Hopeless romanticism is often visually depicted in the media as a young woman sighing deeply while hugging a teddy bear (presumably a gift from a lover). In my own experience, hopeless romanticism often feels like a disease. You feel a heaviness in your chest that doesn’t feel bad or good, it just feels there. That’s a very difficult symptom to explain to WebMD. You often see specific images circle around your head constantly, leaving you both exhausted and exhilarated. You get a feeling of anxiety that prompts you to find ways to act and react when all you want to do is watch America’s Got Talent in peace. At its best, being a hopeless romantic has made me feel hopeful, inspired, and even in love. At its worst, it has make me feel stupid, invisible, and cynical. And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Call it masochism, or anything you’d like, but I have a love/hate relationship with hopeless romanticism. I often seek an origin to my romantic ways. I go back to my childhood and realize that the adult relationships around me weren’t romantic or affectionate and that’s including my parents’ own relationship. I can’t think of the first romantic movie I saw, or the first romantic gesture I did, so I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a late-in-life romantic.
It’s difficult not to roll my own eyes at myself when thinking about why I love being a hopeless romantic. It’s that ‘Glade candle commercial’ feeling when they light up a new candle and their world transforms into vibrant colors, lights, and feelings. That feeling when you text someone new and you’re already imagining all the places you want to share with them. These feelings are often sudden and abrupt, they punch you in the stomach, reason leaves through the window, and it’s totally okay.
There have been moments where my own nature to romanticize situations has ended up making me miserable. These moments usually come from my own desperate tendencies to force something meaningless into a romantic situation. Mistaking simple, nonchalant interactions for sentimental value has been a deep-rooted issue in my everyday life. Another issue with hopeless romanticism is dealing with that unrequited love that was created solely in your head. There are feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and desperation that come from it. One must surely want to stay away from all that, right? Well, for me, not quite.
I understand and accept all the struggles of being a hopeless romantic. It is certainly not ideal for that to be one of your defining character traits especially in a hook-up generation. But, personally, all the positive feelings I’ve experienced while in the clouds of hopeless romanticism have definitely out-weighted the negative moments. Part of the reason why I love being a hopeless romantic is knowing that in a sea of cynicism, there are people looking at the world in a different light. Perhaps I’ll meet a fellow hopeless romantic at a coffee shop where we both grabbed the same cup by accident, or maybe he will be under a mile away through a dating app, but one thing is for sure, I really wouldn’t have it any other way.
Disclaimer: Juan wrote this corny piece while wearing a tutu, drinking cheap wine, and watching The Notebook.