Isn’t that the truth? I saw this quote and it immediately summed up what I’m experiencing now as I attempt to close a chapter of my life and move on. I feel very fortunate to have people in my life that fit all the above categories- even the sad ones, it’s taught me a lot and I’m grateful. I’m going to write a rather personal post today. I feel that I need to get it off my chest, and if telling my story by only using vague references and blurry details in the revealing of what I’m thinking about is the only way to do so- so be it.
I have been smitten with a particular man for over two years now. We met in undergrad and I was stupid gaga for this person rather quickly (read: really stupid quickly). When we met, I was a rocking the false bravado of a girl who was scared-terrified about adult life but pretended to know it all, do it all and have the world under my thumb. Truth was, I was reeling from losing 3 dear loved ones a few months prior- he saw right through me. Much to my chagrin, he sized me up far too quickly, and his insights were advantageous to the perpetuation of our long entanglement. We dated without ever getting into a committed relationship so nobody got hurt. Great theory- didn’t happen.
Eventually the time came for us to graduate and I had made plans to move to Chicago, and he to another midwest town. The day he got in his car and drove away from California was the day I got the call that one of my dearest friends had passed away in her sleep from a unforseen pulmonary embolism. If I had chosen to go to graduate school to run away from the memories of my lost loved ones, this additional loss expedited the process. I wanted so badly that my new life as a grad student in a new city would make it hurt less. I wanted to find a city job, I wanted to find a boyfriend, I wanted to be an esteemed grad student, I desperately wanted my new life to be enough of a distraction that the blinding city lights could cast away the darkness I had felt consumed me. He was the one thing from my old life I thought I could safely hold on to, and hold on is exactly what I did.
Fast forward to our occasional and sporadic reunions adding up to two years of visits, countless calls and conversations- birthdays, holidays, heartbreaks and accomplishments should have brought us together but it was never enough to solidify us as a couple. I loved him and he’d laugh. To him, I was still this silly girl from undergrad who he wanted to keep around because of a friendship but kept at a distance because of love. He didn’t love me, and it became abundantly clear this week- he never would.
He wanted to see other people because we both knew we weren’t right for each other, yet we saw each other just enough for the stickiness of my affections to take hold and renew themselves. I have dated quite a bit since moving to Chicago, but have admittedly held back. It seems I can’t always effectively compartmentalize my feelings, and I was locked in like a tractor beam to this dude every time we reunited.
In his mind, our psuedo-relationship was smart: what was so wrong about being friends with someone you could see being with someday while you go through a list of potentials just to be sure? For some people it works, but it in this context it amplified the distance between us and caused friction. Needless to say, in his mind our odd little friendship/relationship hybrid was like writing a post-dated check- an investment that we could cash later when the time was right. To me it was like promising someone the house of their dreams, in their will. While everyone always appreciates being mentioned in a will, it never replaces the loss you you experience to get it.
I believe that God doesn’t always give you what you want, but you get what you need. This man taught me a lot, we shared some amazing times, and I appreciate the fact that sometimes the friction of our relationship was a catalyst for me to do better, work harder and grow, though it was painful -pain makes you into the person you’re meant to become, but stick around with that pain too long and watch it eat you from the inside out.
In this case, pain taught me that you have to learn to fight for your own happiness. Whatever makes you blissful and whatever hurts the most others might never understand. You know yourself better than anybody else, and no matter how well a person knows you and claims to care, they will never fight for your happiness like you will. No matter how many promises they make, no matter how sweet they are when they ask you back, no matter how well they know you- they aren’t in charge of YOUR happiness.
Truth be told, I miss him like hell. I will for awhile- but I know that love is possible. I still believe in it. I’d rather at this point take a chance on love now, fully knowing that this new person could really hurt me later, than take a chance on this friendship, allowing him to hurt me as we go along, in the hope he’ll love me later. Life is too short.
Love can be sweet but it’s like an empty calorie if it’s an empty promise…you eat it up, it tastes wonderful and fills you up for a time. If it’s not really nourishing you, you find you’re hungry again later and you’re ashamed you went for it in the first place!
When there is a chance for love, deep friendship and joy- GO FOR IT, you never know when God could choose to pluck that person from you. Whenever love is present, snatch it up. Savor every minute- cultivate love, thrive on it, nourish yourself on it today, don’t wait. Nobody can make a promise on love, you’re fighting against fate so don’t take a rain check. Don’t try to nourish yourself on the “empty calories” of relationships, they won’t fill you up and they aren’t healthy.
Promises can’t always be kept, so don’t put off with family, happy memories, or waste today pining for someone who doesn’t love you back. “Tomorrow” is the kind of promise only foolish people make, since death doesn’t honor our hopes and dreams.
Love and loss makes you who you are. Be brave, you’ll survive.
At this point, I really hope he finds someone to love- someone to really love, it’s never going to be me and I’d like to think I did both of us a favor by addressing that. In the last few months, having realized how wonderful life truly is, my life became full of love and I began to more easily recognize where love is absent in my life- the contrast is stark and hard to ignore. I quit a job I didn’t enjoy, distanced myself from a few negative people, and now I’ve had to encourage myself to move on from the empty spot in my heart I’d saved for him before it made me bitter, cynical and cold.
It was really hard to write this post. I’m making this public record because knowing it’s out there will remind me to press forward and move on. I can’t be a hypocrite any longer, I can’t lie about the feelings in my heart and have realized that holding onto the past is only holding back. I hope it gets easier as time goes on and have faith it was the best decision for both of us and wish him the best since I know he’ll find it- so will I.
Thanks for reading.