The Indelibility of Romance

Keyukemi Ubi
ZORA
Published in
6 min readMar 29, 2023

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First off, this is my 6th essay this year. Can you believe it? Six! in three months. Well, this is me patting myself on the back for the Vim and consistency.

I have avoided talking about love and romance in my previous works. Everyone is always talking about it. The unduly recycled conversations on Twitter, the cute couple reels on IG, the weird bits of advice on TikTok, It's all there.

So why does what I have to say matter? Well, it doesn’t, not even in the slightest bit. But is that going to stop me from writing this piece? Nope, again, not even in the slightest bit.

As always, I am not going to give advice. Well, I might a little bit because one of my ancestors may have been Gandhi) but feel free to disregard those bits of “advice” and enjoy my gist.

Now let’s talk romance.

Someone tweeted some days ago asking if one would get a tattoo of their partner’s name or something significant that is connected to their romantic partner. The replies to the tweet were quite interesting, but the image linked below was one of the answers that resonated with me the most.

The conversation reinforced a thought in my head about how the imprints people leave on us are indelible, especially among romantic partners. I think that people either leave you with Marks or Scars.

Marks mean they make a significant alteration in your life that leaves you with a positive change. With Scars, they leave you with bruises that you have to heal from. Doctors haven’t invented the meds for these kinds of bruises yet, so sometimes you are seemingly irreparable.

They leave you with both a few times, and other times, one outweighs the other. Either way, they leave an imprint on you that translates to emotions like longing, respect, love, hate, anger, disgust, distrust and much more.

And so, with this, the world is filled with a hodgepodge of interesting characters.

Now, If you were wondering what my answer to the question is, It’s Yes! I absolutely would. But don’t mind me; I probably have a tattoo addiction, and my opinions don’t count.

But let’s talk about how we got here, shall we?

The chore of ticking boxes.

I believe that humans aren’t meant to live in isolation fundamentally. And this informs our desire to find someone we connect with and hopefully spend the rest of our lives with them (I know! Not everyone wants happily ever after, but let a girl breathe!).

Each of us has a checklist (written or mental) of what we desire in a partner, and as we go through life, we evaluate potential partners based on those metrics. We evaluate matching ideologies, e.g., feminism, misogyny, behavioral traits, e.g., empathy, kindness, religion, faith, communication styles, and many others.

We go through the dance of information exchange, the back and forth -dates, dating, ‘situationships,’ ‘imaginationships’ (??? wtf is that), etc., to understand who is in front of us and to see if there is something there. And some do it because they are bored and want a good time. It’s a thrilling experience until the realities of who they are set in and conflicts begin. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think conflict is bad. I think how it’s managed is the most important thing.

But despite these — despite ticking all the boxes — people will do what they do best — be people.

A random picture of a cut on my middle finger.
A random picture of a cut on my fuck-you finger. Quite poetic, don’t you think? I thought it was picturesque and suitable for this piece.

Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall

I had my heart broken a while back (nope, I don’t want to talk about it, I am a hard gyal). I also think the best revenge for people who hurt you is to erase them from your life like they never existed in the first place. They leave a scar, which is more than enough to remember them.

You see, I am a sucker for a good romance movie. Ugh, the world already sucks enough; a bit of the delusion and serotonin that romance gives doesn’t hurt anyone. One of my favorite romance stories is the Before Trilogy.

Julie Delpy’s portrayal of Celine is exquisite. I love Celine; I see a lot of myself in that character, except that she is white and French, of course. Her spunk, ideologies (Feminism, of course), thought process and communication, love for adventure, romanticism, and more. I think Celine is my spirit animal.

Screengrabbed quotes of Celine’s thought on breakup from the movie “Before Sunset”
Screengrabbed quotes of Celine’s thoughts on breakup from the movie “Before Sunset.”

One of the many reasons I am reluctant to try again is that, like Celine, I don’t want to end up too broken. I am calculative about everything, so I estimate my success chances before starting. Every relationship or connection leaves me broken in a way when it ends.

Like Humpty Dumpty, putting every piece back together is almost impossible. Some pieces manage to escape and are never found. Some split into such tiny pieces you don’t even know where to begin with putting them back (So, stop quoting Sia you don’t have an elastic heart, sweetie 🙂).

Everyone talks about healing, but in all fairness, you can’t go back to who you were before they broke you. That’s not how it happens. If you manage to put yourself back together, you never fully recover. If nothing, you have the scars to prove that once upon a time, something/someone hurt you.

And like Celine, this is why I am conscientious about who I share myself with because when it ends, it hurts too damn much. It breaks me in ways your imagination can only begin to scratch the surface.

Whack-a-mole of the heart

So, if I love you, I expect you to break my heart
Yeah, I’m that type of guy
Been like that from the start

-Street Philosopher and Singer, Zinoleesky, the great

This is the reality of most people I interact with when we stumble on the subject of love and romance. It's sad, don’t you think? Approaching something so beautiful with that level of cynicism?

People are scared to be their most authentic selves. They are guarded and defensive, always prepared to pull out their sharpest weapon. No one wants to be the “fool” who didn’t know and got hurt. The heartbreak doesn’t hurt as much as the deceit.

Living in fear is not truly living, in my opinion. But hey, remember that it is my opinion. Like a friend said, “no one in love should have to experience heartbreak,” but the reality is that we do. It is what it is…

Screengrabbed image of youtube music playing Zinoleesky’s “Run it up”
Screengrabbed image of youtube music playing Zinoleesky’s “Run it up.”

But I choose to be who I am regardless. To be my most honest, authentic, loving, and kind self. If you choose to weave my deliberate naïveté against me, that’s on you. You are the cruel one. Not me, and I will not carry shame that is not mine, even though it might be painful.

For those interested in meeting their better halves, I wish you all the best in your search and journey. It truly is an almost indomitable feat, and you need all the strength you can get.

I can’t promise that it will get better. If you are like me and you like love, loving, and being in love. You will probably carry your coconut head and do it again. So all I have to say is this, till you meet your person and after, continue to do the things that make you the best version of yourself.

Cheers to embracing Indelible Romance 🥂🍻

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