Guilty Pleasures

It was junior year of college. I had almost no human interaction due to poor roommate choices and hefty science-based classes. All I wanted was to escape mundane reality. So after class, I would often visit the bookstore, maybe two to three times a week. I’d often pass the romance section and wonder curiously what was behind those steamy covers of almost naked people.

One day, I gave in. In the back of my mind, I felt a little like Eve plucking the fruit from the tree, and I knew if I did this, there was no going back.

I read it anyway. My heart beat faster as the couple fell in love. As I came across the steamy parts, I gasped and put the book down, looking left and right, wondering if someone was watching me read this, wondering if someone was going to catch me. I picked the book back up. Put it down again. Picked it up and decided…maybe just a skim. Skimming gave way to reading and indulging. Curiosity and innocence melded together, so that it was pretty much impossible not to give in.

To this day, I still indulge occasionally if the book is by an author I like. So I’m not going to say it was wrong, nor am I going to say I regret it. Not at all. Many of the authors, I learned, were smart, independent women, and they wrote one hell of a story. They taught me how to write romantic scenes, and no, it wasn’t all about the shedding of clothes. It was about the atmosphere, the desire to be pursued by a confident man. It taught me what  like to read in love stories, and I learned to use those elements in my own writing.

However, I will say this. I think the downside was, I developed false expectations about relationships. In the years following college, I think I’ve been more REACTIVE rather than PROACTIVE when it comes to interacting with guys.

Side note: All the romance novels I’ve read feature alpha males, but in reality, I know more beta males, who are actually nicer than alphas in my opinion.

I’m not even sure what being proactive means exactly. I’m still trying to figure it out. I just know that I’ve always been waiting and waiting for something to happen. Like I was asleep in a tower, waiting for a prince to come find me. Each time I thought a guy was interested, I allowed myself to hope too much, allowed myself to be led on until he moved on, and a little of my heart was left broken.

Maybe I’m being slightly dramatic here, but I do sense some patterns.

I read a blog post recently about this–how the author was so determined to let the guy lead because she’d been wrongly taught that men were supposed to lead relationships. And how she kept going even when nothing was being given back.

I wish I could say here that my New Year’s resolution is to be more proactive, to take control of relationships, and to recognize when I should stop giving. But I’m certain I will probably fail. The spirit is willing, but the heart is weak.

Maybe it’s a guilty pleasure of mine to be in one-sided relationships, to try to earn love by giving and giving. I don’t know.

So my real resolution this year is to start learning what being proactive means.

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