The night before I arrived in Tulum, a girl I met had enjoyed a night of passion with a rather cute Mexican guy. When I arrived the next day and met her, she excitedly told me all about it: the drunken kisses, the romance, the lack of sleep. I listened enviously as I’ve never been able to have care-free experiences and holiday romances. My emotions are so connected to my physicality I just can’t do it, I have to feel I really know and trust someone.
The girl I had been speaking to left Tulum that day, and off I went on my journey to Bacalar where this handsome guy would also be. I was excited to meet someone I had heard so much about, so imagine my surprise when I was introduced to him… and his girlfriend.
“Baby”, he called her as they took romantic sunset selfies by the lagoon. “YOU FU*KING PRICK!” I shouted loudly at him, but only in my head of course. The truth is I felt awkward; how could he have slept with someone else (several times) the night before yet be playing the role of the perfect boyfriend the next day? I couldn’t look at him. I thought back through my exes, wondering which of them had done the same to me.
“I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year.” Edna St. Vincent Millay
I briefly touched on relationships and heartbreak in chapter 1, so I guess this is as good a time as any to open up that part of my life. But where do I even start? I suppose I should begin by declaring that I have cheated before. The purpose of my writing is to give an honest reflection of my thoughts and experiences, not to depict myself as a saint. It was during a six year relationship and regardless of my reasons at the time, the regret still plays on my mind even today as I wonder what might have been if it weren’t for curiosity and a lack of willpower. I suppose back then I didn’t know how to properly communicate that I felt neglected and unimportant so I went to someone who made me feel both without thinking of the consequences. Cry me a river, I know.
Secondly, I should state that I haven’t always been so judgemental towards men, it’s a place I’ve reached through time and experience. The truth is, I am the kind of person who completely drowns in love. I’m a hopeless romantic no matter how much my brain tries to prevent it, and I’ve always been that way. When I was three, my mum used to put me to bed and then hear me moving around my room before it would be completely silent again. She heard the same routine every night, so one evening curiosity got the better of her and she went into my room to find out what I was doing. Bang! went my hands against the duvet as I desperately tried to cover my body from my mother’s inquisitive eyes. “What on earth have you got that on for?” Mum asked me as she pulled the duvet off and found me in my party dress. “Well I can’t go to the ball in my pyjamas”, I replied matter-of-factly, “the prince will never pick me!”. I think that Disney has a lot to answer to for our generation’s unrealistic expectations of romance (I’ll save that train of thought for another time), but the fact is, love was in my DNA.
I remember the first time I experienced heartache. I was seven years old on a family holiday in Corfu and fell head-over-heels with a waiter called Sparky. Don’t worry, this was a romance in the most innocent sense of the word; this story is not about to take a sinister turn, but I remember being completely infatuated with him. Every night, I would get ready before the rest of my family and run down to the hotel restaurant where Sparky would give me a free Coca Cola and talk to me about whatever you talk about with seven year olds. This was particularly exciting for me because my parents didn’t really allow us to have fizzy drinks when we were young! I can’t remember much about him apart from he had long thin hair (I know), but he was amazing and I loved the attention he gave me. And then one night after dinner, I was looking out of the hotel window with my sister and I saw him, my love Sparky, in the midst of a passionate kiss with an older woman. I was genuinely devastated. How could he do that to me? I thought he loved me? I never rushed downstairs for a free Coke after that fateful night, and I avoided his gaze as I sat with my family at dinner.
What I didn’t know then, was that Sparky would be one of many men who would betray my trust and break my heart. Maybe in time I’ll tell you about a few more experiences, real adult experiences, but for now let’s go back to Bacalar. I had come to paradise with idyllic visions of exotic men who knew how to treat women with loyalty and respect (my goddamn romantic mind), and yet here I was, a witness to one guy’s fu*kery. I do still believe there are loyal men out there, but I’m learning that you have to really take time to get to know someone’s intentions rather than trusting every guy who woos you with romantic gestures and calls you baby.
If you’re thinking of heading off for some winter sun anytime soon, check out some of my favourite holiday wardrobe picks