I have FINALLY finished the book, Fear of Flying by Erica Jong. Although it took me a long time to finish the novel, I could not agree more with over half the things the protagonist feels and expresses when it comes to men, sex, love and relationships. I could seriously write my own novel when it comes to picking out all of my favorite quotations throughout the novel and adding my own commentary. However, for the sake of this post I will stick to what the title states. When it comes to love, the protagonist is searching everywhere for it and constantly left empty handed. She searches for some profound and meaningful love through her encounters with many different men, and when she cannot find it, her and her best friend simply decide to use men for sex and have random one night stands as much as they can because they can’t seem to find love the real way.
And this is all fine. Everyone has their own way of dealing with things and maybe, for some of us, many of us – perhaps even a grand majority- we have to have these hook ups with other individuals, random or not, in order to learn about ourselves and what we crave sexually and emotionally. Sometimes you have to lose yourself in someone else’s bed just to realize you like the feel of your own.
She, as well as myself, constantly finds herself battling between wanting some true amazing unfathomable all consuming gorgeous type of love and between her own love for freedom and independence. She questions herself constantly, “What had love ever done for me but disappoint me? Or maybe I looked for the wrong things in love. I wanted to lose myself in a man, to cease to be me, to be transported to heaven on borrowed wings.”
Yet along the way, and countless “zipless fucks” later, she realizes the following while witnessing lovers kiss: “That was what I had originally wanted. A man to complete me. Papageno to my Papagena. But perhaps that was the most delusional of all delusions. People don’t complete us. We complete ourselves. If we haven’t the power to complete ourselves, the search for love becomes a search for self-annihilation; and then we try to convince ourselves that self-annihilation is love.”
The reason as to why this above quotation resonates so much with me, and I’m sure with many others, is because I think we all encounter this problem at least once in our lives. It is normal and natural to want to find love as a human being. We all want partners. We all want love and intimacy and fun. We all want that amazing chemistry. For me personally, I am in the middle of deciding whether I want to be alone like I always have been, or go along with the flow and date someone who is moving at a pace that I am disagreeing with more and more. Do I stay with him and see where it leads or do I decide I should simply go back to my default setting of being single. And this is exactly where I feel as though this quotation comes into play. What’s so wrong with being single? Well, nothing really. Except for the fact that I would like a refreshing change with someone genuine. But is my only legit reason for dating this guy and “following his lead” because I’m too afraid to go back to nothing? To go back to my single and lonely days? Because if that’s the one thing driving me to stay with him, then that’s highly problematic.
When it comes to choosing between ourselves and someone else, I think it’s always important to choose us. Especially if choosing the other person means sacrificing what you believe, who you are, or feeling as though you simply aren’t valued as much as you would like to be. People cannot complete us. We complete us. And no matter how deep you may fall in love with someone else and how amazing it is, I think it is important to realize that you cannot make homes out of human beings.
You are in your own body. You are your home. You are your everything. You are the owner of your own soul.
Falling in love is a wonderful gift in life and I’m sure that when it happens, it will be utterly amazing. But even when we are looking for love, we shouldn’t look for dependency or someone to complete us or a home. We are already all of those things for ourselves. What we should be looking for is a partner. A lover. A best friend and companion to enrich our lives even more than it already is.
Having that genuine and wonderful love is important to me. But a home? Someone to complete me? Those are things I can and will do myself. Even when the loneliness feels like it’s killing me on the inside, it has to be done. Because if I don’t love me and I don’t know my own worth, how will I ever find that beautiful lover to know it?