"Lana," my best friend texts me at three in the morning. "We don't need men."
I have three plays to read, not enough hours left in the night, and a heavy heart weighing me down because the boy I never meant to fall for didn't fall for me back.
Deep down, I know she's right.
But that doesn't change the fact that a night of rejection will send me flying into the wrong arms, in hopes that I will feel better, even for a second—or at least be distracted enough so that I don't feel at all.
I don’t know why we look for validation in places other than ourselves. Why do we expect that half-love, that twenty-minute love, that drunken, see-each-other-from-across-the-room-and-struggle-to-remember-each-other’s-name-the-next-morning love to satisfy the void in ourselves that can ultimately only be filled by ourselves? By self-love.
Is it because it makes us feel better when they whisper sweet nothings in our ears as we try to pry off the rejection from the could-be-love-of-our-lives that paints a film of shame over our skin?
Is it because we failed that test, and our parents, and we’re failing ourselves and we need something to numb the overwhelmingness of it all?
Is it because we need the distraction? Because we know that if we stay alone in the silence of the night, every insecurity and regret and fear will come crawling out of the darkest corners of our minds?
Is it because we don’t want to be alone? Because we like to lie to ourselves and believe that the presence of the wrong person will make it all okay?
Is it because we want to be wanted?
So many college students can do the hookup thing simply because they want to. But for me, there is always sadness and immense heartbreak and so many ground-shaking realities I never wish to face buried deep inside of me whenever I exchange names with a stranger, pretending that it even matters.
So why do we do it? Why do I do it?
Because I will drive myself crazy wondering why he didn't text me back. Because one bad moment on a Saturday night will inevitably spiral into me staring at my bedroom ceiling for hours thinking about every regret I ever made, every person who ever left me, every mistake I ever made. And because it's all-too scary and all-too much for me to face.
Because it is never the right way to handle things, but it is always the easy way out.