This morning was tough. I woke up abruptly from a dream where I was still in love. I don't even know what we were doing, but it was simple and perfect and it broke my heart all over again. I spent the first few hours at work in a fog. Sometimes I would cry. Actually, too often I cried. I reread all the things I had written and felt sorry for myself. I even texted him. (No one is perfect.)
Sometimes I think we hold on to pain because we enjoy it in some weird way.
When I'm hurting, I have a better connection with myself. I can be honest and vulnerable in a way that I don't often consider when I'm happy. I think the gift of happiness is you don't have to stop and consider if you're happy. You just are. But sadness doesn't work that way. It demands to be felt.
Sometimes I wonder if I wanted things to work out so badly because I just needed to know that they could work out. Maybe I was tired of failing to care about anyone. I was tired of treating love like an inconvenience. I wanted to try for once. He asked me several times why I fell for him. If I can leave you with anything it's this: don't trust a partner who doesn't understand why you love them. His insecurity and his disbelief became my burden to carry. I was forced to continuously try and prove myself while he used his doubts as the justification for deception.
Seriously, don't do it.
My next lover will know they deserve me, but still feel grateful to have me.
I am trying to remind myself that I am bringing a lot to the table. I am a bright spot of color in people's lives, especially in a state such as Utah. I am animated and my eyes light up and I am quick to laugh or smile. People often tell me I'm intimidating and you know what, I like that. I like that I can make a grown man unsure of himself. I like that I am not for the faint of heart. I often joke that loving me is like loving a wild animal and you know what, I want it to be. I dress how I want and say what I think. I take risks and will continue to say "yes" as long as I have the strength to. I believe that life is about creating yourself. I may wear black lipstick to the grocery store and yell at your mother on Thanksgiving day, but I am wholly myself. Always. Not a lot of people can say that.
I used to feel oddly bad that he kept telling me he had so much in common with her. But you know what, finding someone who has a lot in common with you when you're just like everyone else is not a rare or special thing.
Part of me feels like I've been replaced, but I know deep down that's not true. I'm the one who challenges and excites. I'm the one who got dressed up and took salacious pictures for his birthday. Pictures he wanted others to know he was receiving. I'm the one who donned only lingerie and a coat to remind him how wanted he was. I bought his kids Christmas ornaments to help plant the seeds of a new tradition and cooked meals infused with all of my love and care. I made him feel smug for knowing I was with him and no one else could have me. I gave him the stars and all the best parts of myself. I gave them without hesitance and without restraint.
What did he give me?
I'm not sure he gave me a whole lot to be honest. Now that I can take a step back, I can be more honest about that. He wouldn't compromise for me and go to any of the places I wanted to go. He never introduced me to any of his friends. I couldn't even get him to see a movie with me. All we did was sit in his apartment. For a little while it was enough, but I should have known then that he had no intention of investing in what we had. Relationships take work and he didn't want to put in any work. We talked about vacations I knew we would never take and shows I knew we would never see. He wasn't even interested in any of the tv shows I recommended (apparently the list she had given him was just too long to fit my stuff in as well). The only time he really tried was on Christmas Eve and I kind of wish he had never done that.
In a weird way he gave me more in breaking my heart than he did with anything else.
I am walking away from this experience with the knowledge that I will be open to love when it finds me. That it's okay if I want something casual to become something less casual. I am not a static being and I am allowed to change and evolve as love and hope slowly shape me. I walk away knowing what it's like to love someone who doesn't love me back. I know now that yes it does hurt, but no hurt lasts forever. I am also walking away with a little more self respect. I tolerated a lot of things I shouldn't and I think I needed to be reminded of a few things.
I am not childish enough to say there was nothing wonderful about the man I fell in love with. There were lots of wonderful things. I'm just not sure where that man went though. He got swept up in the sea of life and the version I was left with was incredibly lacking.
I want a partner who allows me to change. In fact, I want a partner who wants to change and grow with me. I am looking for new experiences and new challenges. I don't want to be a witness to life. I want to be an active participant. For a little while I think that scared him and so I tried to hold his hand, but I don't want to have to do that. I am looking for another bright spot of color in this dim world. Not someone who needs to constantly numb themselves because they need to escape their life. I don't want to be someone's escape. I want to be part of the fabric of their life. A shiny bit of gold in a sea of grey.
So yes, my dreams and my body may still be in love with a man too scared to stay.
But my mind is slowly changing.