*Not all flight attendants or individuals in aviation experience this in aviation. This is simply the perspective of one.*
I wanted to prove them wrong in dating. I wanted to show them that I could have a happy and healthy relationship- that I was the exception to a rule that says “relationships struggle and dating is impossible in this industry.” I thought ignorantly that I was above the laws of science that follow that relationships and love develop through quality time and consistent presence. I believed that any dating relationship to which I was a part of could survive the constantly revolving door of airplanes, airports, suitcases, and hotels. This because I was part of it. This was because I was different. This because nothing is impossible, right?
Nothing except dating in my flight attendant life.
Mix an impossible schedule with impossible ambition. Add a few drops of wanderlust, a couple of tablespoons of commuting, and there you have an all-over-the-map, jet-lagged girl that no one, not even myself, can keep up with.
“Are you in FLL?” one questions.
“But I thought…”
“Yeah- that was yesterday.”
And to the question of, “When will you be back?”- I’ve stopped promising as it seems I can never keep my word.
I doesn’t matter if I love you.
It doesn’t matter if you love me.
It doesn’t matter because my life is too much for you and more importantly, it’s too much for me. Three months ago, I thought that I wanted a relationship. I told people I wanted to settle and that I was ready for settled. I don’t think anyone believed me except for me. I was being sincere, but often, I don’t understand myself. I’m not ready. I don’t know what settled or what normal means. What I know is going. I know two days here, one day there, meeting and leaving guy after guy after guy. I have brushed away, dodged, and attempted to disassemble the stereotype that flight attendants have boyfriends in every city, and really, all that I have done this year is add evidence upon evidence that boyfriend is as easy for a flight attendant as said and done.
Love is just as susceptible to reality is as a sailboat is susceptible to the direction of the wind. My reality is a difficult one to be part of. I’ve stopped apologizing for it. I’ve stopped minimizing the facts around my lifestyle and how someone will fit into it. Let’s just stop things before they start I’ll say. It’s better for both of us. My guard is up. I’ll giggle and bat my eyes to no end, because of course I enjoy the attention. I’m human, but through every laugh, kiss, and cuddle goodbye, my heart has been slowly chipped away, exhausted by the surface level connections.
It could be more. It always could be more. It’s that thing of time and of ‘being’. Time is always given to me in the increments of 24, 32, and 48hrs, stopped when the next flight starts. Time is not on my side and probably won’t be as long as I do this.
There was once a time in my flight attendant career when the people that I met mattered more. When I believed that I would be back soon and that distance had no power. Now, my skepticism seeps through, so much so, that I am called out on it. I’ve been questioned as to where all of the skepticism came from. Well, from the fact that I cannot keep falling for moments in my life cause it hurts falling continuously, and eventually, if you’re smart one learns to catch themselves. These are moments. At the next destination, I will still need the smile, still must maintain the image, and still must create new connections. I must let go of the place which I left and the person that I left and be completely in the place that I am. It’s just the way it is. It’s not a perfect plan and I don’t think it works very well. I don’t know a better way.
There is no middle ground with my flight attendant life. I’m living this to the extreme, not because it is required, but because of how I have chosen it. Not all flight attendant jobs require 10-15 day trips. Not all flight attendants choose to commute, or want to travel in their free time, or write a blog and freelance on the side. I’m tired. I’m torn. I’m heartbroken over loves that I have let go, and saddened over the little shell that has evolved to protect my vulnerable and sensitive heart.
I’m not looking for a hookup, a relationship, or love. Or maybe, I am looking for love. The problem is that this flight attendant life has me completely confused over what love actually is-
What I am not confused over is the guilt that I feel for not being reliable. Guilt that I hold for not being available, and guilt that taunts for those that I have categorized as ‘not caring.’ It’s a defense. When you meet so many people everyday, the only way to survive is by pretending to forget.