Shapely Gal is a newsletter that discusses love, relationships, marriage and the various markets these are traded on. This newsletter is a concoction of observations, theories, ideas, real stories, figments of imagination and sometimes just rants on romantic relationships.
The last 6-7 months have been the been the strangest ever. While the physical isolation may have helped us stay physically healthy, we’ve barely survived. Emotionally speaking. Loss of human contact has been harder to grapple with than anyone had ever imagined. Sure, we’re moving into a very virtual world, but do we really want to?
People are talking about zoom fatigue, others are complaining about supply having dried out on dating apps. But underneath all of this is so much more - grief, loneliness and fear. People are desperate to break away from all this social isolation, but it’s never been harder to engage somebody in conversation when they may be doing a billion other things all at the same time.
You want to talk, but you’re afraid they won’t listen. So you won’t try, but you wish they would. But they don’t. They could be thinking the same thing as you. Neither of you will know. But what if you didn’t think about them, and thought about yourself instead?
It is like what they say on a plane - put your mask on first, and then help others. Right now, it feels like you are on a plunging plane, not putting your oxygen mask on because no one’s trying to help you, and you are on a plane full of people like you.
So, I invite you to take a step back, and take a good look at yourself.
My parents have been looking out for the last few years, but I wasn’t serious about it then. In January this year, I decided to get involved in the process as well. In the beginning, I was just trying to understand how this works, but then covid happened. Since then, it’s been really hard to make any progress. I don’t get too many matches, and the few matches I get don’t respond to my messages. I don’t know if people are falling sick, and hence, inactive on these apps? Or am I doing something wrong? Should I take a break?
I was supposed to do an MBA this year, and I thought I’ll get engaged before I move abroad, but now I am not sure about either of these things. People are skeptical about moving abroad at this point of time with all that’s happening. Do you think doing an MBA is the right move? or will my market shrink?
I’d come home from the US in February, but I’ve been stuck here for the last 7 months. Men in the US are skeptical about pursuing conversations with me because frankly I don’t know when I’ll be able to head back. I am not interested in meeting anyone based in India, as my life is in the US. But I am not getting any younger either. I feel stuck.
I’d given up on going the arranged marriage way, and I’d made grand plans beginning of the year to go out every weekend and meet people in real life through meet ups and events. This was my new year resolution in fact - to shed my shy self, and socialise offline. I think me deciding to date was enough of a sign for the universe to collapse.
As it is, given my profile, it’s not easy to find a match. Covid’s really been so unkind. Whatever little chance I may have had of meeting someone interesting in another part of the world is now crushed. You can’t just date virtually forever. You’re too tired to give anyone that kind of attention. We’re only hanging on to each other as a last resort, because god knows if this will ever end.
These are some of the stories I’ve heard in the last couple of months amongst many others that reeked of anxiety, helplessness and a general sense of loss of control over one’s own life.
Do we have control over anything at all, but ourselves (well, kind of)?
I just want to reach out, and hold someone tight.
I want to feel their warmth around me.
I don’t want to be a call away, I want to be in your arms.
Start with yourself.
Pause, and hold yourself tight.
There’s never been a better time to just hit the pause button, look at yourself in the mirror and show yourself some love, and to receive some of that love. There’s no better way to feel a bit more in control, especially in these times when there’s very little to hold on to.
This month is all about self love - why it is important to love ourselves, what loving ourselves means, how we can practice it everyday and what self-love can do for us, especially in terms of preparing us to be able to invite another person into our lives.
So follow me on this journey of falling in love with yourself.
More from Shapely Gal
Here’s a little sneak peak into the various projects I am working on:
Self Love: As you know, this month is all about self-love. At this point in the pandemic, we have to hold ourselves tight. The uncertainty is a lot to bear. So, I am launching a new course that is going to be all about self-love for anyone who is single. After the success (read 100 views) of my YouTube course “Arrange Your Own Marriage”, I am really looking forward to this one.
Ask Auntie: This was my video series on YouTube answering frequently asked questions by people in the market. I am playing with the format of this a little bit - this will now become a weekly series on Instagram where I’ll do a Q&A session every Tuesday through stories. I’ll post videos less frequently while I run this experiment. So, if you don’t already follow me on Instagram, you do can so here:
Podcasts: Quite a few people had invited me on their podcasts, and so the last month has all been about conversations with several very awesome people. I’ll be sure to share links when these are aired.
Sneak peak into what I’m reading/ watching/ listening to:
100 dias de enamorarnos: I have no idea how I stumbled upon this show on Netflix, but I binge watched it. It was so beautiful yet troubling to watch a marriage one would think as being “perfectly normal” for crumbling in front of your eyes. The things people do to jeopardise their love lives, I tell you.
Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel: I love her point of view on relationships in general. This book is all about the conflict between desire and stability, and how that plays out in different relationships. I would’ve liked to see a bit more diversity in the stories she chose for this book.
Hold me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson: This was such a refreshingly positive take on relationships. It really gave me hope for my own relationships. I would highly recommend reading this book.
P.S. - Have you noticed any change with my social media? I’d love to hear your feedback.