Note: this post has been updated to highlight that fact that it’s a response to an op-ed in the Hartford Courant, and to emphasize what I wrote yesterday: this piece is not about young people in Hartford. Please read the op-ed piece; if you don’t you’ll be utterly confused by what follows.
Hartford is a city, not a woman, but if Hartford were a woman I’m sure she’d be feeling uncomfortable right now. She has a stalker.
This stalker has been harassing Hartford for as long as I’ve lived here. He has recently reappeared, this time calling himself “Young Hartford.”
Young Hartford, (not to be mistaken for Young People In Hartford), has insisted, once again, that Hartford is ready for a new relationship, and that this relationship will be with him. Young Hartford has been insisting this for years, regardless of the fact that Hartford has made it clear that she has no interest in an exclusive pairing. She has a lot of other relationships that make her happy and satisfied. She has friends all over the city, and enjoys the life she shares with all of her neighbors, in all of their neighborhoods. She doesn’t want to be tied down.
Of course, Young Hartford refuses to hear this, and has convinced himself that Hartford remains “hopeful” in her quest for a romantic attachment. Young Hartford is happy to remind Hartford of her “heartbreaks and shattered promises.” In Young Hartford’s eyes, Hartford is a weak and broken thing, waiting for him to rescue her. And once he rescues her, she will know how different he is; she will know that he is “valuable” and will find his absence “unbearable.”
Young Hartford claims that others have tried to change Hartford to meet their own needs. Young Hartford has stated “the charming and the rich have tried to change her, attempting to reinvent her within the confines of their expectations.” But Young Hartford knows that “Hartford will only change when she sees all of the possibilities in a life with (him).”
Yes, Hartford will change for him.
Young Hartford has stated that Hartford “endures ignorant bullying any time she tries to be happy.” But Hartford is happy a lot of the time. Young Hartford refuses to see that. Sure, Hartford has her challenges just like any of us: sometimes she can’t manage her money effectively; her self-esteem takes some blows when people tell her that her skin isn’t the right color; she gets really pissed off when people say that some of the folks she likes to hang out with are trashy; sometimes she gives in to peer pressure and buys into the next “big thing”; her family can be pretty dysfunctional. But really, most of the time she’s happy. In fact, she thinks that Young Hartford is the ignorant bully.
Young Hartford, maybe you’ve found that Hartford “isn’t easy,” but maybe that’s because she’s just not that into you.
Young Hartford, Hartford would like you to stop showing up at her doorstep with your bouquets and plans for your future together. She grows her own flowers and is pretty happy with her life as it is. Her friends and neighbors are supportive both when she grows and when she stumbles.
Hartford isn’t a hopeless romantic, Young Hartford. You are. At least you’d call yourself that if faced with the other options: obsessed, relentless, and narcissistic, believing you know what’s best for Hartford and willing to put her down, and maybe even hurt her, to get what you want.