The Back Up
One of my old beaux came back into my life recently. The reason we stopped talking was because he never seemed serious. He would tell me how beautiful I was, we would exchange secrets and dreams late into the night, and of course, there was some intercourse. (It was mostly just head and finger bangs but still.) Anyway, every time I asked to make our situationship into something more, I always got answers like “I’m not ready” or “give me some time.” These answers were confusing because they weren’t a “yes” obviously but they also weren’t a no. They were a “let’s wait.” At the time, “let’s wait” sounded like a “I have to work on me before I can be a we” answer. I respected this at first and waited. But after a couple of years (yes I said years) I was tired of waiting so we broke it off.
When he came back into my life it was all “I miss yous” but still no real sense of commitment. And that’s when I realized: I was the backup.
The back up is often rooted in good intentions. It’s something that many of us do, actually. Especially if you grew up in a traditional household or have a traditional mindset that tricks you into believing the only way you are whole or the only happy ending you can have lies in marriage. The backup basically means you found the one…for a potential future you. The back up is a guy or girl with everything to offer. They have a good job, they are decently attractive, and they treat you RIGHT. The back up is the type of person you can bring home on holidays and finally silence your nosey ass aunt whose sole purpose on this universe is to spread your singleness about the lands and to note how “wide” you’ve gotten since her last visit.
Yes, the back up is the perfect person to spend the rest of your life with…except they don’t make your heart jump.
You like them enough, sure, but you don’t want to shout it from the rooftops. A light whisper maybe but the feelings are minuscule. And as fucked up as it may be you don’t want to let them go completely.
Why Are We Like This?
Growing up surrounded by traditional Caribbean parents as well as television programs and movies that pushed the traditional romantic ending down my throat I get it. That shit sticks with you. And no matter how independent and successful you may be, there will always be that little voice reminding you: you will never be whole without a significant other. This same little voice is the one that keeps you from letting go of that individual who’s perfect on paper but not warming your soul. It crawls into your ear and whispers all the what if’s. What if you don’t find someone else? What if this person is meant for the future you? What if someone else takes what could potentially be your happy ending?
Sure, you’re not ready for marriage now. You’re still twenty or thirty something: the world is still your oyster! But when you finally reach that place everyone always talks about, the place where you’ve done all the things you set out to do and tried all the foods and dicks you wanted to try, it’d be nice to have someone to tell all those things to and as they say, “settle down with.” And right now this person-your back up-seems like a great option.
The back up is a bullshit concept but it’s one rooted in our own creation. Yes that man may satisfy a future you but if he doesn’t satisfy you now girl let that man GO! Don’t hang someone on a proverbial shelf with the hope that you can use them later as not only does it hurt them but in the long run it hurts you too.
Instead of keeping people on reserve we need to instead attempt to unlearn this fucked up mentality that we need someone else to be whole.
Or that our happy ending will only come once we are married. You are your second half. You are whole as you are right now. Let’s internalize that instead.