‘Not meant to last’
by Chenoah Miller
Lovely. As I scroll through the latest copy of CAP, in amongst the high-gloss advertisements and the lightweight political stunts, I find a short essay entitled ‘Not meant to last’, by one Ms Miller. Splendid! What is too often missing from CAP, and what Miller thankfully delivers in spades, is the desperately emotional agony-aunting I used to fear was the exclusive domain of Women’s Weekly editorials.
Miller’s topic is love, and the impermanent nature thereof. You might be forgiven for wondering how it is possible to say anything particularly profound or insightful on such a weighty topic in 150 words. Miller responds to the challenge by sharing two slightly embarrassing personal stories, then spraying the reader with Disney Channel cliches like a dog urinating in terror. The first tale is about ‘The German’, whom Miller committed herself to and was surprised by when he announced his departure. Miller’s histrionic reaction to this rejection sets the tone for the rest of the article, and I fear, her life:
I vowed never to trust myself again and consequently, I shuit down and disconnected from the idea of ever finding love again.
Ever? Oh no, our heroine is in crisis! Can anyone guess what happens next? Well, for those of us who don’t face every setback by clapping our hand over our heart and declaiming I WILL NEVER LOVE AGAIN, it’s not quite so bewildering to discover that you can love more than once in your life. Miller holds on to her wound for as long as she can be bothered, and then:
Three years after the German dumped me, I decided it was time to open myself up to the possibility of meeting someone and I did.
Like every other story in this wad of yellow glossy drivel, this one paints an abundantly clear picture of the protagonist – a variation on the sad, self-obsessed wage-slave who waxes lyrical about how she ‘Isn’t looking for romance right now,’ while she flirts with and and repels every slightly-adjusted human male she encounters. The possibility of having a two-sided relationship with a bundle of self-righteous neuroses such as Ms Miller presents herself to be is so remote that only a true need to douse your testicles in some cold sludge would make you consider it. And like every other self-made victim of her kind, Miller decides that her personal suffering gives her an authority on the nature of love.
Her claim to expertise is backed up by her bizarre references to a period of ‘Research’ into the topic of love, after The German left her. The conclusion she draws from this research is as bland and meaningless as the rhyme on the inside of a birthday card FOR GRANDMA ON HER 90TH. ‘I have found many answers, the most basic being that there are many different kinds of love and that none, except for Motherly love are meant to last.’
I have run this sentence through my brain about twenty different ways, trying to see what Miller thinks she’s getting at, and I have concluded that there is literally no information contained in those words. Except, perhaps, for a slightly creepy idealisation of Motherly love. I’m not sure whether baby Chenoah was hugged too much or not enough, but the personal reveal continues later in the article: ‘We seek the unconditional love that the child within us craves but unconditional love can only be given by mothers.’ WHAT.
It’s beneath me to keep quoting Miller’s self-help drivel, and you could just as easily get it the same place she did, channel-surfing between Oprah and Dr Phil. The general gist of her point is that people don’t stay the same over time, so you can’t guarantee that love will last forever. Something as blindingly simple and useless as this could have been said in ten words, but Miller prefers to wreath it in two pages of dribble that sounds suspiciously like it’s been adapted from a self-help infomercial: ‘Your happiness will determine your success,’ or ‘it is impossible for you to know who you are going to be in twenty years, in five years, tomorrow!’
The padding serves as an excuse for Miller to air more of her emotional baggage in a pathetic bid for attention that makes a teenage Goth carving patterns in his skin with a broken mirror look sophisticated and subtle. Apparently it was ‘the yellow singlet’ that was the breaking point in her second relationship, and Miller has her heart broken for a second stultifying time in two pages.
In this age of Blogging, I’m fairly used to reading about people’s broken hearts in the same repetitive, self-righteous tone that thirteen year-olds take when they can express their inner selves in public. Watching the cycle of morbid self-recrimination, useless blame-games and ridiculous epiphanies produces in me a feeling of weariness. But it genuinely gets the bile up in my throat when the most effete, self-aggrandising and poorly worded discussion on the topic of broken hearts I have ever come across is in the pages of a published magazine, even if that magazine is the printed equivalent of a High School toilet wall.
But you’ll be glad to know that Miller’s imbecile musings finally led her to an explanation for why The German left her, long after her writing style has made his reasons clear to everyone else. ‘He still cared for me and loved me deeply but his love had changed from romantic love into brotherly love.’ Ah, of course. No doubt the same sort of brotherly love I reserve for my pet lizard.