of, compare and contrast to others...
And even when you aren't taking photos, this culture bleeds into the way you SEE. The way you take in people with your own eyes is still mediated and distorted by all the photography you have wilfully & passively consumed in this horrendous culture we've been forced into.
Read 15 tweets
Sep 29, 2021
GAH. The fucking graft it's going to take to get the quality of my writing to even TICKLE the edge of my taste levels...I feel so daunted and smothered by it. But under that is a lean, quiet gratitude that I have the time and support to try and try and try again.
Going to have to fall in love with process. Going to have to shed the gratifying but often shallow rewards of performance for a little while. Going to be gnashing my teeth and hiding away a lot. I may have something to show for it at the end. I may not.
For those of you transitioning in some way as an artist, I'm with you. It's weird. The shedding never seems to stop. When do I get to feel new & improved? We wonder. I don't know if that's the gig, man. I think the shedding is the place and the space and the pain and the reward.
Read 6 tweets
Sep 14, 2021
This is a question concerning sofas. I want a really fuck-off good one. This is the one item of furniture I am willing to spend £££ on because I wanna be sitting, eating lying and shagging comfortably on it for 15 years MINIMUM. What are the good brick and mortar sofa stores?
I simply can't fathom buying a sofa online when I haven't sat on it?? No website links unless you can personally vouch for the comfort and sturdiness of the sofa yourself. I don't want an IKEA sofa either. Okay, dassit. Go!
Read 4 tweets
Sep 9, 2021
So I want to offer some thoughts on rejection as 1) a full time artist who necessarily experiences plenty of it myself and 2) someone who has had the simultaneous privilege and agony of having to select candidates for various opportunities.
It sounds like an empty platitude when ppl say how tough it is to make these decisions but baby, it’s the TRUTH. It is long & complicated weighing up who the best people are for any opportunity. Lots of talented folk + relatively few prestigious opps = lots of thwarted dreams.
I've sat w artists run ragged by the constant chorus of 'no's they keep receiving. I know that any no I might give could be the final no that makes s/o give up on their art. This shit hangs heavy in my heart. It makes me feel nauseous and fraudulent and in need of a long nap.
Read 22 tweets

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