I’m writing this post while wrapped in a blanket and safe in a pillow fort, and really wishing that there was someone who would go out in the rain and get cookies for me. Yesterday was tough, and I’m spending today trying to take care of myself. As a result y’all get a post about my continued adventures into polyamory (ish?) and a bit of a discussion of my depression and my Daddy kink (content note!).
I have a confession: I want to be saved. On days when I’m struggling with with depression, I want a knight in shining armour to come riding up on a white horse and save me, even while knowing that is unhealthy in so fucking many ways.
In fact, it’s so unhealthy and brings out aspects of myself that I hate that even talking about this makes me squirm with embarrassment. It links strongly to my mental illness, I think. The feelings of alone, isolated and hopeless that often come with my depression lure me into falling for the fantasy that there is a person who can solve all my problems. This desire to be saved makes me feel like I am subscribing to the bullshit notion I need a romantic partner – and, in society’s eyes, a man – to give me my happy ever after.
I feel better because I do divert the heteronormative narrative in some ways. The knight in shining armour of my non-sexual fantasies is rarely a romantic partner, and even less frequently a man. It sometimes is, of course, and part of my attraction to the man who I fantasised about calling ‘Daddy‘ was definitely the desire for him to take care of me. I want to be protected and looked after, to have the responsibility of dealing with all the shit that comes with being a vaguely-functioning adult with depression lifted off me.
The fantasy of my knight saving me – fairy-tale princess style – is intoxicating because I want to believe that someone could absolve me of that crushing weight and the guilt I feel for never being good enough. In my imagination, my knight saves me in so many different ways, and sometimes I manage to convince myself that they could really happen.
My knight in shining armour is someone turning up to surprise me for a weekend of sex and feminist art exhibitions. My knight is someone calling me when I’m at my lowest point because they just know, even without being told, that I’m struggling. My knight is someone texting me to say they’re outside my flat, having travelled a long way to give me roses and remind me that I’m not alone. My knight is someone sitting with me on the bathroom floor as I throw up from my anxiety and exhaustion, and hugging me even though I’m gross. My knight is someone bringing me cookies on days I don’t want to get out of bed.
As you can see, I have ridiculous expectations for my fictional knight. They swoop in on their faithful stead to save me when I’m struggling, offering me a solution to my stress or sadness or suicidal ideation. My knight in shining armour saves me, because saving myself is hard.
I don’t want to want to be saved, but I do. It’s embarrassing when I think about it too deeply. After all, I’m a strong, independent millennial woman and a queer feminist – I should reject the idea that I need to be saved as much as I do the idea that I need someone else to “complete” me. And I do, except when I am on the point of tears and wishing there was someone to tell me that it’s all going to be ok. Of course, it will all be ok, and I have an amazing support network of friends who tell me just that, but it will be ok when I put in the work to make it ok. The work I have to do is challenging and exhausting, and I want to bury my head in a pillow and have someone else do it for me.
It might be different for you, but for me these feelings are unhealthy, leaving me craving someone to rescue me from the hole of hopelessness I’ve ended up in. It might not be my fault I’m in a depression slump, but it is up to me to survive it. I have the support and encouragement of my friends, of course, but ultimately I’m the one who needs to sit through the horrors screaming in my head and forgive myself for needing to take time to look after myself.
Does wanting a knight in shining armour to save me make me weak? Rationally, I know it doesn’t, because at the end of the day I realise there is no one coming to save me and start working on my shit. I’m not a princess waiting to be rescued, I’m a sex-blogging superhero who is attempting to change the world with fuck-positive writing while fighting my own mind. I try to be my own knight. I self-care; I date myself; I work on my shit until I stop thinking about the fantasy of being saved.
The only knight in shining armour I get is me.
And maybe that’s ok. After all, I’ve always come through for myself, even on my worst days. It does mean I now have to get up and buy my own cookies, though. Damnit.
Quinn Rhodes (he/him) is a freelance journalist, sex writer, and professional transsexual. His work focuses on dismantling shame and queering sex.